Debt of Honor
Okay. You made it through Debt of Honor. Now, you're probably sitting there wondering just what the heck that was about, who gave Jennies caffeine, and/or where to start queuing up to whack the responsible parties with a trout / haddock / pimento loaf / slapstick device of choice. (Then again, perhaps you're silently saying a prayer of thanks that Jennies rarely has the patience to do this sort of thing.)
The main gist of this proof-of-concept (and insanity) was to strip away all the clutter clogging my stories and see just how much images by themselves could convey. Would the story still make sense, or would it wind up feeling like a trip through someone else's photo album? I'm hoping it made sense. Perhaps not as much sense as it might have had with the occassional textbox, but enough to make it bearable. If nothing else, it's proven to me that: (1) I could, if I were so inclined by some insane whim, bud off some shorter adventures and make them into a Bob Kiwi web comic, and (2) said comic would not, under absolutely any circumstances at all except those involving large sums of money, be full-color. Or if it was, it would be less a comic and more a graphic novel - several panels, accompanied by portions of the written story, making the comic a "Cliff Notes" version of the actual adventure.
But enough of all that. You wanted to know what this comic was about, yes?
Strangely enough, this plot was rather straightforward. Our generically-ninja-clad thief breaks into SpaceFleet headquarters (or a division thereof), then a residence, and then deposits the perloined gray box of shiny metal bars taken from SpaceFleet in a Californian bank. The scene shifts to the apartment of one Squeaks Arcadia, recently exiled SpaceFleet captain, where a message, the key to a safety deposit box, and the red book taken from the residence have been placed on a countertop and left for him to find. Our intrepid hero examines the message, the key, and the book - which turns out to be a family photo album. As Squeaks goes through the album, the camera pulls back just long enough to catch sight of the departing ship as it speeds off.
Yes, yes, that's a great description of what you'd already figured out. Now for the fun stuff. Since I tend to be about as subtle as a two-by-four upside the head, and wield symbolism like a club on the occassions I use it, I'll give you the full breakdown here.
Who's the thief?
Time for bed. I may update this periodically, as more items of interest (or questions about the comic) arise.
Honestly? I don't know. My creativity demons wanted an adrogynous individual of indeterminate age and species, and they steadfastly refuse to reveal even so much as a name at this time, insisting that it's not important anyway. I tend to agree with them on this one - it doesn't matter who or what the thief is. What matters is this: they know, or knew, Squeaks during his SpaceFleet days, and evidently felt indebted to him. They're skillful enough to get into (and out of) SpaceFleet and the Arcadia residence without getting caught, familiar enough to know what to look for therein and how to get it, and and experienced enough to deal with locals (like the banker) without raising suspicion. Though they are returning an honor-debt, they are not so honor-bound to refrain from pilfering a bar or two and the odd metal, and while the tigryph recognizes their scent, the thief had not known about or expected the creature in the residence.
What was up with that gryphon, anyway?
Be nice, now. Scree was never trained to be an attack-gryphon, and at any rate I don't doubt for an instant that most people's "guard" pets spend a great deal of their time napping on duty. I'm hoping that somewhere between the photo album and vague memories of The Good, the Bad, and the Chibi you caught onto the fact that the gryphon was Squeaks' childhood pet. As gryphons go, tigryphs are the equivalents of german shepards (police dogs) with a twist of feral jungle cat; this one is more lonely than most, as the mouse that raised her from kittenhood has been notoriously absent for quite a while.
It was supposed to be fierce?!?
*Razberry* I think that was just my brain, begging for mercy. Sixty-five panels in one 8-hour session can do that to a person. You'll notice the comic is littered with lazy backgrounds and hastily-scribbled backdrop coloring jobs. A good deal of the oval vignettes exist solely because I couldn't be bothered to start/finish that panel's background at all, and needed a way of hiding that fact. But, hey, at least the hands looked good in their close-up panels...
Okay. About the banker...
No, it's not Beak with lollipops stuck to his head. It's a secretary bird. I saw one in the Smithsonian, and they have crests that look like that. The whole reason the bird got its name was because said crest reminded people of a secretary's container of quills...
I'm getting tired of Q & A. There's just a few more things I can think of that I wanted to say:
- The framed image in Squeaks' apartment is a shot, from the moon, of an earthrise. They're nifty, and seem somehow like Squeaks' style. Besides, blank walls are boring.
- Squeaks' parents served different military wings; his father is in an Arellian Naval uniform, while his mother is clad in the deep green dress uniform of SpaceFleet. (Is that important? Not that I can see, but I thought it was interesting. And you never know.)
- Also interesting, for those that spend time pondering Arellian physiology, is the fact that the fringed tails in the photographs are a far cry from Squeaks' badly kinked and frayed tail. It's not a racial trait, for those that had become convinced otherwise, but rather a remnant of days gone by. There is a story behind that one, and maybe I'll tell it to you someday.
- One last bit of drivel: If you look at the computer terminal's glyphs closely (and perhaps at 3am after several caffeinated beverages), you might find several distinguishable characters therein. Believe it or not, the screens *do* contain actual information, such as the fact the Jennies will, if stuck at work with nothing to do for nine hours, construct her own alphabet and system of pictograms. (If it helps, that was the Accounting database the thief accessed from the storage room's terminal.)
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