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Smithson Thus Far... ·

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: The serenity of knowing one's place in the food chain.
Alycia Shedd (leeshajoy) says:

Oh my god. The centipedes are cute TOO!


Rachel S. (masamage) says: And the office files eat the centipedes. o/`
Martha Mintz (muffinthamighty) says: Those pincers make them look so goofy!
So It Begins (soitbegins) says:

It's definitely the monks, then.

The MadSci Wars:

Well, that was a nice planning session on my MASTER PLAN. Let's check the monitors... What's Professor Tinker doing?! He seems to be turning his entire office upside down... oh wait. According to what he's been muttering, it looks as if he's looking for some sort of 'manuscript'. I think I'll wait and see what happens.

(a few minutes later) Well, the guy's turned his entire office upside down, and hasn't found it. I'm just glad the guy likes to think out loud, or-- what the?! He had dinner with JANE NARBON?! It's impossible! I mean, he's still in one piece and everything. Anyway, he apparently left this 'evil manuscript' somewhere in the flight path of that bunny of his. Now, I just have to trace back the location from my videorecordings of the bunny's point of view.

This is kind of fun. :)

Jane Narbon (lady_madsci) says:

You know, it would be interesting if the office files were carnivorous.

I mean, after carnivorous monastic centipedes, anything can happen.


The Mad Scientist Wars: 

I've had an interesting evening checking out what the good Professor had to say during our little dinner date. I'm especially interested in this "David Toboz" fellow that's been hanging around lately. Could he be another Mad Scientist? Ah well... no way to find out now.

Ok, back to work. Which of these security codes are true, and which were Prof. Tinker lying about? 

Mel Van Weelden (kessalia) says:

At 3:30 this morning I woke up as my neighbor's boyfriend left in his big noisy truck and lay there thinking for a bit before I fell back asleep... 

For some reason it suddenly popped into my head, There's no way that Tip's minidress would be under that protective suit!  So does he have it bunched up around his waist, does he keep a pair of pants around for emergencies, or is he naked under that suit?!?

Do you have any idea how long it took me to stop wondering about that and go back to sleep?

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: No band name, but "Goodheart Crunchbody" would be a *great* name for a breakfast-cereal-type superhero.  (Yes, I've been reading "Breakfast of the Gods".)
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

Close-up film of "bugs eating bugs" is one of the few things that gives me the nightmare-quality creeps. Shaenon, you have managed to make my nightmare cuddly cute! Now I picture Ezekiel downing a small army of silverfish, praising them for their tastiness and crunchy goodness as they ineffectively wave their foils and plumed hats, shouting Italian curses. Awwwwwwwww.


Cameron Nielsen (cameroncn) says: Heaven help us! The centipedes are Quakers! XD
Mary Potts (queenofcapes) says: Amish centipedes??  Garrity, you *genius*!
David Toboz (professor_zobot) says:

Hmm... well, this is going to be problimatic. Tip can't kill the silverfish because they're nonhuman sentients, and now the centipedes prove to enjoy the same benefit. Honesty, when will government organizations learn not to be so careless with what they give intelligence to?

Hmm...despite my innate hatred of centipedes, I can't seem to bring myself to dislike these creatures. Curse you, Garrity, for making bugs cute!

Mad Scientist Wars:

Observing that dinner date proved to be quite informative. At the very least, I know that of my would-be competition, Prof. Tinker and that violet-ish knight guy aren't really a threat at the given moment. And while the four of them have been fighting and flirting with each other, I've had the freedom to build up my resources and prepare to utterly crush that which would oppose me. Now the only question is... how should I crush them?

Hmm...orbital high-intensity laser pointer? No, I keep putting off patching the energy leak and throwing it into orbit. A pity. Maybe my vast army of destructive spinning zobots? Actually, I'd better not. I still haven't quite figured out why they feel the compulsion to sing showtunes while they destroy. It's too embarassing to send them out as is. And of course, I haven't even finished assembling the mail-order earthquake generator kit I sent away for. Blast.

I shall have to finish something one of these days. For the moment, I’ll have to improvise. Let's see…so instead of anything overly violent, I'll just make a few phone calls, shift a couple million dollars from some guy's account to someone else's account... and send an e-mail.

Dear Miss Narbon:

I greet you on the conclusion of your recent romantic outing. I trust it was some sort of success. That being said, I will be quite blunt. You are to kill the mad scientist named So It Begins, preferably with fire, before the sun sets tommrow night. Failure to do so will result in myself uploading certain... photos and videos of a quite delicate nature from your childhood onto the internet for all to see. While modesty premits me from elaborating on the nature of these images, I will say that should they come into the public's view it will be quite hard for the UN to take you seriously the next time you attempt to hold the world hostage by any means.

I hope to hear of your success rather quickly.


Professor Zobot

Well, her response to that should prove amusing. Now then, I’m going to have to come up with something nasty to do to So It Begins as well…

Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says:

Okay, MSW gang.  Last created member on the Nice boards has a creation date of 3/20, and if they're going linearly, that means the most of you should be all set.  Could those of you who've recently registered for the Comics By Shaenon forum get back to me and let me know if your registrations have been processed?  Once that's all done, one lucky poster will get to claim the Plutonium Weasel for his or her own, and y'all will have a nice new space in which to destroy and/or humiliate each other.

David, since you're apparently a new participant:  We're slowly working on getting y'all moved over to the Comics By Shaenon forum.  You may wish to consider creating a user account there.  Follow the "Forum" link under the title graphic to get yourself started.

Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

Well, polite-or-not, they are quite obviously voracious. Good manners dosen't do much for someone who's eating you.

 Jeffrey- I got my notification e-maii, I'm checking it out!

Mad Sci Wars:

Well, no luck finding my manuscript. But Fluffy is asleep, so the crisis is somewhat over.

. . . . but now I may be forced to do something I loath. E-mail Miss Narbon to see if she's seen it. Nothing so aggravating as handing over information to a tenuous ally(?). 

Just goes to show I should have saved a copy of the damn thing. . .  wait a tic.

SOMEONE BUGGED MY JACKET!! It dosen't look like So It Begins make, and it lacks the JN stamp Miss Narbon puts on hers. . .


Miss Narbon, Thank you for the lovely evening. I must apologize for my hasty exit in pursuit of Fluffy, he ate something in the bisque that disagreed with him.

I son;t suppose you might have found a manuscript I lost? It's fairly plain, but it has some sentimental importance to me, left over from when I first went Mad you see.

- Andrew Tinker, Professor of Evil English studies.

P.S. Someone has me bugged, check your clothing. Not SiB work, or yours. 

Andy Wetmore (efogoto) says: Dammit Ed! Now I keep hearing the Lucky Charms leprechaun saying "Yellow suns, blue moons, good hearts, and crunchy bodies!".
Cameron Nielsen (cameroncn) says: So are these centipedes Quakers or Amish? I didn't really think the Amish went in for the "thees" and "thous," but I'm not sure about that now...
Miikka Ryökäs (kizor) says: They look Franciscan to me.
Martha Mintz (muffinthamighty) says: No, it's the Shakers that made the furniture.  Though not usually furniture covered in centipedes.
Rachel S. (masamage) says: Fun fact: there are only four Shakers in the world.
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: How many Movers?
Jane Narbon (lady_madsci) says:

"Brethren! Customer!"

...aka How To Reconcile Two Sentient Species AND Empty Your Wallet At The Same Time. 


The Mad Scientist Wars: 

 I received a very strange email from Professor Tinker today...  I wrote back saying that I hadn't seen any sort of manuscript. What was more worrying was a postscript saying he had been bugged. Source unknown. I think I'll check my lab...

So that's why my miniature video camera didn't work! It was working for someone else! I'm going to check the rest of the lab. did all these bugs get in here?! I'm not talking about the kind with 6 legs, either. Hmmm... I know these aren't mine, they don't quite look like what So It Begins uses-- he has this fondness for nanobots-- and I've never known Professor Tinker to use a bug yet. Which brings me back to the only other possiblity, and the newest madboy to set up shop around here... David Toboz.

That, unfortunately, leads me straight to this email I received from him earlier. He must have found photos of me dressed as a clown (back from the days when I took a 'Circus Skills' class one summer when I was younger). I wound up in the post of 'Clown'. It was extremely fun. That said, since I'm now an evil mad scientist, a photo of me in a clown suit is a bit of a... liability. And this-- upstart wants me to kill So It Begins.

As I see it, I've got 3 choices here.

1. Kill SIB. 

This has two unfortunate side-effects: He'll just regrow a new body, and that guy will still have a hold on me because of those photos.

2. Ally with SIB to help me recover or delete those photos.

Unfortunately, there's no way of knowing that SIB won't save a copy of the photos. Actually, considering him, he probably will.

3.  Ally with SIB, recover the photos, then double-cross him and help the new guy get rid of him.

Good idea, but I might get caught in the crossfire. 

Unfortunately, that's all three choices. Perhaps if-- Aaargh! I'll never think of a good plan at this rate. Perhaps if... hey, wait. Maybe with the help of So It Begins (who I can probably ally) I could... oooh, yesss. Total, complete yes.

I have it.

Compose new email:

So It Begins:

I received this email from a new madsci in our area (edited copy of orig. email attached). As you can see, it calls for your death, through my blackmail. I have come up with a plan, but it needs more than one person to implement it. 

If you do not agree, I will, unfortunately, be forced to cave into this blackmailer's demands.

Please respond. 


If SIB allies with me and I can keep Professor Tinker out of the way, this plan should go off without a hitch. Now, how to do that?

Ah! I have it!

Compose email:

Professor Tinker:

I think I may have found your manuscript and was wondering if you would like to come over and retrieve it.

Jane Narbon


Once Prof Tinker gets here, I'll knock him out and find some way to keep him unconcious for the next 36 hours. That should keep him out of the way, and I'll be able to use Fluffy.

This plan is going to go great.


I hope... 


Jane Narbon (lady_madsci) says: P.S: I promise that I'll move over to the forums just as soon as I am able to.
Eric Burns (ericburns) says:

I have to admit, an entire series of the relations between the silverfish and the centipedes would be awesome. So long as it didn't end this series.


Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Darn it, Tiff, you took the good punchline.  The only other one I can think of is somthing using the phrase "Apostles' Credenza".

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Notice that Tip WAS wearing the skirt under the hazmat suit.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says:

This is just getting weirder and weirder.

The MadSci Wars (we'll move over soon, I promise):

Well, after much backtracking, I think I may have found the missing manuscript of Professor Tinker. I'll retrieve it later. Oh, hey! Incoming eMail. What's it say?


I received this email from a new madsci in our area (edited copy of orig. email attached).

(so on)

P.S: Check your lab--My lab had been tapped, so you may find some bugs in yours (I'm not talking about my bugs, of course).

I... what? This new guy wanted her to kill me?! Hmm... This is a tricky one. Either this is her way of going about it, or she really does want to ally with me. Could she be more harmless thn she appears? Hmm... wait a sec, what's that about bugs?

Prime, run a bug scan.

<1 bug found - parabolic microphone at distance of 220 yards from lab>

Prime, destroy it with the lasers.


Well. Miss Narbon certainly wasn't lying about-- waaait a minute. "MY BUGS"?!

Prime, run another bugscan. Make it a deep scan this time.


<search has found 12 items - 6 matched camera-microphone pairs, 3 of those intended as backup. within lab.>

*groan* Prime, destroy those too. *ducks as lasers burst over my head* The question is whether to ally with Miss Narbon or not. If I don't, I suspect she will have to carry out Toboz's 'request'. If this request actually exists. Maybe it's just a plot to do something nefarious to me. 

Ok, this is getting nowhere. At least if I temporarily ally with Miss Narbon, I can double-cross her if necessary. I think I will ally with her and see what happens. I need the exercise.

(Prime, start composing eMail.)

I only hope I'm not making a mistake...



Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

. . . . a credenza? Seriously? 

And here i thought there could be no more surprised in this insectoid drama. and now? Credenza. So many questions. . .

The Mad Wars: (We swear, we're moving.)

Hmm, Miss. Narbon sent me a response, saying that she found my manuscript, but I can't help but be suspicious. If she had really found it, she would

A) Keep it and use it for her own means.

B) Hold it over my head to get me to do her bidding or

c) Go madder than before due to it's contents. Or use it to turn a potential Mad, well. . .

 But perhaps she's offering this up as a means f building trust. She does seem interested in an alliance. I'll just take a few universal antidotes and health serums and head over with Fluffy.

. . . . I'll take a GRUE just to be safe. 

Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says: Wow! Now I *REALLY* hope that Tip can negotiate some kind of peace accord between the Centipedes and the Silverfish! Between Opera and furniture, they're a *very* talented bunch!
mercyfire (mercyfire) says:

I know little about the Shakers (other than the obvious) but the Amish are amazing carpenters. And some of the Amish communities do still use 'thee' and 'thou.'

Incidentally, they don't like having their pictures taken, so we really have no proof as to who made all those fine bedroom sets. Perhaps they are a front for the centipedes? 

Eric Burns (ericburns) says: No wonder the Amish refuse to use zippers. They'd be a metal toothed deathtrap for their multilegged bretheran.
Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

PS- I have made it into the forums, and will create a thread for when the rest are in as well, so there will be a place to set it all up. I should get out previous records up tonight.

There will be cake. 

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Aaron, I'd actually prefer if you waited until my forum account came online, so that I can create the new thread (because there's some important stuff that I want to put at the front of it.)
P.S: The cake is a lie.
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

Ed: Alas, 'tis not moi's fault that moi was awake at 0315 EDT to get first crack at the Shaker line. It was a vewwy vewwy weiwd day.

Mad Scientists: I'm delighted to see a new sense of urgency. Lest you feel a sense of creeping lethargy, look carefully at that grassy knoll to your left. The spirit of Simo Häyhä is restless.


Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

Erm, Sorry So It Begins. 

Just consider it a base recap then. Now no one else has to go through the archives! (*embarrassment*) 

Sean O'Kelly (malakai47) says: So are there mutant bees down there too?
John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

The mutant bees are Tip's boss.

Jane Narbon (lady_madsci) says:

Remember that 'Speed-Up' stuff in that old movie, Bye Bye Birdie? The centipedes could use some of that.


The Mad Scientist Wars: (no, no forum account yet)

Well, it looks as if things are falling into place. Prof. Tinker is going to come visit, and SoItBegins is (tenuously) allied to me. Now, while I'm waiting, I just have to go over the things I'll need to pack.

Portable holoprojector, self-concealing: Check.

Shield generator for SIB: Check.

Miniature energy pistol: Check. 

Jetpack: Fully charged.

MoVERs (Miniature VersatilE Robots): In place.

Deepcover audio and video bugs, ready to place: Check.

Sedative slap patches (just in case): Check. 

Vorpal Bunny Nip: Check.

Hidden earpiece & microphone (for communication with SIB): Check.

Tool belt (currently visible): Always.

Now, once the good Professor is out of the way, the plan can... begin.



So It Begins (soitbegins) says:

I'm going to forgo my post for today to give all and sundry an update on the forum subscriptions:

I found my account and JN's in the board member directory. It looked as if the two accounts in question had been passed over (mine has been sitting idle for two weeks.)

I sent an email to the board admin (Terrence Marks), giving him the account names in question. Hopefully both me and JN should get that validation email soon...

Madsci: Now I'm even more curious as to what this plan actually is.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: Are the centipedesses interested in quilting lessons?  My wife is an expert quilter and, quite frankly, we could use the money.  Skin Horse (the govt. dept.) should be able to provide a federal subsidy to allow these people to continue their traditional folkways.  Right?  Right??
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Update: My first try bounced. I'm trying to contact the admin through another email address.
Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

. . . . so, what, the silverfish can make a whole society, but the centipeds only made a scrap of quilt? I mean, and a credenza, thats impressive, I'll admit. 

I guess the foucus is the key here.

Mad Wars: (which I'll keep brief)

Alright, I've got three GRUES in my darkest pocket, Fluffy's been told what to do in an emergency and given the (project X- information classified) necessary, my devil-pixy is berating me for being a trusting fool, and I have prepared my usual dead-mans trap, should the worst come of it.

 . . . . . well, here goes nothing.

"Good morning, Miss Narbon."

Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says:

So It Begins:  If you don't mind, please give me a list of all the stalled usernames, and I'll also see if I can't get things moving.

Sheesh, this is like pulling teeth!  No wonder WCN comments are more popular than the forum lately...

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: The usernames in question are SoItBegins and lady_madsci.
Cameron Nielsen (cameroncn) says: Odd, when I joined the forum a couple months ago it was easy enough...
David Toboz (professor_zobot) says:

Umm...Mr. Wells? There's also the username Professor Zobot, if you're looking for usernames of people in the Mad Sci War. 

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: No, he's searching for names of forum accounts applied for but never gained. Have you applied for a forum account?
NigaiAmai Yume (nigaiamai_yume) says: Please note: The centipedes build from scratch. The silverfish steal. The latter gets more done faster. The latter also gets you in more TROUBLE, but...
David Toboz (professor_zobot) says:

Yes, SIB, I have done so... just within the past day, but if mentioning it gets me the ability to post faster...

I'd also like to point out that this comic clearly reveals the centipede's sinister natures. I mean, lying to Tip about the applebutter is just plain EVIL!

Mad Sci Wars (I swear I'll stop posting this here once all the account stuff goes through

Well darn. They found the bugs. It's really unfortunate, since I thought the "improvements" I made to Miss Narbon's design would have made them nearly invisible. Oh well, what one mad scientist creates, another can dismantle.

Bah. They served their purpose, anyway. I know now that Miss Narbon has no intention of doing as I told her. I wasn't expecting her to anyway, since she's crazy, but one could have hoped. I'll have to begin improving my lab's defenses. One mad scientist is bad enough, but if she and So It Begins decide to gang up on me... Hmm.

Well, I was planning on testing SIB's capacities next anyway. This just means I'll have to move a bit faster on that. Of course, I don't have anything planned out, per say, so I'll have to improvise again. I know! I'll get my assistant's pet spider monkey, point my makeshift irradiator at it, and mutate it until it's something not entirely unlike a walking death machine. Then I'll simply fling it at SiB's base with that catapult I made "a little bit better" from the Ren Faire last month. That should give me some interesting data!

*An hour later, the sound of a catapult releasing can be heard from about 3 blocks away from Professor Zobot's lab* 

Andy Holloway (garran) says: Are they all named Ezekiel, or is he just moving around a lot?
D. Connolly (theogrin) says: I think it's the same centipede - after all, he seems to have a tendency to gravitate towards the tastiness of his prey.
Jane Narbon (lady_madsci) says:

If Tip is a Goliath, then where's David?


The Mad Scientist Wars: 

In mad science, there are many subtle and complex ways to knock someone out; however, sometimes it's just easier to whack him over the head.

I hope I didn't hit Professor Tinker too hard.

With Fluffy given enough Vorpal Bunny Nip to make him docile (but not enough to turn him mad), the grues vaporized (the trick is to shine a bright light on them), and that... thing that was following the good Professor knocked out of the air (lucky swing), I feel I'm now ready to face my newest nemesis.

I think I'll scrap the plan, and just do what he asks.


I've come politely to the entrance to David Toboz's lair. The door's opened for me at least...

Yep, it's the blackmailer himself. He doesn't seem very happy to see me. He's aiming some sort of ray gun at me.

"Umm... why the ray gun? I've come all this way--"

"--to destroy me. Before you destroyed the bugs I put in your lab, I saw you swear that you'd never cave in--"

"--as a show for So It Begins's benefit. You and I both use bugs. He uses nanobots. Anyway, it doesn't matter any more, because I've done what you said.

 Killed him."

So It Begins (soitbegins) says:

Ok, I think we can safely say these are monks and not Amish or something else. I mean, if they're quoting from the Bible...

Forum Subscriptions Update: No response to the email I sent, and I guess Jeffry Channing Welles hasn't gotten through yet either.

The MadSci Wars:


<restore request - restore from pattern (abrupt)>

<regrow body>

<yes, again>




What is it, Prime?

<mutant - type unknown - hostile>

Prime, set up that new prototype energy shield I've been working on.


<projectile captured - irradiated spider monkey>

Destroy it.

Aargh. Another day. I wonder what exactly when Jane Narbon is going to show up and outline this 'Plan' she's been talking about.

*ding dong*

Ah. Miss Narbon. Welcome! I'm sure it'll be interesting, implementing this Plan of y-- hey, what are you--? quit it! I-- WHAT THE--



Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Compromise: just squish Zeke.
Dan White (vortexknight) says: Actually, SIB, I'm pretty sure the Amish are into the Bible too. Plus, the Amish are known for their skill in wood-working.  Granted, they're also generally good about not eating their neighbors, so who knows.
David Toboz (professor_zobot) says:

This is just further proof of my theory that the centipedes are actually evil and just trying to hide it. They don't wanna get squished any more than the next irridated sentient talking bugs.

The Mad Sci Wars (Ok, hopefully this'll be the last time we do this here)

Well, the spider monkey was a bit disappointing, anyway. I'm somewhat envious. I mean, he's got an ENERGY SHIELD! I want one of those! That's the good thing about being a mad scientist, however: I can just build one. that Miss Narbon at my door? How did she find me? I mean, so soon? And me without any activated defenses, and the lab's simply in a mess, and I really don't have anything ready to bring about her doom! terribly impolite of me. Well, the only way I can properly greet her now is with a ray gun to the forehead. It's what she would do for me were the positions reversed.

" actually killed him? I mean, just like that? I must say, Miss Narbon, that I am impressed."  Impressed enough to elevate her on my list of most dangerous contemporaries, anyway.

"Very well then. Let it never be said that I am not a man of my word. Here: This disk contains the only copy of the photos I paid a rather handsome sum of someone else's money for. There is of course a copy on my computer, purely a defensive means, that is set to upload itself to several prominent sites should my computers detect any change in my vital signs. Once you have departed a sufficent distance from my lab, they will be deleted and you can go on your merry way, causing destruction and misery to whatever you wish."

"Why did I ask you to do this? Well, all you need to know is that I was curious to see how you'd react. And of course, how SiB would as well. Now then... seeing as how you've seen fit to travel all the way to my lab in person, is there anything else you would wish to speak of?"

Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

IKNEW IT! Centipedes. . . sassafrassing argle brgmn . . CENTIPEDES!

They're not t be trusted.

Is anyone else reminded of the City of Donkeys and the City of Foxes, from The Road to Oz?


. . . . ohhh, my head. What happened? Where am i?

And where are my glasses? Last thing I remember was going to Miss Narbons house, and then. . . 

Oh, Deary. I must be in her lair. It feels like I'm on a couch, and I can hear Fluffy snoring. This doesn't bode well.

Heck, it doesn't even sound good. What did mother always say bout being captured. . . .

Oh, of course. "Get out quick, but not without secret plans and blackmail!"  

Rachel (admiralshazbot) says:

In that case, there should be an accent mark over the E in "squished."

How DARE you be fallible! 

Alycia Shedd (leeshajoy) says:

Okay, place your bets: Are the 'death robots' in fact robots or something else entirely? And if they do turn out to be death robots, what kind of civilization will they have, and what sort of mad science foe will they ask Tip to vanquish?

(To quote my friend Val, this is turning into kind of a 'The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish' sequence...)

Rachel S. (masamage) says:

I love the centipede whipping out his Impressive, Scary Eyebrows.

Also... crops?

Michael Brazier (michaelbrazier) says: I'm predicting Roombas.
Jane Narbon (lady_madsci) says: Say, do you think these 'death robots' are related to our friends the 'Destroy' robots?


The Mad Scientist Wars:

..."Now then... seeing as how you've seen fit to travel all the way to my lab in person, is there anything else you would wish to speak of?"

Yes. I've found myself admiring your method of doing things. You don't need to make huge and complex plans. You don't go off deploying hare-brained schemes. You just manipulate others to do things, plain and simple.

...I can't believe I'm saying this, but I want to be allies with you.

(a little while later) David Toboz seems to have taken my alliance offer quite well. Even I'm surprised at how fast he accepted my offer. That said, the fact that I'm wearing scent laced with a HUGE dose of oxytocin may have helped.

Now, I wonder how Professor Tinker's feeling... he should have woken up by now. I've taken precautions. I've turned on FileVault on my computer, and I also left a little surprise for the guy. When he attempts to touch the holographic replica of Fluffy I left for him, the security system'll trigger and knock him out again.

Ah well... back to the alliance at hand.

So, I suppose that our first order of business should be to focus on--

Suddenly, a very much alive So It Begins crashed into the room, pointed at me, and in a voice made of anger and defiance, said "You. You tried to destroy me."
So It Begins (soitbegins) says:

What kind of crops does a centipede cultivate, anyway?!

FORUM UPDATE: I talked to some nice people who told me that quite a number of people have been having the same problem as I have. They suggested to wait (1 person said getting their registration took a month!). So I will.

HOWEVER, if another week goes by and I'm still locked out of The Nice, I'm going to create a board on, name it 'Comics by Shaenon II', and open it to all comers who can fill in a CAPTCHA and provide a valid email address. (Note to Shaenon: I'll make you an admin, of course.)

Now, the MadSci Wars:

Eegah, that was too close. It's lucky I had... (mumbling). Now, time to do something about what just happened to me.


I'm standing outside the lair of that Toboz guy. Miss Narbon seems to be talking to him, as far as the enhanced lenses can tell. This time, I'm not going to fall for that candy bar stunt, the one that first left me a brain in a jar. I told my computer, Prime, to infuse the new body with nanobots... just in case.

Unfortunately, I've just now realized she probably won't try it again. 

So back to the question: How to get inside? I could sneak in the back, or I could try the air vents... Nah. I think I'll just go for direct confrontation.

*I crash through the front door, quite angry*

You. You tried to destroy me.

The two didn't bother to say anything-- they just reach for weapons. Now I get to see how good I am at--

YAA! *whoa* Oof! Hey, wait-- YIEEE!

...dodging. My electrical-bolt gun's charged, there's a handy table to hide behind, and there's two angry mads shooting at me. What more could one want out of life?

AAAH! *ducks at the last second*

Hmmm... body armor, maybe?

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: I want to have the local franchise for
Indigo C (indigo) says:

I agree:  squish`ed should have two syllables.



John Vertical (tropylium) says: I'd prefer "skoo-ished".
Incog Neato (ghede) says:

Squishèd. ASCII è= 138.  Simply hold ALT, and press 138 on numpad with numlock on. Voilà. (133)

You may have trouble typing that in firefox on a laptop keyboard with a fn-numpad. It refuses to recognize the fact that you are holding the fn key, which means it sees you hitting alt-(insert letter here) which can have any number of effects. 


So It Begins (soitbegins) says: @ghede: Since I don't have a numpad on my laptop, for me the correct combination is option-`, then the letter. For an accent facing the other way, it's option-e, then the letter.
Incog Neato (ghede) says:

@So it Begins: I'll have to remember that trick if I ever use a Mac. 

Mel Van Weelden (kessalia) says: I got the comic I bought in the mail today already!  Fastest service EVER!   *bounces around around like crazy*
Brand Willis (brandyllyn) says:

I wonder how many sentient lifeforms Tip's going to have to go through?

I wonder if Tip (or another Skin Horse member) is the ultimate cause here?

I wonder a lot actually...

David Toboz (professor_zobot) says:

I'ma gonna go out on a limb and guess that the death robots aren't a size that will scare Tip at all, and are probably only a bit bigger than the centipedes. Anything bigger probably wouldn't even be programmed to destory them.

Also: To anyone who cares: I finally finished reading Narbonic! It's certainly quite a ride. I'd comment more on the story, but I'm fairly sure that nothing I say here would have not been said millions of times before.

Sraw Ics Dam

"An alliance? With me?"

Professor, I represent the collective union of voices in your head. We've all had an emergency meeting and decided on the course of action you must take right now. You'll like it, it's the one that gives you the highest chance of surviving through the next week unscathed. You need to point your Vaporizator 2050 at Miss Narbon's head right now, and fire. It probably won't actually hit her, but the message will be clear.

"I would certainly welcome the partnership, Miss Narbon. I must say that I am flattered that you think so highly of me, but I must confess that you have a slight misunderstanding of my nature. Hare-brained schemes have their place, (and I wouldn't be a mad scientist if I hadn't enacted at least a few.) I simply usually find it more effective to keep things simple. Why do work yourself when you can coerce others to do it for you?

That being said, what's your field? My best work has been in robotics, but I'm quite capable in-"

*The front door is smashed in by SiB*

I can't help but sigh. "Good lord man! Have you no concept of subtlty? You know, had you been a bit more imaginative in your conceptions I would bother with witty banter, but as it is you've pretty much killed the entire thing." I take a shoot at him with my raygun, and he dives behind the table. One of these days I'll remember why I bothered to make the furniture in my lab so me-proof. "I'm going to give you three minutes to surrender before I call in a platoon of my serrated spinning zobots to destroy you." I wait for a few seconds, then get bored. "Nevermind. I'm calling them in now! Tremble in fear as you helplessly watch them shred you...while singing the lyrics of Andrew Lloyd Webber's most popular musicals in harmony. One of these day I'll manage to debug that..."

I turn to face my lovely guest. "Now then, Miss Narbon. I believe it would be prudent to relocate our discussion to a safer point in the lab. Go down the green corridor. I'll meet you there after I take a moment to indulge in a bit of manical laughter." 

Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says:

There is a dilemma 'the credenza' or 'the death robots'.


Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says: "Apple Butter" is an euphemism for something, isn't it?

One wonders what the death robots will want and whether Tip will remember his original purpose in coming down here by the end of the chain.

One also wonders how the centipedes know a guy (since they presumably haven't left the basement) and who it is they know.
Brian Rogers (billionsix) says: Could Tip buy the credenza and write it off as an expense?
Scott Davidson (mrson) says: Is... Is this a comic "novelization" of some kind of video RPG game? Because this is shaping up to be quite the sidequest.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says:


Tin Wrist Schemes Data:

I'm coming under fire, an army of serrated robots is flying at me while doing a very good rendition of 'The Lady's Got Potential' from 'Evita'. I'd have chosen stuff from 'Les Miserables' myself, but... ah, no matter. I only came for one thing. And now I see just how to get it.

I quickly dive out from behind my table, dodging ray-gun blasts and runaway robots, and run into the corridor Miss Narbon's just gone down. I grab Miss Narbon's wrist (the one holding her gun, so she can't shoot me) and start dragging her to the exit. 

It takes her a few seconds to realize what's going on, but when she does, she starts hitting me in sensitive spots, trying to get me to release her. After enough hits to the head, I grab her other wrist as well. I'm lucky I wore the codpiece.

Off I go, ducking around those darn robots, dodging the defense systems of David Toboz's lair, Jane Narbon in tow. It's a pretty painful journey all the way to my car, where the restraint systems kick in and bind Miss Narbon into a seat.

As I zoom off, I yell at David Toboz "And don't even think about trying to rescue her!!"

Actually, I hope he doesn't try-- that energy shield I used to deflect his spider monkey worked great, but the power drain knocked out half my lair's systems.

Soon, I will have repaid Jane Narbon for trying to kill me.

(really evil grin) Heh heh heh.

Jane Narbon (lady_madsci) says: Man, Ezekiel sure gets around a lot, doesn't he?


The Mad Scientist Wars:

Ok, now what? My personal effects are in the front seat of this mechanical monstrosity So It Begins calls a car, where I can't get at them. I didn't think I'd be having to do anything of this sort, so all I have on me are a few slap patches of various chemical compositions (acid, sedative, etc.) Unfortunately, this seatbelt is pinning my arms as well as my body, so I can't get to those either.

I guess I'm really, truly stuck this time. Curse that So It Begins! Ah well... at least this ride'll give me time to plan what to do next. And to ponder on the matter of Professor Tinker a bit. I do hope he hasn't been wreaking havoc on my lab in my absence.

Well, there's nothing to do now but wait...
NigaiAmai Yume (nigaiamai_yume) says: Ten bucks says by the end of the sidequest, Tip's agreed to kick Skinhorse out of their offices. I wonder how the other's would react to that - no, wait, I don't. I know. It involves guns and allergic reactions.
Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says:

I would totally charge more for that credenza. It took two years to make? Those modern market prices are for things getting churned out of a factory. Whatev, their life.

Mad Scientist Wars:


What, nobody missed me? Now I feel sad. I guess I'll just take it out by using the army of zombies I made at the asylum.

Zombies Attack Prof Tinker's Lair!

What?! There wasn't anybody there.

Alright, Attack So It Begins' lair!

Nobody there either.

Attack Jane Narbon's Lair!

Just an unconscious Prof Tinker?!

What is going on? Nobody is to be found.I can only draw one conclusion. There is a new mad scientist that needs to be wiped out. But how to find them. Oh, who cares, I'll just drop an atomic bomb on the city and look for the survivors, their bound to be mad scientists. 

Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says: P.S. I am registered on the forums and waiting for the administrators to okay me.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: Ezekiel is the centipedes' Gilligan ...
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

Death Robots or Credenza? Not a question. I gotta see the death robots.

Assuming these guys use their mandibles to shape the wood, I think I know where the apple butter came from.

<TrueStory>I used to live in Australia. (Awesome place!) An American of my acquaintance, on her first morning in country, was delighted to find apple butter on the hotel buffet. She slathered it on her toast, then froze in mid-bite. A waiter noticed her apparent distress and asked if she was ok. She was, but said she thought the apple butter had gone bad. The waiter replied, "I don't know what apple butter is, but that's Vegemite and you used way too much."</TrueStory>

I suspect that the centipedes' apple butter won't taste as good as Vegemite.

Mel Van Weelden (kessalia) says: I don't see that Ezekial is getting around a lot... now they are at the credenza, he's always been the one on the far left.  *shrugs*
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Tin Wrist Schemes Data (2): I blast Mr. Purple Knight with a charge cannon, knocking him right out of the universe. Your invitation has been revoked. Thank you, come again!
Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

. . . . . Dang, thats expensive. But it is  lovely crdenza. . . . still, the Death robots are bound to be easier.

 Still, the question remains: Will Tips outfit survive?

The Mad Wars

Well, I've been knocked out again by the Fluffy hologram, discovered that Miss Narbon has a good encryption device, played with her lazers, watched a few DvD's. . . . where is that woman?!

She should have been here, gloating over my defeat and capture, offering an alliance/ demanding my servitude HOURS ago. I mean, really!

. . .  which means she has been detained. Drat. I suppose I had better see what I can do - hoo hoo! What's this! She has a fully stocked botany lab? Well, my mother taught me a few tricks in the field. . . . Let's see if  i can't send a few beasties to her rescue. 

Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says:

Starting to look like C.A. Smith's "The Seven Geas'.

The last one will make it necessary for him to kill the silverfish.

(Who by then will be extinct)



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