Comic 276 - The Singer

26th Mar 2015, 12:00 AM
The Singer
Average Rating: 5 (20 votes)

Author Notes:

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Haegan2005 26th Mar 2015, 12:12 AM edit delete reply

And not a word spoken!

Well, at least not out loud! lol
Centcomm 26th Mar 2015, 1:19 AM edit delete reply

Well a few words :D
Haegan2005 26th Mar 2015, 1:24 AM edit delete reply

Yes, I did miss those three... :(
Sheela 26th Mar 2015, 9:05 AM edit delete reply

Considering that the alien is probably Telepathic, Galina must have come off as a rambling idiot if they can read her. XD

Also, is it me or is Galine a wee bit attracted to her ?
A bit of bisexuality sneaking in, is there ?
Tokyo Rose 26th Mar 2015, 9:31 AM edit delete reply

It's possible to find someone aesthetically beautiful without wanting to fuck them.
MikeLinPA 26th Mar 2015, 10:57 AM edit delete reply
Yes, It's possible, but not likely. There is a reason our urges kick in so easily..., because it is a successful way to not run out of people! ;)
kitty 26th Mar 2015, 6:56 PM edit delete reply
Speak for yourself. I'm straight but I can most certainly appreciate a beautiful woman without having any desire to take her to bed.

More to the point - is the alien taking this shape in an effort to relate to the humans, or is this their actual form?
Timotheus 30th Mar 2015, 4:54 AM edit delete reply

Please remember Galina's sexuality was programed into her by a loving father who wanted her to be as "REAL" as possible, not 10 million years of genetic hit or miss. That she is capable of all human emotion is undeniable, but you can bet it's as straight forward as possible and not complicated by "permutations".
Centcomm 26th Mar 2015, 3:06 PM edit delete reply

Galina is kinda Stogy in her Sexuality .. Shes ok with others. but she is most assuredly Heterosexual. and shes very into Jet. the thought of kissing in front of others would make her blush madly.
mjkj 26th Mar 2015, 10:35 AM edit delete reply

But they were said before first contact...
jamie59 26th Mar 2015, 12:16 AM edit delete reply

Every time I see a green girl I think Orion Slave Girl.
Centcomm 26th Mar 2015, 1:20 AM edit delete reply

There is a reason for that :D
stormbringer77 26th Mar 2015, 5:20 AM edit delete reply

Have you been hanging out with J.T. Kirk again?
Spelledeg 26th Mar 2015, 1:21 AM edit delete reply

Oh wow! The Eph..the plant people are gorgeous! I really like how you textured her, it looks like light reflects differently on her than human skin to a degree. At least it seems to pick up light differently. I'm not sure if it's actually different or just an effect of the lighting on this page but she looks really good! I'm looking forward to seeing the conversation - or telepathy that's to come next. :D Wonderful page, Cent & Rose! 'Her movements were music' - that is another awesome line.
Centcomm 26th Mar 2015, 1:35 AM edit delete reply

She actually does use a diffrent shader set up than Humans .. its a hair more matte than Human skin . and the normal red/blue undertones are removed ( sub surface settings ) as they dont have the same hemoglobin fluids as Humans Epiphyte blood is mostly clear and watery gel or hydraulic fluid they also get O2 and CO2 directly from the air. That is then pumped via dozens of small valves and "hearts" located all over the body its a very diffrent exchange system as Humans :D
Spelledeg 26th Mar 2015, 2:03 AM edit delete reply

Ah, I wasn't imagining things! Very cool stuff! Also your subsurface scattering work in general is a treat in this comic. I'm not exceedingly knowledgeable about 3D work(scrap 3D busts in sculptris is my only experience) but I do know subsurface scattering! :D I love how much thought has been put into their systems, too! Epiphytes seem like a very cool bunch.
chk 26th Mar 2015, 11:20 AM edit delete reply

xpacetrue 26th Mar 2015, 3:29 AM edit delete reply

I seriously doubt the telepathy would work with Galina. She's immune to their broken telepathy transmitter, which is what the artifactus meant by "protected". I believe it's because Galina's brain is partially positronic.
Centcomm 26th Mar 2015, 3:33 AM edit delete reply

you will see how immune she actually is, in the upcoming pages :D
Stormwind13 26th Mar 2015, 11:47 AM edit delete reply

Actually xpacetrue, if you are reading Data Chasers you KNOW how well it works. Tulip tells you on the pages Xenobiology (5 March 2013) and Ageless (6 March 2013).
plymayer 26th Mar 2015, 2:50 AM edit delete reply

Green women.

Watch out. Green women are always a hand full. She Hulk, Orion slave girls, etc...
xpacetrue 26th Mar 2015, 3:25 AM edit delete reply

Actually, if I didn't know better, I could almost accuse Cent of using the age-old stereotype of green-skinned aliens (ala, "little green men").

Gene Roddenberry did this with Vulcans and Romulans (a splintered faction of Vulcans). And he did it again with the Orion slave girls.

Green hair may be more worthy of concern. I could have sworn I read an article that suggested a link between green hair in anime and a tendency for the character to be crazy. Sadly, I can't find it on TvTropes. It makes sense, though: Outside of Halloween, have you ever seen anyone with green hair? Not everyone could pull that off and I think you'd have to be a bit 'strange' to even try.

Trivia: While reptiles, insects and some bird feathers can be (or appear) green, there is no hair or fur in nature that is naturally green.

On the other hand: Green is the most soothing of colors. And it symbolizes a strong, healthy environment.
Centcomm 26th Mar 2015, 3:32 AM edit delete reply

actually the Epiphytes lampshade the the "green skinned space babe trope " because they are plants and the skin and hair are filled with chlorophyll that allow them to turn light into energy. :D they are actually very stable mentally :D
plymayer 26th Mar 2015, 5:28 AM edit delete reply

She seems nice. So did my ex wife.
MikeLinPA 26th Mar 2015, 11:00 AM edit delete reply
Ouch! I'm right there with ya' bro!
MikeLinPA 26th Mar 2015, 11:19 AM edit delete reply
The shape of an animal's body is very different than the shape of a plant, and for many good reasons. I doubt a plant in the shape of a human could conduct enough photosynthesis to sustain life and growth, and certainly not muscular locomotion. (If the light was intense enough, maybe, but that would present other problems like heat and radiation.) Even plants that can move (turn, open or close petals,) couldn't move 120 lbs across the room in less than a day or two.

By taking an animal shape, they sentence themselves to needing external energy sources, like food and digestion. Even if they have a much more efficient mechanism than chlorophyll, the surface area to volume ratio just isn't right. There isn't enough energy in sunlight to be a sole energy source for something like an animal. That is why plants have broad flat leaves.

Unless the writers have some other biology already worked out, this (plant people) is one of those things that one must accept to get on with the story.

I think that I shall never see an ambulatory tree.
xpacetrue 26th Mar 2015, 4:13 PM edit delete reply

Re: Epiphytes and plant vs animal

I brought up some points on how they share some traits of both plants and animals 3 pages ago (including a mention of how fungi and protists are neither plant nor animal). I also questioned whether Epiphytes would quote, "neatly fit human scientific classification".

I would agree with MikeLinPA that it's extremely unlikely that a human-shaped walking plant could conduct enough photosynthesis - not only for normal growth, but to provide the energy for regular locomotion. That said, they are aliens with an undoubtedly alien biology. And Cent did indicate that they are omnivores (consuming plant and/or animal matter) at certain phases of their life cycle.

Perhaps walking Epips need to consume some food to supplement their nutrition and energy requirements? Obviously, they must drink (or otherwise absorb) nutrient rich juices or liquids. Even plants must "drink."
Kitty 26th Mar 2015, 6:59 PM edit delete reply
Polar bears sometimes have a greenish tint to their fur because of algae (at least in zoos they do).

As for hair, I just saw a girl the other day with hair tinted blue, pink, green and yellow. :D People get a little goofy around here in springtime.
plymayer 26th Mar 2015, 5:28 AM edit delete reply

Knew a bar tender who had green hair. But her hair never stays the same for long. She was especially pretty with dark brown hair (her natural color ? Who knows, she probably doesn't remember). Been green, blue, red (literally red), blonde, brunette and various other colors. Only have known her about four years. A color doesn't normally last a season.
velvetsanity 26th Mar 2015, 9:42 AM edit delete reply

I wouldn't be surprised if the concept of 'green hair in anime = crazy' originates in fanfics, specifically Ranma/Sailor Moon crossovers...many of which involve an insane Setsuna trying to prevent Ranma from crossing paths with the Senshi in any way, because of the chaos surrounding him posing a threat to the Crystal Tokyo timeline. Or, rather, Stesuna's repeated failures to prevent it driving her insane. It's particularly notable on the anime addventure site.
xpacetrue 26th Mar 2015, 5:16 PM edit delete reply

I remember now! I saw it on a demotivational poster. (I found it rather funny at the time.)

I would be surprised if this trope originated from fanfiction. And to come from a single source? I think it'd have to be incredibly popular for that. (Is Ranma fanfiction popular? I don't read many fanfics. But I have a friend who is obsessed with Naruto fanction.)

To be fair, a meme can originate from a single, sometimes even obscure source. However, green hair is more of a stereotype or generalization than a meme.
velvetsanity 26th Mar 2015, 6:41 PM edit delete reply

For a long time, Ranma fanfics were by far the most numerous
highlander55 26th Mar 2015, 8:39 PM edit delete reply

As far advanced their race is with space flight their biology would have had to evolve to allow mobility when and as needed. They could "root" while traveling, observing planets and be tapped into a constant feeding system until mobility is needed.
mjkj 26th Mar 2015, 3:30 AM edit delete reply

Yayyy, first real contact....

The very first Epiphyte since two millennia...

Soooo beautiful....

Centcomm 26th Mar 2015, 3:34 AM edit delete reply

yep :D Im glad you like her so far :D
mjkj 26th Mar 2015, 10:38 AM edit delete reply

Yup, I do :D
xpacetrue 26th Mar 2015, 3:33 AM edit delete reply

Yes, she is beautiful. Nicely done. In addition to the revealing outfit, what is striking is the exotic jewelry. Leaf earrings and twisted vines for a tiara?
Centcomm 26th Mar 2015, 3:35 AM edit delete reply

well they were mistaken for Nature spirits and gods when they came to earth before :D and normally Epips dont bother with clothing period :D
Fugacity 26th Mar 2015, 10:20 AM edit delete reply
So - does the physical form and clothing of the Epiphyte look semi-human just so that humans will be more comfortable, or is this how the normally look?
Centcomm 26th Mar 2015, 3:03 PM edit delete reply

This is a " comfort" form .. designed to make it easier to interact with humans.
Stormwind13 26th Mar 2015, 11:38 AM edit delete reply

I could see people worshipping that, CentComm! The Singer is gorgeous, very well done.
Centcomm 26th Mar 2015, 3:03 PM edit delete reply

that you Storm ! :D
Stormwind13 26th Mar 2015, 5:31 PM edit delete reply

Hmmm... maybe, CentComm...
ProfEtheric 26th Mar 2015, 3:49 AM edit delete reply

This page definitely made me smile. It's very, very touching. Well done! :)
Centcomm 26th Mar 2015, 3:02 PM edit delete reply

Yay! thank you Prof!
xpacetrue 26th Mar 2015, 3:49 AM edit delete reply

Speaking of Galina: It occurred to me that she would be a fascinating study - not just because she's an artificial person, but also in terms of psychology. She essentially "grew up" in about two years, without having a childhood. On Nadia base, she didn't get to socialize much at all and certainly not with those 'her age'. I'm just saying that, before, there should have been all sorts of scientists and experts begging to interview her. (For instance, she might be able to put to rest some of those longstanding nature vs. nurture debates. Potentially, she could singlehandedly turn psychology on it's head.) And now that she's the one who made first contact? She'll be the most famous person on both Luna and Earth, sort of like how Neil Armstrong became a household name.
Centcomm 26th Mar 2015, 3:02 PM edit delete reply

She has been bombarded by questions sense the "trial" before at Nadia base she was a closely guarded military project.. so no .. no one except a small group were allowed to interact with her.
cattservant 26th Mar 2015, 7:41 AM edit delete reply

Our heroine is a bit exotic too...
Centcomm 26th Mar 2015, 3:01 PM edit delete reply

that she is :D
cattservant 26th Mar 2015, 7:43 AM edit delete reply

Stormwind13 26th Mar 2015, 11:40 AM edit delete reply

Just my opinion, cat, but I think the Epiphytes are much cuter than triffids EVER were. Or at least they CAN be. The singer is gorgeous there.
Tokyo Rose 26th Mar 2015, 9:44 AM edit delete reply

Information on the nice green people can be found on the Datachasers "Tech" page, under "Races". :)

To summarize a little: no, they aren't constructs--their biology has much more in common with Plantae than Animalia. They are capable of altering their own body forms, and this one has indeed assumed a human appearance intentionally, to facilitate communication and peaceful interaction. :)
Morituri 26th Mar 2015, 1:56 PM edit delete reply
I know that the epiphytes can take any shape they want, given time to make the shift, so no correlation is necessary between appearance and gender.

But do the epiphytes even have gender as we understand it? Are they herm, or trinary, or something else we'd find odd? Obviously they're evolved, so they must have some way of mixing genetic information.
Centcomm 26th Mar 2015, 3:00 PM edit delete reply

That will actually be covered in the coming pages :D
Stormwind13 26th Mar 2015, 3:20 PM edit delete reply

I'm thinking the Singer's appearance is not an accident, Morturi. Many of the ancient 'oracles' were female, and it appears the Epiphytes were familiar with ancient Greece. So the Singer appears in a form that the ancient Greek culture would have understood.

Now as far as for reproduction, I don't think they would keep a human form for that. So human's points of reference would have no meaning to them for that.
xpacetrue 26th Mar 2015, 3:47 PM edit delete reply

From a biological perspective, sexual reproduction is terribly inefficient. Also, it introduces a lot of harmful mutations.

The only evolutionary pressure scienstists have found to explain it is evidence that it is needed in complex organisms in order to keep up with the rapid mutations in parasites and disease-causing microbes. (Case in point: Every year we see new strains of the flu and cold viruses.)

To explain sexual reproduction, scientists point to snails. They usually reproduce asexually (without a partner). But during the season of highest parasitic infestation, many snails engage in sex.

Logically, since it has major drawbacks, if a species evolved without the need to keep up with rapidly changing environmental conditions (such as rapidly mutating pathogens or parasites), there would not be the pressure to evolve sexual reproduction.
Tokyo Rose 26th Mar 2015, 7:31 PM edit delete reply

Each individual produces both male and female procreative cells. Any human-recognizable sex characteristics are an intentional aesthetic choice on the part of the individual.
xpacetrue 26th Mar 2015, 4:50 PM edit delete reply

O2 is poisonous to plants and CO2 is poisonous to animals? Plants intake CO2 and expel O2, while animals inhale O2 and expel CO2?

Gas exchange via respiration is more complex than that. In fact, plants do intake some O2 in addition to CO2. And at night, when photosynthesis stops, they not only stop expelling O2, but continue to absorb O2.

And while a buildup of CO2 can be harmful in animals, it's more accurate to call it a "byproduct" or "waste". The act of breathing dissolves several gases into the bloodstream, not just oxygen.

BTW: Research in sustainable hydrogen production to make fuel cell cars economically viable has led to the development of closed photobioreactors. Under certain conditions (namely, a lack of sulfur) they can induce certain types of algae to produce hydrogen instead of oxygen.

If they can do it in a lab with a naturally-occurring protist, it would not be surprising to find similar biological processes in nature. I'm just saying that I could easily imagine an alien plant-like species producing some gas other than oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis.
DLKmusic 26th Mar 2015, 7:54 PM edit delete reply

My thought on the Epiphytes was always that they were the seed of the Dryad myth in the LS/DC universe. Knowing now that they are plant based actually re-enforces that.
Centcomm 29th Mar 2015, 11:51 PM edit delete reply

They actually are that.. and they are also the reason for certain "Nature gods" that have popped up in our history :D
Matt Knab 26th Mar 2015, 8:36 PM edit delete reply

So...any good places to eat around here?
Centcomm 29th Mar 2015, 11:51 PM edit delete reply

maybe a nice salad bar?
Tokyo Rose 27th Mar 2015, 8:27 AM edit delete reply


A dark secret: This story is largely Soft Sci-Fi in a crunchy Hard Sci-Fi shell. :) Much like a lie is easier to believe when it's dressed up in truth's good clothes, it's easier to present the fantastic elements when they're surrounded by a realistic background.

The Epiphytes and their tech fall heavily into the realm of Clarke's Third Law, but Cent and I have had some pretty wild and extensive conversations about how they could have come to exist as they do. We're not biologists or physicists or botanists or any other sort of -ists, just huge freaking nerds. :)
xpacetrue 27th Mar 2015, 9:54 PM edit delete reply

@ duLapel

One can find many weird critters and lifeforms without having to turn to artificial selection or gene manipulation. Some plants can shoot their seeds like projectiles. The devil's claw is designed to wrap around an animal's hoof. And Socotra Island has some of the strangest-looking plants on Earth. They look like they came from an alien world.

Bacteria can be found almost everywhere, even 2 miles underground. Apparently, there's a species that derives energy from the decay of radioactive rocks. Indeed, some types of bacteria can survive the harsh environment of space and withstand a surprising intensity of radiation.

Symbiosis may create strange bedfellows. But I think there are stranger cases. For example, lichen is not a single organism. It's actually a combination of a fungus and algae growing in symbiosis. Apparently, the fungus helps the algae grow and survive in the harsh tundra environment.

Also, I thought I'd mention that termites can also chew through PVC pipe. Their jaws are that strong.
Morituri 27th Mar 2015, 10:54 PM edit delete reply
For what it's worth, at the moment I'm accepting the Epiphytes as probably a post-singularity species, where the distinction between "animal" and "plant" no longer really matters and having gengineered for themselves whatever set of *possible* abilities they've imagined and been able to figure out how to code for.

Or perhaps from a world where photosynthetic symbionts have taken the role of skin for some animal species, without losing the ability to photosynthesize.

Or perhaps from a world where there never really was much of a meaningful distinction and there's a range of species that fall somewhere between what we'd consider "animal" and "plant".

They probably eat as well as photosynthesize. Well, they'd kind of have to unless moving around is something they can do for only an hour or so after ten days of sunshine.
KittyHodge 27th Mar 2015, 11:33 PM edit delete reply
Sorry, wasn't that "insufficiently understood"?

And while I won't argue with your scientific points, could you not have been just a teensy bit less condescending? "Sorry, I used a Latin phrase." I detect a high horse in the vicinity. Just sayin'. I come here for an entertaining story, and would like to see us all respect one another regardless of our viewpoints.
KittyHodge 27th Mar 2015, 11:34 PM edit delete reply
Hmm. My reply was meant for DuLapel.
Centcomm 30th Mar 2015, 9:03 PM edit delete reply

I agree with Kitty in this Statement .. appearently instead of working on pages .. Ill have to start keeping a closer eye on the comments .. SIGHS

Please play nice guys .. NO attacking or condescending comments to other readers please .. You will make Me and Rose and Galina very sad.
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