Chapter 5, Page 27

me: this page is easy and will be up tomorrow

also me: this page is literally the worst and the hardest

sorry lol, I’m actually trying hard to stay on schedule, dropping some of my juggling balls

And obligatory MI book Kickstarter countdown: 6 days left! I made my last update for the live project, which overviews all the backer reward so far~ Thanks to overfunding, I’m able to give backers more rewards than I originally thought possible (at no additional cost to backers… the $10 extra for the premium tier now covers about $25 worth of stuff). With a few days left to go, there’s likely more to come :’]

Next page! soon!


  • awhorl

    How can a person focus on something straight up objective, like assembling parts, when these dang emotional issues like betrayal keep cropping up? (Why assemble the parts? I dunno–cuz they’re there . . .)

    • shingworks

      lol, they’re looking for specific parts… sorry this info is in the next page but I couldn’t let you think they were slowly like, rebuilding LEVi from the ground up

    • I assume they’re looking for a memory chip.

      • edmund

        If it were me, I’d be looking for the equivalent of an aircraft blackbox.

        • awhorl

          Which reminds me–wouldn’t “New Levi” remember their way in–if it were different from Michael and Bex’s? and wouldn’t the base or the other LEVis.2s respond if Michael or Bex–or “New Levi” could get such a black box outside of the Processor’s protective shields? Unless the bb has been damaged.

          Silly me, trying to go widdershins around the Processor.

          • Hasn’t the Processor been shown to be capable of manipulating memories? It’s possible it selectively deleted some memories from Original Levi…

          • JJ

            @Foxhack: Maybe, just maybe, the processor was only able to read from Levi’s computer, and not able to alter the content of the original hard drive …

  • Rei

    I know Bex might have a point, but I kind of hate her for saying it anyway. I love Kalla because it almost seems like Michael found healing and friendship in her. It really chafes my ass how negative she is about Kalla. I mean, come on Bex, there could be lots of reasons why Kalla didn’t know about this… she’s too dang big to fit in some spaces.

    • Ben

      Surely Kallakore will know anything the Processor wants her to know?

      • Kyle

        I suspect the processor hid the LEVi parts in that cave specifically BECAUSE Kalla can’t fit in there.

      • Octavarium

        I suspect exactly that. Clearly she doesn’t remember some things from before her most recent death, because the processor chooses what she should remember. Right?

        • Octavarium

          I must clarify. My answer is to Ben’s comment. After I posted, I noticed it could fit Kyle’s. Sorry.

    • Lilian

      Human beings are innately wary of *human* strangers. Nonhuman strangers would, I think, elicit an even stronger reaction.

      Kallakore may be lovable and intriguing when experienced as a two-dimensional graphic novel character, but I’ll bet encountering such a creature is a lot more disconcerting in person. Realizing she’s sentient would make things worse for a lot of people, not better.

      • comespm

        Yes, on this, Bex is the more rational one. Mike’s reactions are probably biased by his initial alienation from humans, then the despair and isolation experienced on this alien environment, making him trust more easily any friendly creature he finds.

        Bex has never stopped been wary of anything she finds, which may be the wrong or right choice, depending on luck.

        Personally, I don’t believe Kalla has any agenda beyond finding companionship and end her long isolation. But it can unwillingly act manipulated by the processor, given anything there seems to be a part of the processor.

        • Lilian

          Yeah, that’s not to crap on Kalla. Her situation is, in my opinion, the saddest one in this story. That profound level of isolation has to be hellish.

      • Zach

        I suppose this is telling, but I’ve never trusted humans, specifically not to rationalize to themselves why people they don’t like are bad or why they deserve what they want.

        Non human Kala would have a hard time doing this because body language is telling, and disconnected from cognitive thought, and because she hasn’t had an ‘audience’ to ‘preform’ for in a very long time. She also has no apparent reason to lie.

        • awhorl

          Thanks, everyone. This thread is really interesting and helpful in a lot of ways.

        • Lilian

          “I’ve never trusted humans, specifically not to rationalize to themselves why people they don’t like are bad or why they deserve what they want.”

          Hah. Yeah, we’re brilliant at making reasons for our own bad behavior while heaping condemnation on the same behavior in others. As for your mistrust in humans, I can understand. In a number of ways I’m more comfortable with animals and infants. Their needs and demands are straightforward, and they don’t come at you with the moral pressure and social subtleties that come at you with grown humans.

          Shing mentioned earlier that she believes this comic attracts “melancholy introverts who read a lot”, so that may have something to do with the, em, skepticism toward other humans.

    • Kish

      To be fair, Michael was also suspicious of Kalla’s motives when he first met her

    • CharlesW81

      I dunno… This could come around to trust issues… I mean, Kalla has been nothing if not accommodating and friendly at every turn… But Mike’s uncle was sort of that way as well.

      It’s almost like there’s this funny message in MI to warn you of those who just tell you what you want to hear.

      I mean… Mike and Kalla had their moment but then she runs away, he’s randomly attacked by needle fish and Kalla rescues him…

      Who was it that looked down on his sleeping form and spoke his name?

      • Lilian

        “Who was it that looked down on his sleeping form and spoke his name?”

        My guess is that it was one of the… the leg-worm friends that Bex had it out with.

        • Lost Yooper

          I think it was Kalla, she would have known Mike’s name because LEVi told her all about him.

        • CharlesW81

          Also, only Bex can understand the leg-worm things.

          Although, admittedly Mike was not awake to hear it so maybe it was a personal interpretation for us.

          It must be remembered that Kalla could easily be completely insane. This is a sentient creature which has been alive and alone for not Thousands of years, not even hundreds, but BILLIONS.

          It just feels too convenient that she’s there to rescue Mike from the needle fish, then rescue Bex from her fall and finally rescue them both from the processor’s attack. If anyone is to have some degree of authority over the processor, its Kalla.

  • tyg

    Pardon me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Kallakore show Mike Levi’s remains at the bottom of a pool of water before in chapter 3?

    • Sumgai

      Although it was Levi’s, that was just the outer casing. The internal components, such as the data storage, were no longer there.

  • Android 21 3/7

    Not entirely related, but still gotta ask…

    Are we going to find a skeleton lying around with a gap tooth at any point?

    • Keibra

      I’ve been assuming something very similar for a very long time now. The alternative almost seems stranger.

      Post Script: Der-Shing, you are a master story teller and I (anxiously? optimistically?) look forward to whatever mind-blowing resolution you have created in your incredible mind. Thank you so much for granting us a glimpse into the Inner Sea!

    • MikeLinPA

      Naw, Things changed for Bex recently when she came in contact with un-boiled water. If she had already been replaced once, that would have been pointless in the story.

    • Asterai

      It took me far too long to realize that the processor’s ability to mimic sunflowers might equate to an ability to mimic human bodies.

  • doge

    gosh the way you rendered and articulated his hands here is absolutely gorgeous

  • Diana

    While Mike and Bex are chatting, Levi/Threvi is thripping away like mad. Perhaps it has something important to tell them so why don’t the other two stop yapping and listen? At the very least, *I* would like to know what it’s saying.

    • Erick

      I imagine Levi saying things like, Oh look this screw was the screw 48-B and was in the plaque 99 it was very important because it fixed the stabilizer to… and on and on

      • shingworks

        lol, pretty much (for panel 3 at least) (panel 4 is likely “yeah you look awful”)

    • Ponyhome

      Bex is hearing it, but Mike is in the dark. Mike would care, but Bex really doesn’t.

  • Jude

    I just found Mare Internum yesterday and have read everything previous. Can’t believe how good this is!

    • Pip

      I’m right with you,Jude… went to support a Kickstarter last night from an artist I follow, Mare Internum was in the ‘you may be interested in’ section, figured what the heck and spent the next 3 hours reading the whole thing. Bravo! Wish I’d found it years ago!
      Those dots on Bex’s face look like the growths on Mike’s head looked early on.

    • shingworks

      Thanks to you both XD Part of the point of the Kickstarter is to fund the book, but another large part is to reach potential readers that would otherwise never find this site. Thanks very much for reading and for your support :]

  • Code

    ….Is something growing on Bex’s face?

  • Mr. Casual

    Aw, no. I don’t wanna suspect Kalla. :(

    Also, Levi’s like: “Hey guys! This stuff’s highly radioactive! HEY!”

  • Anthony

    Ahh poor LEVi. I wonder if a robot would be as traumatized as a human by the act of sorting through a literal pile of their own guts

    • Ben

      Depends, really. “Questionable Content” takes this in various directions, revolving around the basic idea that the AI which *IS* the sentient part, and the robot chassis it currently inhabits, aren’t necessarily connected by more than current expediency.

      One such character appears completely disembodied, as a “virtual companion” in a programme, then shows considerable dissatisfaction with a run-down, government-issue chassis. Another chooses a new chassis, and shows no sign of missing the previous one. A third is definitely attached to the chassis, having known no other, whilst discussion of previous embodiments seems to be commonplace.

      So LeVi-as-Thrip might, or might not care, we don’t know.

  • Ponyhome

    Titanium screw, custom machined, probably fine-grain, KF-Grade tungsten-carbide tooling, four machining operations—bid price probably around US$65. Multiples, of course, can benefit from CNC savings. Could probably get that cost down under $5 in quantities. Of course, a supplier in Beijing could get you those for under $0.65 if you commit to a container load of them.

    • Sharsarannon

      no, never buy weight or force bearing parts from Chinese suppliers- they use lousy metal and it twists, or strips, or breaks.

  • Artie O'Dactyl

    Bex seems to be willing to assume the worst of Kalla without any evidence — a bit uncharitable when you consider that Bex KILLED HER AND ATE HER !!!!1!!

    More seriously, I think Bex doesn’t have friends because she doesn’t seem willing to treat other people as possible friends. Mike is starting to understand how he screwed up his life (although other people helped with that). Let’s hope that Bex gains similar self-understanding.

    “Life is like a sewer … what you get out of it depends on what you put into it.”
    — Tom Lehrer

    • awhorl

      Check out Lilian’s comment above about the effect of a first encounter on most people trapped in such a place–probably not extended dialog with encountered giant alien. Shing sure landed it when she placed that reveal about Kalla’s death just after Mike put his guard down and dubbed Kalla an honorary human. Maybe the effect landed too hard on Bex.

      In this scene, I think Mike is blocking Bex. She can translate the thrips, and Mike could include here in a common effort; but no, her extreme distress (she just talked about it–big progress for her!) is getting on Mike’s nerves. That’s entirely understandable–has he slept either, or gotten that shave and meal he admitted that he wanted? Plus, he just sloped when Bex broke down and admitted that she needed support.

      So Mike tells Bex to go sleep–the kindest interpretation is “stop bringing up distressing things, go be quiet, and come back feeling better.” It might make her “reasonable” in his book–now he’s thinking about Levi innards.

      Whereas from Bex’s point of view, Mike seems unable to use adult judgment–weighing evidence of the friendly behavior of Kalla against even the existence of evidence of collusion with the Processor–and it’s more reason to be upset with Mike.

      Bex’s judgment isn’t deliberate either, of course–wrought up, she never felt Kalla’s kindness in the first place, and plus she was fiercely attacked by the Processor, AND when she admitted that she needed help, Mike ran. Am I surprised that Bex’s impulse is to assume the worst about the next piece of information–be it Kalla, or the weather, or whatever? No.

      • tyg

        Telling someone they should rest isn’t necessarily telling them to shut up – I think you’re being too rough on Mike here, he could easily just be concerned for her.

  • Artie O'Dactyl

    Come to think of it, perhaps “Cloaca Interna” might be an alternative title for “Mare Internum” …

    Especially when you consider that “cloaca” can also mean “the maw of a voracious person” and “the common outlet for urination, defecation, *and reproduction* in reptiles, amphibians, birds, most fish, and some mammals” as well as “sewer.”

    • tyg

      Okay, look, fair word of warning, naming this Cloaca Interna would attract… certain communities of the internet.

      • shingworks

        All those herps and birds that went online for nefarious reasons

  • awhorl

    Why would Michael want to put his Thrip-translator to sleep at such a moment?

    • Artie O'Dactyl

      Because sleep-deprived people have VERY poor judgment? Because people who are sufficiently sleep-deprived will hallucinate, suffer paranoia, become ill, and die?

      I’m not defending Mike, but I’m not defending Bex either. I think it would be a profound error in judgment to use either of these people as a role model.

      • awhorl

        lol Of course, especially since she is so completely irritating, as she is to Mike at that moment. She’s gone paranoia overboard. Her voice must be something else.

        All I meant is that Mike’s just said that New Levi knows all they need about the parts. Except that he can’t understand New Levi at all. That doesn’t matter, I guess, since New Levi understands Mike, and can go get whatever Mike asks him to find. That must be all the input that Mike thinks he needs.

        And New Levi is pretty good at sign language.

  • Happy

    Unrelated to anything on the page I notice & relate that the sentence “dropping my juggling balls” is clunkier than ideal bc how you wouldve initially wanted to phrase it has an entirely different meaning

    • shingworks

      lol, true. One of the balls is getting enough sleep, a natural consequence of which is unintended testicle jokes.

  • Indedipal

    … is the ground glowing?

  • Becky

    you know I was reading the comments and someone said something about how someone would act if they really met someone like Kalla in real life and thought.. oh man what would that look like? and OH! a movie of this whole comic would be so freaking awesome! it’s about the right length too! come on Shing send it to the right people ! it would be an awesome movie! I want to see what Kalla and Levi the whole underworld of Mars would look like on the big screen! I really do think it would be a hit and its what people like movies about mars and it has a creature in it and it’s about peoples emotions and problems and .. please think about it! I think it would make a great movie if done right! and just think you could make a lot of money so you could do comics full time or heck write more movie scripts! a whole new career!

    • Eversist

      I agree with everything you said! But I think she already does comics full time. :)

  • tatteredengraving

    Hey Der-shing! I did a fanart piece of a young(er) Kallakore.

  • Rycheza

    I don’t have twitter to tag you, so will just drop here a fanart link <3

    • Eversist

      I love this, and I especially I love how you did LEVi’s eye stalks.

      • Rycheza

        Haha, thank you! :D His stalks are probably the best thing I ever drew in under 30 seconds :D

  • Bottas Heimfe

    to be honest i don’t think Kallakore CAN lie to them. it doesn’t make sense for her to lie to Micheal, Bex maybe, but not Micheal. and we all saw how she didn’t notice LEVI when Micheal first showed up, and how she reacted to LEVI when Bex told her that the bug is LEVI.

  • thegracefuldeer

    Just dropping a link to let you know I did fanart of Kalla for the pin raffle! I hope she’s ok :c
    (I posted it on my art blog btw, thegracefuldeer is my main)

  • Ryan W

    Not related to the page, but I just realized I missed the kickstarter! Any way I will still be be able to get my hands on a book?!

  • TuesdayNightCompany

    Awww bother. Is it too late to get a book?

  • LimaHotel

    Just fully re-read the comic from page one to here. My god when reading day to day was I unsympathetic to Bex! It was like ohmygod you killed Kalla you bastard! And that was that. I disliked her. LEVi, have I been cruel?

  • Katy

    After ten days without an update, I started re-reading for the first time and found this foreshadowing

    Damn, Der-Shing. What’s next for us?

  • Paranomasian

    Are you ever going back to The Meek. It is in every way (plot, art,etc.) a superior graphic novel. I check the comic regularly but no news. If you are going to abandon it please post something there so we can move on to something else.

    • shingworks

      Yeah, I’ve mentioned it here and there but it’s going to be my only webcomic project once Mare is over. Probably going to work on a buffer this year and start posting with comic reserves in my coffers on Jan 1 2019.

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