dcr4_script_page_1620120220, 2000

Line art creation, cleanup and integration between roughly 2100 yesterday and 0600 this morning. About to commence shading, still need Lang’s pad, still intend to draw it this week. Looks like I’ll be posting a few pages at once instead of a page every couple of days.

Rendering of this page was completed January 30, after which it was ignored for nearly three weeks. If I hadn’t drawn this yesterday I sure wouldn’t be drawing it now – while last week was a bit of a roller-coaster for work, this week is off to an extremely rough start. With all major projects presently requiring client input to proceed and all other (paying) work on the fence until later tonight or some time tomorrow, it’s Shade Or Go Mad time.

DCR 4.20 is rendered, panel one of 4.21 is rendering.

Aleph’s CG dummy has a bit of a belly – I drew her with a more athletic appearance in her previous scenes, and figure sticking to the original character spec is as good a way as any to imply that some amount of time has passed since the previous regression to this lifetime. Several years, most likely – this scene takes place in January of 1968.

2127 – A brief note on FTL, specifically BTS. The “Jump Flare” is typically an entry-only artifact. Jump flares on exit occur when the ship comes in “short” – when it’s pulled out of am by an object of greater mass. As this is typically the best way to get as close as possible to your target they’re a frequent occurrence with BTS travel. A “stealth” jump of the type the Sabrosa attempted at the beginning of The Dualist would have had a typical Am exit if the ship hadn’t nearly hit the moon – a brief “puff” of light that in film/video FX would bear a strong resemblance to the BSG FTL “blip.” While there is some degree of granularity over the method of exit (or rather, how “loud” that exit is – a puff or a BLAM!), “Jump Flare” in story parlance almost invariably indicates an entry point, as opposed to an exit. The intensity of this flare is (broadly) determined by the mass of the ship, the distance of the jump, and the “proximity to zero” (Am Zero, or 0.0) of the BTS hardware.

The flare is effectively “waste energy” – the BTS is fed by a Transition Core, and the TC expels all stored energy at once. Energy not consumed by the BTS as it rips the ship out of reality is expelled as as a blast of light and high-intensity radiation. The TC being more of a Blunderbuss than a Glock, the only way around the Use Once And Recharge limitation is to carry more than one transition core. As of The Dualist the only spacecraft that do this are Heirotus capital ships – while they typically use one at a time they can vent the energy of both simultaneously.

While the Aeon is not a large ship – it would fit neatly between the Sabrosa‘s forward prongs – it is executing an extra-galactic jump from the edge of the galaxy. There’s practically nothing between the ship and Tartarus at this point so a Near Zero jump is possible. It’s jumping a distance approximately the radius of the galaxy, which is Rather A Long Way. Hence the energy of the jump flare is roughly equivalent to… oh… a very small supernova.

In other words, weather patterns on that planet just got severely disrupted.

A Deep Space jump would doubtless be more appropriate. However, the Aeon is under orders to make a noisy exit, even if those orders have just been mooted. It looks cool, and there’s doubtless some scientific value in touching off one hell of an energy blast well inside the magnetosphere of a gas giant.

Unrelated: Two panels left to shade.

20120221, 0245 – After several work-related things, shading is complete. As with 4.15, page still needs Lang’s notebook page. After this much delay that art had better be ultra super badass – or at the very least, better than the material I used for chapter three.

This should be totally obvious by now – I made some changes to the layout of the last page and the present page, both to make the scene a little more dynamic and to make it easier to draw.

I have no idea what “they” say about Rhikommi girls.* I do know that Mike West, like anyone, has an ear for opinions that support his preconceived notions. He’s a Large Ham, and he’s the kind of oversexed rock star that makes Frank Booth look like a eunuch. His talents – he’s a decent pilot and one hell of a Navigator** – are in very high demand. As the Navigator genes are hereditary, the guy pretty much gets to have whatever kind of fun he’s in the mood for.

20120223, 22:53 – Pad socketed in. Lined up nicely on the center panel. Contrast is sub-optimal, may shoop it some more before I stick a fork in it.

20120224, 15:35 – For the detail oriented – that is, in fact, the same gate shown on screen a couple of pages back.

20120224, 23:24 – Noodled a bit on the metadata for this page. I’ve hit a critical Fuck Off point with the current pages – I could push them out the door or I could sit on them indefinitely. I do know they’re not going up tonight – I have client work to ink and scan and so forth. And I have no idea how my weekend is going to shape up.

20120229, 0244 – Fork-sticking, a la the previous page.

It’s a UNIX system! I know this!

0249 – Fork-stucked. 4.17 through 4.21 have been ready for line art since the 23rd. Panel one of 4.22 is rendered. Will start drawing as soon as I have four or five solid hours of time to throw at the comic. I have no idea when that’s gonna be. That’s half the reason I documented this page and the previous one the way I have, in order to give some indication of the present shape of my schedule.


* They do have horns. So they must be horny, right? Right? ….. right?

** For those who came in late – Navigators can transition jumpnet-equipped hardware in and out of Am (aka “hyperspace”). The Biomagnetic Transfer System (BTS) is a synthetic form of this capability. BTS specs were inadvertently recovered from MBO-1/Aeon by Aleph, “recalled” by Lang, and hardcopied into dozens of notebooks during Lang’s “download” phase. Heirotus owns the patents and has been re-developing the technology, making the equivalent of trillions of dollars in the process.

While some Navigators see the advent of the BTS as the end of space travel as they know it, many see the vocal minority as a bunch of entitled pricks that have been holding up human expansion for centuries. By and large Navigators have welcomed the BTS – the hardware is obscenely expensive, maintenance intensive, and most importantly it’s friggin’ HUGE. Due to its mass and volume the BTS is used only on the largest of ships – freighters and capitals, the kind of vessels that can hardly be described as fun to drive. With the Heirotus FTL system rapidly taking over the capital market (and the larger sub-capitals by the time of The Dualist) and with demand for FTL systems, FTL-capable ships and Navigators remaining sky-high, Navigators have more options than ever before.

What no Navigator knows – and what hasn’t been directly stated in the story yet – is that modern BTS is a slightly less accurate technological equivalent of Dyluck’s ability to instantly “teleport” one aspect to another. Dyluck doesn’t actually teleport (Greymalkin’s statements to this effect are something of a red herring) – she creates a near-zero “jump point” between wherever she is and wherever else she is and moves from A to B or B to A. The aspects may be able to switch position – that remains to be seen. Orientation is also questionable – Val and Thad are on very nearly the same relative plane and fairly close together during the “teleportation” incidents in The Dualist, so Right Side Up isn’t an issue.

The Star Trek transporter? Pics or it didn’t happen. Wormholes? Fuck yeah, I can get my head around that.

Mastering notes, 2016.12.05 – Fixed a grammatical error in the center-left panel.


  • A renowned psychometrist with years of experience working for the court system, Judas Lang was been contracted by Heirotus founder Brandon James to perform a “read” of the stellar artifact known as MBO-2. Some...

  • The previous incarnation of Jason Whitehouse, and a contemporary of Brandon James and Michael Yang around the time of the MBO-1 incident. A potent psychic and self-proclaimed “conditional past-life regressor,” Aleph used her unique...

  • An exceptionally talented navigator and the father of John West. The most talented navigator on the Heirotus payroll until he left the company in 1968, Michael was one of the first genetic contributors to...

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...

  • Epiphany

    A Pecora class star freighter used for early Heirotus BTS tests. Presumed destroyed during a premature BTS discharge event in January 1968, though no wreckage was recovered. Status upgraded to “missing” after captain and...