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Smithson Thus Far... ·

Jane Narbon (lady_madsci) says:

Aww. That is cute!


The Mad Scientist Wars:

Aaron Shades, my other nemesis, has started hostilies by commenting on my fashion choices. I yell back, "Don't you know that the white labcoat look is in this season?"

Soon I shall destroy them all. Hmmm, who should I fire missiles at first? 

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Of all the times to leave his jewelers' loupe in his desk.
Then again, it might be close at hand, all things considered.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says:

Huh. I guess opera is universal.

Side note:

*looks up*

Uh, Aaron, somehow I think that your comment about her fashion choices might not have helped matters. Anyway, I think she looks hot in that lab co-- OH SH**! SHE'S FIRING MISSILES!

 *dives for the hatch of my underground bunker while Aaron Shades hotfoots it in the other direction*

I'll get you BOTH, next time...

Sean O'Kelly (malakai47) says: HAH!  Missiles are nothing compared to my army of genetically mutated/undead/cyberneticly inhanced termite-badgers, complete with eye lasers and thermite cannons!!!
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: I fire a charge cannon at Sean, blasting him out of this universe. Come back when you have a Mad Scientist Wars invitation.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

My true love gave to me
My father banished me,
Showed me the door ...
And as I wander through
Pneumatic tubes,
The Phaaaaaaaaaaaantom Of The Silverfish is here
Inside your shoes ...

Thomas Levy (ergonomytch) says: Saaaaay, exactly how long have Unity and Sweetheart been in the background of
bzzzzd (bzzzzd) says:

Mr. Thom says: Saaaaay, exactly how long have Unity and Sweetheart been in the background of

Since the beginning of this universe. 

Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

. . . . . I'd go see that. I'd need one hecka pair of opera glasses though. And Ed? You just rock.

The Mad Scientist Wars:

"Oh, please. English overcoats are *so* much more classical and- OH HECK MISSILES!!!"

And so It Begins! You traitorous cur! leaving me with this madwoman! . . . although, i guess it's no skin off your back if I get vaporized. . . .

Miss Jane Narbon, perhaps we could talk this over like civilized mads? After all, obviously you are a woman of taste and genius. . . *inches towards the mailbox, and thus retrieves Fluffy* 

Dov Mittelman (silentspeaker) says:

Aaaand now that Sean has been blasted out of this universe, his army of genetically mutated/undead/cybernetically inhanced termite-badgers, complete with eye lasers and thermite cannons is suddenly leaderless. Acting quickly, I step into the breach with a better offer, thus commanding their loyalty.

I also amend their business cards so that "cybernetically" is correctly spelled.

Mark Orr (agentoracle) says: Meanwhile, tose of us in the MSSGA (Misc. Super-secret Gov. Agencies) are quielly sitting back in dark, smoke-filled rooms, ominously biding our time, and quietly looking for an exhaust fan or window because *cough,cough* frankly, we don't smoke anymore.
Jane Narbon (lady_madsci) says:

It makes you a little sorry to be able to crush them, doesn't it?


The Mad Scientist Wars:

Aaron Shades seems to be covering for his lack of tact by first arguing with me, then attempting to be diplomatic. Does he really think that-- wait one moment. What's that he's carrying...?

I quickly dodge as Aaron Shades hurls a-- what is that?

Oh no! It's a vorpal bunny! And I left all of my Holy Hand Grenades in my secret lab... I guess I'll have to run away, but first, I think... yesss.

I tell my jetpack to dodge for long enough for my tool belt to synthesize the requested item, then 'accidentally' drop it as I'm flying away. Hopefully, one of my two nemesises will find it. Then... the fun will begin. Heh heh heh. Nyee hee hee hee hee. AHAHAHAHAHA! MWAHAHAHAHAA--wha?!

It has wings?! No one told me vorpal bunnies coud grow wings! I... hey, little feller... I'm sure you're a niiice easy-going, uh, bunny... take it easy now.. easy... I said, easy... eeeas--uhoh.


So It Begins (soitbegins) says:

This will be interesting.

Side note: 

*peeks head out of bunker* Is she gone?

Oh, good. Phew. Considering I now have two enemies, I'm ++glad one just flew awa--hey, what's this?

Ooh! A chocolate bar. Looks to be unopened, which is important... hm. I think it must have fallen from Jane's pack when she bailed. Likes chocolate, does she? Well, one man's... er, woman's loss is another man's gain.

*eats chocolate bar*

Yum. That was good. 


Y'know, I think I need to take a liedowww.... *thud*

Thomas Levy (ergonomytch) says: It's a good thing Tip comes to work ready for anything, otherwise he'd be underdressed for the opera.
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: I wonder where the silverfish swiped the opera glasses.
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Them's some strong silverfish.
NigaiAmai Yume (nigaiamai_yume) says:

Re: Tiff's "I wonder where the silverish swiped the opera glasses."

Basement. Of a goverment building. Dedicated to obscure and likely obscene departments.

They'd likely find enough equipment to recreate a functional orchestra, if they could use the instruments.

Actually, given the scale, they probably HAVE. It's just a question of if Tip could HEAR the music thus produced. 

My question: How many other people have seen silverfish opera? How long HAVE these guys been sentient, particularly since "the castle has stood for hours" appears to be considered an accomplishment?

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Basement. Of a goverment building. Dedicated to obscure and likely obscene departments.

Which would make it likely that the opera glasses have a small button marked "critic" that activates the megawatt laser.

Incog Neato (ghede) says: Glee! I love his use of language. So descriptive, so poetic. So funny.
NigaiAmai Yume (nigaiamai_yume) says: Great, now I want a "critic" enabled set of Opera Glasses. ^-^
Jeremy Berg (pisceneanteater) says:

Narbonic spent six years referencing the cream of geek culture, leaving Skin Horse with. . .Pretty Woman.  Apparently.

. . .

Actually, that seems appropriate for Tip, somehow. 


Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

Well, actually those are just binoculars. Opera Glasses are much smaller, and somewhat artfully designed. But the silverfish still get bonus points for civility. 

 The Mad Scientist Was (what must the authors think of it?): 

Professor Tinker looks around in astonishment, which quickly turns to glee as his foes drop like flys.

One is on the run from Fluffy, the Vorpal Winged Bunny, and the other seems to have eaten a explosive candy bar.

VICTORY! *laughs maniacally* Fools! Did you really think that you could win against the likes of *me*?! Let this be a lession!


*walks away, whistling, to go correct term papers*

Be back home for dinner, fluffy. 

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Be warned, Aaron: This is not over.
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:
Narbonic spent six years referencing the cream of geek culture, leaving Skin Horse with. . .Pretty Woman.  Apparently.

This is Jeffrey's dark influence. He's so much eviller than me.
Ryan Boes (thatguy) says: Well, actually those are just binoculars.

Well they'd have to binoculars, and high powered ones at that, for Tip to truely appreciate them.

bzzzzd (bzzzzd) says:

Tip seems quite adaptable to the circumstances, having quickly gone from "yuck, silverfish!" to having them sitting in his hands. Also, the instant trust seems an innate part of the fishies makeup as well. And it also appears the irradiation gives them extraordinary strength as well as a bizarre intelligence. Microwave culture.

(Not to get involved in a word-was, but I would earnestly hope that the professor's primary language isn't english. He should see a real doctor about those les(s)ions, and, FYI? XYZ. It flies in the face of propriety. Term papers, indeed.)

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: Yeah, I kinda meant which cool government office did they get the binoculars from. I keep my gyro-stabilized binoculars in the car so I can use them to check out street signs from two blocks away - and because the silverfish will never find them there.
Rachel S. (masamage) says:

Whee, that's happy.

...Is he...sitting on something?

Brian Rogers (billionsix) says:

I assume he is squatting. I mean, dusty floor, white skirt. Do the math. :)

NigaiAmai Yume (nigaiamai_yume) says:

As Brian Rogers notes, he's squatting. The center of gravity appears a bit off, but I blame the perspective.

And, of course, me being me, I can't help but think such a performance would only rank somewhere in the top five "weirdest things I've been moved to tears by in my life". There are SOME consequences to being a fantasy writer. ^-^

So It Begins (soitbegins) says:

Now suddenly I want to see that opera!

 Side note:

*telemetry failure*

*regen protocol init*

*bunker occupancy scan: 0*

*close hatch, and lock it*

*primary regen: nervous system*

Some time later...

Wha? Where am I? Last I remember, I was... Oh, no.

I'm getting resurrected again?!

Ah well. At least my brain's back online. I can sense the progress readout from here-- it'll start by rebuilding my bones, then go from there. Also, the computer says that I've regained enough cognition capacity to control some of the bunker systems. Nothing much yet, but I can send out surveillance bots. And the nanobot crews have already started rebuilding my house. 

It might take a few days, but I will return. And then...

Darn. I can't grin wickedly anymore... one of the disadvantages of [temporarily] being a brain in a tank.

Oh well. It can wait. Everything can wait...

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: OK, now my fevered brain is playing opera highlights, transposed up about three octaves a la "Alvin and the Chipmunks".  If the voices in my head start singing Beethoven's "Ode To Joy", I will be forced to set myself on fire.  Tickets available at Karma Records and other Ticketmaster locations.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: P.S. Today's band name: "Crushed by Roses".
Martha Mintz (muffinthamighty) says: I don't know, "Drain Hole and the Weirdest Tears" might be good...
Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

I call dibs on seasonal passes! *gets opera glassess* Pity I'm to big to stand outside the sopranos door with a single rose. . . .

 On the Side, A Note,

So, It Begins. . . . .

Er, it begins? At any rate, it seems that my nemisis has survived, to my great displeasure.

But then, according to my organic survailence he is left as a brain in a jar, and Jane Narbon is left with a chewed-upon outfit (and those stains do *not* come out).

While I rest at home, enjoying a vintige bottle of strawberry soda and a copy of Paradise Lost, none the worse for the wear.

. . . . saving the destruction of my rose bushes. Still, Advantage? Professor Tinker. 

'Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win. Sun Tzu, the Art of War.'

*sips strawberry soda* 



Jane Narbon (lady_madsci) says:

Yes, what was the part with the sal ammoniac solution?


The Mad Scientist Wars:

Eegads. I'm lucky I had my Holy Stun Grenades right inside the door of my lab. However, despite needing to get a new lab coat, I'm not defeated yet. Now, what should I do to get back at my nemesis (the one who didn't fall for my *ahem* candy bar stunt)? ... Oh, wait... Oooh, yessss.

Compose new email message:

Aaron Shades, you have proven yourself a truly worthy opponent. You have so impressed me by you cunning, tenacity, and capacity for evil that I think I'm starting to feel romantically towards you.

In short, I'd like to take you out on a date.

Dinner in 3 days, maybe?



Ooh, this will be perfect. I'll be able to judge his character and his weaknesses at the same time. Now, assuming he falls for it, only four questions remain.

1. What hardware should I take along? 

Ooh, this will be tricky. The tool belt, chameloned into a dressier form, is coming in any case, but the rest... hmm, mind control nanites or portable energy shield?

2. How to conceal it?

Ok, this will be trickier. I don't really want to turn up looking as if I'm about to be dropped into a war zone. Hmm... I'm pretty sure at least some of this stuff can masquerade as jewelry, and I can hide the larger stuff in my purse, but what to do about... (so on)

3. To use or not to use?

Do I try to build Aaron's trust, or just enslave/destroy him? On one hand, I've got a partner. On the other, a henchman. On one side, more work but a higher gain; on the other, not much trouble (but not much imagination either.)

Decisions, decisions. 


However, more important than all of that is one simple, but tough question.

4. ...what to wear? 

Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says:

Suddenly I want to hear "The queen of the Night" sung by silverfishii.



John Vertical (tropylium) says:

Wouldn't a standing ovation be less hazardous for them than a non-standing one?

Also, shall I be the first to say that this little RPG-battle-thing going on in here is starting to border on making it difficult to follo' the actual comments? Yeah, I shall.

Mel Van Weelden (kessalia) says: OK, since John was first, I'll be second.  *waves*
Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says:

The part with the sal ammoniac solution is that the two star-crossed lovers wish to throw themselves into each others arms but are prevented from doing so by a quantity of sal ammoniac, a potent silverfish repellent.

Jane, Aaron, So It Begins -- I've been loving seeing you guys at play and I'd hate to see it end.  Maybe y'all could port MSW over to the Comics By Shaenon forum?  It might be easier for y'all to follow anyway.  I'd give you an imaginary present.  It's weasel-shaped.

Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says:

On the topic of that last note from me, ahem:


Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: It is time for the mad scientists to learn about the birds and the weasels.... Currently pondering setting up a "racial package" for mutant silverfish in the Mutants & Masterminds 2nd Edition RPG....
So It Begins (soitbegins) says:

ATTENTION ALL: The Mad Scientist Wars  is MOVING!

Specifically: The Mad Scientist Wars is moving to the Comics by Shaenon forum (see the link at the bottom of the page).

 I'll move all the old comments to the new forum topic, and provide a link to it.

Well, whenever the admins approve my forum account...

So It Begins (soitbegins) says:

Wait a sec:

It is time for the mad scientists to learn about the birds and the weasels....

 Read Girl Genius, do you?

bzzzzd (bzzzzd) says:

Ms. NigaiAmaisays: ...he's squatting. The center of gravity appears a bit off, but I blame the perspective.

Looking at the previous panels, esp Day 2 Panel 4, it seems clear Tip is indeed sitting, not squatting. Regardless of skirt-color protection, trying to hold a squat (esp. a closed-leg position) for an entire opera might be a bit beyond Tip's abilities.

(RE: ATTENTION ALL: The Mad Scientist Wars  is MOVING! Thank goodness. I was beginning to wonder if it was going to take a visit by a certain forensic linguist to stop the madness.)


Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:
He's squatting, at least in panel one.
Dov Mittelman (silentspeaker) says:

So It Begins: The madness cannot be stopped. You can only hope to contain it.

In fact, the madness cannot be contained either. You can only hope it shows mercy.

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Mutant Silverfish in M&M have 20 ranks of Shrinking (+Duration, -Permanent, Feat: Innate). This drops them to STR 1, which has a carrying capacity of a few pounds (to be real insects, they'd get the Drawback "Cannot carry more than a gram" or something, but these guys don't). This costs 21 points.

Typical Mutant Silverfish

STR 1 (10) DEX 10 CON 10 INT 10 WIS 12 CHA 12 (4 points)

Skills: Language 1 (English, Italian Native), 3 ranks in Perform or Craft, Survival (Urban) 2, 6 ranks in other skills. (3 points)

Feats: Equipment 1 (variable gear) (1 point)

Powers; Shrinking 20 (+Continuous, -Permanent, Feat: Innate), Super-Movement 2 (Sure-Footed, Wall-Crawling), Super-Senses 5 (Radius Sight, Low-Light Vision, Danger Sense 1, Scent). (30 points)

Combat: Attack 12 (includes size bonus), Defense 12, Damage +0 (unarmed), +1 (teeny sword, if taken in Equipment).

Saving Throws: Toughness +0, Fortitude +0, Reflex +4, Will +1 (4 points)

Total Cost: 42
PL: 1

Exceptional ones like the Captain might have some more combat skills. But not much more.

Martha Mintz (muffinthamighty) says: So where does he keep that cool little badge the rest of the time?  I see no pockets on that stylish dress of his.  Ah, cartoons.  
So It Begins (soitbegins) says:


Side note: 

The Mad Scientist Wars are on hiatus... until I regrow, Jane Narbon decides what to wear, and Aaron... I don't know, stops basking in the fruits of his temporary victory, I guess.

And until all three of us get forum accounts. (Jane Narbon & Aaron Shades: both of you did sign up for a forum account, right?)

Rachel (admiralshazbot) says: He keeps the badge in his boot, like any sexy agent.
Martha Mintz (muffinthamighty) says: Oooh, I like that.  Along with some sort of cute weapon- or would that be tucked in a garter?
Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says: The only weapon he needs are the hand puppets.
John Campbell (jcampbel) says: I can just see Tip pulling a holdout out of his boot. Some kind of teeny chrome-plated pearl-handled .22-caliber thing, probably.
Jane Narbon (lady_madsci) says:

Finally, someone who actially likes the government.


The Mad Scientist Wars out. So it Begins: I have signed up for a forum account, but it hasn't gone through yet.

Anyway, I'm still having trouble deciding... 

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Naw, not a gun.  Tip would have a stiletto, balanced for throwing, hidden in the top of his boot.  Why do you think he was wearing stiletto heels yesterday?  Those heels were detachable (hence the term, "killer good looks").

Tip would never *use* said weapons, but all members of Skin Horse are required to carry weapons, by government regulation.  (Insert sound of Unity screaming with joy, "Three cheers for the government!!")

Steve Ford (sford) says: What's Tip going to do when he remembers the stolen lipliner?
Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

Man, I love those little silverfish now. They're so. . . so cute. And so weird. So, so weird.

The Mad Scientist Wars 

Forum account is in the works, my dear Nemesis. 

And i'll bask as I please, dangit. But if you must know, I have some paperwork to fill out. So it's not all fun and games for me either.

Mel Van Weelden (kessalia) says: I still can't get over that he's TOUCHING them. Sorry.  Ewww.  Talking I could handle but letting them crawl on me is RIGHT out.  Ewwww silverfish.
Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says:

Anyone want to offer odds on whether or not the centipedes are sentient?

Dear Mad Scientist Wars,

I don't want to intrude at all. It's just I have a few extra Tribbles I was hoping one of you might be interested in. If not, PLEASE DON'T KILL ME! 

So It Begins (soitbegins) says:

Ay-yi. Now what? Sentient centipedes?


(I send out a robot to take the tribbles) Thanks.

Terry Smith (tjlsmith) says: We havn't heard about irradiated centipede's yet = still what HAVEN'T they irradiated at DOI right?
Incog Neato (ghede) says: I'm fine with this. As long as spiders don't become sentient, move in six directions, and fire bullets at your ship as you try and aim around the mushrooms. The centipedes are EASY.
Cameron Nielsen (cameroncn) says: I guess this explains why the peaceful and cultured race built a fortress first thing...
Rachel (admiralshazbot) says:

If I were that small and had been the target of irradiating maniacs, I'd build a fortress too. 

Scott Davidson (mrson) says:

Augh, house centipedes!

 I think silverfish are actually kind of cute, but house centipedes freak me the fsk out. If they've become sapient too, I'll just go stock up on Raid..

Jane Narbon (lady_madsci) says:

You know, this begs the question: If both the silverfish and the centipedes are sentient, then Tip isn't legally allowed to kill either of them... so now what?


The Mad Scientist Wars still out. But:

I missed out on free tribbles?! Ouch. They could have been useful. Still, it won't be long now before all of my plans come together.

Then there will be fun. :) 

Sean Duggan (duggansc) says: Of course, the centipedes probably aren't sentient... but are the size of small horses and therefore probably a bit big for a trap.
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says: Havahart traps for centipedes? The C-pedes would have to be giant-sized for those to work...
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Jane, tribbles are ALWAYS free.

Removing excess THAT gets expensive.

Brand Willis (brandyllyn) says:

Anyone else get the impression that Tip knows something about the centipedes that we don't? (eg David Harmon's comments on Havahart traps, 'cause like, whoa damn if that's the level we're talking about here...)

And if the centipedes are sentient, is Tip required to keep them and the silverfish away from exterminating each other, or is it a let nature take its course type of thing?  Can he just help out maybe?  I'm thinking an itty-bitty nuke. Surely the DOI can help with that.

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Keep in mind, this arc led off with talk of "another" case of uplifted vermin. The centipedes were probably one of those previous cases.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says:

Actually, I have a simple method for controlling Tribbles.

1. Keep them in a closed space

2. No food, except the minimum required for a tribble to survive without being able to have babies

3. Don't let them touch anything.

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: 4. Don't feed them after midnight!
Martha Mintz (muffinthamighty) says: What the dickens does a Tribble eat, anyways?
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Everything.
Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

AUGH! Centipedes!! *jibblie jibblie jibblie* If you need me, I'll be in the corner recovering from the heebe-jeebies.

The M. Wars: (still on Haitus)

Tribbles? You're kidding me. between a Vorpal rabbit, three Grues, and a (Project X) I've my hands full. Thank you though. And I'll see bout getting you on the 'No Kill' list. 

Mark Orr (agentoracle) says:

Okay folks! Time to place your wagers!

1.5-1 the Centipedes are nonsapien, but hungry for silverfish.

65-1 the centpedes are sapient, and have developed midieval islamic culture.

300-1 centipedes have developed British culture.

624 - 1 Feudal japanese culture. 

842 - 1 1950's-esque american culture. 

6,523 - 1 Centipedes have advanced technology.

1-2.5 Shaenon never introduces us to the centipedes, Tip welds the damn door shut, and this is the last we hear of the silverfishi for a year.


Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: And the ugly spectre of religious intolerance raises its bespectacled head....
So It Begins (soitbegins) says:

Methinks I've not heard the end of this.


Side note: My new body is almost completely regrown. 

Jane Narbon (lady_madsci) says:

You know, I think a bit of the cuteness just wore off.


The Mad Scientist Wars:

Where are the admins who are supposed to OK the forum account I signed up for? Shaenon, can you do something?


NigaiAmai Yume (nigaiamai_yume) says:

And AGAIN references to short time spans...

When DID they create that opera?? o_O

Jeremy Berg (pisceneanteater) says:

And so, in their short time as sapients, the silverfish have equaled thousands of years of human evolution in culture-

. . .and politics.  Sigh.

Sorry.  I know these things are supposed to be funny, but it's a cold, rainy morning and I've only had one cup of coffee.

Martha Mintz (muffinthamighty) says: Cheer up Jeremy; at least they don't have Nukes...
Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

'an abomination, but a very convenient one'

. . . .. well, I think that just about sums everything up nicely, don't you?

The MSW:

Come now, patience is a virtue.

*fiddles with time machine*  One that I'm short on.

Michael Taub (otakuloki) says:

It might help those of you concerned about the religious war aspect of this conflict to remember that centipedes are universally predatory. 

That is, rather than having religious reasons for waging war on the centipedes the silverfish may simply have 'discovered' religious reasons to explain why the centipedes predate upon them.  Given that they are willing to compromise with the abominable colossus, I have some hope, still.  

(Of course, it wouldn't be the first time I've had my hopes dashed when looking for tolerant behavior.)

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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile