Comic #52

Eddie: Fact is, yes, we figure that the beating is why she's mute.

Eddie: But she wasn't raised as a piece of property, and for some reason, maybe tied to self-esteem, that makes her the best bender any of us has ever seen.

Eddie: So she gets paid a fair piece of our profits, Just like everyone else.

Kid: Except her job is to fold us all through space. I didn't even know that was possible.
Eddie: Yeah, well, till I met you I didn't know hair like that was possible. But whaddya know.

Comic #51

Narrator: The Benders are now bred like dogs, and kept on a world specifically designated for their use. Some private ship owners and smaller corporations still use Benders to transport their ships, so the market for them exists.

The Bender that powers the Eclipse, however, is somewhat different. When she and her sister were infants, they were both kidnapped from the Bender homeworld.

To most, they would have been considered expensive pieces of property. The deepspace yokel who kidnapped them, however, didn't even know what a Bender was. So he raised them like two young girls, but he beat them constantly. As soon as they both learned that they could fold space, they took an opportunity to elude him planet-side and escaped.

Kid: So she was beaten as a child? Is that why she's mute?
Narrator: Actually, I know all about...
Eddie: Shut-up, you.

Comic #50

Narrator: At first, these Benders, as they were dubbed, were welcomed by society as a simple miracle of science. 

Interstellar ships were outfitted with special interfaces that allowed a single bender to fold the entire ship through space, rendering costly wormhole travel obsolete.

Eventually, however, the uniqueness of the Benders drove society away. They were viewed as another race of Aliens, and some wanted to exterminate them. In the end, the Galactic Counsel declared the Benders slaves to Humanity, and they were bought and sold as property. High society moved on, and the wormhole drive came back into common use.

Kid: So we have a slave on the ship?
Narrator: Actually, I could tell you all about that.
Eddie: You are asking all the wrong questions, Kid.

Comic #49

Narrator: Heinz Grupert, a brilliant geneticist working for FIAT, the huge pharmaceutical corporation, developed a procedure that made the resultant people faster and stronger, but also increased their brain activity a hundred-fold.

The first apparent downside was that the strength and speed boosting, though considerable, did not have any visible effect on the subject. This was widely viewed as boring.

Unexpected side effects to this procedure included heartburn, sleeplessness, occasional nausea, and the ability to fold their bodies through space using only their minds.

In retrospect, it was decided that Heinz wasn't as much brilliant as he was bizarrely lucky. That luck did, however, transfer well to his gambling habits.

Comic #48

Narrator: The Genetics Quest, as it was lovingly referred to, was eventually sanctioned by the Galactic council, who mainly wanted to avoid any embarrassment associated with not having the biggest dudes in their army.

For a time, several of the largest corporations continued to duke it out with the Council, though one by one their projects all lost funding and stopped.

You see, the biggest problem wasn't that they couldn't make people really strong and fast. That was easy. It's just that the stronger and faster they made them, the less intelligent they became.

Narrator: It was several years before someone realized that even giant grunts need at least a modicum of brain activity.
Scientist: He's stopped breathing again.

Comic #47

Narrator: Humans have always been obsessed with self-improvement. This only got worse when they took to the stars.

During the course of their wars with the Aliens, they decided that their bodies were neither strong enough or fast enough to make it in the intergalactic world. It was only the ingenuity and self-sacrifice of a few that allowed them to win.

Once they had rid the galaxy of any threat, they began to modify their own genes, attempting to create the perfect human.

Narrator: Because, you know, the insatiable desire for perfection is always a good thing.
Giant Dude: (beating up some scientists) More please!
Narrator: Right?

Comic #46

Kid: So how do you get around the galaxy if you don't have a wormhole drive?

Eddie: You grew up on a corporate planet, didn't you?
Kid: Yeah, Earth. Why?

Eddie: (sigh)

Eddie: All right, make yourself comfortable. The narrator's gonna tell us a story.

Comic #45

Kid: Okay, so I'm very impressed with the boosters. But that's only good for interplanetary at best. What about the wormhole drive?

Eddie: Oh, we don't use that crap on Eclipse.


Kid: but that's the most efficient form of interstellar travel.
Eddie: Don't tell that to the Bender. She'll stab you with her knitting needles.

Comic #44

Eddie: If we're honest, we don't leave them running all the time. If we turn those collectors on full and then pass within a few hundred kilometers of a star, that will give us enough hydrogen to last for a good while.

Kid: Wait, within a few hundred kilometers? Not a few thousand?
Eddie: The closer the better.


Kid: Did I say I wanted to be the pilot? I think I must have been joking.
Eddie: What, you get burned out already?

Comic #43

Eddie: The advantage to this system is we get really solid thrust without having to lug around the mass of our fuel. One type R booster would make us fast. Three makes us uncatchable.

Kid: I assume there's a downside.
Eddie: Just take a look at the energy field cross-section of our ship.


Kid: So that's why they're called Bussards.
Eddie: I know, right?

Comic #42

Eddie: So let me explain what we've got here.

Eddie: The ship runs on three type R fusion based boosters. Our primary reactant is Hydrogen, with some helium, in it's plasma state.

Kid: You didn't mention anything during the tour about fuel storage, and the ship's pretty small. Where do you keep it?
Eddie: We don't. We gather it actively as we fly with three Bussard collectors on the front of each engine.


Kid: Aren't Bussards things you wear to make your hips really fat?
Eddie: I think that's where the name comes from, historically.

Comic #41

Eddie: So I hear you ruffled Pex's feathers a bit.
Kid: To listen to him, you'd think I ripped them all out.

Eddie: Well, don't think you're just making enemies here.

Eddie: The Boss doesn't care as long as infighting doesn't break out, and Keith will treat you the same either way.

Eddie: And me and Jackman... Honestly, getting on Pex's bad side is actually kinda endearing.

Kid: Right. Endearing. I can't see a thing.
Eddie: Pansy.

Comic #40

Kid: (to boss) I've actually flown fast freight cargo ships for a few years now.
Boss: That's good pay. Why'd you quit?

Kid: Honestly, I was bored out of my mind.
Boss: Well, that's good, then. Those ships are pretty similar to this one to fly.

Kid: yeah, that's why I was interested in the job.

Boss: Makes sense. When someone dies, we'll take a look at it. Till then, you go learn some engines with Eddie.

Comic #39

Pex: Here, why don't you take a crack at it.
Kid: Suits me just fine.

Kid Flies around wildly, making Pex float around the cabin for a bit.

Pex: (as he sails overhead) Let me guess. You've done this before.

Comic #38

Pex: There's also an active inertial dampening system, so you can change direction as fast as you like.

Pex powers forward on the controls, kid floats into the air.

Pex pulls up and the kid hits the floor.

Pex: Oh, I may have forgotten to mention that it only works at half power around the pilots station so you can feel how you're piloting.
Kid: Oh, I can feel it.

Comic #37

Pex: Well, listen up kid. We're gonna cover the rest of this quick, and then I'll give you a demo.

Pex: You control your velocity here, and your direction with this stick. The steering thruster layout is meant to mimic an atmospheric vehicle, so it's pretty intuitive.

Pex: The computer that runs this whole operation also has some automatic obstacle detection. It's not one of those AI's, though.

Pex: We generally frown on intelligence here.
Kid: Yeah, I'm getting that.

Comic #36

Pex: Eddie, you are never going to guess what I just found out. Our new kid is actually a nerd.

Eddie: And what makes you say that?
Kid: Because I knew what a SCAN was.


Eddie: Oh, he's definitely a nerd, Pex. Maybe we should raise his pay.

Comic #35

Pex: I know I know what that does...
Kid: It looks like a SCAN readout.

Pex: Well duh, but a scan of what?
Kid: Not scan, a Stellar Cartography and Navigation unit.


Pex: Are you actually a nerd? Did I hire a nerd?

Comic #34

Pex: Piloting an interstellar ship isn't as hard as everyone wants you to think it is. It's just like driving your parents hover-car.

Pex: You've got your absolute velocity monitor here, your pitch, yaw, and roll angles and change rates here, engine thrust gauges here, and...


Pex: Hold on, let me grab the manual.
Kid: I can't begin to tell you how reassured I am by the simplicity of all this.

Comic #33

Pex: Okay, Keith, the Boss wants him at the helm now.
Keith: Got it. See ya tomorrow, kid.

Pex: Did he fight with you?
Kid: uh, no, just weightlifting and shooting.

Pex: Oh...

Pex: Well, that's okay. At least you'll be conscious for my lesson.

Comic #32

Keith: It's all digital so there's no wounds to worry about, but it will give you a jolt if you get shot to teach you not to do it.

Kid: Ha, like one of those little doggie shock collars?

Keith shoots kid, who makes a face and falls over.

Keith: It's a bit more than just a little doggie shock, though.

Comic #31

Keith: Over here, kid. This is the shooting range. It's all digital, so you put on this helmet.

Kid puts on helmet

Wide shot of a huge room.

Kid: This is pretty cutting edge stuff.
Keith: Yeah, the Boss had Eddie build it so I wouldn't accidentally shoot a hole in the ship.

Comic #30

Keith: Okay kid, here's the weight machine.

Cont: You just sit there, put your arms in there, and start moving around. Then the machine pours on some gravity to make your muscles work.

Kid: Hey, that's pretty neat! I'm feeling great. What's next?

Keith: Two more hours of that. Feelin' great is the opposite of what we want.

Comic #29

Keith: Hey new Kid, you ready for some training?
Kid: Sure, I guess.

Kid: All I ask is that you try not to kill me.
Keith: Ha ha! The Boss don't pay me kill kids, he pays me to train 'em!

Keith smacks the Kid playfully on back, sends him sprawling.

Keith: (surprised look) Hey, you're pretty light.
Kid: (from floor) I've got a sneaking suspicion that most things are to you.

Comic #28

Eddie: Morning, Kid, how did you sleep?
Kid: I kept dreaming that I was swimming in molasses.

Eddie: Ah, right. Well, It sure beats sleeping on a metal bulkhead.

A fireball shoots through the window to the kitchen. FWOOSH!

Eddie: By the way, there was truth to what the Boss said about Jackman's cooking. If you can cook, you may want to make your own meals this week.
Jackman: (from inside the kitchen) I'm okay!

Comic #27

Narrator: There is of course no day in space. There is night, always. 

Cont: The puny humans that ply the void, however, require a schedule of some sort, and so they stick to their silly concept of day and night to tell them when to sleep.

Cont: The Eclipse is a ship in repose. Almost no one awake, nearly every eye closed for rest. The silence of this artificial night is broken only by the hum of the machinery that keeps the humans alive.

Cont: Oh, it's also broken by the sound of knitting. Can't forget that.

Comic #26

Kid: Okay, what's going on? Is my room some sort of unofficial gathering place?

Keith: Hey, is there a party in here?


Kid: All right, I'm gonna go sleep on the john. At least then I'll have some privacy.
Boss: I doubt it. Those doors don't have locks.

Comic #25

Kid: Wait, Pex, what are you doing here?
Jackman: Oh, Pex never knows what he'd doing in life.

Pex: Hey, I wasn't the one who accidentally and mistakenly told the Boss we had an illegitimate child.


Pex: Of course, the next time I'm wounded I hope you remember that the very thought of that flatters me.
Eddie: This is rule number one here, Kid. Don't mock the medic.

Comic #24

Kid: Thanks for letting me down. Why are you in my room anyways?
Jackman: I just wanted to make sure you were settling down. Good thing I checked.

Kid: What are you talking about? I was all tucked up for bed.


Jackman: I honestly can't tell if you're trying to be funny or stupid.
Pex: Sudden impacts to the face will do that.

Comic #23

Kid: This shouldn't be too hard. I just turn it on low and sleep on an invisible cloud of manipulated gravity.

The machine starts whirring.

The machine throws the kid up against the ceiling.

Jackman: Yeah, I'd say that was definitely too hard.
Kid: Did I ask for a second opinion?

Comic #22

Narrator: The Eclipse is headed for the planet Galphus Prime, near the galactic core, and then for Earth, further out one of the arms. Earth is of course the seating place for the Galactic Council, the governing body of galactic society.

Narrator: Of course, it's only the governing body in the same way that the EU was the governing body of Europe 1,500 years ago. They pass legislation and mediate disputes between planetary systems and for the galaxy at large, but when it comes to local government, they just try not to get involved.

Narrator: Of course, to expect such a small body of politicians to accomplish anything on a small scale in a galaxy with a population of nearly 800 trillion tends toward the...
Kid: Hey, excuse me!

Kid: Some of us are trying to figure out how to sleep.
Narrator: Right. Sorry.

Comic #21

Eddie: Hey, Keith, the new Kid here needs to learn how to fight! When do you want to start teaching him?

Keith: I guess we'll start ya nice and early tomorrow morning, kid. You excited?
Kid: Thrilled...


Eddie: Keith really is a big softie. Probably the nicest guy you'll ever meet. Just don't make him angry or he'll go into a berserker rage and kill everything in sight.

Comic #20

Keith: So, you're the new kid, huh? You're sure not the same as the last one.

Kid: How many kids have you seen come through here?


Eddie: He's only a repository of knowledge if you ask him about fighting.
Kid: Wait, wasn't the last kid Jackman? How did he mistake me for her?

Comic #19

Kid: So, Pex is the pilot? I thought for sure he would have signed on to be the weapons specialist.

Eddie: Well, let me explain something to you about this crew. The Boss isn't the founder. He's just the one who knew how to command when that spot was left open.

Cont: I was the first kid, and I knew engines better than anyone else when the first guy died. Jackman was the kid just before you, until our medic bought the farm.

Cont: Thing is, I signed on to be the mechanic, and Jackman signed on to learn field medicine. Pex signed on to learn weapons, and learn weapons he did. 

Cont: But guess which member of the crew doesn't go down easy?

Comic #18

Eddie: This is the mess room, where we prepare and eat our food.

Eddie: This is the training room where we hone our bodies and our skills.

Eddie: Down there is the engine room, the cargo space, and the rear door you came in at.

Eddie: And this is the closet.


Eddie: Okay, we're gonna need to figure out some way to discern your personality from Pex.

Comic #17

Eddie: The Eclipse is a refitted transport ship, so the rooms are all a little on the bare side.

Cont: We had to cobble them together from cargo containers, you understand.

Cont: this one here is yours, it's the smallest but I think you'll find it works well enough. We're all here in this hall, so try to keep quiet if someone else is trying to sleep.

Kid: Uh, there's a gravitic mag-lift where my bed should be.
Eddie: Ah, yes. Well, we don't really sleep that much anyways.

Comic #16

Boss: We'll be picking up Mr. Johnson in two days, so have any prep work you need done by then.

Eddie: C'mon, kid, I'll show you around.


Eddie: Yeah, and I'll start by point out that the bathroom is right over there.

Comic #15

Boss: This is L.J. Silver. He is the CEO of Silver Bells and Whistles, Galactic Munitions biggest rival.

Cont: The case that Johnson is going to testify at involves an investigation into the alleged dark side of Silver Bells.

Cont: The security team at GM are worried he's going to try to have Johnson knocked off in transit.

Jackman: And so we're transporting him?

Boss: and his most trusted security guards. Hope you're all prepared to share your rooms for a few days.

Cont: and Jackman, don't go giving the boys any smug looks. There's at least one woman on his team.

Comic #14

Boss: Listen up. Here's the job.

Cont: this is Marcus Aurelius Johnson, majority share holder for Galactic Munitions Inc.

Cont: He is on his way to testify at a Council meeting on earth.
Kid: wait, as in the Galactic Council?
Boss: yes, kid. Don't interrupt. We are going to make sure he gets there in one piece.

Pex: (to Jackman) That doesn't sound too hard.
Boss: Now let me show you why this will be difficult.

Comic #13

Pex: So, Boss, why'd you call us in so soon?

Boss: Because we have a job, and the window for completion is pretty slim.

Eddie: How slim is “slim”?
Boss: Slim like “Jackman is cooking this week” slim.


Kid: I have never heard a woman curse like that.
Eddie: just wait till she has to pull a bullet out of you. She uses expletives in place of scalpels.

Comic #12

Some may have noticed that in the first panel, the Kid appears to be trying to give the Bender "knuckles" by way of greeting. In answer to your unvoiced question, yes. In the interest of keeping interpersonal meetings sanitary, the fist-pound replaced the handshake that was used millennium ago.

Kid: Hi, it's nice to meet you. I'm the new kid.


Jackman: Oh, should have mentioned. She's also mute.
Pex: Don't be embarrassed, we all did it when we came aboard. 

Jackman: yeah, at least you didn't say something about her butt.

Eddie: I still stand by that statement!

Comic #11

Kid: So who are you then?
Boss: Just call me Boss. That's easy to remember, and helps remind you who signs the paychecks.

Kid: And who's that over there?


Boss: Oh, that's the Bender. You can call her Bender. She's basically the star-drive.

Comic #10

Eddie: Boss, I'd like to introduce you to the new kid.
Jackman: You know, cause I'm not anymore.

Boss: Right, of course. Welcome aboard, kid. 
Kid: My name is Chad.

Boss: You've already met Pex, Jackman and Eddie. This big guy is Keith, and I'm the boss. Your job description as the “kid” is to do whatever we need you to do whenever we need you to do it.
Kid: But my name is Chad.

Boss: You'll get the sticky jobs, and as “kid” will be in training for any and all positions in the crew.

Boss: Pex will teach you piloting.

Boss: Jackman will teach you medicine.

Boss: Eddie will teach you engines.

Boss: Keith will teach you weapons.

Boss: If at any point any one of them dies, you need to be competent enough to step up into whatever position is left empty.

Boss: Are there any questions?


Kid: So, do I ever get a name?
Jackman: Don't worry, someday somebody will die and you'll get a name then.

Comic #9

Boss: Keith, we got our passengers yet?
Keith: They just got up the rear hatch.

Boss: I don't appreciate the crass remarks, Keith.

Jackman: We're all stocked up and ready to go, Boss.
Pex: Got us a new kid.

Boss: I don't care what you do in your free time, you two, but don't start picking up new responsibilities on the side.
Kid: Well, that sure made everything fairly awkward.

Comic #8

Narration: The Mercenary starship Eclipse started life as a inter-planetary transport barge. It was a life predominantly dominated by long, slow trips between planets, and overall boredom.

Narration: When due to be retired, it was purchased by a man with a dream. His dream was to take a small, fast ship and use it to make a living.

Narration: The living he had in mind would require danger, speed, and overall a life dominated by excitement.

Narration: It is impossible to tell whether or not the ship prefers this over the boredom.

Comic #7

Jackman: Eddie, I think you're missing the point. We want him to be able to work for the company. He's the new kid.

Jackman: We need him to know the ropes, the lingo, the jargon. He's got to be on the straight and narrow, if you get my drift. Teach him how to survive in the mercenary life.


Pex: And don't forget to teach the guns.
Kid: Yes, don't forget that.
Eddie: You kids and your guns. I say it sounds like compensation.
Jackman: Men.

Comic #6

Eddie: Pex, Jackman, there you are. Boss says it's time to scoot.

Jackman: Got it. C'mon boys, it's time to bounce.

Kid: Wait, we're leaving now? Don't I get some sort of orientation?
Pex: Yeah, but I just do hiring. Eddie here will do the rest.

Pex: Eddie, orient him.


Eddie: He looks straight to me, but I can never tell. Hey Jackman, he try to hit on you yet?

Jackman: Tried, and par for the course, failed.

Eddie: Right. Kid, you keep that orientation and you'll do just fine.


Eddie: There, that was easy.