Hopefully you all can follow Sydney’s pantomime. Without motion it probably loses something. In case you can’t tell, the second panel of the pantomime she’s doing the universal symbol (in her mind) for “two toes.” Dabbler “Two Toes” Tantalis.

It bugs me in movies/spy shows when people fail at spycraft 101. Your contact hands you a USB drive? Don’t plug it in to your agency computer idiot! Or the network connected to your agency mainframe in Skyfall. I’m looking at you, Q. Plug it into an air gapped machine inside a Faraday cage. You and your cohort arrive early for the meeting? Discuss top secret plans why not? It not like anyone has invented a thing called a microphone.

I get why that stuff happens in movies and shows though. If the good guys did everything right all the time, the plot would either stagnate, or the bad guys would have to actually be especially clever. By which I mean the writers. I want to write my characters acting smart (at least the smart ones) and Maxima is certainly used to keeping secrets and thinking at least a little bit like a spy. The problem is if I somehow accidentally write the good guys being smarter than me, it’s possible the bad guys will never get away with anything, so I guess everyone in the comic has to be, at most, slightly dumber than me. :/

That’s kind of weird to think about. No character can really be smarter than the person writing them. Crazy math/tech/science/magic skills don’t count, since the writer isn’t showing the work. That stuff really happens “off screen.” Inventing a time travel button isn’t smart, it’s just something the author wrote. When the character uses it to travel to 5 seconds before the life altering event he has to stop instead of an hour before or a week, that’s actually dumb, or at least, high INT, low WIS. The characters’ plans and courses of action and witty dialog are entirely limited by the person writing them. The one advantage all characters have in common is that a writer can spend a 5 hours, 6 months, 10 years or whatever, coming up with said plan or snappy dialog, and that’s what makes a smart character seem smart. So there’s probably a formula that incorporates the author’s intelligence factored against the time spent that will tell you how smart any given character of theirs can actually be.

Sydney’s rebreather fits neatly under her jacket and has a retractable loop-over-the-ear stillsuit style nose hose, because otherwise you guys and I both know I’ll forget to draw it. I pledge to at least remember to draw a bump under her jacket once in a while. The rebreather can also function without the hose, actively pulling in then venting recycled air, but that eats up the battery much faster. Eventually Sydney will have her gun and other gear on her so I’ll need to design a super easy to draw utility belt.

Speaking of gear, Maxima’s facemask is supposed to look like it’s able to fold up and tuck into her jacket, but… it doesn’t. Just pretend for now. Maxima mostly needs it to speak, cause you know, sounds doesn’t transmit in a vacuum. She does need to breath, (otherwise Vehemence’s attempt to strangle her wouldn’t have been nearly the same threat) but her internal power can subsidize her oxygen needs for a while. A human body (or any aerobic cell) uses oxygen to create ATP, which is chemical energy. Maxima’s cells generate their own “super energy” and in a pinch her body can use this energy instead of ATP, lowering her O2 requirements. The exact amount of time she can go without air will surely be determined by the needs of a future storyline. :) It’s not measured in hours, but it’s definitely longer than a human can go without air.

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Here’s the link to the new comments highlighter for chrome, and the GitHub link which you can use to install on FireFox via Greasemonkey.