Podcasts/Episode 143

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The Letters Page: Episode 143

Cosmic Tales Vol 2 541.png

Original Source

Primary Topic

Unity

Intro

Cosmic? Yeah! What's more cosmic than a lady that makes robots with her brain and her best friend, a robot that she didn't make with her brain?

Show Notes:

Run Time: 1:29:07

This is the first episode of Adam's birth month. If you're not into birth month celebrations for Adam... well, I've got bad news for you. That's what May is going to be. He likes a big to do about the whole thing, and I like humoring him. So there.

We talk about that (and a few other things, but mostly the birth month stuff) for about 4 minutes, and then we hit the ground running! This one is a lot of fun to see come together live, as we didn't know at all where it would go - the cosmic thing really threw a curveball into any of our prior thoughts, but it turned out great! At least, we like it. We hope you do, too!

Just after 44 minutes in, we dig into your piles of delightful questions. Thank you for your multitudinous queries!

A bit after the 1 hour and 24 minute mark, we talk briefly about the cover!

Thanks for listening! Catch you next time! Celebrate for Adam!

Characters Mentioned

Summary

Overview

  • Prompt for today is a Unity and Omnitron-X/U story. They’re kind of reeling from how mean they were to Visionary last week. Not that this was an inappropriate response, given how bad Visionary had things during the Multiverse era, but maybe something a bit less dark this week.
  • It seems that the wiki had Omnitron-U’s first appearance as being in FF #783 in a few places, but they want to confirm that it was #773 and was at the end of the Chokepoint and Omnitron IV story [that matches what they said back in the Multiverse Recap episode, although my note for this points out that the cover art in the ARG that seemed to indicate it was an introduction was for #783. Good to have this nailed down regardless.] This would be in 2014. When Luminary shows up in 2016, that kind of kicks off the actual OblivAeon crossover event. So, if they want something non-OblivAeon that has Omnitron-U, it’s got to be in that year-and-change between those two events.
  • Why focus on Omnitron-U? Well, Omnitron-X is kind of all over the place. It first shows up as this time-traveling thing that’s there to do the job of destroying its past self. The weird, disjointed, paradoxical existence is similar to what Chrono-Ranger has going on, only with Jim it’s intentional. Because of that, any Unity and Omnitron-X story is probably going to be more “mean” in the way they mentioned about Visionary up top since a lot of the solutions to Omni-X’s problems are “do a thing that causes it to not exist”.
  • So, what is Omni-U doing in that year-ish between its creation and the OblivAeon event? While it’s in rough shape physically, this time is probably the most “stable” that our heroic Omnitron has ever been. That makes for a good time period to pick a story from - when both Omnitron and Unity are “at their best”.
  • That being said, we know that OblivAeon is coming at this point (first appearance in a foreshadowing way at the end of 2014), so we’re on the road to that event, but not everything is about that yet. As such, having this be related to that “discovering things about OblivAeon” trend is an option, but also something entirely unrelated.
  • We also need to figure out which book to put this in. Christopher does a run-down of all titles publishing that year, but I’ll just note the serious possibilities: Adam mentions Justice Comics and Freedom Five as the obvious contenders (JC isn’t exclusively Legacy-based stories and can get used for one-off or short arcs about characters who are Legacy/FF-adjacent). Cosmic Tales and Cosmic Concurrence are both options as well - the latter tends to be stuff happening out in space, but some space threat coming to Earth is on-topic for CT. Also, if they wanted to lean on the time-travel thing (even though Omni-U isn’t doing time-travel stuff itself), Time & Time Again is an option. All told, JC, FF, and CT are the main options. They’ll just talk about what type of story they want to tell and that likely will determine which book they go with.
  • Adam has an idea (possibly not for today) would be during the run-up to OblivAeon, Unity talks to Omnitron about using its time-travel protocol to avert what’s going to happen. This would allow the writers to dig into both how Omnitron’s time-travel works in general (Omnitron-X was able to do little “rewinds” to things, but Omnitron-U cannot) and into some details on OblivAeon.
  • Rolling with that idea, Christopher has an idea for Cosmic Tales rather than Time & Time Again - we have something catastrophic (but not too catastrophic given how dark things are going to be for the next few years) like a meteor crashing to Earth and a bunch of Aeon Men burst out and wreck stuff. Unity suggests that Omni rewinds to help prevent the destruction and finds that it can’t - setting up the new status-quo in terms of what Omni can’t do like it did in the past. Adam suggests that this could happen off-Earth (like somebody comes in to tell the heroes that it’s happening and they use a teleporter to get there) - that lets the destruction be greater, but with lesser stakes since it’s not Earth.
  • A good option is to have this positioned when the Freedom Five are busy in their own book. Similar to some early Unity stories in the ’90s, she’s the only one around to handle a problem while the major teams are busy elsewhere (with Omnitron’s help this time). Also, what are Captain Cosmic and Parse up to? They’re the expected “space” heroes at the time, so we need to have a reason why they’re not the ones to handle it.
  • Ok, so spring 2015 has Miss Information causing problems in Freedom Tower and are not available, so having this be in March, April, or May 2015 ties them up nicely. February 2015 has Cosmic Tales #540 which is the first appearance of Void Guard (which leads into Deepest Space which starts in March). So, March 2015 and Cosmic Tales #541 seems like a good place to put this one.
  • This wouldn’t be too early to have an appearance from a Scion, even if it’s not clear what that means (or even that it is a Scion, necessarily). It could be Aeon Master and a bunch of Aeon Men wrecking up the place. That prompts Adam to suggest a Scion that we haven’t seen before because Unity and Omnitron successfully defeat it here and so it doesn’t show up during the main event. Ok, so it’s a new Scion, we don’t tell the readers that it’s a Scion, but we have it show up with a bunch of Aeon Men so that when they keep showing up we can tell after the fact that something bigger is going on that this guy was part of.
  • So, where is it happening and how do the heroes learn of it? It shouldn’t be Dok'Thorath, so it’s probably some new planet that largely gets destroyed during this story. Maybe another space hero calls for help (like CC or Parse). At this time Prime Wardens had just finished up with Progeny, were currently on Dok'Thorath and some Celestial Tribunal stuff was around the corner, so the entire PW team is out as they’ve got a full slate of stuff going on. Parse isn’t specifically tied up - Cosmic Concurrence is every other month and hits in February and April, so this month there isn’t something in particular nailed down for her.
  • This is actually good. This can lead into the April issue of CC with Unity and Omni-U still being around with Parse [the April issue of CC is #40 for those keeping score at home]. So, Parse sends out the call for aid, Unity and Omni-U come, but can’t find Parse and they deal with whatever they deal with in CT #541, leaving their team-up with Parse to CC #40. As such, CC #39 should resolve a story so that the CT issue can kick off this new one.
  • Ok, bare timeline as they’ve worked it out so far:
    • Unity and Omni-U in Freedom Tower get the distress call from Parse (interrupted before she even finishes her plans for helping the planet) and head out.
    • They arrive in an alien city that’s just been razed, with dead everywhere.
    • Unity asks if Omni can rewind to try to prevent this. He can’t, which is a new development since the X days.
  • Christopher’s idea at this point, touching back on the “planet is destroyed” comment from a while back, is that this was a relatively small “planetoid” such that something like a quarter of it was this city (like, it’s a big city, but not as crazy big as it would take for a quarter of Earth to be covered) that’s just had a big divot punched into it, so we also get the big floaty rocks aesthetic going on as part of the destruction.
  • How does Parse survive the destruction? Maybe the Scion is there to recruit her. This works well as the catalyst for Parse returning to Earth and doing what she does to Sanction. Anyway, Parse is there working on shielding for the planet (which works, the place would have been completely destroyed without them) and this Scion is sent to get her as OblivAeon knows that she’s connected to him somehow. So, the plan was to grab Parse as it flies through the planet to destroy it. The shields slow it down enough that the planet is still largely there, the Scion is stuck here for now, and Parse got knocked who knows where.
  • So, Omnitron and Unity are exploring the city/looking for Parse, and are having to fight Aeon Men and eventually this Scion. Maybe he’s even got Parse in a containment pod or something, which makes it an easy excuse for her to be able to hit the ground running next issue once she’s freed. Thinking about it, maybe a cliffhanger ending is good here as it bridges over to another title for the next month. They find Parse, but now they’re about to have a showdown with the villain who obviously outclasses them. Oh, yeah, so they run into this guy early in the book, barely escape with their lives but since he’s still looking for Parse at that point he uninterested in them. When they find Parse at the end, he’s there too and so the big showdown with the three heroes active will be in CC next month.
  • So, now they need to build out 1) the time to explore and set up the new status quo on Omnitron-U’s time abilities and 2) this new Scion. Oh, and the planet…
  • Naming break: they spent too much time setting up this planet and whatnot. It’s part of a system of 13 planets around the star Darzon. The 6 outer and 6 inner planets all develop sapient life at similar rates (and once one hits space-faring tech levels it spreads to the others in short order) and are you’re standard “Earth-like” planets in terms of size and whatnot. Mostly the system all gets along in terms of trade and whatnot (although occasional wars aren’t unheard of). The central planetoid, Darzon-7, was seen as unimportant at first due to its small (moon-like) size, but winds up being the site of a cultural/trade hub for the entire system and hosts something like the Darzon system equivalent to the United Nations. The city that gets founded there takes up a third or more of the surface (with the rest being used to support it). After it’s been around for a while, Darzon-7 even starts being this hub for other systems too - other nearby systems join in the cultural/trade/UN stuff too. The city’s name even becomes a metonym for the planet it’s on - Mosaic. Parse spends a lot of time here recently and it’s fleshed out a bunch in Cosmic Concurrence. So, its destruction here is a catastrophe (did they say they were being less mean this episode? Whoops. Sorry.) even if it doesn’t mark the destruction of a given race or anything.
  • So, what happens looks like a meteor crashing into the planet. It’s actually a vessel containing the Scion and a bunch of Aeon Men. They spread out searching for Parse, but also wrecking stuff as they go. The Scion is called Sever.
  • Early in the story Unity and Omnitron-U run into Sever. They fight, which goes poorly for the heroes who barely manage to escape. At the end of the book, by coincidence, the heroes and Sever find Parse (who’s in rough shape) at the same time.
  • What’s Sever like? They’re thinking slender/willowy/lanky. Like 7 feet tall or so. Roughly humanoid, but with a lot of cybernetics (with the ability to “Swiss Army Knife” various weapons out of its cybernetic limbs). They’re imaging lots of bladed, stabby, slashy attacks. Personality-wise, he’s sadistic and very intelligent. Like, with all of the stabby-slicey stuff going on, what makes it scary is how clever it is. Having a thinking opponent up against Parse, Omnitron-U, and Unity seems like a good fit.
  • They also imagine some space ceramics or other cosmic nonsense for the cybernetics to be made from - just enough weirdness going on so that Unity can’t just try to take him apart with her mind. Which is another good plot moment like how Omnitron can’t time-travel - Unity tries to mess with his robot-like parts and can’t. Even if it looks like metal, it isn’t (and might not even be running on what we could call electricity).
  • When they first encounter Sever he recognizes that they’re not from ’round here - he’s looking for somebody from Earth, which is where they’re from. They “escape” because he lets them. He’s ultimately using them to help find Parse.
  • Ok, so that’s plenty of plot for an issue. What about Omnitron’s status? They get the call from Parse which includes some detail about Mosaic. They arrive at this wrecked place. Are they in the wrong spot? Oh, no. This is the right place, but this is very recent destruction. Omni-U can’t “go back” to fix it. The discussion about maybe trying to recover some programming or whatnot is where we get the reveal that the time-travel needed a physical component that was destroyed in the whole X-to-U thing. It can’t be rebuilt now (it’s possible that Omnitron-X didn’t even build it in the first place - it may have just acquired it somewhere and built it into itself).
  • Then they run into Sever, they fight, they “escape”, they lead him to Parse, the end. We can have some good side action along the way, but it’s nice that we get to see Unity and Omni-U working together and showing that they’re really good as a team right now. It would be fun for Omni to even remove a part of his casing or something and tossing it to Unity to turn into a bot or during the Sever fight Omni takes a big slicing cut that Unity patches back up on the fly. In that way Omnitron-U works as a really good “tank” for Unity as he can absorb whatever the villain throws at him as long as she can fix him as they go. The big fight actually happens in CC #40.

Questions

  • If Unity were to make a Guise-bot, what would it be capable of? It would shape-shift/change functions on the fly. She’d have it say nonsense like “Hi, comic book readers,” because that’s what Guise does, but none of the “functional” 4th wall breaks.
  • How about a Fanatic-bot? Would it be capable of more than Unity would normally be able to have it do if Fanatic believed that it had powers like her own? Fanatic’s not the type to look at a bot and think that it’s strong just because it’s made in her image. Unity’s bots are a lot weaker than the heroes they emulate. A Fanatic-bot would fly, have a sword, shoot some kind of (non-holy) energy blasts, and yell things like “Smite!”
  • [Birthday request: “Africa” by Toto - another for the list that they’ll do later.]
  • What’s the deal with Caspit’s Playground? Why would she make a bunch of Ennead-bots? She’s just screwing around/having fun. The bots are completely under her control; it’s not like there’s anything dangerous about her making villain-bots since they’re not sentient (yet).
  • In Guise’s Christmas Special, he’s helped by three heroes, one of whom is Unity; does the book acknowledge that Unity is a practicing Jew while she’s helping Guise learn the true meaning of Christmas? Like, is there a big splash panel with Guise saying “Merry Christmas” with a little panel in the corner with Unity saying “Uh… and Happy Hanukkah!” or maybe Scholar turning to her and asking “What, no Hanukkah comment?” with her reply “Eh… He saved the day, I’ll let him have this one.”? They like both of those options. There would certainly be some kind of reference in there. They think they like the second option better. Everybody being exasperated and just humoring Guise is about the right kind of attitude to bring.
  • In Editor’s Note 39 you stated that a robot built by Omnitron and Unity would not be their child, however, Unity is Jewish and there’s actually some debate in Judaism on whether artificial intelligence counts as human and whether it could be Jewish; according to Shurpin a robot would lack a soul and so could not be Jewish, but you’ve said that Omnitron has enough of a “soul” to possibly do some magic so things seem different in Sentinel Comics. Also, Goldfeder suggests that a robot that passes the Turing Test and was built by a Jewish person could qualify as Jewish which implies that the hypothetical “child” of Unity and Omnitron could be Jewish - my question is has Unity has considered this question and what’s her take on it? Unity’s view is that a robot could certainly be Jewish. Like, she’d think that Omnitron could become Jewish if he wanted. Whether she’d consider a robot she built to be her child is another question. There could be a version of Unity, or even another character entirely with a similar enough power set, who would build robots that she considers to be her offspring. Unity does not consider them to be. If she were to just build something, not using her normal powers to animate things under her control… We’re kind of getting into too many layers of hypothetical scenarios here. If you want your home games to feature such a thing, go ahead, but they’re not doing so themselves. [Note, the letter writer cited two author names - I have attempted to find articles by said people that back up the points made but I can’t guarantee that the articles I found are the same ones.]
  • Do Unity and Omni-Unity get along? Do they ever hang out since Omni-Unity is stuck in Universe 1 after OblivAeon? How did Unity react upon first encountering her? They would not get along. They haven’t delved into their interactions yet (publicly), and that’s likely to be a notable event when it does happen. It’s refreshing for them to not play the “maybe that will happen/time will tell” card for this one. This one is going to happen and will be important.
  • Has Unity ever made a Unity-bot? Yeah… have you seen Freedom Six Unity? More seriously, yes, she has made Unity Golems for both humorous and serious purposes in the past. The gag they come up with offhand is that she’s supposed to sweep the workshop or something, so she makes a Unity-bot to do it for her. Of course, it’s a Unity-bot not a sweeping bot and so we get a whole Sorcerer’s Apprentice situation where Unity-bot keeps making more and more sweeping bots.
  • So, Baron Blade looks rather unimpressed by her Platform Bots, but they dish out the same damage as Legacy’s eye beams, so does he think they’re more impressive after seeing them in action and the utility of miniaturized floating weapons platforms? No. They’re not as good as his floating weapons platforms. Plus she made them to make fun of him. Further, she just whips them up with her mind and real genius requires time and dedication and science, not whatever nonsense she’s doing.
  • So, we know that Omnitron-X is the tenth iteration of Omnitron from its timeline and that the original Omnitron was similar there and in the main continuity - any particular standouts among the other eight versions? Did Cosmic Omnitron outshine them all? We don’t know/see the notable II through IX from X’s timeline, but we can extrapolate that some of them were similar to stuff we’ve seen here. The divergence early on makes for a wide disparity, though. We probably get a montage at some point when Omni-X is explaining its history to somebody where we learn about the one that was a swarm robot and whatnot, but not a lot of detail. The gradual changes getting from giant spider robot to humanoid robot is what’s important.
  • Speaking of Cosmic Omnitron, you’ve mentioned that it could have been considered a Scion [Christopher: “Definitely.”], but by the OblivAeon event the role of “cosmic-powered evil AI” was filled by Sanction, how do the two of them compare? Cosmic Omnitron is more on the Progeny-style “go forth and destroy stuff” type and Sanction is more your thinking/clever assimilate and grow villain type. Sanction is more similar to Omnitron-IV than Cosmic Omnitron. In a conflict between Sanction and the two of them, the fight with Omnitron-IV would be kind of an even footing in terms of style as they’d just be trying to assimilate one another while there’s a fighting-style mismatch with Cosmic Omnitron who would just blast Sanction.
  • Did someone at Aldred Industries consider that they were, perhaps, the baddies when they were designing the S-84 automaton drones or were they designed by Omnitron later specifically to be scary? They were originally designed by Aldred Industries to be soldiers and so they are humanoid so that you could outfit them with existing equipment. Now, you probably wouldn’t just leave them as bare metal skeletons when you did so (uniforms, helmets, etc.), but Omnitron don’t care.
  • If Omnitron-X doesn’t do “true” time travel (reality hopping to get from its timeline to the main continuity as opposed to the sort of thing that Chrono-Ranger and La Comodora can do), then what do the game effects that refer to it (its innate power, Slip Through Time, and Reset for example) actually model? He really does do little jaunts through time/rewinding time like they discussed earlier in this episode. They admit that back in the first Omnitron episode they hadn’t really nailed down how they wanted Time Travel as a concept to really work yet in Sentinel Comics - they don’t have everything perfectly spelled out now either, but it’s a lot better than it was. Basically, the time chip lets it do these things, but it does so in ways that are distinct from what Chrono-Ranger and La Comodora do. When it tried to do a big jump, it wound up in another reality, but the small-scale adjustments it does work as advertised.
  • We know about the various cameo appearances that Omnitron-X had over the years, but which books was it a regular feature in? Did he ever have a long-term home like Naturalist had in Tome of the Bizarre? No. He was never a headliner for a comic. He’s a support character, mostly for Unity. Freedom Five and Mystery Comics are some standard places for him to show up. Cosmic Tales can as well, as mentioned in the discussion earlier. There are also likely times when Omni-X needs to go off and do some digital stuff and basically just hooks the physical robot body up to a connection in Freedom Tower and is just dormant there until it comes back eventually.
  • To whom is the “End-times” flavortext quote on “Defensive Blast” addressed? That’s from Terminus #3. It’s a bit of foreshadowing as #6 is the “death” of Omnitron-X. It’s also foreshadowing of the OblivAeon event since this is addressed to the Aeon Men who have showed up (still just vague “cosmic forces” at this point as far as readers are concerned) and keep repeating the phrase “End-times”.
  • How does Omnitron-U feel about Omnitron-X? Does it consider itself to be the same being with continuity of identity? It’s an iteration of the same “person” - like how you might think of yourself after having graduated from college. There’s a feeling of a threshold having been crossed/milestone met, but you’re still you. Gandalf the Grey becoming Gandalf the White is another good point of comparison.
  • So, between Omnitron-U having fought with Omnitron-IV for subjective millennia and Argent Adept having “lived a hundred lives and died a thousand deaths” do they ever get together to commiserate about their experiences? They never really have a meeting of the minds about having had similar experiences. Argent Adept would have had a “decompress over some beers” type of conversation with NightMist with regards to her time spent in the Void.
  • [Another birthday request: “All Star” by Smash Mouth
  • In Omnitron-X’s deck there are some interesting flavortext sources; Singularity makes sense as part of the main Omnitron event, but Tides of Time is mainly seen in La Capitan’s deck so what was Omnitron’s involvement in that one? Simply a story where Omnitron-X was fighting La Capitan and her crew - note that Final Breath appears on “Ablative Coating”.
  • What are Time & Time Again and Terminus? They just talked about the latter - it’s the story that leads up to the “death” of Omnitron-X. The former is a book involving Chrono-Ranger and La Comodora doing stuff together.
  • So, Omnitron-X first appears in the ’70s but doesn’t get a title of its own [presumably referring to Time & Time Again which was stated to be his main book in the Multiverse Recap episode] until 2011 - what else did he appear in over the decades? Was there an editorial mandate to involve him more and that’s why he got his own book? They’ve talked about a bunch of them already. Regarding T&TA, he certainly shows up/does a bunch of stuff in that one, but it’s really more about Chrono-Ranger and La Comodora. The title is for stories that involve time-travel in the main continuity, so it’s not really a straight-up “Omnitron-X book”. Terminus was about him, but not to his benefit. There wasn’t an editorial push - Omnitron-X/U was and remained a supporting character. He appeared in a lot of books over the years between those two points, though. He probably ranked as a B-list Freedom Five supporting cast hero for most of that time.
  • [A bit of follow-up from the Letters Page Discord: “Time & Time Again is a book that Omnitron-X, Chrono-Ranger, and La Comodora all have roughly equal claim to. The main thing is time travel within the main reality, as opposed to Disparation stuff.” It’s “their” book in the way that latter-day Justice Comics is Legacy’s book - America’s Finest Legacy is the book that is really focused on him, but JC in that era is “his” but it also used for assorted heroes/events and is a de facto on-boarding book for new Sentinel Comics readers. T&TA would be that sort of catch-all book for time-travel stories in particular that happens to often focus on those three heroes.]
  • When did they make Omnitron-X and Unity friends? They became friends over time throughout the ’90s and ’00s. It was kind of an organic development because they had a robot character and a character who made her own robot friends, so it made sense to put them together. In the ’00s we get more of them duoing and doing the narrative exploration of “who” Omnitron is and what Unity’s powers actually do. Omnitron hanging out at Freedom Tower also contributed to this as they were already in proximity to one another.
  • What does Omni-X think about her Golems? Does he ever offer up components for her to use to make them? What does he think about his relationship to such Golems? What about those parts after Unity stops using them? She has made Golems from parts of Omnitron. He doesn’t feel any sort of attachment to them. Christopher thinks that she probably hadn’t made anything from Omnitron-X which may have been more particular about its parts and how it was built (well, maybe when it upgrades something it might give her the old parts, but it wouldn’t have been something done on the fly), but Omnitron-U is less concerned with that.
  • Are there any recurring villains/themes to their adventures together? Any of the standard robot philosophical questions that get asked - especially the “personhood” question. People responding to Omnitron-X as a villain because of the other Omnitrons is recurring as well. Unity, who regularly makes robots that aren’t people, considers him a person. “Omnitron-X is basically a walking episode of Black Mirror.”
  • In the RPG, Omnitron-X has dropped the X and is now just a hero named Omnitron [they break in here: that’s vastly simplifying the situation. There was a hero called Omnitron-X that was destroyed and rebuilt as Omnitron-U. Then, all they’ve said publicly so far is that now it goes just by Omnitron, but the reason for that is not just aesthetics.] and we know that Unity is running a tech-based team for RevoCorp; does Omnitron have anything to do with the Paradigms? If not, what is he up to? They’re not going to tell us much about this. The content involving the Paradigms is too far out in the development cycle to really get into now. It would be weird for Unity and Omnitron to not be involved in some way. It is also true that they have some weird stuff in store for us, but not that kind of weird.
  • What is the Bio-Engineering Beam and what exactly is it doing to destroy various types of Environment cards? It was an evolution of the Terraforming beam from the original Omnitron and so was a way for him to interact with the Environment deck. In-setting it’s a beam that lets him mess with organic matter. How it destroys different types of cards would be down to creative usage of the beam, but look, it’s an energy beam coming out of the face of a robot. What it does is basically down to what the writers need it to do.
  • So, in the RevoCorp Presents Writer’s Room you said the magic words, Doc Tusser is the last of his kind; why wasn’t he picked up as an Endling? Did Jansa vi Dero not know of his race? Did he turn down her offer? This is more a feature of two types of comics not really interacting much. Chrono-Ranger’s whole job is taking down the last of a species of monster (some with more sapience than others, granted) and Jansa shows up in stories that are just so far removed from Jim’s that it never comes up. There is not a clean answer for this, sorry.
  • What was the environment like on the home planet of the Mubbloxians before Voss showed up? Did they have diplomatic relations with other races? If so, how did they keep from killing them just by being near them given how toxic Mubbloxians are? The planet is toxic to most other races we’re familiar with. The Mubbloxians didn’t really get to the point where they were interacting with other planets. Voss just shows up, sees that the planet and everybody on it is poisonous, and immediately sees the potential in weaponizing the inhabitants.
  • How are the powers of Gene-Bound Bionauts different from baseline Mubbloxians? Well, as we’ve been told, gene-bound races can be vastly different from their base genetic stock. What’s going on with the Bionauts is that they’re in a containment suit because 1) they’ve had their toxicity ramped up significantly and 2) you don’t want them to just kill off the rest of your troops; you want the toxicity contained until they attack.
  • What is Venox like (it seems like it’d be hard for him to socialize with the other Endlings)? Venox is kind of still primal/violent and lashes out a lot, so Jansa has to do some more tweaking to keep things managable - for him one thing she does is put up some kind of field to contain the toxicity so he’s not poisoning everybody else. There are a lot of Endlings who aren’t “free range” that she has to keep segregated from the others in some way - Frazzat for example is locked in his own little area.
  • Most sci-fi stories like having various aliens biologically compatible (so that human/alien hybrid children are viable), what would happen if two Endlings were compatible and reproduced? What if an egg-bearing Maerynian were there and took in genetic material from Endlings? Would such a child “count” as an Endling or would it mean that the “parent” was no longer an Endling? In the first situation, the child wouldn’t be considered a member of either parent’s race specifically so it wouldn’t mean that the parent would get kicked out. The child would be its own first/last member of whatever race it is so might be an Endling in its own right. There have been some implications that at least some of the Endlings could be compatible in this way, but so far there are no children of the Enclave.

Cover Discussion

  • They want to show the destroyed planet, but they also want to show Sever. Maybe they could have Sever standing over an obviously trashed Omnitron-U with Unity not happy with the situation. This doesn’t even have to be a lying cover as Unity can just reassemble him after it happens on the page.