Comic 4-45

Pex: So now the military is trying to kill you some other way? But that’s easy, we did it with an EMP.
Guy: Oh, sure, they can kill the nanites that way, but we’ve established symbiotic connections with the people of this planet. They know everything we know. Specifically they know that the council military is doing live weapons testing on large civilian populations.
Eddie: Do you know how they’re planning on killing you?
Guy: Nuking the surface out of existence would be the only way to be sure.
Pex: Awesome. Say, could you point us toward the spaceport?

Comic 4-44

Note: The interested reader may want to know that yes, the NRA does still exist, though it is now called the Galactic Weapons Association, and four of the Eclipse’s seven crew are members of it. In some backwater areas of the galaxy, Sir Heston is worshiped nigh unto deity.

Guy: We were sent down here as a test by military. They wanted to see if we were effective in a large population. They were going to take over the planet, control the population, then hit the kill switch with no one the wiser.
Guy: But we evolved, and as a hive became self-aware. We knew what the plan was, and we’d developed a desire to survive.
Eddie: But they still had the master switch.
Guy: And could kill us without any effort. So we started working with the people we were inside, and in the mind of a local engineer we figured out how to disable the comm band that a kill signal would be delivered on.
Pex: I’ll be that special gun would disable you.
Eddie: The gun is keyed to my genome. You couldn’t even use it if you pried it from my cold, dead fingers.
Pex: But if I take your hand with it...

Comic 4-43

Guy: I promise I’m not a threat.
Kid: You’re not infected by nanites?
Guy: No, I am, I mean, we are, but...
Guy: ...hold on, let me think.
Kid: I think the tiny robots are getting existential.
Eddie: I can see. It’s cute.

Comic 4-42

Eddie: We’ve moved out of the radio range on these suits. Anyone know which way the spaceport is?
Pex: I was a little more concerned with the zombies.
Eddie: They’re not zombies, they’re just being controlled by nanites. What I think is fascinating is that the nanites have figured out the speech centers on the the brain.
Kid: What’s really fascinating is how we’re going to get trapped on planet filled with nanite infested people who...
Dude: Please don’t shoot me!
Kid: Who apparently like jumping out of concealed alleys.
Pex: Did we all just miss?

Comic 4-41

Jackman: We’ve got the money.
Boss: All right, here’s how you do it; EMP’s.
Guy: How stupid do you think I am? EMP’s are conventional anti-nanite protocol, and I just said these are impervious. Mil-spec, based on the latest tech we’ve got. Give me that money back.
Boss: Relax, captain, relax. The internals are impervious to an EMP, but the communications aren’t. Knock out the comms, and they all shut down.
Guy: All right, we’ll give it a shot. Also, if you need a hardware engineer, I know of a few with experience in mil-spec nano-tech who are going to be unemployed in the near future.

Comic 4-40

Boss: What do you mean irradiate the planet?
Guy: Council orders. This infestation constitutes a galactic threat, and we’re to contain it. If you want to live, you’d better get off the surface.
Boss: Why do you have to destroy the planet to contain it?
Guy: These are military grade nanites. They’re impervious to conventional anti-nanite protocols.
Boss: How much is it worth to you to know how to kill them?

Comic Update!

Hey! It's been a while since one of these happened, so let's happen it on now!

Yes, I am sticking with that wording. Why do you ask?

The first order of business is that I am shutting down the Patreon page for A Starfarer's Guide to Freelancing. This is for a few reasons. First, while Patreon is cool and all, I've always thought I'd rather try and build up a community around the comic website itself and the Hawkingnet Hub, and Patreon is sorta geared around building a community there. Second, Patreon also tried to change the way they were processing payments. It was a little concerning, confusing, and I'd rather make money by selling actual merchandise or something, so I'll be looking into that route.

That news, even with Patreon’s retraction, has presented some serious issues for people who derive their livelihood from Patreon support, but I don't. So before the end of December, that page will just sorta vanish. You patrons shouldn't have to do anything.

The second order of business! I'm kinda tired. You know that scene in The Bourne Ultimatum toward the end where Jason Bourne calls up Pam and they talk and then he finishes the call by creepily saying "get some rest Pam, you look tired" and she turns to the window in shock like "how could he possibly know that" and then that Moby song gets stuck in your head again? You could call me up right now and say that (why are you calling me Pam in your head, that's weird) and I'd do the same thing. Though, let's be honest, isn't that kinda how it is for all adults? I mean, you're feeling pretty tired. Go on, tell me I'm wrong.

Anywho, tangent aside, I'm going to be taking a little winter sabbatical for a couple of weeks at the conclusion of our current storyline. I'll still be working on the comic, but at a somewhat more relaxed pace until I get my buffer built up to where and want it and I'm ready to hit it again full steam. Again, I'm afforded this luxury because this isn't my livelihood. Hobbies are cool that way.

Never fear, the comic will continue updating again soon, there's still lots of stories to tell. And maybe by the time we're back in the swing of things I'll have a book you could purchase!*
*No promises, but wouldn't that be cool?

And in the mean time, get some rest. You really do seem tired.

Comic 4-39

Note: The interested reader may want to know that yes, Steinway is a vehicle manufacturer that specializes in military vehicles and artillery pieces. That wasn’t a typo. It’s been a thousand years since the Steinway you’re familiar with did business. Things change.

Jackman: There’s a ship in orbit, should we try to warn them?
Keith: Light artillery rolling in.
Boss: I figured it would only be a minute before they brought in some hardware. Anything to be worried about?
Keith: Mark 11 Steinways, might be an issue after some bombarding.
Jackman: That’s a big sucker. Is that a carrier?
Boss: We’ll be fine for now. We’ll leave as soon as the others get here. What’s taking them so long?
Jackman: Oh, a transmission. Hang on.
Boss: Were you saying something, Jackman?
Jackman: We’re screwed.

Comic 4-38

Note: The interested reader may be wondering how the Bender managed to bend the Boss and Keith back onto the ship without carrying nanobots with them. After all, it’s not like she can be especially choosy about what she carries, it’s anything that she’s got a conductive path to at the time. Well, the only nanobots that were able to make a conductive connection with the Bender during the few seconds she was on their surface either wound up in her lungs or on the exterior of her passenger’s armor. We’ve already established that the electrified skin of the armor is sufficient to neutralize any hitchhikers, and that the Bender’s immune system is equally up to the task. Fortunately Jackman is as perceptive as you are, and checked all this before authorizing any action.

Boss: Okay, we’re outside, but how are you going to get us inside without letting the bots in?
Boss: Did you hear me Jackman? You got a plan?
Boss fades through space and time as the bender runs past behind him.
Boss to Bender: Someday you’re not going to be able to solve a problem that way and we’ll all laugh at you.
Jackman: And then we’ll all die.

Comic 4-37

Jackman on radio: Kid, Pex, Eddie! Can...ny of Come in!
Kid on radio: This is the Kid, I’m barely reading you Jackman! We’re almost out of radio range! We won’t make it back, but we might be able to buy you some time to get the ship out of here! We’ll hold them for as long as we... Oh no, here come some more! Pex, watch that side!
Radio fades to static.
Eddie: You just won’t give up.
Kid: Everyone loves a martyr.
Pex: That little gun is the best toy ever.

Comic 4-36

Pex: Well, these rounds are proving more effective, but you pretty much have to hit them in the chest.
Eddie: Okay, I was hoping I wouldn’t have to do this, but...
Eddie turns and disintegrates a huge crowd of followers with a tiny gun and a VWOOOOOW!
Pex: I want one.
Eddie: We don’t trust you that much, Pex. Now keep running.

Comic 4-35

Pex: This sort of thing is always a tough choice.
Kid: I know. Do I want tunneling circuitry, or impact warheads?
Kid: And there’s certainly a case to be made for tornado rounds.
Pex: There’s always a case to be made for tornado rounds!
Eddie, out of panel: Guys! Get a move on, we’ve got company! Lots of company!
Kid: Choice made. All of it.
Pex: That actually wasn’t that hard.

Comic 4-34

Note: The interested reader may want to know that Eddie’s population number is a guess. He doesn’t actually have the population for every city on Terracore memorized. Also, he’s off by almost a power of ten. The capitol city of Terracore has six discrete space ports and three heliovators that lead to an array of orbital dockyards. All of this infrastructure exists to service the city’s 470-ish million industrial inhabitants. There are at least 13 other cities of approximately that size on Terracore. To Eddie’s defense, he doesn’t actually know that the larger “metropolitan area” of the city is all a single contiguous city and not divided into six cities around space ports like some planets are.

For perspective, Terracore isn’t even in the top 700 most populated planets in the galaxy (it’s like #758 or #759, depending on the year). The planet Eddie is from had a total population of just over 5 million. Galphus Prime, one of the larger and older settled worlds, has a total population of, like, 30 billion or something stupid like that. You humans are like spacefaring rabbits, all said and done.

Kid: Eddie! Over here! Pex found some ammo!
Eddie: Okay, but let’s move. This city has a population of something like 50 million, and I’m betting it won’t be long before...
Pex standing in a cowboy had, vest, and chaps.
Eddie: I’m sorry, I heard “gun shop.” Did you say “costume party?”

Comic 4-33

Jackman on radio: Eddie, can you here me? It’s Jackman.
Eddie: Yeah, I hear you.
Jackman: The Boss and Keith are on their way here, but the ship is surrounded. Where are you?
Eddie: Breaking into a gun shop for some more effective ammo. How’s the ship holding up?
Jackman: These nanite zombies keep trying to climb the landing struts and get fried by the shields.
Jackman: Actually, it’s kinda hilarious.