Priority Number One: Get paid.
Priority Number Two: Live long enough to spend your money.
- Captain Targon
by Howard Tayler
Schlock Mercenary is a science fiction
/comedy web comic
written by Howard Tayler
following the adventures of a company of mercenaries in the distant future. It is a daily comic strip
which has appeared since June 12th, 2000. The comic's artwork could be described as not that great. In fact, it's not that great. It's certainly progressed in the two years that it has been running and the author seems to have a good sense of humor about it so I don't feel terrible saying so
. Many of the strips have an accompanying note explaining the physics of what's seen the strip, discussing weapons used or otherwise showing that he did, in fact, think out what you're reading. The author also breaks down the fourth wall
in the strip for comedic effect. In other words, if you're looking for beautiful artwork and consistently serious subject matter, this comic is probably not for you. However, if you're looking for some humorous scifi mixed with some interesting plot lines, Schlock Mercenary might just be for you
Official spoiler warning
Below you will find explainations of the various story arcs that have occured during the series as well as character backrounds. The spoilers should be fairly light and shouldn't be anything that would ruin the experience of reading the comic. But if you're sensitive about that sort of thing, consider yourself warned.
- Sergeant Schlock
- Sergeant Schlock in the primary character of the series and its name sake. He is an amorph, an alien species whos physiology can be summarized as "a big blob with eyes and a mouth." He can regenerate after being blown apart, gain mass by eating and survive explosive decompression. As a mercenary, he has an appetite for violence and mayhem. He generally wields a BH series Plasgun which emits a noise when it is charged that is depicted in the strips as "ommminous hummmm." This intimidation factor is one of the many running gags in the series.
- Captain Tagon
- Captain Tagon has, at various times, commanded the Kitespear, the Post Dated Check Loan and various other space craft. He is in charge of the group of mercenaries that the strip details.
- Admiral Breya
- Admiral Breya was once in charge of the company that bought out Tagon's mercenaries. After her company collapsed she went out on her own. Naturally, her adventures intersect with those of the mercenaries. Her brother, Commander Kevyn, stayed behind when she left.
- Commander Kevyn
- Commander Kevyn is Tagon's science officer and Admiral Breya's brother. He invented the Teraport, one of the major technological innovations that the strip rotates around. Aside from that rather significant creation, he also built Ennesby's body, purged the plumbing ghosts from the Post Dated Check Loan and solved innumerable problems.
- The Post Dated Check Loan AKA Petey
- Petey is the AI for the Post Dated Check Loan, a massive Tausennigan Thunderhead Superfortress. When Petey enters into the series, Tagon aquires him at an extreme discount. The catch is that Petey has gone blitheringly insane due to the ship being haunted. Petey has been disconnected from the ships system since going insane, lest he commit suicide. Eventually, with the help of Kevyn and Ennesby, Tagon manages to get Petey's loyalty and then orders him to never think about ghosts or haunting again. As a result of this, Petey is exceptionally skilled at repression and lying. Petey's first appearance is in the Big Haunted Battleship story arc.
- Ennesby was originally an AI used to animate a holographic boy-band. After the AI's creations had a brush with the mercenaries, Ennesby decided to flee his current job and upload himself into Kitespear's computers. In order to get Ennesby out of their computers, Commander Kevyn convinced the AI to transfer into a body he built. It is basically a sphere on a stick but it's loaded with sensors and apparatus that allow him to affect the enviroment around him. His primary purpose seems to be delivering blisteringly bad puns.
- Chef Ch'vorthq
- The Chef was originally a diplomat genetically engineered to explode after being delivered. Luckily for him, the mercenaries were hired to act as couriers and they discovered this secret. However, they removed his right arm to get a tissue sample. After defusing him and dealing with the aftermath his arm was replaced with a wisk and he was hired on as the ship's cook. He was introduced in the Diplomatic Pouch of Doom story arc.
- The Previous Doctor
- The Previous Doctor is named that because he didn't last long enough in the series to recieve a name. He was caught in Schlock's crossfire during the BOARDERS!! story arc. His real legacy is an illegally modified cryokit which is run by the Emergency Medical Hologram.
- The Emergency Medical Hologram
- The Emergency Medical Hologram runs the previous doctor's heavily and illegally modified cryokit. It has all of the sketchy, dodgy and not quite on the up and up medical knowledge that a band of mercenaries could ever wish for. More than one crew member has been saved by his expertise. He first appears in the BOARDERS!! story arc.
- Doctor Bunnigus
- Doctor Bunnigus is Tagon's medical officer and was the child of idiots. Luckily, due to mandatory genetic engineering, they weren't allowed to pass their genes directly to her. Unfortunantly, they still got to choose her genetic traits. This is apperantly why she is drawn with very sizable female characteristics. She is introduced in The Shopping Trip story arc.
- Haban and Doyt
- Haban is an incredibly intelligent AI. Doyt is an incredibly stupid human. For one reason or another, Haban is grafted onto the spine and skull of Doyt. Consider it the ultimate odd couple in a single body. He enters the series when he shows up to collect the bounty on the crew's doctor. Unfortunantly, the doctor he's looking for is dead so he assumes the current doctor, Dr. Bunnigus, is the old doctor in a new body. Hilarity and decapitation ensues. He was originally introduced in the Bounty Hunting story arc.
- The Partnership Collective
- The Partnership Collective is a hive mind of soulless attorney drones that look like snakes. After Schlock killed a few Collective drones, they decided to retaliate. After some back and forth, Tagon's attorney sued the collective for an obscene ammount of money. They won the case but the collective refused to pay. As a result, the mercenaries were named instruments of the court and have had a standing bounty on all collective drones ever since.
- The F'Sherl-Ganni
- This race of "six-limbed, ten-handed goat-lizards" control all of the worm gates in the universe. Since Kevyn's invention of the Teraport is at risk of ruining their monopoly on long distance transit in the universe, they naturally have it out for our heros. They are the primary antagonists in the Teraport Wars story arc. The F'Sherl-Ganni first appear in the Interlude: Interrogation story arc.
- Wormgates are the primary mode of long distance transportation in the Schlock Mercenary universe. They are fixed point installments that open wormholes to other wormgates. Pretty standard stuff in science fiction.
- Teraports are a recently developed method of long distance transportation. They are portable and don't require any hardware at the destination. The basic idea is that rather than opening up a wormhole as large as the object passing through, it opens up billions of nanoscopic wormholes, turns the object to be transported into standing gravitic waves and transports the object and itself through the wormholes. For power, it uses a small amount of the mass being transported.
- Gravy Gun
A Gravy Gun is basically a high powered firearm that does incredible ammounts of damage by tears things apart with conflicting gravity gradients. In otherwords, it convinces various parts of you to move in different directions from everything else. This type of weapon is generally only used by large ships.