Shaenon K. Garrity's Comics   || Online Comics · RSS · Creator Profile · Join Mailing List ·
Smithson Thus Far... ·

Alycia Shedd (leeshajoy) says: Spore AND Portal referenced in one strip! See if you can work in Mass Effect for the geek trifecta.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Yup, it's a lie. Now, Red (Hat) Pill or Blue (Screen of Death) Pill?
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:
Spore AND Portal referenced in one strip! See if you can work in Mass Effect for the geek trifecta.

I was concerned that my comics weren't nerdy enough.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

"...a government conspiracy stole my brain!"

"Hey, look what we stole out of that kid!"
"Cool!  What is it?"
"I dunno, never seen one before ..."

(And I suppose Nick's body is off in Australia somewhere, dancing and singing at young women who walk by.  No brains yet, but 22 restraining orders ...)

Steve Davis (stantz) says:

Is it wrong that I really wish that "Marshmallow toasting" wasn't part of the programming. A marshmallow toasting planet seems so peaceful. The entire dominant culture can be based around marshmallow toasting. All the families would get together after dinner to bond over toasting marshmallows, while singing marshmallow toasting songs. Naturally, the culture would inform the archetecture, so the cities would be wonderfully soft and comfy looking, while still being flame retardant so you could toast marshmallow anywhere. Instead of war, the different nations would come together to toast marshmallows as one. Such a coplex people, held together by simple act of running a skewer through a marshmallow and slowly turning it over an open flame until it's golden.

And by "Marshmallows" I mean "lesser species."

Zarathustra's Id (zarathustrasid) says: Hmm, crazy air-drummer Larry's story is starting to sound more plausible...
Rob (rrreed) says: "A government conspiracy stole my brain, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt tax break helicopter Osprey!"
Dan (selcouth14) says:

This [comic] was a triumph!

I'm making a note here...huge success!

Joyce Melton (halfelven) says: Besides an incredibly acute fashion sense? Nah!
Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: See, if it's a superpower, that makes things easier. Superpowers can't be shared, so I can't be jealous.
Pete Bleackley (petethemadscientist) says: The thing about Tip is; I'm not dumb, but I don't understand, how he can dress like a woman and pull like a man...
David Given (dg) says: Sufficiently sharp dressing transcends gender issues.
Bauke Schildt (tephlon) says: Pete Bleackley: ooh! Too bad T-I-P doesn't scan to L-O-L-A... :-)
James Kehl (shykta) says:

 @Pete: I went to the base out Maryland way; where they serve your brain in a nice glace', thanks EULA. (E U L A.) I walked out with Miss Virginia Lee; oh my, what a sight to see...

 It'll be interesting to watch for short circuits and/or brain explosions when Nick sees Tip (and that checkerboard skirt!)

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: No, the brain explosions would come if Dr. Lee and Tip take Nick for a ride and decide to join the Mile High Club ... and of course, the stereo would be playing an Explosions In The Sky CD.
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

@Pete:  I think that's covered by "bishonen", -- already brought up way back before the Basement Empire arc.

Ed:  Mile high?  Um... does Nick have a pressurized cabin?

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: You don't need a pressurized cabin at 5,300 feet. Supplemental oxy isn't required until 10,000.
Real Unimportant (realunimportant) says:

@David: Bishounen applies to men who look androgynous or even feminine, and let's face it that doesn't apply to Tip!

I think it's more of a self-confidence thing, a guy has to have a strong self-image to be able to pull off a dress (fnarr) - an acquaintance went to a Halloween party in a dress as "man in a dress" and ended up leaving early with a rather attractive young lady who'd monopolised his attentions all evening; he's still trying to wipe the smile off his face ;) 

Ray Dillinger (bear) says: Y'know, I think Sweetheart is still stinging from that comment Tip made a few strips ago about her being easier to talk to than a "real" woman. 'Cos dern it, she's plenty real. It's the whole cross-species dynamic that makes her into some kind of toy thing in Tip's mind. Aaand, well, this is the way Tip treats "real" women. Doesn't speak well of his respect for Sweetheart, does it?
Eric Burns (ericburns) says:

I agree that's part of what Sweetheart's feeling, but I think at root it's inverted.

Tip doesn't think of Sweetheart as a real woman, so he seeks her advice because hey, she's technically female and she might have some insight and it's not like she's one of those people....

I like Tip a lot, but there are bits of him that don't come off very well.

Brand Willis (brandyllyn) says: Is there a language censor in Sweetheart's software too now?
Eric Burns (ericburns) says: Yes. It's called "I was raised in Canada."
Ray Dillinger (bear) says: Just a note.... for no reason related to this comic, every time I'm about to mention "Sweetheart" I have to stop myself from typing "Snowball." I don't understand why, but the visual image of Sweetheart was already associated with a (different) name in my mind before the strip even started. I cannot figure out why.
Ray Dillinger (bear) says: You know, there's a city named Leadville Colorado where the elevation is 10,152 feet and the natives walk around with no respirators.

And that's not the highest city elevation in the US; only the highest that's big enough to have an airport.

Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says:

Ray Dillinger says: "You know, there's a city named Leadville Colorado where the elevation is 10,152 feet and the natives walk around with no respirators."

The operative word here being "natives". I'm should think that if, for some reason, a visitor to the city were to step outside for more than a few minutes, lightheadedness would eventually ensue until their body adjusted to the thinner air.

Zarathustra's Id (zarathustrasid) says:

"I'm only cleared for one night!"

Responsible hedonism. It's brilliant, I'm trying that out first chance I get. 

Joyce Melton (halfelven) says: It adds a biblical dimension to the phrase, "need to know."
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Dr. Lee's
Not my girl!
She's just a girl who thinks that I am so hot!
I gave her my best shot!

Dr. Lee's
Not my girl!
She just agrees that bumping uglies is fun!
So Tip will f*** and run!

(Yeah, it's Michael Jackson, "Billie Jean", you knew that.)

Rob (rrreed) says: *sigh* I miss the days when the insanely obsessive, asocial scientist could just be "mad", and not labeled as being "evil", "bumbling", or "misunderstood". Sure, mad scientists and evil geniuses aren't mutually exclusive, but it's the latter that give the former a bad name.

I blame Tesla. He just had to go around talking about his death ray for years before WWII.
Scott Lawrence (risky) says: Much belatedly, it occurs to me that "Mass Effect" would make a great "euphamism" for Biscuit to rattle off mid-diatribe.
Joyce Melton (halfelven) says: Well, I would say CAT fight but those noises are the wrong species.
Rockphed (rockphed) says:

My finely tuned genre senses declare that those two have a history.  I forsee much drama.  Bring it.

Sor Cyress (sorcyress) says:

Go Virginia! Tear Unity apart!!

 ...mostly just because I want to find out if Unity's assorted limbs can function independent of her body.   

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: W-e-l-l-l now, this is interesting.
Pete Bleackley (petethemadscientist) says:

Unity said earlier that she didn't like Anasigma. I have a theory as to why,

They made her.

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

Now there's a Jane Austen moment!

Love the flying hairpins - so Witch Hazel!

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Ebony and Ivory" by Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder) 

And Dr. Lee
Seem to have some unspoken
Now off-panel they're brawling,
Bad names calling;
Cat fight, wheeeeeeee!

Owl Mirror (owlmirror) says:

"Love the flying hairpins - so Witch Hazel!"


Wait a minute.

Groom Lake is out West, right?

Is Ms. Lee a Wicked Witch?

Owl Mirror (owlmirror) says:


More tortuously, is Nick "Chopper" Zerhakker a flying (code) monkey?

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says: It's so nice when you meet an old friend and go up to her and grip her warmly by the throat.
Ray Dillinger (bear) says: Man. I know just how Unity feels. The people you meet when you don't have a gun.....
Rob (rrreed) says:

@Pete: Assuming Unity is the Patchwork Girl and that Dr. Lee created her, then it follows that Dr. Lee is Dr. Pipt—a crooked magician, but not a wicked witch.

Hmm… What if Nick is a necrotic brainship, the recipient of work similar to that done to create Unity? Nick would then be Unity's step-brother!

@Owl Mirror: Oooh, I'm having a Jonathan Coulton moment here…
Connor Harris (connor) says: Man, if only Dr.Lee hadn't said Unity's name! Everyone would be suspecting that Unity had some sort of possesiveness of Tip. It would have been hilarious.
K C (spotweld) says:

Two nerds enter, one nerd leaves

Two nerds enter, one nerd leaves 

Two nerds enter, one nerd leaves.... 

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

One nerd circling...

One nerd circling...

One nerd circling...

Alycia Shedd (leeshajoy) says: What is Unity's name an acronym for, I wonder?
Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: I don't know the off switches for any of my coworkers. Unless "how to distract them" counts.
Christy Houston (neverendingrain) says: I'm in love with Dr. Lee's disapproving face and (only slightly) mussed hair in panel two.
eNoob (boonead) says: I sense a future running gag. This would be HILARIOUS during a fight at IHOP!
Ray Dillinger (bear) says: Still, they had that single, beautiful, poignant moment. When a monster and its creator share a wistful memory, just before the violence begins. Nothing can take that moment away from them....
Rob (rrreed) says:

"If you had an off switch, Doctor, would you not keep it a secret?"

"I guess I would."
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: She's got an off switch, mm? All of a sudden, I'm kinda reminded of a certain 'River' person...
Pete Bleackley (petethemadscientist) says:

She's an evil woman

She'll take your brain but you won't feel it

She's seen you comin'

Before you know it you'll be a machine.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Let me shut her down,
I just say to her,
"Blueberry Waffles",
Which makes her feel awful,
Like needles in her cranium!
Blueberry waffles have her!

(TUNE: "Strawberry Fields" by The Beatles)  I know the 3rd and 4th lines don't scan quite right, but this was the obvious melody that came to mind.

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says: Just visualizing Unity and Sweetheart going to obedience classes, and Sweetheart patiently explaining, "No, ma'am, we're here for her..."
John Breckenridge (jbrecken) says: Unstable Necrotic Infantry Trooper - whY?
Bill McGann (odo) says:

"Blueberry waffles"  


 The more I read this, the more twisted (and interesting) it gets ;) 

Pete Bleackley (petethemadscientist) says: Next time, Unity, start by hitting her in the mouth.
Vlad Taltos (flyingfish) says: "Fruity Oaty Bars!"
Brand Willis (brandyllyn) says: Kudos on working in a Star Trek reference Rob
Sean Duggan (duggansc) says: I know off-switches for my co-workers, but they tend to be pressure points, are slightly awkward to depress during meetings, and may result in lost consciousness and/or death. Pity.
Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says: doughnuts tend to suspend agression patterns around here.
Drew (pseudowolf) says:


"Grab the 'handle' and press the 'button'." - Brock Samson

Rob (rrreed) says: "Let go of your own throat, Hank."
Joyce Melton (halfelven) says: Do you have the feeling that UNITY has personal experience with brain needles?
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Normally a safe word requires the consent of the other person....
Rob (rrreed) says:

Rule #59: I will never build a sentient device smarter than I am.

Corollary to Rule #59: Nor will I build a sentient device without an OFF switch that cannot be disabled.
Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says:

I'd argue that Blueberry Waffles sounds like it should be common enough that it wouldn't make a good command code, but given how agressive and destructive she is normally, I can't really fault them for that.

I bet Tip and Sweetheart start bringing waffles to work periodically from now on.

George Feamster (redstar42) says: The real question is whether or not Unity can build up a resistance to the word. 
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:
Unity was originally designed for combat situations only. It didn't occur to Anasigma that she would end up working in an office in Virginia, in constant danger of exposure to delicious breakfast pastries and people's orders of same.
Terry Volkirch (terry) says: I wanna have Dr. Lee's baby! Please? *sigh*
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Dr. Lee made Unity ... and Tip just made Dr. Lee.  (Insert adolescent giggle here)

Terry Smith (wcfan) says:

I agree with Michael Brewer. You can't take Unity to the IHOP without her getting zapped.

 On the other hand would, would you, ever?

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: Dr. Lee has Unity's OFF switch, and Tip has Dr. Lee's ON switch.
Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says: What is the geodesic-looking thing behind Unity in panel 4 that isn't there in panel 1?
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

Johnn: It's a radome - a skin of heavy, RF-transparent material stretched on an aluminum or steel frame and slightly pressurized to provide environmental and visual protection for an antenna, most often one with a parabolic reflector. Among other things, it protects the electronics near the antenna from rain and normalizes the wind-resistance profile so the users don't need to worry about whether the reflector will "catch" the wind. They are also cool as hell to climb around in.

Its sudden appearance in panel 4 can be attributed to field tests of an invisibility cloak...or to the view in panel 1 being blocked by workmen carrying an oversized painting of nineteen polar bears fornicating in a snowbank.

Joyce Melton (halfelven) says: The radome was always there but the view in the fourth panel was made with a telephoto lens from a great distance, flattening the field of view. The view in the first panel on the other hand was made at a conversational distance with a normal lens allowing the closer lump to block the view of the radome. At least, that's my explanation. :)
William Tracy (afishionado) says: I had a waffle for breakfast in Unity's honor.
James Kehl (shykta) says:


 Now there's an interesting question: did Mustachio's creators design in an OFF switch?

Bnod struggled futilely in bonds as the cutting laser edged ever closer. His hated nemesis looked on, one metallic finger stroking his brass mustache carelessly.

"With your death,Bnod, the world will have no choice but to submit to my demands!"

"Just tell me one thing, Mustachio - why me?"

"Wh... Wh... Wh..." *SPROING* *TINKLE* *CRASH*

Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says:

William Tracy says: "I had a waffle for breakfast in Unity's honor."

But was it a *blueberry* waffle? Otherwise it doesn't really count... 

Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: Huh. Does this mean that Tip just slept with Unity's mom? Oh, the comedic possibilities...
Bryce Utting (butting) says:

If there's nothing sadder than a wet transvestite, a revenant whose creator was just goinked by said transvestite has got to be close.

Also, radome?  Feh.  Those balloon nasties from The Prisoner have gone hi-tech, is what it is.

Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says: Rover.  Scariest Weather Ballon ever.
Add a Comment:
Log In or Register to post a comment! It's free!

Tooncast this comic on your own website by copying and pasting this code snippet:
<script language="javascript" src=""></script>
Shaenon Garrity ||    Forum ·  External Homepage ·  Blog · 

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