Chapter 5, Page 5


The Processor is not great at understanding how humans work, but judging from the comments section, I don’t know if I can blame it, haha

yet ANOTHER page up tomorrow, wow~

Hugo Noms are opening soon to previously-registered Worldcon Members, and if you’d consider nominating the eligible chapter from 2017, I would be extremely grateful.

I’ll be keeping this image up as long as this diaphanous dream drifts within me (ie until noms open/ close)


  • HousePet

    So Mike’s desire was to be a walking shelf fungus support???

    • chyro

      Maybe Mike’s utmost desire was company?

      • DukeBG

        He’s there for the lols, actually

        • J.A Kooistra

          Ahem, excuse me, you surely mean “teh lulz”?

          • Grammar Gorilla, does Pete over at Sluggy Freelance know you’re moonlighting? ;)

      • Ben

        Don’t forget that Mike was already under medication, and becoming suicidal; at the Hab, and again (arguably) at the cavern. We have two separate examples of self-destructive behaviour, involving the destruction of Levi and his interaction with his superior (Penelope Gotoh). He was facing a future with few, if any positives. We have a backstory for Mike, involving sexual abuse, family breakdown and failure of trust.

        Mike was/is ready for radical, irreversible change.

        Bex? We just don’t, and can’t know, from the information available. If there’s a criticism of this story, it’s that we still don’t know

    • SquarishEmu

      Mike just wanted to be a FUN GUY and the processor misunderstood and made him a FUNGI.

      • MikeLinPA

        DINGDINGDING!!! We have a winner!

      • ^ +1000

    • BrobyDDark

      I think Mike’s desire is to be in control of his life. Something he may think he can have here.

  • Luces

    It would be truly boring if Bex just would give in, accepting graciously!

  • chyro

    Bex: *I want an ice cream…*
    Processor: “You want an ice cream.”
    Bex: “YOU DON’T KNOW ME”

    • AGV

      More like;
      Bex: I want to go home. I want to see my children.
      Processor: Yeah, you don’t believe in that. Lemme turn you into a hermit like Mike here.
      Bex: F— you.

      • Erick

        More like:
        Processor: You killed everything
        Bex: I did it for SCIENCE!
        Processor: You want to take this unique opportunity to study this alien ecosystem then?
        Bex: mmm… no.

        • chyro

          Well, it’s not really science if it’s never published…

    • Lilian

      Whether or not the original comment is an accurate representation of Bex… it’s not at all unusual for humans to react violently against statements of truth.

      Sometimes the more true a thing is, the more intense the reaction against it. At least when personal things are involved.

      • Margaret Hogg

        She’s just… been through a lot lately.

  • tatch

    Mike’s face in the last panel XD

    • His EYE! I laughed at that XD

    • Lucas

      Literally O_O

      • Rev

        More like O_- am I right?

        • Rei

          More like -_9

          • Rei


  • The inability to lie or her lies seems more like a nightmarish curse to me.

    • hear*

      • The Wing

        Seriously? I’d kill for it.

        • Seaweed

          You’d literally never hear anything at all throughout your life – because it’s hard to constitute what counts as a lie. Every word spoken out loud being “a lie” since it doesn’t 100% replicate your thoughts and all that.

          • Wlerin

            Judging by what’s happened with Bex so far, rather even when someone lied to you, you’d only hear the truth.

        • Xiao

          You might, but would you want it after you had it? A SF podcast I listened to (not mentioning name to avoid spoiling) had the ‘gift’ of understanding everyone’s true feelings and thoughts turn into a violent war by the have-nots against the haves. Meanwhile the haves were driven to utter misery and despair by knowing exactly what everyone thought of them and others at every moment, with no gentle social kindnesses to obscure things like ‘she’s great but this one quirk is kind of maddening’ or ‘I regret ever doing this’ or ‘nothing’s overtly wrong with our relationship except for ceaseless ennui, and nothing you say can make it better.’

          • Sheridan

            The outsider comic has this. The alien species are telepathic, and their minds are open books to everyone around them. This led to a repeating cycle of extreme violence because no one could keep secret what they really felt about others.
            They’ve got it together enough to become space-faring but the underlying tension is still there.

  • Artie O'Dactyl

    I think all three of them are insane … but Bex is the least insane.

    Wek know Mike is insane. That’s a given.

    Really, what is the Processor’s purpose? What is the point of its existence? To keep things going, and going, and going, all the while hiding from the rest of the universe … until the Sun swells into a red giant and Mars becomes too hot to sustain any form of life? Why did the Processor stay behind on Mars when the other intelligent life fled for the stars? I think the Processor might be terrified of change.

    The Processor lacks the *concept* of individual identity. Bex wants to keep hers.

    (Hmmm. Here’s an odd thought: Can the Processor/Mare Internum ecosystem reproduce itself?)

    • Ben

      Do we know that the other intelligent life “fled for the stars” or anywhere else?

      • Artie O'Dactyl

        Good point. There was an “exodus,” but we don’t know where everyone went. Perhaps to the stars, perhaps to the neural sea, perhaps somewhere else:

  • J. Moose

    Wow, rude much? Politeness is needed for situations like these!

  • LostYooper

    Try all new COMPREHENSION by the Processor! Side effects may include – Irritability, sleeplessness, restless thigh friend, constipation, changing from an autonomous survey robot to a golden crab, headaches, blurred vision, dry mouth, somatic fluid retention, dizziness upon standing, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, unusual fungus growth. Contact your local Wollarian Doctor if these side effects persist for more than 4 billion years.

    • weirderthanweird

      Ha! Thigh friend seems to be naturally restless, though.

      • LostYooper

        More restless, like one of those whacky waving arms inflatable tube men.

    • Lilian

      A “like” feature sure would be nice for comments like these…

  • grahamf

    Considering that the processor has had ample time to pick he brain apart I consider that unlikely. However it seems to have incorrectly anticipate Bex’s response so maybe it needs to mull on it more, or maybe it knew this would happen and this is just one stage in her assimilation or termination.

  • Mom

    I just started wondering what’s going on back at the Habitat. How long have Bex and Mike been gone? Are people worried and searching for them? Did Mike miss his ride back to Earth? Hmm…

    • Sheridan

      Chances are that when they got to the ‘skylight, saw the floor missing, and couldn’t raise anyone on the radio, they basically just went ‘well that’s a shame’, and went back to base. Maybe they could send the earlier LEVi model down for a look but that might just reveal a rubble pile at the bottom and no obvious bodies.
      We give up recovering bodies all the time here on Earth even with modern rescue equipment, so it’d be no surprise that on resource-constrained Mars they’d do the same.

  • Emily

    That moment when an alien life form looks inside your mind and sees all the fucked up things you think about yourself and takes them at face value. 0.o

    • shingworks

      Don’t you just hate when that happens

  • awhorl

    I understand you, and will take care of you, and you can trust me, because I just read all your memories and pronounced you a jerk. Right. Maybe Fish didn’t get a flower because he didn’t need a projectile to complete the course of his therapy.

    I did so enjoy the casting of the flower upon the waters! Oh yeah! I hope it doesn’t end up being a bad thing.

  • Margaret Hogg

    Lol and this is why she understood LeVi when no one else did.

  • Some_Douchebag

    I’m re-reading this after the page that prompted me to think of the processor as another “tool” like a computer.

    It truly is just a dumb electric box.

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