Chapter 5, Page 53

Tons of great discussion on the previous page… everyone who guessed that Kalla made the processor, please step up to receive your reward (complimentary head fungus)

Patrons are three pages ahead on The Big Question page, Page 556. They also got another 2 pages of Meek sketches since the last update, right here~

As usual, for canon word-of-god discussion you can leave a comment on the Patron-access version of this page. I intentionally put in room for your own interpretation– most of the joy for me is seeing people relate to the story on their own terms, with their own experiences. But for the story sticklers: there’s a place for you to bully me within reason, haha.

It’s another week of 3x posts, so see you very soon!


  • neptune432

    So this whole place has been kind of a metaphor for Mike’s depression, but I never actually thought of it in the same context for Kalla. Is this confirmation that she had depression or some other form of mental health issues?

    • Tomás

      I think it’s a metaphor for trauma. Bex had multiple losses of meaning, among other things. At least that’s the way I read it, but as the general shape of the concept does apply to other things like depression and abuse I think it’s intentionally ambiguous, and richer as a result

    • Carl

      I mean, Kalla’s entire planet was dying around her. I imagine that could leave someone with some misery.

  • Lemon

    I just realized… Mike kind of looks like Gordon Ramsey

    • shingworks

      • Jamato

        Thank you for this, I’m crying of laughter here :D

        • Katie

          I can’t stop grinning like a maniac, this is why you shouldn’t read comics at work.

    • Jonas

      “You used the wrong kind of fucking mushrooms for my head. These aren’t even fucking fresh. You shouldn’t be in business. No wonder Mars is barren now.”

    • Fik of the borg

      From day one I saw Gary Busey (Jake Busey would do too) in this role when they SURELY PLEASE make the movie

  • ScottishNottish

    We built this world together, my only friend and I;
    we created a place to live, it seemed better than to die.

    Is it better to be a ripple lost on an endless sea
    of something deeper than salt and water and darkest misery?

    Is it better to be an echo in the chasm of a vacant head,
    that once was filled with life but now harbors death instead?


    Dunno if poetry is a thing in this comic comment section but my brain is so used to writing in response to Stand Still, Stay Silent that it saw this and immediately started writing?? Anyways lots of questions raised by the processor here. And certainly a poetry to what they’re saying.

    but somehow I get the feeling Mike’s not a huge poetry fan

    • Skye

      Holy crap, that’s beautiful.

      • ScottishNottish

        Thank you!

  • Tim F

    Is that a question you ask a sometimes suicidal guy standing on a precipice over an explodey lava lake that he needs to blow so his friend can live? It looks like he jumps in place once and the whole ledge falls in.

  • Tomás

    It’s a metaphor for trauma and the abusive systems that keep us there, as well as depression. Nicely done.

  • Santa

    Oh shit. This explains why Kalla is apparently the only one in the system from her species… this is it… THE BOILING POINT…

  • Manabi

    Well I guessed right, but I’m going to pass on the prize. I have enough problems without a case of head fungus.

    I think this all makes sense from the processor’s point of view. It thinks in black and white, like computers do, and to it being kept around in an essentially unchanging environment _is_ a good thing. It can’t understand emotions, and how it’s horrifying to an emotional being to be continuously recreated and kept alive in that manner. It can’t understand how Bex or Mike are similarly horrified at its gifts and still want to escape. Despite being likely _millions_ of years old, and probably of higher technology than anything the human race has created, it doesn’t understand emotional beings at any level. I’m not sure it even really understands LEVi, because LEVi seems to have developed some level of emotional intelligence, even if Mike didn’t realize it.

    Honestly, it’s pretty sad it can’t understand any of this, and probably never will.

    • drazharln

      I don’t think the processor lacks emotional intelligence—I think it’s done quite well at understanding literal aliens.

      The processor wants to protect all the Martian life and fears intrusion from outside. It doesn’t trust humans, and can we really blame it for that?

      It tried (somewhat clumsily) to persuade both Mike and Rebekah to stay voluntarily when it could probably have killed or permanently restrained them both.

      Since the confrontation it has been pretty abusive, but that could also be it continuing to try to contain the humans without murdering them. I don’t think it’s the best strategy, but it might be the best it can understand.

  • Theynamok

    Shoot, so Mike can’t leave. Well, explorers will want to come down and catalog the plant, animal and computer life, and that’s going to take a long time. Is it too much to hope that humans set up a lively research outpost, and that Mike could be content to live and work there?

    • Manabi

      I don’t think Processorkore is saying Mike _can’t_ leave, but that what’s happened to him in the chamber will never leave him mentally. Processorkore says “It does not matter where you go. You will still be a broken, miserable failure of a human.” That suggests they’re talking about mental, not physical.

  • Edgar Mauricio Lemos

    “The sea is part of you”

    *Looks at the comic’s title*

    Ah. I see what you did there.

    • Stephen

      pretty tangential but the film “Mar Adentro” (I think it’s available as an English overdub as “The Sea Inside”) is worth watching and has somewhat related themes to Mare Internum

      • Pylgrim

        Uh, I had totally forgotten about that film! You’re right.

    • shingworks


  • Keith

    What do I got? what. do. I. got….some pocket lint, bit of accumulated jam between my toes. Some clinical depression with a side order mania and oh yeah. A ficking attitude about manipulative people. Ah, fergot the coffee.

  • brokenidealist

    Daaaaaaammmnnn… Processor is hella manipulative. We already knew that, but every interaction with it shows new layers of its controlling nature.

    The relationship between the first Kalla and the Processor strikes me as the beginning of an abusive one with a controlling partner. I doubt that Kalla would have chosen to give up her memories in subsequent reincarnations, no longer knowing she built the Proceesor, trying to leave the safe space she built with it and it won’t let her. No doubt the Processor decided Kalla had to be controlled to maintain the status quo and eroded her agency to make informed decisions for herself with every reincarnation. I bet it killed her many times, too, just to produce a more compliant version of her each time. In her misery, maybe she even killed herself several times,only to be brought back again and again. For millions of years! Horrifying. Absolutely horrifying.

    • shingworks

      Processor just doing what processor knows best, which is fixing things. Maybe if not remembering a few things will make Kalla happier, well.

      • brokenidealist

        Yeah, see this is why building your own significant other is a bad idea. Or your AI coworker and sort of friend destroys your entire world and saves you as a clone. (Depressing movie I saw recently.)

    • Some_Douchebag

      On the other hand, if you follow the interpretation that there’s no continuity from the original Kalla, and that each incarnation afterwards is a simplification like the sunflower, we get a roomba playing with dolls. Kawaii desu ne?

      • brokenidealist

        Now I suddenly want to see a YouTube video of a Roomba playing with dolls!

  • JJ

    Mike has nice teeth

    • JJ

      Kalla … so-so, tbh

      • shingworks

        Threvi has had a lot of experiences so far, but owning teeth has regrettably not been one of them

        • JJ

          :-/ That processor has a lot to answer for! Worst blue fairy ever.

  • Lilian

    My doubts regarding a running theory about a fictional webcomic have been disproved. I shan’t win the brain fungus, nor shall my pride ever recover.

    But at least I still have Zoloft.

    • Some_Douchebag

      May I instead offer you the consolation prize of the privilege to bask in the glory of my renewed arrogance?

      • Lilian

        *flings herself into lava lake*

        • Some_Douchebag

          Oh no, not another one! *slide whistle noises*

  • Some_Douchebag

    “This rogue agent is trying to do something that will probably destroy me. I need to talk it out of doing this…. but how?

    I know, I’ll viciously insult it! That’ll be sure to make it comply with me!”

    But seriously, though, what is this thing’s plan?

    • shingworks

      From experience, some people do this thinking it’ll work T__T my family certainly has (I probably have too tbh)

      • Lilian

        Entire movements have tried this thinking it will work. It seems to be a human tendency.

      • Lilian

        (sorry about your family. I’m sure that stings big time)

  • J

    “isn’t that exactly what your life was?”


  • a.a.

    So that’s why the processor looks like Kalla! I figured it was just emulating the appearance of the species that used to live there, but well…

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