Chapter 4, Page 13

*single violin*

[spoiler? warning? depending on your interpretation of this page?] Also your theories have all been beaten by RU reader Jamato, who correctly surmised (via Google translate) “Water can be a material for creating your backup or sending consciousness.” WAY TO GO BEX, accidentally destroying everything in your path.

In case you missed it, I uploaded a never-before-posted 8-pg comic that I made and which was rejected from the Flight Anthology, lol. Sometimes (all the time) I make mistakes~ There was also a lot of good conversation in that thread about the purpose of “inspiring” vs “hopeless” art, which I am still mulling over. A process page for this page will be up shortly as well, as soon as I get back from getting groceries, as I have been subsisting mostly on animal crackers and frozen berries.

Also: thanks for stopping by at SVCC, to those who did! It’s always super goddamn neat to meet you folks in person. This year was the one in which I would “learn how to do conventions” aka “try not to freak out and die every few weeks,” with mixed results. Sorry I’ve been updating so slowly lately but that stuff is really crazy for me and also I waste a ton of money if I mess it up, so I’ve had to prioritize my time in that direction. My next con is VanCaf (international convention boss battle), then nothing for a few months… frankly can’t wait to just not have to worry about these things! haha. Anyways tl;dr: doing my best to get back on track with regular updates but until then I’ll keep chugging as much as I can. This week we’ll also have a new tutorial so there’s that too.

Last… not Mare related, but TM Kickstarter backers have been receiving their stuff, maybe you don’t care but it’s like the most amazing thing on my end to see readers hold the book in their hands! If you missed the KS and would like to know when they go on sale the second they are available, you can sign up for Shingworks news here. Can’t wait to make books happen for Mare~

OKAY gotta get some real food now lol


  • chyro

    I thought “upload” here meant uploading the water to the body, what with their convoluted expressions. Way to spoil the surprise, Der-shing!

    • shingworks


  • Uisge beatha, water of life, indeed. (I haven’t seen the Gaelic in years, sorry).

    What a world you’ve built, Der-Shing!

  • ObservantWolf

    Aha, that’s why the water is able to change them, fascinating!
    Poor misunderstood worm-a-saur, RIP!

  • spottedspeck

    Both Kalla and Levi’s bodies were fully submerged when they died last time… I wonder if for the “upload” to work, does the the whole body need to be in the water or if samples of dna is enough?

    • Manabi

      Given that the alien put only its tongue into the water, apparently just contact with the water is enough. Also its body is kind of under a large rock, so it couldn’t have been fully submerged and yet it asked for water.

      I still think that Kalla, Levi and Mike all died and have been recreated by the system in the cave. Most, if not all, of what we’ve seen can be explained by the cave trying to adapt/understand/assimilate these strange things into the ecosystem. I’m not sure about Bex, but the odds of her surviving such a long fall aren’t great, so she could be too.

  • Pylgrim

    Man, that “forgiven” broke my heart. That worm was a saint.

    • shingworks

      “That worm was a saint,” and other comments that no other webcomic is lucky enough to receive.

      • The Wing


      • Shweta

        to be fair, there’s a severe lack of other webcomics featuring saintly worms.

  • So the neural sea…
    Is full of microorganisms designed to act like a giant brain, with some ability to reconstruct things submerged in it. A biotechnological hivemind of a dead race. I’m guessing these worm creatures are just exploratory vehicles. The hivemind builds them and imbues them with consciousness, and they must return to the sea to report their findings.

    Mike sure did spend a lot of time in the water…

    And the sea definitely wants to keep Kallakore alive, which would explain her apparent immortality – every time she submerges, a trillion tiny microorganisms reconstruct her. This could be why the sea pulled Bex into the water, to reclaim Kalla’s blood for future reconstruction, although it might be able to reconstruct her from basic elements without even collecting all of her remains…

    • Oh my god, they came asking for a somatic fluid sample! Not a big deal to them, but it sounds like a crazy threat to a human.

      Maybe they think Bex is a biological exploratory vehicle from Earth? Or maybe they just want to interface properly?

      • StClair

        “Carbon units infest Enterprise.”

      • james

        Still a bit of cultural faux pas… would you consider taking blood samples from a stranded alien on earth to be trivial, or a major imposition? Most regular humans hate needles even from a doctor, and a doctor can communicate and reassure.

  • Android 21 3/7

    Shoulda offered it/them/him/her pee, Bexie-boo.

  • So when Michael kept breathing underwater….


  • Jamato

    So this is how popularity feels :D
    Also your webcomic is simply great, thank you. In my personal top it’s even above Jailbird already, and that one was my favourite.

  • Lo

    Seems like death is a hard disease to eradicate, even if your technology has evolved past the singularity.

    Good news for Mike, I guess?

  • HyruleSymbol

    Okay, now it’s clear that Bex couldn’t hear what Kella was saying, and also that Mike couldn’t understand her! Because it’s pretty obviouse that Kella would’ve asked for mercy, and Bex clearly feels guilty for killing the worm dude

    By theory is that Kella to Bex sounds more like a animal, and Bex to Mike sounded… like an insect?(Thrip?)

    Basically they now speak in weird ways that don’t metch each other, since Mike couldn’t understand LEVI but Bex can


  • MikeLinPA

    How could have the pail of water uploaded to the neural net? It wasn’t touching the sea itself. Wireless water? Hmm… I gotta get me a patent for that.

    • GreatContagion

      “Method for communicating across space, and time, via wireless water and molecular memory therein, in which [anything sufficiently solvent] is uploaded to the water to create a solution [to user’s situation], and water, left open to air, slowly rejoins [thereby communicating with] the primary [server side, the Cloud] bodies of water on Earth (patent pending).

      Offenders to the patent’s means and methods: all organic life on Earth currently, and heretofore, utilizing the flow of water around the planet.

      Stamp approved?

    • James Stevens

      I assume the water could have been taken to the neural sea at a later date.

      • rdew

        Its a miscommunication I think.

        Bex assumed that the water was to soothe an injured creature when it really meant “take me back to the sea”.
        I dont think its a case of they reconstitute from any water, but that the inner sea acts as a liquid memory from which they can be saved and then rebuilt.

        • James Stevens

          What I mean is that it could upload into the water, which could then be taken to the sea. The water would be kind of like a USB stick – a transport for information between hardware.

          • ZeroID

            ‘Inert’ – ‘Offline’ Bex boiled the water, killed the ‘live’ part of it otherwise it might have been an option.
            I want a USB stick with some of the water in it , …. unboiled of course.

            This is an incredible story all round. Panel 4, how can you get so much emotion evoked from such a simple ‘cartoon’ face ?

  • NDDN

    Last panel Bex took a stabfish to her heart.

  • Asphodelethe

    Ohhh, so that’s why Bex can understand them now. She got a software patch from the water. Cool!

  • JJ

    Bex’ knee pads are simply strapped on over the suit? Cool detail :-)

  • TuesdayNightCo

    This is some bad-ass writing, Shing. I aspire to write such beautiful underlying logic.
    In other news, poor Leg Worm.

  • mariasaurio


    So, they found this body of water that allows you to backup your consciousness into it…? Possibly allowing for immortality, or at least, very lengthened lifespan, possibly resurrection–

    Oh my god did they stumble into the goddamn Fountain of Youth

  • james

    Reminds me of a VERY old bit of Russian Sci-fi where an alien crash lands near a village and the villagers attempts to bind it’s wounds end up killing it due to the bandages being impregnated with anti-septic chemicals. Then the village priest burns the “heretical” documents on the spaceship. Cheerful Russian literature.

    • shingworks

      Haha, wow. Do you happen to remember the title or collection it came from?

      • james

        Haha NO! But now it will be my mission in life to find it again!

        • shingworks

          That’s short stories for you XD I love reading shorts collections but unless I have the physical book in front of me it can be hard to find them again.

  • Lilian

    It all continues to come together.

  • Jones

    Dang…spiderworm bro is ded. :\
    Probably..I dunno.

    Anyway, awesome strip as always. :D

  • thesoundwaveg1

    This is surprisingly sad for a little worm thing we only just met.

  • TinWhistlings

    I never thought I’d get a lump in my throat because a bony-legged bug alien was dying

  • It was really great meeting you at SVCC! You rock and your comics are awesome.

  • Treeish

    Amazing how even a thread of communication can change your outlook…

  • Fawkes Rinzler

    This has no relevance to the current story at the moment, but I just wanted to mention that I have this Webcomic bookmarked on chapter 3, page 32….
    And I’ve been a bit emotional this week… and I might have kinda shed a few tears for Kalla…

    *cuddles a pillow* I miss armshark…. *sniffles*

    • shingworks

      Aw :'[

  • May


  • Amelia

    OH NO
    But Kalla wasn’t in the water when they died! What’s gonna happen to them. Is Kalla permenently dead now? I really hope not. Is an earlier version of Kalla gonna be remade? Will they not remember Mike?

  • My God, this bizarre, wonderful comic is all starting to make sense.

    If this cave, this Internal Sea, is basically a giant brain wherein the water conducts the neural signals… As above commenters said already, it seems that the Mare Internum is ‘repairing’ those who enter it like the brain reconsructing pathways or healing damaged tissue. Bex may have become absorbed into the language centre of the brain, or is now acting as a synapse for transferring/ translating signals between parts of the brain, which is why she understands what all these creatures are saying.

    We know that Mike was completely submerged when he first entered Mare Internum, so it’s likely he’s died and been recreated multiple times already. He is also physically assimilating, but I can’t figure out what neurological function he is serving yet.

    At this point I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to find that all of this is literally inside someone’s head, considering this comic may be a grand metaphor for the physical aspect of a brain recovering from a mental illness or trauma.

  • McDoom

    Annnnnnnnnnd after all those strips of finding them genuinely scary beyond all reason, suddenly I’m sad for it.

  • Little Brit

    I took this as meaning the water is techno-organic in some way, and being in/near it when one dies allows for a kind of “upload” or “upgrade”. Hence the “toaster faces”, and Levi / Kallakore apparently receiving new bodies already!

  • Sheridan

    SO the ‘water’ is a data-transmission medium.
    Does it need to be taken back to the main pool to send the data to the processor, or can it transmit wirelessly?

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