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The Chain Part XVII

Several things. 1) If you are going to Megacon in Orlando, be sure to see Jessica! She's there now, and she said she's wants some Doritos. Cool Ranch. So help her out. She's kinda stuck at her booth. 2) I'm going to post the drawing giveaways, I swear it. I'm actually going to start plugging them into the right sidebar below the Patreon comic preview. 3) Second Patreon comic for this week is about 70% done. Should be up today unless I pass out. 4) Got some incredible fan art today Taxes   5) The Doritos were for me.

141 thoughts on “The Chain Part XVII

      1. Couldn’t that be construed as practicing medicine without a license? Besides, would that be the first online unlicensed colonoscopy in internet history?

        1. I thought the Hippocratic Oath was required for practicing medicine. I don’t think this would qualify for that.

        1. It takes practice but its doable. I had to learn how to type with one hand after I had a bad allergic reaction to a Tetanus booster shot some years ago, I literally couldn’t move my left arm for two weeks, but I couldn’t afford to take two weeks off from work because of it.

          After about four days I had the hang of it, and by the time I regained full use of my left hand I was typing about 35 wpm, a little over half my average.

          I get what you are getting at here though, just saying ;P

        2. Also a useful skill when you need one hand to hold/browse through a book. I’m way slower with one hand, obviously. But the only real problem (well, more of a hurdle than a real problem) that I have when typing one-handed is remembering which shift key to use for writing capitals. Since you’ve got only one hand and even a laptop keyboard still has a certain width, you have to actually think that one through.

        3. The fun thing here is: We’re not even messing with you.

          Well not foremost. Of course I caught your drift and went for a counterpoint after Kenju already started it. But what we wrote is also absolutely honest and true. ;)

        4. In that situation, I just rapidly hit caps lock, the letter I want, and then the caps lock again. It seemed simpler to me.

        5. Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww wwwwww ewwwww.

          Not enough letters for that. But then again, uncle dick might be needing the paramedics. Hahahaha. They watch the site and hear the sirens, look at each other and see tired guy carried out on a gurney with metro fire rescue and whatever ambulance company (rural / metro?) operates in Lakeland.

      1. Wow, that sure saves you a whole 2 letters. I guess it’s better that pervs are lazy rather than proactive, though.

        1. Maybe they are watching on their smartphone? Two extra characters can be more trouble than they’re worth, especially if everyone in the chat already knows the abbreviation.

        2. Smartphone or texting laziness habits makes more sense as an origin than keyboard to me.

          Even with the typing one handed, for a right handed person typing with their left hand, for qwerty the ‘a’ is a left pinky character and the ‘y’ is the closest of the right hand letters (which I do type with a left hand when typing two handed sometimes, so doesn’t seem like a stretch to me). Granted, for a left handed person typing with the right the ‘a’ is pretty far out of the way.

        3. Let’s get Jessica to ask James. If his height should be a positive relation to the amount of reach between his thumb and pinky, then typing one handed should not be an inconvenience when remembering to read the bumps on the home keys.

          I know that I can, but it was mostly upside down typing when I was bored.

        4. I’m just barely under 6′ and with my left pinky on left shift my thumb can reach ‘p’ and that’s about the extent. If avoiding thumb, left pinky on ‘z’ and the farthest I can reach is ‘o’.

          However, it seems to me that for one handed typing, a person either practices a lot to be able to do a moving touch type or does a modified “hunt & peck” style moving their hand around the keyboard as they look.

          I agree with boog above that the fewer letter laziness makes much more sense for smart phone keyboards or people who got in the habit texting with the pressing keys multiple times for different letters method, though.

        5. That’s because… it’s doesn’t actually stand for baby, all the time. Sometimes it’s Baby, and sometimes it’s intials, like, say, beach balls. Yeah, it’s still comes down to horrible.

        1. I was wondering similarly if it was intended as ‘DD’ for similar reasons (if likely too small in Ellie’s case, at a guess).

    1. I’m guessing the viewer(s) on Danny’s site have nicknamed Ellie Blonde Babe? I recall someone referring to her as “the blonde one” earlier/

  1. Hmm I wonder, would more pain and harm come to Danny (and by extension Caleb now) if their fates are left to the hands of just Ellie and Quinn, or Ellie’s family?

    Danny’s been shot twice and lost an eyebrow according to his bio. I think he’s going to get shot again and lose the other eyebrow now…

    1. Wait a second, I just realized something! Oh my god, guys! Quinn didn’t suspect Ellie of having any part in this!

      That means either Quinn actually see’s Ellie as her friend now, or at minimum she cares about her enough now to not want her to be caught on a cam like that.

      Either way, it’s official now, Quinn doesn’t hate Ellie anymore ^^

      1. I don’t think Quinn had time to process Ellie having a part in this or not. Quinn appeared to just be making a mad dash to her computer to check the site and there she saw Ellie changing in front of the laptop.

        Hard to say if her first reaction was to protect Ellie or if she wanted to prevent the people on the site from getting what they were looking for (probably the first, but I could see the second from Quinn too).

        Granted, I suspect Ellie’s reaction to this will clear Ellie of suspicion of being a knowing part of the site.

        1. A persons first reaction, their knee jerk reflex is a very telling thing.

          I was seriously expecting the first thing Quinn would say in this would be something to the effect of ‘Ellie WTF did you do!’

          But, she didn’t. Her first reaction wasn’t to pin blame on Ellie, but to warn her.

          Put this into a different kind of scenario, imagine someone is walking along and they see that someone is walking towards them not paying attention. Because they aren’t paying attention, they don’t notice the large pile of dog poo in the middle of the sidewalk. The first person calls out and warns the second person before they step in it.

          This is common courteously, but think back to the first time Quinn appeared in this comic, do you think she would have warned Ellie?

          There is also her expression in the panel when she told Ellie to put her shirt back on, to me that’s a look of alarm. We’ve seen Quinn angry before, plenty of times, usually AT Ellie lol. Lastly, I think enough time has passed that she’s gotten to know Ellie enough that she wouldn’t do something like this, its just not in her character. Ellie confessed to her in an earlier strip that she doesn’t like all the attention her body gets, so it wouldn’t make sense for her to do something like this.

          I for one am looking forward to seeing Danny get beat down at minimum. Caleb isn’t at fault, but he could have pushed to shut things down more than he did. So, only a few fractures for him, no broken bones ;)

        2. That is a very valid and lucid comment. Ellie has grown on Quinn to some extent. But I still think that it’s also a matter of “oh crap, someone’s watching me” paranoia fueled flight or fight response stuff as well. But that would also be the knee jerk reaction as well. But the first thing that Quinn did was to get to her computer. I hate to say it, but judging by the now exposed elbow, Ellie may not be putting her shirt back on fast enough before Quinn tackles her with a towel, robe (the red/purple one) or something to drape over the laptop.

          If ironic humor is to be absurdly used, it may very well be the first thing that Quinn can grab without thinking, and it may just be something of an unmentionable.

        3. I fully agree that reflex is very telling.

          Quinn’s first reflex, on hearing about the site, is to investigate and examine it herself. It was neither to blame nor to warn Ellie (she would’ve called Ellie to follow her looking at her laptop if she’d wanted to warn, possibly to blame too).

          Quinn’s first reflex, on seeing Ellie about to take her shirt off for all those people who’ve been peeping on them, was to stop Ellie from taking her shirt off. That action is definite, but the motivation for the action isn’t certain.

          She had some built-up malice for Ellie based upon the fifth grade initial irritation fueled by the Zane misconception (cleared up in comic Juniper – 28 August 2013), and before that I’m sure she would’ve felt differently about letting Ellie expose herself. However, Quinn has shown herself to have the capability of being vindictive as well. Being vindictive when there are two people who you dislike and you can only harm one, you harm the one that infuriates you more. So she might’ve warned Ellie even then.

          I do think that Quinn does feel concern for Ellie’s well being now and views her in at least some degree of a friendly light. I do suspect that’s part of her motivation for warning Ellie. However, I’m not yet convinced which was the reflex: saving Ellie the exposure, or denying the peepers. I think the first is slightly more likely, but far from certain.

        4. There is still the lack of the blood curdling shriek that should have killed all of the generic tired guys within a 500 yard radius due to the lack of plasma and more of a presence of plum pudding in their circulatory systems.

        5. Yeah, I think that when one girl sees a peeping tom, the reaction seems to be to close ranks and deny the target through sheer numbers, superior hair care products and excessive firepower. Preferably the 7th fleet task force following closely behind every SEAL and tactical air squadron on hand.

          In this case,is not over kill. It’s the second time Canada has invaded the USA.

      2. That is, doesn’t hate Ellie as much as we thought. Once she’s done patting down the soil above Danny’s grave, I’d be surprised if she doesn’t at least tell Ellie “you know, sweetie, I would be remiss if I didn’t at the very least inform you that I can’t help but partially blame you for landing us in such a distressing predicament, what with bringing such a mischievous brute around our previously-safe domecile and all.”

        1. And Ellie, though she would protest that she couldn’t possibly have seen this coming, would probably even agree on that.

        2. This is only the second time for her. I think our older kid only had one (maybe two) ever.

          Kids, amirite?

      3. She started sending signals, post Thanksgiving meal, that she was feeling more… domestic… around Ellie.

      4. There’s a big “not yet” here. As I said in my responses to the last comic, when/if the truth comes out I don’t think it’s unlikely that Quinn might make the jump of “Ellie introduced Danny to our lives, therefor Ellie shares some responsibility”. It may not be right or reasonable, but then again Quinn hasn’t exactly been the patron saint of cutting Ellie slack.

        1. Partly culpable perhaps, she did bring Danny into the picture, but that’s as far as her fault extends. Remember Danny didn’t even know Quinn existed till the previous morning.

        2. That’s kind of what I said either the last strip or the strip before. I know what term I used, and I’m applying it towards the artistic comic segmentation otherwise known as panels.

        3. Once again, logic and reason are likely to be the first casualties in the war with emotion.

        4. But one could argue that this would be for most women engaged in the preliminaries of that battle. We have the daughter of a Lt. General and one of the Chief of Police for Lakeland, Florida. There should be some exception because of these circumstances.

          But then again, perhaps Quinn could be on edge because of the crap her mother pulled on her.

        5. Logic and reason losing to emotion certainly isn’t gender specific. The emotion men seem most comfortable admitting to (anger) is very good at telling logic and reason to shut up and go home because it’s running the game now.

          As for Ellie & Quinn specifically, there’s no reason their patrimony would be a particular shield for reason. Being the fifth of seven daughters, Herb was probably starting to be somewhat out of it by the time Ellie came along, and his mention in Patreon comic moved to archive The Tagalong (16 Dec 2014) “Your mother doesn’t tell me everything. Usually a hint it’s something I don’t want to know.” suggests Herb has a certain degree of “seek shelter and weather the storm” mentality for handling his daughters’ emotional outbursts. We don’t know much about the General at this point, but I think we’ve seen Quinn not terribly adept at keeping emotion from overruling reason out of anger and in her pursuit of Ian.

          Personally I think it’s easy to fall prey to a fallacy when talking/thinking about emotion and reason, though. Emotion is inherently irrational. This is easy to misinterpret and consider emotion as being opposed to reason, which is not the case. Emotion is unconcerned with reason. It doesn’t attempt to break or subvert reason, it just isn’t constrained by the rules reason imposes. So emotion can follow along with reason, or break with it completely, or weave back and forth. Reason attempting to constrain emotion is kind of like a person complaining to a ghost about how walking makes for sore feet, to the ghost that’s just not an issue due to floating and being non-corporeal.

        6. I was just translating the perspective of being an army brat squared (both parents) towards Quinn’s and Ellie’s possible perspective. Plus, my dad worked in the prison that they used for the first “Scared Straight.” And I may have been also suggesting from stereotype as well.

  2. At this point, it would behoove the Kanuck to tie D-Bag in a package, deliver him to justice (next door), inform the girls, and Quinn, that he is shutting everything down. He cannot escape the blast radius at this time, so the better to focus the attack on the truly guilty.

    1. I wouldn’t say escaping the blast radius is impossible. At least not if he put the door back on Danny’s apartment before they had too much of this conversation and/or Tired Guy didn’t call the cops who might already be en route.

  3. Quinn’s frantic warning and Ellie’s remark back would be a good joke for the voyeur site to end on.

  4. OMG! Quinn did not immediately suspect that Ellie had a hand in this! Hurrah! And now Danny will die! Hurrah!

    1. When/if she finds out the whole truth, I think there’s going to be plenty of rage to spread around.

  5. Rusche: today and Wednesday, VERY cool work, from the way in which you’re plotted Danny’s scheme coming unglued, to your playing with PoV, to your details, just a treat. I am so looking forward to when you return to Danny and Caleb, but for now I imagine them replaying one of my all-time favorite scenes from another comic (I hope that you don’t mind):
    Danny: “I may have made a slight error in my calculations.”
    Caleb: “When you were adding the numbers up did you remember to carry the stupid?”
    ( http://www.superstupor.com/sust12282010.html)

      1. The Like links require JavaScript. A lot of security plugins block JavaScript, because the capability to do good/interesting/helpful/shiny things also necessitates the ability to do bad/malicious things. Trusting a site’s operator not to be malicious isn’t quite enough, though. It’s also the question of how likely they are to be hacked (so webcomics with the possible exception of xkcd are probably unlikely from a specific targeting stance, but may be much more likely from the casting a wide net stance when a WordPress vulnerability comes out).

        1. I think I went overboard in some ways and not far enough in others in my explanation. Sorry about that.

          The like buttons would be extraordinarily unlikely to hold any form of malicious code, because if someone hacked the site, they’d put the malicious code so that simply viewing the page would infect and not require additional interaction. Hitting just specific like links would be a very odd choice that would seem unlikely, as most current security plugins wouldn’t have the granularity for that. Granted, if that starts getting common, then it might become more likely.

          My mention for security plugins was just a mention as to how/why it might be blocked. For my current Firefox setup, NoScript will selectively block JavaScript for specific sites or domains and I have QuickJava to quickly turn JavaScript on or off globally. There are quite a few other plugins that will block JavaScript in one way or another, too. The reason is that as we’ve wanted more and more capability from our web pages, JavaScript has gotten more and more powerful (example, quakejs.com). There are multiple ways to add more power to something like JavaScript. One is to have more powerful computers that can still be reasonably speedy while doing things in roundabout ways, and technology has enabled that one and we’ve taken advantage of it. Another is to let JavaScript farther out of the sandbox it was placed in for security and give it more direct access to system resources so there is less delay and latency (WebGL is an example of something to do this and some people have security concerns with it, if for no other reason than by more directly exposing display driver code to attacks that might otherwise be less feasible, though others aren’t terribly concerned).

          Basically using a computer is a security decision like any other, a risk-reward relationship. You just evaluate what reward you want to achieve, estimate your risk for various ways of achieving those goals, adjust if appropriate, choose your mitigation strategies, and go that way for a while and periodically re-evaluate. For example, when I first heard about AdBlock, I deliberately didn’t use it because I wanted to help fund the sites I visited. Fast forward a couple of years to where major web advertising networks had been caught serving malicious ads (as in view = infection) on very respectable/mainstream sites often enough that it didn’t seem like news any more, and I re-evaluated and don’t browse without it now (and add the Malware Domains DNS black hole block list too). I set my browser setting such that a lot of other people find it irritating to use my browsers (8 add-ons with some degree of security features and some preference settings for privacy too), I refuse to do any online banking or online medical options, and occasionally make separate VMs or pull a laptop hard drive and use a LiveCD with all other computers off for browsing things outside my normal expected safety comfort zone. Those are my mitigations at the moment and I don’t worry about it past that, though as time goes on I’m near certain to add some and remove others (for example I did browse with Tor at one point, but decided the security and privacy benefits weren’t worth the added latency hassle to me and stopped).

          This is no different from physical security decisions you make every day, just something that’s only starting to penetrate public consciousness and something that changes more quickly. It’s the same way that I consider my neighbors presence sufficient deterrent that I don’t worry about being robbed by leaving my garage door open as I mow the back yard. You can easily over-secure yourself in the computer domain. Like keeping your spare house key a mile and a half away and locking your door to walk to the curb and get your mail knowing that you’ll have to walk a mile and a half to get your key to get back inside would be a bad security decision (to say nothing of how you’re going to get the key back there and then back inside in a way that doesn’t expose you even more than the trip to the mail box). When you see something like that in the physical domain, you immediately realize it’s silly and counterproductive. In the computational domain, it’s harder to know all the variables as they change more often and we didn’t grow up with generations of habits and older family members to point out those fallacies, so we’re more likely to make similar mistakes. I’m sure I do some in that vein myself.

          If you are interested to read up some fairly accessible (even for non-tech audiences) write-ups about security trade-offs, Bruce Schneier writes about them a lot (and has tried to popularize the idea in many ways). He has a whole lot of his essays (or maybe all of them) available for free at his website ( schneier.com ).

    1. Really? I was hearing Caleb saying, “You know, turning the site off for all the viewers doesn’t mean we have to lose the camera feeds for ourselves…”

  6. I’m picturing the fallout for Caleb (after his return montage), getting a knock on his door. He opens it and the mostly off-screen person on the other side begins feeling his face.

  7. And before we forget about it:

    Chris!

    Thanks for the service. ;)

    (And Ellie’s line is absolutely, fantastically hilarious! :D )

    1. Nope. If that were Ivy, the boob jiggling just from talking would’ve probably caused enough compression waves to shattered the laptop camera lens.

      Aside from that, I’d say Taki due to the covered face.

      1. Haha… compression waves…
        But seriously though, having boobs that big AND fighting world class warriors has got to be a recipe for a destroyed lumbar vertebrae. Makes me wonder if Ellie is ever gonna have back pains.

        1. Unless Ellie breaks from her laziness ethic for core strength type workouts or Tarra specially manufactures her bras with anti-grav technology, it seems likely.

          Sleeping on a mattress of stuffed animals can’t help that either.

  8. The action builds to another crescendo of (hopefully) violence.

    And for me the punchline is Quinn’s expression though I have to say, despite Ellie’s face being completely covered her body language in the last panel really helps the delivery of her line.

  9. It’s pretty obvious that he should have banned IP addresses in the area so it’s less likely somebody they know would stumble across it. I’m sure Ellie is memorable most places she goes.


  10. I wish bras like that didn’t dig into ribcages so.

    Also 8D I cannot WAIT for the impending doom of dumbass. <3

    1. The weight being supported has to go somewhere. As I understand it the ribcage is a better place to support it than the shoulders.

      1. XD Trust me I know. I have had to wear my fair share of them. It’s just excruciating enough that when I see pretty bras I can feel it. It’s like phantom pains. Awful I tell ya.

        1. I thought that gravatar was the site viewer from your hometown, not Australia.

          However, I’ve heard that water swirls the other direction in the southern hemisphere, but nothing that made me believe boobs weighed less there. Would probably make for some odd/interesting migration patterns if it were the case, though.

          @Rae – I certainly don’t know myself. Most of my knowledge comes from finding topics outside the normal realm of politeness immediately more interesting for that fact alone and wondering what kind of webcomic Thin and Curvy from the side links on Wapsi Square was and then being curious and reading a scattershot of posts there and on various linked blogs (hint, not a webcomic but a bra blog). I hadn’t thought much about the structural requirements myself, though when I mentally compared it to the difficulty of holding five pound weights at arm’s length for an extended period of time it made much more sense. So now I always pay attention just because it feels like something that I, as a guy, am not supposed to know about.

      1. It’s an Anime/Manga term for material that is added just to please the (mostly male) audience. Usually in the form of gratuitous titillation, the pantie shot, near nudity, ect. In the 80s almost every anime had at least one shower scene, now a days it’s the beach or hot spring episode or something similar. Some show a very light on plot and are almost pure fan service.

        1. And Ellie does have a rather impressive plot… … …or as Monty Python nerds would say “Huge…tracts of land”

        2. I’d say when it’s appropriate to the plot you don’t avoid it seems more accurate. If you were looking for places you could fit it in that would work, you could find a lot more of them.

          Ellie in a bra here is pretty well a called shot from Danny stating that no one had seen them naked a couple of comics ago being the good screeching to the edge of a cliff and not dropping off for the reveal (and also plot-wise giving Quinn good reason to believe Ellie doesn’t know about the cameras). Two frames is to give the contrast to allow body language to convey Ellie’s attitude in the last frame, which is the same sort of artistic choice you make lots of other places both to push your artistic abilities and to try to get things just right.

        3. And it also allows for the emphasis on body language between shot one and shot two to be used for a maximum comedic effect based on irony.

  11. I started posting something then….Boobs.
    Ranch Doritos sound delicious…I hope someone delivered the good to Jessica.
    and…Boobs.

    1. Great, now all we need is the person who was posting “whales.”

      That seemed to have been all that they would post.

      “whales.”

      in various lengths and such.

      1. <_< strangely enough my wife just pulled up something about a mass whale beaching in Japan….and how some think it is going to lead another earthquake.

      2. That would be commenter Anonymousanonymous. Not sure if it’s the one with the custom gravatar that posted this page is the same as the one with a roulette gravatar (used to be iNimbus salesman but is now Ellie looking at screen in dark talking to Barrel from checking an old post) that used to post the whales comments or not, though.

        That commenter did state that it was getting old to him as well but that he’d decided to keep it up through a certain point (Black Friday arc I think) and was looking forward to that point being over. So I don’t think we’re in any danger past response to reminders.

  12. We forgot one thing, a few actually. 1-Ellie is family with at least one sister who has a lethal zone of 50 yards and one of two two can summon beings. Be it video games or what not. With the possibility being three sisters who may or may not have arcane knowledge.

    Could the possibility of having to lose either the security deposit, more scorn from her mother, or the entrance of one of the 52 have something to do worth her unconscious decision making paradigm?

    1. 50 yards was stated to escape irradiation (answer to question about escaping her collateral damage zone from comic Exodus – 10 Mar 2014). I’m sure her deliberate lethality zone extends much farther.

      Also recall that Ellie calls Pumpkin “mini me” and Rusche stated that Ellie was basically Tarra but a lot lazier. Since Pumpkin’s summoning came after the Pumpagon incident, with Rusche’s comment about the joke removed for pacing about them getting a good look at each others’ minds, that’s a viable place for Pumpkin to have learned Tarra’s summoning trick. So with Tarra and Pumpkin both showing summoning knowledge, it seems a given that Ellie would have the capability. It’s just a question of if Ellie was clued in (or paid attention while being clued in).

      1. Well, yeah. That was where I was getting the 50 yards. However, Tarragon was in mortal combat at the time with herself, if she knew it or not. I’d have to scoot back to double check. On second thought, maybe she does know who that one eyed lass is. The lethality zone is smaller than the collateral damage zone in a nuclear explosion, it should be inferred that the 50 yards is the unintended lethality zone, unless Tarra is using a focused blast. But then, we have to deal with the occlusion that would occur with air and other particles between Tarra and the target. Since Sister X did mention that the outdated means caused cancer, it could be inferred from that statement that Tarragon is using ionized radiation of some sort.

        While the phone let slip a double two, it was meant to have read, ‘…one of two who can…” at the very least. And yes, while Ellie is the successor to Tarra’s capabilities, she’s the lazy one. Does that mean that she’s too lazy to practice, too lazy to care, or intelligent at the time to skim something, remember it and not bother to recall it. That could explain why she was in all of the Advanced Placement classes. If she couldn’t pass the test, why was she in the class. Unless someone in the background hacked into the school’s database using the password “pencil” which was written on the secretaries sliding shelf.

        We just don’t know if Ellie and Tarra have performed, or attempted to perform the Fusion Dance, but if Ellie’s understanding of the convention placement situation and her signing others names on hinky documents, then it could be surmised that Ellie’s I.Q. is much greater than her bra size. And Quinn could eat crow over some of her statements.

        1. Actually, I’ve heard that I.Q. is largely a measure of patience in taking the test, so while Ellie is likely very intelligent (not all of her coasting is by her looks), her laziness would probably drastically reduce her I.Q. scores from what they technically could be.

  13. I forecast Danny looking to Caleb all like “what do we do” and finds Caleb’s chair spinning minus a Caleb.

    1. Yeah, Caleb’s actions are going to be interesting to observe. There are so many tactics he could take to attempt to get out of this. Some will depend on what degree Danny’s plans to entrap him which haven’t been revealed yet might be.

      I’m also curious, with them being on the cast page, how much Caleb and Vu (whose face we haven’t seen on the comic yet) are going to play and how lasting it might be. I mean, Vu’s had less of a role than Eustice so far.

  14. I’m still wrapping my head around the following.

    “Reason for visit?”

    “Murder.”

    “Alright then.”

    Personally, really can’t wait to see Caleb have a panic attack while leaving Danny to his completely deserved fate.

  15. Am I the only one who thinks Ellie being unrecognizable under her shirt from the last two panels would make a great, but confusing, gravitar?

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