Chapter 4, Page 50

As per tradition, our Tame Impala chapter closer… getting closer.

Thanks again for your readership, your comments, and for making this comic possible via Patreon.

The next 3-4 updates will be our last Interlude, and we’ll start our final descent? ascent? with Chapter 5 on Jan 1.


  • Luces

    Mike has returned to his charming self, obviously

  • Quix

    Finally someone gives Bex a hug, and it’s mostly by accident.

    • Linebyline

      The problem in this comic is everybody needs a hug and nobody wants one.

      Except Levi.

      (For avoidance of doubt: I’m not saying that they need to have their personal space violated. Just that they could use a little sympathy and positivity. A metaphorical hug, if you will.)

      • Darcy

        I’ve heard some folks call it a Jedi hug.

        • Spindizzy

          Zen Hug: The hug that we would give you if we were there and we could, but we aren’t and we can’t.

      • shingworks

        Levi will accept 1 billion hugs

  • Glavos

    Thanks for the awsome comics Der! Have a great holiday!

  • Spottedspeck

    Noooo!! Not a cliffhanger! Jan first can’t come fast enough!
    Also I found this really cool puzzle-ish game called Waking Mars. It has a plot similar to the comic, and the game play is a lot of fun!

  • Max

    Uh-oh…that’s the train at the end of the tunnel isn’t it… :P

    • Darcy

      Now I have No Leaf Clover stuck in my head:
      Then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel
      Is just a freight train coming your way

      • Spindizzy

        From a History Channel commercial “The Light At The End Of The Tunnel”… to which I usually added “Is The Oncoming Train Of Events!”.

        • Arianwen

          “He’d been wrong, there was a light at the end of the tunnel, and it was a flamethrower.”
          –Terry Pratchett, Mort

  • Ellie

    I can’t wait to see how it all ends!!

  • Kyle

    I’m guessing the final interlude will have something to do with Bex leaving her family for Mars.

    My current thoughts about the comic: The processor appears to send and store data in water through some sort of microorganism. This means that the “neural sea” is just that, a neural network in the form of an ocean. All of the lifeforms in the Mare Internum are designed with this in mind, and can be regulated by the processor through contact with water. It’s clear that Kalla’s species has mastered biological engineering. My current theory about Kalla is that she’s being kept alive as a specimen of the now extinct species that constructed the Mare Internum. Maybe there’s a practical reason for this, such as that being a female, she would be needed for repopulation, or it could be a purely symbolic thing, that at least one of the species must live on in their original form. I believe that the minds of the rest of her species are either kept in the sea, or are embodied in the blue crabs, that way they can continue to exist without the ecological demands of their large bodies. Maybe the minds in the sea are embodied in the crabs as they want to be, or maybe there’s some sort of turn-based system.

    The things I don’t understand: What are the limits on the processor’s ability to create things? Because it seems to have created a new Kalla pretty easily, but I can’t imagine it would be able to create, say, a new spacesuit for Bex. Speaking of Bex, I have a hard time understanding her personality, like, why hasn’t she asked Mike more questions? Mike, for his own part, has been a pretty inconsistent character, but this could be an effect of the processor doing things to his mind.

    Looking forward to seeing how this all wraps up! Don’t feel bad about putting The Meek on hold to finish up Mare Internum, this comic is awesome, and The Meek will still be there when it’s done!

    • Skye

      I think the processor might only be able to create organic matter; I assume that’s why Levi got re-created as a crab instead of getting a brand-new robot bod. Whaddya think?

      As for Bex not seeming overly curious – Mike’s a pretty defensive dude. Asking him questions doesn’t seem to go over well very often. :/
      Not to mention, he’s kinda freaky-deeky at the moment. She can’t trust him (who can blame her), and seems to prefer figuring things out for herself rather than being told what’s going on.

      Cool theory about Kalla & her species. It makes sense, since if the processor is as powerful as it seems to be, how could the rest of her species have gone extinct?

      • zach

        They didn’t!
        There was an exodus, they took to the stars.

        • Skye

          Whaat I totally missed that! Is that canon? When did we learn it??

          • shingworks

            Right here~

          • Skye

            I can’t reply directly to your comment, Der-shing, but thank you so much for the link! I had totally blanked that. That’s what I get for power-reading the comic when I found it, I suppose. I should probably go back and re-read the whole thing – a bit slower, this time.

  • Darcy

    So will Mike and Bex ever escape or will they be the Adam and Eve for some new human-martian hybrid race? I don’t mean like they’re gonna boink and make actual babies. Kyle’s comment above knocked this one loose from my brain.

  • JJ

    Chapter 5: Forty pages of Bex and Mike staring at the fourth wall with blue-glowing eyes and elaborating on the advantages of living in a cave under the supervision of a benevolent processor.

  • Proggarn

    Question for Der-shing: In a comment field earlier, you mentioned having planned a homage to Perelandra, by C.S. Lewis, later in the chapter. Did you decide to skip that, or did I miss it? If the latter, could you give us a clue as to where we should look?

    Also, I’m on the edge of my seat to see what will happen at the end of this wonderfully told, fascinating story.

    • shingworks

      lol, I wrote it out actually… it didn’t quite fit the tone I had developed. But in the cave where Kalla and Bex meet there are large hanging globe fruits, which are the liquid-filled fruits that Ransom found and drank one of (because two would have been too much). I was going to have Kalla drink from one but ended up going with a V.O. to transition the scene out and didn’t want to break it up by showing Kalla doing something distracting.

      • Proggarn

        Thanks! I think I see how that would have interrupted the flow of the story. It’s nice to know what those things are, though!

  • LanceDance

    Woah, Bex iris never been as bright as now.

  • DukeBG

    The geometry of this place keeps me confused. Or rather being wrong in interpreting it. First I thought the slope was a ridge (the wall below it being “extruded” further into the room than the wall above it). Then it turned out to be a “groove” with a parallel ceiling “slope”. So the wall above the groove is on the same Y level as the wall below. And the “deepness” of the groove (that Y coordinate) seemed to be just about 2m (6ft). But that would mean the cliffhangelight would be in the wall. So on this page, I see the “deepness” is shown to be more like 10+m (30+ft) or even more. But there’s still a wall there? Or it opens up into someplace else (after being a very wide groove)? So the light appeared likely from the water, but it is between the heroes and the wall behind it, right?

    • shingworks

      This is definitely just because I don’t know how to draw it. It’s like a hallway but slanted on its side. So ideally you’d walk down the hallway but since it’s slanted you have to kinda awkwardly shuffle through it (or walk in the water). I have no idea how to draw tight spaces without either cheating or restricting my camera too much so I just did my best, haha.*

      *and as usual, no advice/ crit wanted

      • Kyle

        Thanks for clearing this up! This whole time I thought Bex had to climb UP the giant diagonal crack in the wall to reach the processor, but really she just needs to move STRAIGHT down an awkward hallway. Also makes more sense why Mike was able to visit the processor now. I was trying to figure out how he had climbed up the giant crack and why Bex was approaching it like it was no big deal.

        • DukeBG

          Yeah, I still thought she needs to get up too (at the moment of writing the previous comment)

        • Edmund

          I had thought it was like a crack of light through some great stone door at first, but now I’m finding the door so massive and also so deep that… yeah it’s like a hallway.

          Either way, it’s interesting after so much organic and natural architecture. We finally see something with a clear design by minds rather than by nature/growth, and it still doesn’t match up to anything we’d build.

  • PositronicGirl

    Those middle four panels I’m having a hard time figuring out the right order, and how Bex is moving between those two poses. Does she fall onto Mike and then scoot back up, or does she feel his incredible arm muscles and then move in to get a big strong hug?

    • shingworks

      lol… yeah, I’m already jotting down some notes for edits on the final final version, might put some kind of visual marker of going/ coming since my camera keeps moving back and forth. But she’s been crawling forward, her hand slips, Mike catches her in panel 4, then deposits her bitchily in panel 5. Vertical panels are always a crapshoot, sometimes they work for me and sometimes they don’t, usually I repeat the first 2 panels (in this case 3+4) to make it clear the eye moves down and not across. This time I tried repeating 5+6 and am not sure if it worked but you never know till you try? haha. In any case, probably need some post-edits after I get some distance from the page.

  • Happy

    ♥♥♥ This comic has been an absolute ride so far & I can’t wait to read the final chapter!

  • Flancy

    Bex: h-hewwo?
    (I’m so sorry.)

  • Karl

    Thanks so much for this comic. This is quality writing, pacing, art – the whole package. Have a great holiday!

  • Skye

    Mike’s one glare-y eyeball in panel 4 keeps making me giggle.
    The sass is so palpable, despite less than a quarter of his face being visible. I love it.

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