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<   No. 464   2004-05-04   >

Comic #464

1 Paris: So, Iki Piki, what did you do before you became a spacefarer?
1 Iki Piki: After school I met a female of my species.
2 Iki Piki: We spent some time hanging out together and travelling around our native planet.
3 Iki Piki: It was a budding romance.
3 Paris: Oh, how sweet. It's always cute when two beings fall in love.
4 Iki Piki: No, I mean we budded off several children.

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Let's see if any reader can identify what that is visible through the ship's viewports...

Okay, several of you correctly identified the Horsehead Nebula, despite the give-away horsehead shape being quite small and mostly hidden behind Iki's head in panel 3. Some went on to correctly describe that as part of the much larger Orion Nebula.


2013-04-23 Rerun commentary: As explained in the rerun commentary for #27, Iki Piki is based on the alien species known as the pachekki, from GURPS Aliens. However he is simply a male being, and the "pachekki" in this comic do not share the same convoluted reproductive biology as the pachekki in GURPS.

Despite the fact that they can apparently reproduce by budding, this is a vast simplification to how they work in GURPS.

The Orion Nebula, by the way, is one of the largest and brightest nebulae visible from Earth. You can see it with the bare eyes by finding the constellation of Orion, and looking for the three stars that form the sword hanging from Orion's belt. The middle "star" of the sword is in fact the Orion Nebula. It's a large star-forming region of gas and dust, illuminated by the light of young, hot stars. It is in fact the closest star forming region to Earth, at about 1300 light years away.

There are unlikely to be any habitable planets in there, but our heroes have travelled so close that they can see it that large outside their window. So maybe there's something interesting nearby.

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