Some minor changes between page and strips, nothing huge. I’d originally intended to do the drawing and then just the first strip tonight, but it was just. So. Easy. Wham, done.

The real hurt here was the environment – it modeled easily, rendered like a cow on ketamine, and took a good amount of shopping and wrangling to whip into shape. Rendering work started on the 24th, was cut short on the 25th due to personal reasons, and again on the 26th due to social reasons – basic assembly finished early on the 27th, a day further complicated (for good! GOOD!) by an eleventh hour phone call and an email. Different people, different work. Key word: work.

So I’ll be a different kind of busy for the foreseeable future – still drawing, still nerding, still doing what I do – just not to the comic. As much, anyway – I expect the next page to take longer than this one did. It’s only fair, really – the two after that are really easy.

CG-wise, the corridor was a simple thing, the ship in the last panel was finished a few months ago (my first ship with a full UVW unwrap!), and the cube – first seen in the climax of The Dualist – was built months and months ago with this scene in mind. Clean up the render spackling, add smoke, let simmer for an ill-defined period of time. Serve cold.

In terms of plotting, the roots of this scene are old. Very old. It’s one of DCR’s more important scenes – before the chapter is over, you’ll know why! I promise!

In the meantime, I’m booked solid for Work and there’s SPACESHIPS IN MY SCI-FI!

Strip 153 – The blurbier bits of the blurb have already been jotted down for the ATC page post – DCR gets the short end of the stick, again!

Strip 154 – I like how Yang turned out. I’ve taken to adding a layer of airbrushed shadow – for the shots I’ve used it in, it seems to work well… though it looks better on some monitors than it does on others, so I’m not sure if I’ll stick with it.

Back when I was building the cube I spent hours on lighting tests, trying to get the indicators to glow in a really specific way. A really specific way that takes about five seconds to do in photoshop – wand, new layer, paint bucket, deselect, blur. It has other, less interesting faces – we’ll see them eventually.

Strip 155 – Thoob! BOOM!

You’d be right to think that a grenade launcher can’t blow a door open, at least not in the way that’s seen here. This is NOT an error on my part – it’s intentional. The logic behind the behavior will be hinted at over the next few strips, and either explained or remarked on in further detail later in the story.

If you just can’t wait: The grenades have proximity fuses. The ship has proximity sensors. While the ship isn’t keen on Yang and Aleph leaving with shiny bits, it’s even less keen on sustaining further damage. Hence the ship automatically opening the hatches a split second before the grenades explode, and hence Yang successfully using his boomstick to force his way out.

It also makes for a nice spot of fantastically stupid violence.

Not shown: the lead-up to this scene, in which Yang and Aleph are trapped, Yang admits it’s a dumb idea and tries it anyway.

Strip 156 – Phenomenal cosmic transparency! Itty bitty grenade!

Guns make some people stupid. Like, epically stupid. Yang’s up there with Ornix for Gun Idiocy (and Gun Awesome, though we won’t see much of that in the story).

Too bad James wouldn’t let him bring his sword.

Cast

  • Jason Whitehouse

    The king of social engineering, the crown prince of noise, and a self-described “Post-American Electro-Snob.” Jason has a deep interest in industrial, electronic, ambient, metal and gothic music, and a well-researched interest in radio...

  • Michael Yang

    An Army special forces verteran, Yang served as the Chief of Heirotus Corporate Security from shortly before the time of the first MBO-1 Encounter until his near-death in January, 1968. Some time after that...

Glossary Articles

  • Aeon

    Known to modern humans as Morgan Bay Observatory Unknown Object 1 (MBO-1), the Aeon is an autonomous starship, tens of thousands of years old and apparently of human origin. The ship was briefly boarded...

  • Arvak-class transport

    The Arvak class transport is the fleet backbone of the Interstellar Transit Authority. A relatively short range transport designed for hauling humans and cargo from station to station, the Arvak type is solid, reliable,...

  • Grenade Launcher

    Grenade launchers are single-shot projectile weapons that lob explosives over a moderate distance. The model depicted in The Dualist appears to be an unsighted variant of the M-79, whereas the wire-stocked variant shown in...

  • MBO-2

    An object removed from MBO-1 by Aleph Stevens in the early 1960s, MBO-2 is initially assumed to be some sort of flight data recorder. According to Brandon James the enclosure is opaque to conventional...