Sunday June 23, 2002
Book 2: The Teraport Wars — The Teraport Wars
The astute reader may wonder whether or not the anti-tank breacher round Captain Megiddo turned loose at Gav was duplicated by the mini-gate. After all, we've established that Triniko, in order to allow the rescue-bot to be duplicated intact, has disabled whatever filtering mechanism prevents weapons, armor, and heat-resistant skivvies (such as those currently worn by one out of seven Megiddos) from being duplicated along with potential interrogatees. The consistency of the story hinges on little details like this, making such minutiae all that prevent Schlock Mercenary from being just a comic strip.

The challenge is that within the format of the comic strip, some story elements are necessarily omitted for clarity.

Missing from the above strip is a thirty-two-panel sequence featuring Triniko. Without going into too much detail, I'll say that it involves a flashback to her prior military experience in Nejjatese internecine border disputes. One occasion in particular haunts her -- she correctly judged the moment at which an enemy was going to open fire, but was frozen with fear, and saw comrades perish as a result. While it may be difficult to imagine all this without actual pictures, per se, try to imagine how the panels build very climactically to the current moment when she realizes that Gav's plan to make himself safely redundant is doomed unless she can cut the filters back in line. The imagery as she throws the switch is powerfully symbolic (sadly, the feminists in the audience would likely offer a non-family-friendly interpretation of the symbolism implicit in a female grabbing an oblong, vertically-oriented switch in order to save the life of a male standing within an aperture from penetration by a missile fired from a rigid tube -- fortunately, there are no pictures, and said analysis will never get outside of these parentheses), and can even be said to be triumphant.

Since it would have been over twice as long as the panels currently in place, we've decided to give Triniko's flashback a wide miss, and just add this note to the bottom of the strip. Editor: cue the note now, please.

Megiddo's missile was not copied by the gate. We have Triniko's fast hands to thank for that.


Narrator: The scientists at target echo discover that they are prisoners. Worse still, they are condemned prisoners.
Megiddo: Listen, I don't think I need all three of you to find that data dump for me.
Megiddo: In fact, I think that if i shoot one of you, the other two will search much more enthusiastically.
Gav-0: Suddenly i've discovered my motivation.
Trinko: Hey, me too!
Kevyn: My bowels just seethe with enthusiasm. Great speech, captain!
Rockhead: Sir, a fleet courier just dropped this off.
Megiddo: Whoa... Ugly.
AyleeBot: Pardon me. Where is the gate-copy mechanism?
Megiddo: The what?
Kevyn: It's right through there. Did Petey send you?
AyleeBot: I am here to rescue prisoners. Trinko, please disable the filters and set the mechanism to copy me to each of the prison modules.
Trinko: Done!
AyleeBot: Thank you.
Kevyn: Gav, what are you doing?
Gav-0: Hah! You can't kill me now, Megiddo!
Megiddo: I thought you scientists were supposed to be smart?That fleet monstrosity can't protect you if you hide in front of it.
Megiddo: You two- find me that data dump, or you'll end up like your friend.
Kevyn: Yes sir, you're the boss sir. We'll get right on it, sir.
Megiddo: That's more like it.
Kevyn: I think we should aspire to end up like gav.
Trinko: I'd rather there not be quite so many backups of me.