Chapter 4, Page 24

LEVi showing off that superior intellect he was bragging about a page or two ago

First, it’s my bud Lora‘s b-day today~ she does the excellent sci-fi webcomic The Otherknown, which you should read because it’s great (time travel! ocean rigs! jewelry!)… excellently crafted story, fun characters, and of course, it’s her goddamn bday you monster go read it

I’m going to be doing a small thing for the comic soon… I don’t make merch very often because deep down I don’t think anyone really needs more stuff in their life, haha. But I’ve been sitting on thing for a few months and it’s a good time to get it in the world. If you’d like to have an advance notice of what it is and when it goes live, feel free to sign up here for that handy head’s up.

Reminder that you canĀ nominate Mare Internum (and/or other comics) for this award if you are enjoying the comic~

And, new Patreon stuff will be up in a bit too… and a brand new thing that’s coming up soon is a live tutoring stream covering any $5+ Patron questions the networking tutorial from last month, so that should be fun!

K, back to screaming


  • thunderstormkid

    So I’ve been wondering:

    Levi is a true AI, and his original purpose was to help study minerals on Mars, right?
    Not to make light of all the obstacles there must be to exploring and studying an alien planet, but what situation would they have come across to think that the most expedient solution was to construct a true AI?

    • Lights

      Well, you can kind of see it now with, like, mining robots (biologically inspired tunnel nav may be most effective solution) and things like autonomous data-gathering probes like Boaty McBoatface going on unexpected adventures beneath ice shelves. If your job is to go move through complicated terrain with minimal connectivity and maximal getting-lost (and maybe broken) it would be very useful to have somebody onboard who can decide, when problems crop up, whether to keep pushing on and if so how to get back, or at least get someplace out of danger or where the data can be transmitted. Even actual animals do a sort of terrible job at this, when they wind up in hostile terrain. A person who knows why they’re out there, though, is going to handle the crisis of possible scientific martyrdom most effectively.

    • shingworks

      Lights covered the big reason, which is lack of human involvement. The places he goes, esp in small canyons or caves, are way outside of radio range. He’s not just a survey robot; his job is also to investigate interesting/ useful formations (and possibly collect samples) in a prudent way. He’s also going into harsh, completely unknown areas for the first time, and may come up against obstacles without any way of contacting anyone for help or guidance. So the AI is there to help him make decisions, prioritize his own safety compared to behaving conservatively (and wasting time/resources) and give him a sense of what is interesting enough to break pattern and investigate further. At this stage he also has the capability to lay down repeaters, as we saw in Ch 1.

    • Royco Cup-a-Soup

      If you’ve never seen the speculative “documentary” Alien Planet, based on the novel Darwin IV, the “documentary” version features autonomous machines instead of an audobon-society xenobiologist and his alien friends, and demonstrates why artifical intelligence-powered decisionmaking is so crucial in total isolation from human management. The self-aware, levitating landers have to think their way through mysterious obstacles and dangers that would have destroyed a less-intelligent machine.
      I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys the science side of this comic; just search “Alien Planet Darwin” on youtube. In fact, I’m tempted to watch it again myself today.

      • shingworks

        It’s probably based on the book Expedition, huh? I haven’t heard of the “doc” but I have a copy of the book because of Barlowe’s interesting illustrations. I think in that it’s a manned expedition though; the premise is that we’re reading observation logs of the planet.

        • Royco Cup-a-Soup

          The original novel was the journal of a human member of the audobon society traveling with some alien friends. The movie stars autonomous probes, but the environment is the same.

      • RedDwarfIV

        I loved that programme. Seeing a well thought out alternate eco-system that wasn’t just “a bird with three eyes instead of two” or something like you normally get in sci-fi.

  • Did LeVi just… butt-slap that tentacle away ? :D

    • Esc

      It’s called TAIL DEFENSE!

      LevI used TAIL DEFENSE! It’s, well, something that looks kinda kinda effective, maybe sometimes.

    • Android 21 3/7

      Oh, I thought the tentacle was the one who was slapping Threvi’s butt and Threvi was protesting to the sexual harrasment.

  • AGV

    TBH, Threvi is being quite sharp given the situation, I’d be freaking out

  • TorgueRND

    The Otherknown is really great, thanks for the link Dersh!

  • Roo

    I love Levi more each time I see him. Get ’em with that tail defense, mate.

  • Vert

    These new friends seem rather… enthusiastic. Constricters? Why can’t Rebekah say “T”? Bluesnake got her tongue?

    • Android 21 3/7

      Hm… What if that wasn’t a “t”? What else could she be asking for?

      A waver? Does she want Threvi to wave its little appendages high in the air like she just don’t care?

      A wafer? Even if she’s peckish, that’s not going to help her that much. Unless this is a special space future tech wafer that gives a strength boost or razor hands when eaten.

      A waker? Hm. Admittedly handy. The tentacles do seem very insistent that she goes to sleep.

      A waxer? I don’t even know what that is… Someone who builds wax sculptures? Maybe she wants Threvi to build her a wax duplicate of herself.

      I might be having a little too much fun with words here. I’ll stop now.

      • Vert

        A waxer? Maybe she’s just feeling a little furry!

      • If we could actually hear her saying it, it would help. “Water” uses a short ‘a’, while the words you suggested mostly use the long ‘a’ sound.

  • HyruleSymbol

    Okay Levi, let’s see how smart you are

  • Margaret Hogg

    Oh no Bex bb, are you gonna die (temporarily) too?

  • dreampiper

    Thanks for the link to your friend’s comic!
    It was amazing! *O*

  • Solanuma

    Levi is one very brave thrip!

  • charlesw81

    Best guess with the water is that it’s unboiled water.

    The creature said she’d be attacked by anything which hasn’t been updated with the information to accept her access. I’m thinking she’s worked out the information is spread by the water and is hoping to “update” these things with her… access credentials.

    • Margaret Hogg

      I’m a lot less optimistic, I guess… My first assumption was that she wanted to make a back up of herself before that thing finished strangling her.

  • JJ

    Oh btw:
    Any vetos?

  • Dreadogastus

    You just had to recommend another great comic Der-shing. Do you know how big my comics folder is already?

    • shingworks

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