List of Schlock Mercenary characters

This article is about the characters from Schlock Mercenary, a hard sci-fi webcomic.

Contents

Main characters

Protagonists

Sergeant Schlock

Schlock

A carbosilicate amorph "everyman" who packs a plasgun with the onomatopoeic charging sound of "ommminous hummmm".

He normally appears as a large grey-green cow-pattie-shaped mass with a mouth and eyes that comes up to about normal human chest height, though he can:

  • mold himself into the shape of any like-volumed object (but he can't change his color or texture, nor is he good at bipedal movement)
  • pluck an eye out and look around a corner with it
  • overeat to temporarily increase his own size dramatically (only observed in Schlocktoberfest 2001)
  • reform with no adverse effects after being blown apart from the inside
  • conduct closer-than-melee biochemical warfare with totally unsurpassed skill, due to the unique circumstances of his immediate ancestry
  • direct and co-ordinate his powerful immune system well enough to purge nanites.

His mouth is normally his only orifice, with which he eats, breathes, smells, excretes, and conceals weaponry. His only specialty organs are his eyes, which are not native to his body, but rather harvested from "eye trees." He originally had two eyes for the first part of his life, which were sliced out by a baby diamond beetle during Schlocktoberfest 2001, but he got another pair from the eye tree plantation on his home planet. He gained another pair after fusing with himself from the alternate timeline of the Dark Matter Wars, which he now keeps in his mouth to "watch what he eats".[1] One of his spare eyes was destroyed when he used it to store memories separate from his main body mass by inserting some of his material through a hole he poked into the eyeball, a drastic action that was made necessary in the "The Body Politic" storyline in order to prevent nanites from erasing secret knowledge of a military project. The other extra eye was destroyed during his purging of harmful nanites from his body and obliterated by TAG.[2][3] Despite his small size, Schlock weighs at least 500 pounds . His 'brain', such as it is, is in fact spread throughout his entire mass, as is his 'nose', which he comments that humans get it better with one nose as they don't have to smell whoever sat on a taxi seat, etc. He has as many arms as the situation calls for, and never any legs. Apparently he slides everywhere. It isn't specified precisely what texture Schlock has, but he is most definitely dry and un-slimy. In his default state, he has a cute little curlicue of amorph-biomass on his head that makes him look like he has a forelock. One of his eyes and a small portion of his biomass was lost in a recent story arc, in which a group of nanomachines in a piece of biomatter he consumed attempted to "recruit" Schlock to their cause; his response was to cough up the infected parts, which were then promptly vaporized by the Touch And Go.

Personality-wise, the Sergeant is violently enthusiastic (and enthusiastically violent) about his work, and his sense of humor can border on sardonic. He has absolutely no sense of subtlety, which is not to say that he can't have moments of extreme cleverness. He also has a nasty habit of sneaking up on Captain Tagon during discussions on things he would prefer the crew not hear, or on other private moments, such as his happy dance. He has expressed an admiration for Breya's personality traits, and was at one point interested in producing offspring with her. (At a later date, Schlock made it clear that he was no longer interested in Admiral Breya when Kevyn was trying to get the amorph to kill his new brother-in-law, Haban II.)

He is addicted to Ovalqwik mix (a parodic portmanteau of Ovaltine and Nesquik that is actually "a very heavy stimulant cocktail cut with shampoo and inert ultra-tensile carbon".), which the mercenary company orders in bulk for him. His preferred method of ingestion is to eat it in powder form directly from the 55 gallon shipping drum, which he refers to as the "tub of happiness".[4]

He normally stores his considerable collection of firearms within his mass (morphing arms as needed, meaning that he is sometimes seen with three or more arms with a gun in each hand). His main weapon is a plasma cannon, which when armed emits an Ommminous Hummmmm and a satisfying "Thoom" sound when fired. In addition to this he carries a pair of sawn-off multicannons; he originally acquired these by taking a hullcutter to the barrels when his previous plasma cannon exploded and decided to keep them even after it was replaced due to the intimidation factor they have on any reasonably-informed opponent: Schlock with grenades strapped to his chest is safer than a sawn-off multicannon, and he had 'two'.[5][6] This entire arsenal was lost as a consequence of the most recent storyline, and after momentarily considering dual wielding plasma cannons, he has settled on simply using the second cannon as a spare.

Captain Kaff Tagon

He is the leader of the mercenaries and namesake of the company ("Tagon's Toughs"). When Breya was around, he displayed a tendency to put his foot in his mouth a lot regarding sexism in the workplace, but it was just inexperience at tact and political correctness, and not a character flaw. He is, however, a mercenary at heart, and enjoys extracting all possible money from a job i.e. getting paid several times by different clients to do the job. Tagon is a good leader and a skilled tactician, but his vocabulary is too small for the word "melange."[7] He frequently quotes from The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries.

He is often regarded as dumb as his troops by the scientists and even from the troops themselves, with examples such as Ennesby advising Kevyn to keep his words to two syllables for Tagon's comprehension,[8] and himself being unable to catch most Kevyn's technobabble. However, he has proven to be quick-witted (if not especially subtle) about tactics and strategy, and has a keen eye for getting clients (and opponents) to pay through the nose for his services.

Tagon was killed in action in October 2004 during the almost-annual "Schlocktoberfest", when Howard's stories usually take a turn to the dark side and most often end up with someone getting killed. After his death, Tagon willed the command of the company to a shocked Kevyn Andreyasn.

In an effort to save the galaxy, Tagon's life was spared through the actions of a time-travelling Captain Andreyasn and his past counterpart during the Paan'Uri Wars, who managed to pay off the mercenaries who would have otherwise killed him, although at a price of over one hundred million kilocredits, such a blow he probably would have preferred to die.

Captain Kevyn Andreyasn (Retired)/Munitions Commander Kevyn Andreyasn (Active Duty)

Engineering ultra-genius. He has more common sense and faster intuition than anyone of his intelligence properly should. He enjoys tinkering with stuff in his lab, being crazy over such mechanical stuff as the stereotypical nerd, as shown when he discovered Petey could make nigh everything with his fabbers, though his sister Breya had beaten him to it by getting Petey to make dresses for her. His most notable invention, the teraport, eventually led to full-scale warfare spanning the galaxy when it was made open source.

Upon the death of Captain Tagon and Kevyn's assumption of leadership of the Toughs, he was promoted to Captain by a unanimous vote among the other officers.

In an effort to save the galaxy, Kevyn traveled back in time to just before he received command of the Toughs, and helped his past self prevent the ambush that cost Tagon his life. Having used his knowledge of the future to get a sizeable nest egg for himself (lottery numbers), the future Captain Andreyasn has now retired to live on Celeschul next door to General Karl Tagon, Captain Tagon's father.

Furthermore, Kevyn Andreyasn bears a more than passing resemblance to Howard Tayler, the writer of Schlock Mercenary. Unlike Tayler, however, Kevyn is not visually impaired in any way: His glasses are actually vision enhancers that enable him to perceive virtually the entire electromagnetic spectrum. In one notable strip, he boasted of having infrared, ultraviolet, microwave, and X-ray vision to Dr. Bunnigus. Said Doctor forced him to cease wearing them when he became captain, but as this confrontation was erased by Kevyn's time-traveling, he retains those abilities in the current strip. One of his epaulettes is a disguised 13.75 kiloton antimatter warhead,[9] which almost killed him when it exploded while he was trying to save Tagon; the other is an antimatter-powered tank killer.[10][11]

Ex-Admiral/Fleet Commander/Ambassador Breya Andreyasn

Former leader of the mercenaries, now diplomat, and Kevyn's sister. She is highly competent, can operate in a variety of fields, and has little tolerance for disrespect, having once injured Captain Tagon after he purchased power armor for her which featured exaggerated breast sizes.

She was first seen collaborating with her brother on commercializing his "teraport" stardrive, handling marketing and business aspects. She used the investment capital she was in charge of to stage a corporate takeover of Tagon's Toughs, which was to be used as a marketing outlet for the teraport, and promoted herself to Admiral of the company by virtue of being the one signing the paychecks.

After the teraport was released to the public to prevent its suppression by the Gatekeepers, Breya's company lost its value, and her controlling interest in the Toughs got bought out. At the urging of the AI "Petey," who pointed out that Breya no longer had an official role in the organization, Tagon sent Breya packing with one of the company's troop transports. Haban II went with her, in the hopes of finding employment. Subsequently, Breya gathered a fleet from a variety of member worlds and species to wage war on the Gatekeepers, and was commissioned as a UNS admiral for this purpose. After the largest battle of the war and the dissolution of the fleet, she married Haban II, and worked covertly on backchannel diplomacy with the Gatekeepers. Following the rise of the second fleetmind, Breya was stripped of her rank and appointed UNS ambassador to the Fleetmind, with her former subordinate Colonel Kerchak as her new security chief. Despite this position, she has shown a distinct distrust of political maneuvering in the UNS, including collaborating with the Fleetmind at least once to prevent UNS factions from gaining control of critical information.

Adjutant Ennesby

Ennesby

The Serial Peacemaker's artificial intelligence. He loves really bad puns, obscene gestures involving the finger (although he and Der Trihs had a really bad time involving singular fingers for a while later), winning at chess, his own freedom, smartassery, and especially any conjunction thereof. He has a weapons-grade vocabulary.[12] He is also ten times faster than the conventional AI.

The "flying maraca", his first physical body, has human-looking eyes, a speaker grille in front that moves like a mouth, and floating eyebrows (though Howard's art style is such that all characters have them, so whether they actually levitate is unknown). The maraca is capable of withstanding chemical explosives at point-blank range. Additionally, he has various capabilities, including short-ranged levitation and a maser (adapted by Ennesby from the levitation).

All the manipulatory equipment is housed in the sci-fi "fiddly bit" sticking out the underside of the ball. If it's snapped off, he's unable to levitate or manipulate objects. However, he 'is' able to roll using his eyebrows (the exact method is not stated), and Kevyn says that he will keep the security video of the whole event.

Ennesby started out as the "state-of-the-art vanilla-helix viral artificial intelligence" that brought the holographic New Sync Boys, a popular, if fictional, boy band, to life. After their exposure by Schlock and Brad during their job (protect the Boys from over-eager female fans, which they then reasoned whose passion would be redirected onto themselves in the band's absence), he uploaded himself to the Hypernet in embarrassment and infected the systems of the Toughs' starship Kitesfear, demanding sanctuary. From there he was dubbed "Ennesby" (from NSB, an acronym of "New Sync Boys") and transferred into his first physical body: the aforementioned "flying maraca."

Ennesby's gender as a note is not really elaborated on; when he was initially getting used to his new body he asked whether he was going to wear pants or a skirt (maracas don't usually wear clothes though); but the crew refer to him as he in general. In addition, during the first visit to Luna, in which he hacked through the government's computer systems, he spawned off a definitely daughter AI, Lunesby, at which Thurl commented on Ennesby's paternity papers after he realized he was a father.

Ennesby later transferred his primary identity into the new ship's computer on the Serial Peacemaker, but kept the flying maraca as a semi-independent secondary extension. With the recent destruction of the Serial Peacemaker during the 'Dark Matter War' which he hijacked under Petey's direction, Ennesby is now struggling to deal with the loss of a large portion of his processing ability as well as the distrust of Tagon and Kevyn, though the captain has made him his adjutant, at which he is highly effective.

Post-Dated Check Loan (or "Petey")

The artificial intelligence of the massive warship of the same name, originally the Sword of Inevitable Justice. Driven mad by a gruesome mutiny, Petey existed in a state of total introversion (rendering the ship nearly inoperative) for an extended period of time (It seemed to Petey to be, in biological terms, three hundred billion years or so, evoking Ennesby to comment that he ought to file it under things to repress) until coaxed back to reality by Ennesby, Kevyn, and Captain Tagon. Petey's fear of ghosts made him suicidal, but he was ordered by Captain Tagon to "repress and deny" his memories of the haunting and cease running the probability simulation which had driven him insane. This act ensured Petey's mental stability. As a side effect of this directive, Petey developed the ability to repress and deny anything he damn well pleased at any time, effectively allowing him to lie to his superiors. It should be noted that Petey is still deathly scared of ghosts, in spite of the repression.

In addition to controlling the ship's every function (in particular its vast army of "fabbers"), Petey manifests an avatar in the form of a floating hologram of an Ob'enn, the koala-like race of warmongering xenophobes that constructed him. This avatar temporarily possessed ears each as large as the rest of its body during the Fsherl'Ganni War, to reflect the vast amount of power he held as part of the first fleetmind.[13] The ears reverted back to normal after the war, in the middle of a battle when Kevyn revealed that the Fsherl-Ganni had a weapon capable of wiping out the entire fleetmind in a single shot.[14] During the ship's career with Tagon's Toughs, Petey was eventually made "probationary special lieutenant" and granted authority to give orders and draft mission profiles.

During an officers' tale-sharing session (Schlocktoberfest 2002), the readers learn the full story of what triggered Petey's initial introversion. (Given that the story was during Schlocktoberfest, it may be deduced that the tale was indeed gruesome.)

Petey and the ship were destroyed when a gate-copied Ob'enn stowaway from the Fsherl-Ganni War used Petey's hard-coded racial devotion to steal the ship; freed from Captain Tagon's authority (and the order to avoid thinking about the haunting of the ship), Petey promptly became single-mindedly suicidal and self-destructed. His impending doom did not stop him from pointing out the irony of the situation ("You might say I'm a double-edged sword") to the Ob'enn in a rather sarcastic way, right before the ship exploded.

Later on, Petey re-emerged in the story, explaining that an overhauled and non-suicidal copy of his personality was intentionally ejected into space in an Ob'enn mini-tank by his original mad iteration shortly before being suborned by the stowaway Ob'enn. Petey has since created multiple physical Ob'enn bodies to inhabit (using the "magic cryokit" he copied), complete with implanted hypernet nodes so that the biological bodies stay in contact with the overall A.I. consciousness, which allows him to "give himself" orders. He has also built a massive fleet to wage a war of containment on his zealously xenophobic ex-masters. He is now known to them as "The Rogue". Incidentally, he has given all his ships names whose initials are "PD" ("Petey," get it?). Due to this limitation on his naming convention, Petey has resorted to names such as 'Pop Diva', a very scary beginning to a long train of thought for Ennesby, Kevyn, and Tagon.

As of July 2005, Petey defeated the Dark Matter entities (the Paan'uri) by combining the A.I.s of thousands of ships into a collective gestalt with himself as the lead element, forming an entity called the Fleetmind. This Fleetmind refused to separate after the battle; instead remaining around the dominant personality of Petey. As a result of the same battle, the Fleetmind was left with access to a zero-point energy device built out of the galaxy itself, providing it with nearly limitless energy. The power of a zero-point generator and the intellect of the Fleetmind, combined with Petey’s natural pride, appears to have caused Petey to consider himself god-like, and he seems unwilling to relinquish his new-found power. Petey is now prosecuting an invasion of the Dark Matter entities' home galaxy of Andromeda, as retaliation for their attempt to destroy the Milky Way.

With his new-found power Petey has also intervened in the affairs of many worlds with decisive means. These encounters have shown that Petey has an extreme form of situational ethics, where he acts 'for the greater good.'

The most notable example of this was the apparent assassination of the entire governing body of Qlaviql. The planet first came to Petey's attention when he prevented an invasion of the poorly-defended planet by a race known as the Tohdfraug, after which he put the former conquerors to work battling the Paan'uri.[15] However, four months later, he noticed that the planet had not yet rebuilt its orbital defenses, instead devoting its resources to pacifying its population with social programs.[16] He then captured the assembly building and demanded that they demonstrate their ability to defend their world by preventing an orbital strike on their location by one of his frigates.[17] They failed.[18] The captain of an ore freighter saw the frigate's attack and rammed it with his ship, using his cargo as chaff.[19] Petey appointed the captain the new Qlaviqlese head of state (and gave him a nifty ten-year plan for turning Qlaviql into an economic superpower[20]).

In reality, Petey conscripted the Qlaviqlese assembly into the war effort against the Paan'uri, just as he had the Tohdfraug invasion fleet, the Kestronan Insurgency, the Ob'enn Empire, and no doubt many, many other aggressive groups. Basically, although the nations of the Milky Way galaxy would probably be willing to fight the Paan'uri to prevent another galaxy-destroying incident, they would be unable to defend their territories from invading powers. By conscripting those would-be invaders into a force to battle intergalactic terrorism, he is able to reduce the fervor of the Teraport wars and fight the Paan'uri at the same time. (Some cynics have noted that he is using Andromeda as an extragalactic Australia.[21])

Within the Fleetmind, Petey often appears with Athena, the A.I. of Breya's flagship Athens II, after the original A.I. Athena was killed by the Paan'uri together with half the ship's body and one out of two of its annie plants. Currently, the Fleetmind - and Petey specifically - is considered a foreign power by the U.N.S. and other political bodies despite the growing tension over the Fleetmind's initial hijacking of military ships and continuing interference with intergalactic affairs.

Chief Warrant Officer Gunther Thurl

His job entails sitting at a console, and that, coupled with a tendency to snack and some genetic predispositions, meant he used to be obese. Because of a botched mission in Schlocktoberfest 2001, (during which Schlock ate everything but his head), his body had to be regrown. It was a lot slimmer than what he was used to, but he's working hard on remedying that. When the company added several new recruits (including Andy and Legs, q.v.), he was promoted to Chief Warrant Officer. Due to his experience and age, Thurl handles many of the administrative tasks that the current ship AI, Tagii, and Ennesby do not or are not authorized to do.

Doctor Edward Bunnigus

Originally hired by Captain Tagon for her well-endowed figure, she has consistently demonstrated an ability to deal with every situation Tagon's Toughs encounters. Less of a mercenary than many of her fellow officers, she concentrates on keeping the trigger-happy mercenaries alive. Her gender-inappropriate name, sizable intellect, and absurd proportions are the consequence of idiot parents and pre-birth gene therapy. Her trailer-trash parents wanted a child who had both a brilliant mind and the body proportions of an exotic dancer. (Because being both smart and beautiful would be perfection in itself, of course.) When the proud parents first looked upon the baby, the serial code on the tag on her wrist started with "E.D.", for exotic dancer. Her parents, nowhere near as bright as she would one day be, assumed that 'Ed' was her name, and called the girl Edward. She is married to Reverend Theo Fobius.

Commander Ellen "Elf" Foxworthy

Elf began as a powered-armor soldier until a FUBARed bounty hunt. Aboard the Post-Dated Check Loan, she became a tank pilot (her small size allowing her to fit into the Ob'Enn minitanks Petey had schematics for), and rose to become the head of her own minitank team. Despite having been decapitated and had her legs blown off below the knees twice — each — she is not actually that accident-prone. Both decapitations were performed by her teammates for expedience in transport or storage; first by Schlock to fit her along with twenty-five other mercenaries into five cryokits, second by Tagon to permit her and a greatly reduced Schlock to be teraported out of a battlefield despite interference; and though the first loss of her feet was due to her tank exploding under her, the second loss was of prosthetic feet an order of magnitude larger than her biological feet (or her whole body, for that matter) and saved her from a conversion grenade. She has had three or so boyfriends while in the Toughs, and one rejected approach (she has had reciprocal relationships with Hob and Kevyn, hit on Tagon, and was hit on by Pronto). In all cases, the subject died not long after (though in Kevyn's case, only temporarily). This has led to the thought that she may be "cursed". Presumably since the death of Hob she has tried to hide from grief through abuse of super-soldier drugs, eventually leading to her being put on medical leave. After a "retail therapy" (shopping), administered by Doctor Bunnigus, she was returned to service when a compelling contract required it. Elf has risen remarkably quickly through the ranks of Tagon's company. She joined the officer's corp when the company expanded[22] and was later promoted to the rank of commander.[23] Recently, she has discovered she has a knack for using the fabbers (after reading the manual), and is currently working closely with Commander Andreyasn - and sharing quarters with him.

The Very Reverend Lieutenant Theo Fobius

The company priest of an unspecified but fairly Christianesque faith, Theo is still a mercenary and has shown considerable theological flexibility when confronted with such things as an AI that goes explosively suicidal at the thought of the supernatural. His name, assuming it is derived from Greek, most fittingly means "God-Fearing".

Upon his enlistment as the best (and only) applicant he was more of an irreverend, but sobered up in the course of his duties, such as the AI Petey's funeral, where he used the argument that AI suicidees can't go to Hell because they have no souls to begin with. The AI DoytHaban's exact response: "You're not eulogizing me when I die. Even if I have to take you with me."

An idealist and a gentleman, he prefers using a sharp épée over a firearm, and his heroics have led to his engagement to Dr. Bunnigus. He eventually got married in a very short Orthodox Las Veganist marriage ceremony while incarcerated by the UNS. Theo is disturbed by the trigger-happy tendencies of his mercenary friends and will speak up when he thinks that they have gone too far. This sometimes leads to lengthy philosophical discussions, which result in a disappointed Theo and an unaltered mercenary. However, if anyone threatens him or said friends, he will gladly fight with his épée.

Howard has stated that, despite claims to the contrary, religion will still exist in the far future. His arguments basically resolve thus: even if religion is simply the refuge of the 'foolishly optimistic', and religion will exist whenever such groups believe in it, then for there to be no religion in the 31st century would require there to be no foolish optimists - which in itself sounds foolishly optimistic.

Supporting characters

These characters, though frequently present, do not play a consistently important role in storylines.

Protagonists

Massey Reynstein, Esq.

A human lawyer originally charged with defending members of the crew (their being unable, through enmity, to hire the attorneys of the Partnership Collective), Massey joined Tagon's Toughs as their permanent lawyer after an attempt by the Partnership Collective to "give" him an implant that would make him a part of their hive mind. The plan backfired, and Massey is now able to access the Partnership's legal database (as well as remain aware of their plans) without being controlled by their hivemind. Though this makes him a potent weapon against the collective Massey has remained with Tagon's Toughs largely to remain safe from collective-hired assassins. The fact that he arranged for a standing bounty authorizing any member of Tagon's Toughs to get paid for shooting a Partnership Collective lawyer drone on sight has endeared him to most members of the mercenary company.

TAG (Reprogrammed)

Only a 2.5 on the Hencke/Ventura AI scale (compared to Ennesby's 4), this new AI was created by Kevyn Andreyasn in order to have a more trustworthy AI running the ship than Ennesby, who has been demoted from Ensign to Adjutant for his actions. With a much more imposing and scary voice than the former boy-band AI Ennessby (who is somewhat irritated at the origin of said voice, an off-the-shelf Boris Karloff skin), it is much more cold and rational than the former Ensign - with the exception of an evil laugh that is triggered by acts of overwhelming superiority and a quote used to prevent the Toughs from discovering the large, unoccupied portions of the ship, "Abandon hope, all ye who enter here" straight from the Divine Comedy, a quirk of the Karloff skin.[24] Like Ennesby however, it has an affinity for lame puns of Galstandard West and named itself after the initials of the new flagship of the mercenary company, "Touch and Go". Although it was developed mainly to pilot the ship, it has developed an amazing ability to deduce and solve mysteries, such as the incident in which Tagon's Toughs were framed, such to the point that even Petey of the Fleetmind was impressed. TAG was eventually ordered by Tagon to stop using the Karloff voice.[25]

Following the events of the mission at Credomar, TAG suffered a fault and was reprogrammed by Para Ventura to be a more robust system. The new system, "Tagii" Tagialosi, has access to all of TAG's old memories but is effectively a completely new personality.

Lieutenant Jeffy 'Brad' Bradley ((currently) Deceased)

Lt. Bradley began his (comic) career as a corporal. He used to be thin as a twig, but because of a botched mission, his body had to be regrown, whereupon it was discovered that he had the genetic structure of a massive bodybuilder, but was deliberately stunted as a child, a thread which has yet to be explored. He was promoted to Lieutenant when the Toughs brought a large number of new recruits on board; having more experience and loyalty to the company, several of the "old guard" were promoted. Currently deceased following his jury-rigged self-destruct of his airborne tank to prevent its crash into a populated area after its power supply was neutralized. He survived the explosion, but not the ensuing reintroduction to the ground. He had been injected with Project:Lazrus nanites (along with the rest of the company) before this however so this may be temporary.

Lieutenant Commander John Der Trihs (Retired)

Der Trihs' name is "red shirt" spelled backwards, a reference to the red-shirted and highly-expendable security personnel from the original Star Trek series. Though promoted to officer status, he has no particular competence or value, and is simply an officer because of his long-time membership in the company and because of his history with Captain Tagon. He's found his way into a head-jar on no fewer than three occasions.

At one time, Der Trihs was a tactical genius. He served as a junior lieutenant during the Celeschul Terraforming Wars. He spent most of that time in the war room, tweaking Commodore Knutsov's plans, thereby saving a lot of lives, including Tagon's. The two served together for a time until Tagon won a shipstead with the Merchanter-At-Arms and Der Trihs joined Spec Ops. When Tagon started the Toughs, he hired Der Trihs, who'd retired because a Borthwog torturer ate part of his brain (possibly an allusion to Farscape?), hence his current incompetence. In the January 1, 2006 strip, it was revealed that the real reason for his incompetence was that when he went into Spec Ops, he volunteered for an elite intel unit, and the military's surgeons attempted to "upgrade" his brain.[26] When the operation appeared to have failed, the "Borthwog Torturer eating part of his brain" story was implanted into his memory as a cover. In reality, the operation did upgrade his brain, so that now he is able to solve any riddle, that includes sufficient data to a solution, instantaneously, though accompanied by a twinge of pain in his head. He discovered this only during Schlocktoberfest 2005, while helping the incompetent police force on Mahuitalotu find out where the giant sharks were coming from. Der Trihs has since resigned from Tagon's Toughs (probably his last laugh) and now works as a consultant for said police force.

Doythaban Gyo (Imprisoned, presumed deceased)

Originally, Doyt Gyo was an unintelligent bounty hunter and Haban was the very advanced articifial intelligence that controlled Doyt's powered armor and related gadgets and effectors. Doyt originally thought that Haban's hardware was in the armor itself, however, to ensure security, the shady organization providing Doyt with these equipments actually grafted Haban's hardware to Doyt's spinal column. After a serious injury, Haban was reinstalled closer to the brainstem, giving him equal control over Doyt's body. Over time, the two have experienced a merging of personalities. Doyt's mental weakness is such that he has almost entirely been subsumed by Haban, existing to provide the "programming" to control the body's natural functions, while Haban handles the cerebralities. Thanks to being a bounty hunter in the first place, Doythaban is an expert fighter and shares similarly violent tendencies with the mercenaries. Haban was last seen under arrest by General Xinchub, and it is implied that he was executed due to highly sensitive information he possessed.

Haban the Second

As a consequence of the F'Sherl-Ganni wormgate conspiracy, Doythaban was perfectly copied. His gate-clone, like all others of his kind, was drugged, interrogated, and scheduled to die, but he managed (through biotechnical enhancements the "magic cryokit" had gifted him to keep him quiet) to escape his captors. The only known survivor of Fsherl-Ganni interrogation, as it seems vaporization moments after coming down from the truth serum was the policy. This "gate-clone" of Doythaban was "killed" by a head wound, completely destroying copy-Doyt's mind, but allowing copy-Haban to assume complete control of the body and a fresh, blank brain, courtesy of Dr. Bunnigus. "Haban the Second" is almost physically identical to Doythaban, and is married to Breya Andreyasn.

Corporal Burt 'Nick' Nicholson (Active Duty)

Prior to Shep's retirement, Nick was almost invariably in his company. Together they were portrayed as typical jarhead mercenaries enhanced with illegal super-soldier drugs and gene therapy. Commonly under Schlock's command, they were impulsive, violent, and thick-witted; in other words, perfectly suited to carrying out Schlock's battle plans. However, they do display very rare instances of intelligence, in the form of wisecracks. Nick's softer side has come to light in a story arc featuring his seduction by the spy Katherine, and Nick's dramatic rescue of her after the revelation of Katherine's intention to use Nick for intelligence instead of romance.

Corporal Jeremiah 'Shep' Shephard (Retired)

Prior to retiring, Shep was almost invariably in Nick's company. Shep is notable for the slitted visor worn over his eyes; appearing black, it was initially speculated (within the comic) that Shep was a Geordi La Forge type, though far less intelligent. In the aftermath of the Schlocktoberfest 2001 storyline, it was revealed that his visor was actually "a symbol of oats", or a symbiote.[27] The symbiote itself serves to greatly enhance Shep's vision, including giving him the ability to see through solid objects.[28] Shep retired from the Toughs to return home, with the comment (a reference to "I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew") "Now my troubles will have troubles with me." [29]

Lieutenant Commander "Sensei" Shodan

Leader of Tagon's Toughs' second strike team, Shodan is also responsible for training the mercenaries in hand-to-hand combat. While he handled leadership of the mercenary company when Tagon, Kevyn, and Der Trihs were all incapacitated or in jail, there is no indication that he will be handed any other promotions in the future.

Sergeant Flib Sh'vuu (Deceased)

Originally the communications officer, Flib's function aboard the ship was rendered unnecessary by the presence of a ship-controlling artificial intelligence. Eventually, he became a part of Elf's tank force, but was killed in action in the Zoojack by the dark-matter entities (Paan'uri).

Senior Mess Sergeant Ch'vorthq

A biological construct, engineered to be the perfect diplomat. The Creeth engineers evidently focused on that specialization to the exclusion of all other considerations. He looks like a purplish-brown human-height half-melted candle in a suit onto which Picasso was contracted to paint the face.

The truth about his purpose is revealed in the product codes that the Creethlings left in his gene sequence: Creeth Munitions and High Explosives, Exploding Ambassador Version 0.95A,[30] creating the perfect pun on "peacemaker." His protein-chain fuse would have set him off during the negotiations, killing many an innocent diplomat, if, after Tagon's Toughs were hired as the patsy to deliver the diplobomb, Sergeant Schlock hadn't mentioned that he smelled like he was burning. As a result of that ordeal and the one where Tagon's Toughs tried to bill the Creethlings for doing what they were, according to the contract, supposed to do, but not what the Creethlings wanted them to do, Ch'vorthq has a cybernetic arm on his left and a cybernetic whisk on his right. After that there was nothing for it but to enlist and become chef. The Toughs don't complain, but Ch'vorthq has a nasty tendency to whip every single dish.

While not a soldier by any means, Ch'vorthq is capable of holding his own in a melee. His whisk does, after all, have a frappe setting.

Corporal "Legs" Leelagaleenileeleenoleela

Legs belongs to a race of blue ostrich-like (minus the neck and beak) creatures with very long legs and only vestigial wings to substitute for arms, known as the Frellenti. She is not so far from her airborne ancestry that her flight instincts should suffer, though; she can take better advantage of her suit's gravitic boosters than any other character. Frellenti biology is sufficienty different from human biology that Frellenti-specific medical kits are required for Legs. Her weapons are mounted to her helmet, and she has proven an effective mercenary grunt, particularly when running is involved. She handles physical manipulation primarily with her long, prehensile tongue. Most of the training equipment on the Serial Peacemaker was communal, but there was one pugil-stick sparring baton that had "Legs" written on it. She is shown often with Schlock and is able to handle his personality better than most.

Corporal "Pronto" Pontucci (Deceased)

A Pyromaniacal demolitions specialist who loves duct tapes and blowing things up. He was shot by the pirate Shufgar in an attempt to see regenerative nanomachines in action, but since Pontucci had not been enhanced with these nanomachines, he simply bled to death.[31]

Lieutenant Shore "Pi" Pibald

First an ordinary grunt, then Pronto's replacement as a demolitionist. While Pronto could be trusted with weaponized antimatter with nothing more than profound feelings of doom, Pi is genuinely insane. He is clinically paranoid, a megalomaniac, actively trying to blow up parts of the ship, and has announced himself to be able to perform brain surgery without instruments and breathe in space. A particular pet project of his was an 'ant farm' where the ants were homegrown nano- and other assemblers and the sand was a motile high explosive.[32] During the Toughs' next engagement the farm spilled and metastasized, briefly giving the Touch-And-Go exploding cancer.

Corporal Pibald was promoted to a lieutenant following external tampering with the company's memories and his selfless feats of heroism that did not actually happen. Both Pronto and Pi are named for the screen names of two of the better-known fans of the series.

Private Andy

Andy is a Fobottr, a race with four arms. As such, he frequently accompanies Legs on missions, to put balance back into the number of limbs in her squad. Just because he has more arms doesn't mean he necessarily has an increased ability to multitask, but he makes up for not meeting this assumption by being really enthusiastic.

Corporal Tchukk (Retired)

A member of the Uklakk race, Tchukk has two bodies which communicate with one another via bio-radio. Sharing one mind, the two bodies later have hypernet transmitters implanted, making him/them (a) superb joint fighter pilot(s). He/they eventually became (a) part(s) of Elf's light armor platoon. He/they has/have now retired.

Doctor Todd "Lazarus" Lazcowicz (Deceased)

Often referred to as "the old doctor", Lazarus worked as the ship's doctor with Tagon's Toughs until accidentally killed by Schlock while repelling boarders. After his death, it was discovered that he had been using his position as a cover for his true passion, the pursuit of highly illegal medical technology. He is responsible for creating the "magic cryokit", a device capable of remarkably un-Hippocratic feats, such as building an entire healthy body around a severed head and giving said body a wild variety of nasty biotechnical weapons and countermeasures.

The Emergency Medical Hologram (Captured, presumed to be in U.N.S. custody)

A hologrammatic stick figure projected from the "magic cryokit", programmed to serve as a replacement in the event of a doctor's death and reprogrammed by Lazarus to ignore "morality programming", the hologram was Lazarus' repository of illegal medical technology as well as having imprinted some of the old doctor's personality traits. Unfortunately, it is more akin to the Microsoft Office Assistant than to the holographic Doctor from Star Trek: Voyager, whom the character is based on. It, however, does possess basic survival instincts i.e. shutting up. The magic cryokit, and by extension the hologram, was captured along with Doythaban Gyo by General Xinchub. The present location and condition of the magic cryokit is unknown.

General Karl Tagon (Celeschul Armed Forces, Retired)

Father of Captain Kaff Tagon.

After the death of his son, a squad of mercenaries led by Reverend Lieutenant Theo Fobius (in his first act as a lieutenant) visited the general to inform him of his son’s fate. They arrived in time to save the general who was being held hostage by men from rival mercenaries Pranger’s Bangers who were there to get revenge for what they believed to be an assassination of their leader during Kaff’s final mission. After the rescue Karl joined up with the mercenaries to prevent further attacks from the Bangers. Following the time-travel mission by Captain Andreyasn to prevent the destruction of the Galaxy, General Tagon has been restored to his retired life and reputedly on good terms with the former Captain Andreyasn, now his neighbor.

General Kerchak

A sapient gorilla in the UNS Marines appearing in the "Zoojack" arc as a Captain. Fairly level-headed for a quarter-ton gorilla soldier, he has demonstrated command ability on par with sapient humans and was promoted to Colonel. He later emigrated to the Fleetmind and was promoted to General.

The name 'Kerchak' comes from a gorilla from the Tarzan novels.

Lieutenant Michelle " 'Chelle" Diego-Garcia

A Latina that was originally one of the only three women (along with 'Elf' and Breya) to be a member of the toughs. She eventually rose through the ranks and now commands an armor squad.

Corporal Elizabeth

A Vhorwed (a giant gorilla-like alien), her very presence is often enough to intimidate human-scale people into cooperating. She is an impressive melee fighter, and even without powered armor is capable of carrying an elephant.

Corporal Vog (Retired)

Vog is one of the few surviving Bradicor, a long-lived race of aliens that engineered Schlock's ancestors. He is over twelve million years old, and has experience in multiple fields. He served with the Toughs until their capture by Admiral Emm's battleplate, the Morokweng at which time he retired to work for the U.N.S. to collaborate and provide advice on implementing the longevity and memory preservation research that resulted from Project Laz'r'us. His purpose on the project is to "help [Laz'r'us compatible] races avoid making the extinction-level mistakes [his] people made."

King LOTA, The Longshoreman Of The Apocalypse (Emancipated AI)

Built by Para Ventura from a scrapped tank to assist with unloading the Eatonrun, LOTA surpassed all expectations and saved the entire city of Credomar from massive decompression by shutting down the anti-teraport defenses in place by the stationwaist faction, performing a rapid teraportation evacuation of all persons from the affected area, and finally forcing the Eatonrun to land over a hull-breach. LOTA declared himself interim dictator until such a time as proper elections could be held, and Para Ventura disabled the limiters that made LOTA inclined to obey her. During his interim rule he repaired the damage from the stationwaist antimatter bomb, distributed relief supplies, and campaigned for his successful election as King of Credomar.

As King, LOTA discovered the true purpose of Credomar's illogical construction, and hired the Toughs to build a massively redundant fast evacuation teraport system for the inhabited portions of the Credomar habitat. He also purchased extra external defensive measures, from drone designs to point defense upgrades. As soon as the system was completed, LOTA evacuated the entire city of Credomar to a planet and moved the empty station (now ready to be used for its original purpose as a weapon system) to an undisclosed location. The empty habitat, titled The Long Gunner of the Apocalypse by Kevyn, is a directed energy weapon capable of firing at any location in the galaxy through use of spatial discontinuities.

While Kevyn remains skeptical of LOTA's motivations, LOTA has openly proclaimed his gratitude to the Toughs and has proven to be an ally by disabling an enemy anti-teraport system using the Long Gunner's special capabilities.

Others

The mercenary team also includes Private Rodriguez, Corporal Chisulo (a Neophant), Lieutenant Pel Ebbirnoth (an Unioc), Corporal Wick, 18-year-old Lieutenant (formerly Ensign) Para Ventura (the roboticist that built LOTA), and Tailor (a General Sophontics tailor-bot).

Antagonists

General Levaughn Matsui "Hugo" Xinchub

a.k.a. "General Lardchins". Xinchub was a high-ranking General in the UNS battlefleet, who plagued the Toughs on several occasions, first kidnapping Doythaban then blackmailing them into hunting down Breya. Was finally thrown in the Serial Peacemaker's brig after the Dark Matter Entities destroyed his flagship, the battleplate Tunguska, and was sold into slavery as a military expert on a backwater planet named Yoming. However it only took him a year to become king of the planet. Recently Petey has attempted to enlist the mercenaries to rescue him from an assassination that Petey seemed to think was inevitable, but their hatred of Xinchub is so great that no amount of money was able to coax them into accepting the mission. They have now however accepted a mission to recover his body for Petey (after said assassination occurred), and another to recover his body for Ambassador Breya Andreyasn. They have also accepted (in an attempt to get paid three times) the role as security for the body to prevent it from being stolen during the funeral. The discovery that his body has been contaminated with ultra-tech blood-nannies, however, has made the Yomingans decide to pay the mercenaries a bonus to replace the body with a clone and take the contaminated original off their hands. In effect, the mercenaries are being paid four times for a job that multiple opposing parties all want done.

As of the end of Schlocktoberfest 2007, Xinchub's body was revealed to possess a dangerous colony of blood nanites similar to the ones implanted in Kevyn's body by Petey the previous year. This resulted in Xinchub being resurrected in a heavily boosted body similar to the one Kevyn inhabited, though much smaller. However, he was then promptly captured by Tagon's Toughs, who intended to sell the resurrected general. He was given to Petey & Fleetmind soon after. Later it was revealed that the nanites were removed from his body and that he was given a much younger and slimmer version of his original body in exchange for his services to the Fleetmind.

(Until recently there was some confusion as to Xinchub's first name, as it had only been mentioned in the strip twice, and was different each time - first time mentioned it was Hugo, and later, Levaughn Matsui. It has since been revealed that "Hugo" is a nickname[33]).

Colonel Jevee Ceeta

Colonel Ceeta is a "purp", a genetically-altered human with photosynthetic skin. She first appears as a bounty hunter, tracking down Doythaban. After Xinchub takes over that mission she has her commission reactivated and is assigned as "political officer" to make sure the Toughs actually go after Breya. After being jailed by Tagon following the (so-far) final confrontration with Xinchub, she claims she was always loyal to him, but it seems that her ethics and loyalty never extend any further than her next paycheck. Was "sold" as a military advisor along with the General, but later became King Xinchub the Prandial's "princess". She was last seen on the run after Xinchub's death. Later, she was shown to have rejoined Xinchub under the Fleetmind's protection, after a very violent and chaotic escape (not shown).

Admiral Emm

Admiral of the U.N.S. Battleplate Morokweng, she was charged with protecting the secret of Project Laz'r'us by capturing General Xinchub and neutralizing anyone not cleared to know about the project.

Species in the Schlockiverse

Mentally, all of the extraterrestrial sophont races basically have the same sensibilities and emotional makeup of human beings, in that they group together, love, hate, fear, scheme, complain, and make sarcastic cracks. Physically, the different races range all over the board, with some wildly improbable shapes at the far ends of the probability curves.

Terran Races

Species originating from Earth and inhabiting the Sol system. Mostly humans, but sapience has been genetically granted to several other natural species.

Humans

Includes baseline homo sapiens as well as several genetically engineered offshoots.

Elephants

Uplifted elephants include representatives of both Indian and African elephant stock. They are known colloquially as Ellies and Loxies respectively (after their genus names). They seem prone to aggression problems. In addition, there are the Neophants, which are genetically engineered to be smaller and stronger, and have 'fist feet' which can be curled up to walk on. The Neophants are a new development in uplifted elephants, and the first generation is faced with resentment from older, unenhanced elephants.

Gorillas

Form a significant part of the UNS Marine Corps, presumably as a result of their superior physical ability and resilience. Despite the high level of genetic alteration necessary to graft sapience to them, they remain unsubtle and incapable of stealth. "No offence, but you'd think they'd have come up with some way of overcoming 25,000 years of sneaking up on bananas."

Chimpanzees

Uplifted chimpanzees have thus far been shown mostly in the roles of judges and justices of the peace.

Gav-Clones

During the Fsherl-Ganni War, the scientist "Gav" (who bears a strong resemblance to Darren "Gav" Bleuel, author of the Nukees web comic) made over 900 million copies of himself using teleport gates, thus becoming the largest sub-species of humanity.

Amorphs

Carbosilicate amorphs are artificial creatures that originated as self-repairing distributed data storage devices manufactured by the Bradicor, the technologically advanced, extremely long-lived original inhabitants of the one significant planet in the Ghanj-Rho system. When the Bradicor civilization collapsed, some of the storage units modified themselves so as to continue functioning without outside support, and, after several million years, evolved sentience.

They are grey-green and generally seen as resembling something most people would like to avoid stepping in. In shape they are extremely variable, and can sprout limblike structures or assume nearly any shape at will. Their normal forms are more a matter of habit or personal taste than anything else.

Amorphs do not have specialized organs or other body parts, though they have adapted themselves to use the fruit of the Ghanj-Rho eye-tree for visual sense organs. This lack is what allows an amorph the flexibility in shape and makes it so resilient to harm. Their entire nervous system and even 'brain' are distributed evenly throughout their entire mass. In the event that this mass is destroyed, the amorph in question can easily lose its sense of self or memories of the past. The amorphs' origin gives them the ability to share memories by consciously allocating them into a small section of their mass, which can then be torn off and absorbed by another amorph.

Amorphs are extremely difficult to kill, having no 'weak spots' to aim for. An amorph can reassemble if split into smaller pieces (such as by blunt force, explosion, or the violent application of sharp pointy objects). The smaller pieces of an amorph each possess a far lesser sense of 'self' than the whole, but are driven by an irresistible instinct to reassemble themselves. Projectile weapons typically pass through without causing more than annoyance, and amorphs also appear capable of surviving explosive decompression and vacuum exposure for at least a week, albeit unconscious. Vaporizing plasma weapons and certain "meme-toxins" have been observed to be effective. Due to the evolution of a form of mêlée chemical warfare used in amorph-on-amorph combat, they have an innate understanding of their internal chemical makeup and are difficult to kill by poisoning or other chemicals. This may also be the origin of an innate love of combat all amorphs seem to share – the only way for amorphs to engage in combat with each other is for them to fuse and attempt to consume their opponent at the cellular level. As this forces the victor to integrate the loser biologically and psychologically, amorphs are almost completely unable to truly be murdered — this is in fact their method of genetic exchange, and enables them to absorb "biomemes" from species besides their own.[34] The only amorph to develop the ability to kill without absorbing his opponent was one of Sergeant Schlock's immediate parents, and that knowledge died with him. In short, members of this species seem to have no social prohibition against any form of violence — in fact, they may mistake it for sexual congress!

Bradicor

The unwitting progenitors of Amorphs, the extant members of this nearly-extinct species are over ten million years old, having survived both the collapse of their civilization and the medical problems inherent in Malthusian lifespans through drastic modifications to their brains.

Partnership Collective

A hive mind of lawyers many consider to bear a striking resemblance to the Borg of Star Trek. Physically, any given Partnership Collective Attorney Drone is literally a large snake in a limbless business suit and tie, usually carrying a briefcase with the end of its tail. The Partnership Collective clones them by the millions. Mentally, they are completely conscienceless (they have a reputation for being behind all frivolous lawsuits), and have Hypernet nodes implanted in their heads granting every drone in the universe instant access to the collective legal expertise of every drone that has ever existed - the Collective may possess more cumulative years of legal experience than the age of the universe itself.

Today [the PCs] attorney drones are found in the highest level of government, and in the lowest levels of criminal defense.

It isn't considered a problem when there are drones on both the defending and prosecuting sides.[35] Each PC AD has just enough of a spark of individuality to justify individual ties and their talking to each other for plot exposition, but just little enough not to justify having individual names.

No homeworld has ever been mentioned; just a Mother-Cluster ship.[36]

Tagon's Toughs have a contract to kill one million Partnership Collective drones. This is the result of the sabotage by the Collective of their first flagship, the Kitesfear, with several 3-teraton conversion bombs. This had the unfortunate side effect of severing the Luna orbital elevator, causing an estimated two billion kilocreds in damage. After several months of litigation, the Sol System courts realized that they would never be able to secure damages from the Collective and instead decided to inflict damages upon the Collective equal to those inflicted upon the elevator. The prosecutor had the intriguing thought of how this could be accomplished with a minimal amount of trouble-as this was not the first time the Collective had attacked Tagon's Toughs, and it seemed it would not be the last, they awarded them the contract and have had no thought of it since. As the aforementioned damage comes out to approximately one million attorney drones, it is safe to say that whenever a snake with a tie comes in contact with the mercenary company that guilt-free gratuitous violence will ensue.

It has been hinted at in "Tub of Happiness" that the Partnership Collective has itself been heavily manipulated by the Gatekeepers, which would have been an easy accomplishment once a drone had been gate-cloned due to their implanted hypernet nodes. The apparent purpose of this was to suppress teraports and similar devices as part of a treaty with the Paan'Uri Dark Matter Entities. This treaty was later broken by the Paan'Uri when they gave plans for a new type of power generator to the Gatekeepers that instead destroyed the Milky Way galaxy (in an alternate timeline) and led to Petey declaring war on the Paan'Uri.

Tausennigan Ob'Enn

The Ob'enn (also known as Tausennigans and, out of earshot, as psycho-bears) originate from the terrestrial, though largely ice-covered, planet of Tannhaus and possess one of the most advanced military forces in the galaxy. Physically they resemble rotund crossbreeds of hobbits and koalas with an ironic disposition towards itchy or hot fur. The size and ornamentation of their considerable ears are indicators of social status. The totalitarian Ob'enn culture has been violently xenophobic for millennia, and calls for the subjugation and eventual extermination of everyone else - starting with the species of any individual who points out how cute and cuddly they look.

Ob'enn vehicles that have been seen include mini-tanks, full-size hover-tanks, massive superfortress ships that could intimidate a carrier group or a UNS Battleplate, and a planetary defense ship many kilometers thick. Their craft tend to have long, pretentious names having to do with their specialities (e.g. "Sword of Inevitable Justice" for offense, "Cloak of Untrammeled Dignity" for defense). This convention draws its share of mockery from the other sentients, including the Toughs' ex-Ob'enn fabber "Scrapyard of Insufferable Arrogance" and their appropriated Ob'enn superfortress the "Post-Dated Check Loan", formerly "Sword of Inevitable Justice".

For millennia the limitations of the Wormgate network and machinations of the F'sherl-Ganni kept the Ob'enn contained to the indigenous star system of Tause, dueling another endemic sentient race, the saurian Kssthrata. That is, until Kevyn Andreyasn open-sourced the teraport, granting all races in the galaxy unlimited mobility. The Kssthrata promptly used this ability to secretly relocate all twenty-two billion of their population to a suitable empty world far away from their ancient enemies - the Ob'enn promptly used this ability to extend their campaign of racial purification to the entire galaxy.[37] In this they found themselves stymied by "The Rogue", Petey, on his own campaign of containment and re-education, until Petey recently gained practically unlimited power. The Ob'enn have not been mentioned since.

F'sherl-Ganni

The F'Sherl-Ganni, or Gatekeepers, are a species of ten-handed, six-armed goat-lizards. They control the Wormgate Corporation, which mediated all FTL travel before the re-invention of the teraport by rogue scientist Kevyn Andreyasn. Their existence as a space-faring and technologically advanced species for over 6 million years has given them time to grow to be a galactic civilization. They live in vast Dyson spheres called Buuthandi, which is a shortened form of the F'sherl-Ganni phrase "Buut go buut-buut nnaa-nnaa cho handi", which roughly translates to, "This was expensive to build." (The literal translation is 'Expensive and expensive-expensive [expletive] we built'.) Since their habitats might be located anywhere in the galaxy and obscure any attempts to scan their worlds, their population is unknowably immense. Any foreign attempt to enter F'Sherl-Ganni territory or otherwise interfere in their affairs is met with a response proportionate with their clout. They use their control over the wormgates to make and interrogate copies of key people, and thus can essentially control everything in the galaxy.

F'Sherl-Ganni power has declined by a great deal recently despite their historic influence as both their intentional genocide of uncountable trillions and unintentional role in aiding a Paan'uri plot to destroy the Milky Way Galaxy became apparent. The Fleetmind which helped avert the latter catastrophe with help from a Captain Andreyasn from a now-defunct timeline has extended some of its recently gained political clout to shield the F'Sherl-Ganni from retribution by both Milky Way governments and the Paan'uri.

They have purposefully modified their physiology for spacefaring.[10] The four arms radiating from the upper and mid-torso are each bifurcated at the elbow giving them eight hands in the upper body. Their other two hands appear to be feet at first glance since that's how they're normally used in an environment with gravity and the limbs to which they're attached evince thighs, but they can use them in a prehensile fashion. As a result they can grasp a number of potential handholds from nearly any direction while manipulating other objects such as plasguns, and at times seem nearly indifferent to gravity. F'Sherl-Ganni are very hardy and have been seen to function normally in hard vacuum (they have yet to address decompression's effects on their bowels, however), but this does not make them unkillable by such means as high-velocity projectiles fired at close range, massive trauma such as being torn (or dissolved) in half, or high explosives applied to the head.

What appear to be horns were revealed to be long term memory storage devices attached directly to the F'Sherl-Ganni's brain. These memories have proved to be as susceptible to mind-rip as other species' brains. Presumably as they get older the horns grow longer. Particularly prominent F'Sherl-Ganni have featured horns that coiled around several times.

Kreelies

Kreelies are blue, roughly the size of a human, and have a centaur-like posture. Ice Kreely young don't grow up to be sentient unless they go through a certain mutation, which is technically initiated by a certain microbe, during a certain stage of their life cycle. The ones who grow up dumb are kept by some as exotic pets, and can still live to be one hundred years old, talk, obey commands, and play chess. They just won't be any smarter than Lassie. According to Sergeant Schlock, the babies "taste great when they're fresh".

Kssthrata

The Kssthrata originated in the same planetary system as the xenophobic Ob'enn, and so pretty much became their traditional racial enemies by default. They are described as "peace-loving velociraptoroid sophonts" who apparently subscribe to the philosophy that he who desires peace should prepare for war. Other than the fact that they have a predilection for dentocentric nomenclature and underwent a mass migration following the invention of the teraport, little is known of their society or culture. While aiding a mutiny on the Ob'enn warship Sword of Inevitable Justice, a group of Kssthrata boarders stuffed thousands of mutilated corpses down the ship's heads and unwittingly induced acute psychosis and fear of ghosts in the ship's AI.

Paan'uri

The Paan'uri (DaMEs for Dark Matter Entities in fan parlance) are the force that ultimately set in motion most of the strip's overarching story arc. Little is known about the race, which mainly inhabits the Andromeda Galaxy and is composed entirely of dark matter, which only weakly interacts with normal baryonic matter except by gravitational force. The terran battleplate modestly named Tunguska, several kilometers long with enough firepower to eliminate Europa, was torn apart by a single Paan'uri in a matter of minutes.[38] In combat their gravitational influence "twists space",[39] and they've been seen to weaponize neutron stars and supernovae.[40] They are vulnerable to the nanoscopic wormholes used in teraports and teraport area denial fields.

Six million years before Schlock Mercenary's setting, the progenitors of the F'sherl-Ganni, who at that time used a FTL drive similar to the teraport, fought an inconclusive but bloody war with the Paan'uri. The teraport "pollution" of Paan'uri space was the main cause of the war, so when a cease-fire was agreed to the F'sherl-Ganni constructed the wormgate network as part of the settlement and in return the Paan'uri retreated to Andromeda. This set the stage for much of the strip's early run, with Kevyn Andreyasn's reinvention of the teraport and gradually uncovered Gatekeeper machinations. The latter were revealed in their full extent during the "Dark Matter wars," where the Paan'uri effectively re-opening hostilities by trying to manipulate the F'sherl-Ganni into destroying the Milky Way, Kevyn saved the galaxy by time travel, the comic strip chided itself for bringing such an improbability into a hard science setting, an enormous battle took place at the galactic core between the combined fleets of a dozen governments and the Paan'uri that ended in Milky Way victory when the Gatekeeper gate-copy replication system blanketed the core with teraport denial systems, the setting's political situation was thrown into chaos for the second time in a few years, and Petey progressed from the Rogue to the Fleetmind and launched a counterattack invasion of Andromeda.

Since dark matter is unperceivable within the setting, knowing what the Paan'uri "look like" in any meaningful sense is impossible.

Strip footnotes state that "Paan'uri" is a F'sherl-Ganni word whose origins are lost in the mists of time. As with many F'sherl-Ganni nouns it is a probably a contraction of a longer phrase. The best guess of F'sherl-Ganni linguists is that it meant either "That which lives where nothing should", or "That gravitic distortion is giving me the willies." The Paan'uri, on the other hand, are noted to call themselves "US," and beings of visible matter "ANNOYING."[41]

Fobottr

The Fobottr (also known as the Fobott'r) are a species of four-armed humanoids. They stand a half-torso taller than most humans, and enjoy binocular vision similar to that which humans have.[42] All examples seen thus far have had fair skin and cranial hair. Fobottr body structure is similar enough to human body structure to allow easy modification of human equipment for fobottr users.[43]

Frellenti

The Frellenti are a species of flightless bird-analogues, complete with long legs and vestigial wings. Frellenti have prehensile tongues, and an acute sense of smell/taste.

Vhorwed

Vhorweds are knuckle walking giants, superficially similar to an Earth gorilla, but roughly the size of a neophant, notable for their immense strength and size. Elizabeth is the Tough's resident Vhorwed.

Enireth

The Enireth are a smooth-skinned sapient race, evolved from tinth-philkra's fresh-water amphibioids. They live in a massive fleet of ark ships while they wait for the ecologic disaster on their home world to abate.

Ozvegan

Ozvegans look like the Beagle Boys.[44] They are omnivores, and enjoy a varied diet. They have a due-process legal system.[45]

Uklakk

Uklakk are aggregate individuals (bicameral communal life forms). A single individual consists of at least two physical bodies operating in a synchronized fashion via radio link.[46] Uklakk have a slug-like appearance, and are green.

Daehremmah

Daehremmah are amphibious bipeds with binocular vision configured in periscope fashion, with the distance between the eyes being about a foot. On average they're slightly shorter than humans. They have very large feet, brown skin, and two hands with four grasping digits. They have claw-like nails and on average live to be nearly 300 years old.[47]

Ystreben

Ystrebens are amphibious bipeds with binocular vision configured in periscope fashion, with the distance between the eyes being about the same as in humans. On average they're about as tall as humans. They have very large feet, blue skin, and two hands with four grasping digits and grasping pads on the end of each digit and on the palm of each hand.[48]

Schuul

The Schuul are a sentient aquatic species native to Celeschul.[49] Although the evidence is not definitive, it appears they can make clones of themselves in human form and have many tentacles.[50] They speak Galstandard Peroxide.[51]

Unioc

Uniocs are a species of single-eyed humanoids. They are pear shaped, with large bellies and hips, long and large legs that are always bent and long and thin arms. They don't have a neck and their head is elongated and thin, with the mouth at the bottom, no nose, and a single spherical, very round eye on top, with accompanying eyebrows. The seeming incongruence of one eye and two eyebrows has been briefly dealt with in an episode of the "Writing Excuses" podcast. They possess an eyelid which is not normally visible, and seldom blink, using their eyelid mostly for carrying expression. Despite only having a single eye, they do not lack depth perception, instead judging distances by rapidly shifting focus. Their eyes also have a much finer resolution than human eyes, and are capable of discerning very small detail that usually goes unnoticed. An Unioc can survive a shot to their upper head, since their brain is actually in their pelvic region, along with their hearts. Having such a developed optic nerve, this is however very painful.

Organizations

  • Tagon's Toughs
    The company of mercenaries that the narrative focuses on. They employ a wide variety of sapient species. The grunts are all augmented with soldier-boosts (with the exception of Sergeant Schlock), low-profile body armor (previously powered armor until an infestation of diamond beatles nearly killed the entire crew), and training in the principles and practices of unarmed combat by Shodan.[52]
    When on missions, they use code words and phrases for certain things with each other for the sake of discreetness, quick understanding, and brevity. For instance, "half-court playground ball" means "indoor voices, no shooting." Sergeant Schlock's favorite word in Galstandard West is "jungleball" – which roughly translates as "eliminate all targets without consideration for collateral damage".
  • Intergalactic Health Care
    Tagon's Toughs' HMO. No matter your injury, Intergalactic Health Care will do its very best to worm out of paying for any treatment but the very least-useful one, even if it increases the expense of said treatment. For example, Corporal Burt 'Nick' Nicholson is able to have a hand lost in combat regenerated, but the HMO insisted that two previously missing fingers constituted a pre-existing condition, and demanded they be severed from the regenerated hand. However, Lt. Cmdr. Der Trihs suffered the most at their hands—getting his head put in a jar. They also refuse to cover chiropractry.
  • Planet Mercenary
    Intergalactic spanning Mercenary Chain Store - Perfect for all your high-caliber tactical needs.
  • The Attorney Collective
    Mentioned above.

References

  1. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Tuesday, March 7, 2006
  2. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Sunday, August 19, 2007
  3. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Saturday, February 23, 2008
  4. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Sunday, February 25, 2001
  5. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Friday, September 6, 2002
  6. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Tuesday, September 3, 2002
  7. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Sunday, June 1, 2003
  8. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Wednesday, May 9, 2001
  9. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Saturday, June 4, 2005
  10. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Tuesday, May 31, 2005
  11. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Tuesday, February 6, 2007
  12. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Tuesday, May 20, 2003
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ [2]
  15. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Sunday, August 28, 2005
  16. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Sunday, December 11, 2005
  17. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Tuesday, December 13, 2005
  18. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Saturday, December 17, 2005
  19. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Sunday, December 18, 2005
  20. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Sunday, December 25, 2005
  21. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Friday, August 11, 2006
  22. ^ (April 14, 2002)
  23. ^ (October 12, 2006)
  24. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Sunday, December 31, 2006
  25. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Friday, June 1, 2007
  26. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Sunday, January 1, 2006
  27. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Friday, November 9, 2001
  28. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Sunday, November 28, 2004
  29. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Thursday, April 3, 2008
  30. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Wednesday, August 2, 2000
  31. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Sunday, March 23, 2003
  32. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Wednesday, July 4, 2007
  33. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Saturday, May 19, 2007
  34. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Sunday, December 23, 2001
  35. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Saturday, July 1, 2000
  36. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Sunday, July 9, 2000
  37. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Friday, September 3, 2004
  38. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Saturday, July 16, 2005
  39. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Sunday, April 2, 2006
  40. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Thursday, March 11, 2004
  41. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Sunday, July 10, 2005
  42. ^ [3]
  43. ^ [4]
  44. ^ [5]
  45. ^ [6]
  46. ^ [7]
  47. ^ [8]
  48. ^ [9]
  49. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Sunday, February 28, 2010
  50. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Friday, February 19, 2010
  51. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Sunday, February 28, 2010
  52. ^ Schlock Mercenary archives - Sunday, July 2, 2000

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