Late DEx strips for you. Friday’s and yesterday’s. You’ll notice a big change in style between the two. The prologue was drawn a couple of years ago then abandoned, but when I restarted the project I realised it still fit. The main story pages are done by cheating lots and using Poser to set up the scenes with backgrounds often copied from photos (I’m a tracer. I have no problem admitting that).
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Another piece of Heavensent art. This is a snippet from the Battle of the Big Lazy, alluded to in an earlier chapter. I’m going to keep coming back to it and adding details, because it’s nowhere near as hectic as a real battle would get and there aren’t any ships involved yet.
The lake is Crummock Water from the North end. Crashed plane a dirt cheap Spitfire model, mangled and then photographed on a sand bank in the stream at home. Running pilot a free Poser model from Renderosity. Attack plane another free model from Renderosity, this time a P-38 Lightning. Explosions and dogfight planes bootlegged from the battle in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.
I’ve been playing with Poser all day, setting up the shots to digitally ink over and enhance to produce the comic. The comic should start appearing, in rotation with Seeds and Eliza Effect, some time in September.
�I heard that morals in the air army were quite lax.�
�Only since we let women in.� Reed stroked the fabric of six�s right tailplane. It had been patched up fine after catching the only flak of the whole mission.
�Did you sleep with your last bombardier?� Jay asked.
�Serena?� The smile said it all. �It isn�t a requirement of the post.�
�I had promised myself to a boy back home. It was allowed for him to join the infantry and go prossing around the barracks, but as soon as I joined the air army he called it off. We�re immoral, it would seem.�
Reed laid his arm across Jay�s shoulders and walked with her toward the barracks. �There were women who said they would promise to me. I never heard from them after I transferred here. If no-one out in the world, going about the little lives we shall soon be protecting, is willing to have me then I will take my pleasure on base. If it is offered to me.� They had arrived at Reed�s hut. He gestured inside.
Busy, busy, busy. I got some writing done today. I’ve designed most of the ‘Good Guys’ for DEx using Poser (I’m going to take those life drawing classes, honest, but for now I’ll cheat). Sorted out my insurance claim, and my benefits.
Wow. Here’s a bit of Seeds–
None of them had slept well. They had taken turns at sentry duty, though there was little to guard against.
Bobb was stripped to the waist. He passed the rope through a belt loop on his shorts. �I�ll try to do this on my own power, but if I start tugging pull me back in right away.� He dived over the edge before they could acknowledge.
Away from the shore, the water was clear, with sunlight penetrating deep before beginning to diffuse. Closer in, a soup of algae swallowed the light and restricted the view. Bobb swam into the thick green water. He passed under the shadow of the shore and the temperature dropped.
Groping around, he found something firmly anchored. Tugging on it brought him in close to a thin root, with another just beyond. Pulling himself from root to root, Bobb worked further under the floating island. Up ahead, the roots became thicker, wrapping and twining together in a criss cross pattern. Small fish swam through the gaps, feasting on the algae.
There was a movement, just at the edge of view to the left. Bobb turned his head to see a large dark shape leaping at him. It was as long and thick as his arm with teeth upon teeth and tiny eyes ringing its mouth. The fish ran up against the net of roots, jamming part way through one of the larger gaps. Now it was trapped. It thrashed and thrashed, becoming sluggish as water stopped flowing through its gills. The smaller fish darted in to take nibbles out of the predator. Chunks of flesh floated off to be wrapped in algae.
Bobb kicked away, aware of the pain in his lungs. He broke the surface with the opposite of a cry, the painful sound of great gasps of air. He lay on his back in the water, revelling in the sun, as Gim and Sheel dragged him in.
Under the tree, with the first of the purified water at his lips, Bobb explained what he had seen. �We�re sitting on an ecosystem. The algae has coated itself to the roots of the tree, the dead stuff building up over time to make this, �soil�. The roots drape down below, knitting together to make a net of sorts. The net catches larger fish, smaller fish feed on the corpses, breaking them down for the algae and plankton, and the tree feeds on the nutrients provided by the single celled animals.�
�But can the system support humans?� Sheel wondered.
�I guess we�re going to find out.�
On the wheels of steel- Stereophonics- Performance & Cocktails, Happy Mondays- Pills & Thrills & Bellyaches,The Avalanches- Since I Left You, Nirvana- Incesticide, Snakebite City Vol. 10, Abdoujaparov- Air Odeon Disco Pub, Hefner- Breaking God’s Heart.