April 14th, 2009


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Discussion (58)¬

  1. Oscelot says:

    There’s just something about this that makes me squee. And really, I don’t see why I didn’t see the great great great great great great great great great great great great great granddaughter thing.. I love the twist that makes it actually make sense though.

  2. Carina says:

    But the most amusing thing is Helix’ “Nice Girl. Very good with explosives.”

    For some odd reason that cracks me up. πŸ™‚

  3. Sabreur says:

    Great scene. Here’s hoping Digger’s inherited that knack for explosives. The way things have been going, she’ll need it.

  4. BarGamer says:

    “Nice girl. Very good with explosives.” = AWESOME AND WIN.

    Oh, if only we could have a bomb-chucking pyromaniac wombat… Would make a great Flash game, at least.

  5. Zhukov says:

    It’s nice to finally meet another wombat. Even if he is a bit incorporeal.

    I like him already.

  6. Thunderbat says:

    I love the interaction between the wombats. I can’t help but think they’re trying to out-deadpan one another and that makes me love the species all the more.

  7. Otookee says:

    OK, tracked down the prior reference. September 2007, page 252 (at least according to the current numbering and dating at the time of this writing). Helix left some disgruntled graffiti on the shackle binding the Dead God whose hearts-blood powers the undead bird-priest hyenas. Definitely the person to talk to.

  8. annvole says:

    I am still not convinced of Helix’s gender. In the first instance Digger was using a male pronoun but there was no indication by what was written as translated into English of gender (in Wombat language there may be gender-related verb tenses giving away the gender of the writer) but otherwise, “Descending-Helix” might be a male-only name (which seems unlikely due to being made of words with other meanings ad Digger’s full name is). I am still assuming that Digger was only using a male pronoun in absence of knowing (but I also assume that now she knows… lets see what gender of pronouns she uses now)

  9. Cerulean says:

    While I’m sure that from the wombats’ perspective the name has everything to do with his digging style, “Descending Helix” is one of those neatly symbolic names in fiction, like Darth Vader or Remus Lupin. Shared DNA is pretty much a given.

  10. annvole says:

    “Descending Helix” makes me think of the fossilized spiral burrows of the Paleocastor (an ancient beaver species similar in life style to modern prairie dogs) that are called “daemonelix”

  11. NigaiAmai Yume says:

    Ya, “direct descendant” gets crazy after a few generations, unless you keep up the inbreeding.

  12. Niall says:

    Hah! Now it makes sense! If Helix helped to bind the Dead God, whoever is pulling strings right now with the Dark Servants would have sensed the Binder’s Blood descendent burrowing around and magicked her hole up! It was Digger because of her link with Helix! That’s the only reason she was Chosen. However… whoever did it forgot one importing thing: _Don’t Mess With Wombats_…

  13. Alondro says:

    Why, Helix is the wombat Ghenghis Khan! (fathered a HUGE number of descendents, makes up sizable proportion of certain populations)

  14. For me, it’s the last line that makes this work.

    No great legacy, no undeniable destiny, he just had a big family. Epic.

  15. brushtail says:

    I would need to know the average wombat population and average birth rate to do the math, but given that I would be willing to attempt it.

  16. abb3w says:

    Poking at the web: natural wombats gestation of about a month, reproductive maturity at between 18 and 36 months, life expectancy between 5 and 20 years. Oh, and we know (from an earlier comic) that the local wombat culture usually contracts five year marriages with renewal option. After 1000 years (and thus easily 100 generations), the limiting factor on his descendants is likely the migration between wombat warrens.

    Mind you, the “just had a big family” might BE Helix’s great legacy; a quiet blessing from a previously satisfied divine customer. Something on the lines of “May you have a life with such happiness as is in your naturally careful reach, and without further troubles with the matters of the Gods.”

  17. Eben Brooks says:

    “You do the math.” HAH! Oh, that’s gotta be one of the best lines I’ve read this month, at least. You rock, Ursula!

  18. Zack says:

    I’d be willing to bet this intelligent, civilized wombat species has both longer lifespan and longer generation interval, though. You need enough time to educate the young’uns.

  19. Chris says:

    Of course there’s the question of whether talking wombats who use explosives have the same gestation, maturity, and life expectancy of real-world wombats.

  20. Jon says:

    Huh. So maybe this ISN’T Digger’s far future.
    Then what was so weird about that tunnel?

  21. Aelfwine says:

    Brilliant. Especially the last line.
    So, wombats are using explosives for a long time, it sounds like, Probably a good thing they don’t seem to’ve let humans get their grubby mitts on them much.

  22. Argent says:

    I figure wombats are probably pretty good at math, too.

  23. Charmee says:

    Hullo again! I love the website, btw. And this particular comic is SO perfect. ^__^ Wombat ancestry, FTW! πŸ˜€

  24. Jag says:

    I love how Digger and Helix are just… talking. Like everything is normal. No Epic Ghost Thing for wombats… XD

  25. Kevinbunny says:

    What got me was the ‘my eldest contracted with a Quartzclaw’. On first reading, I thought it was smply ‘Oh, they did some work together, and he liked her. That’s nice’. Took me the second reading to realize ‘Oh.. wait.. *contract*.. Riiiight…’

  26. Werrf says:

    Eight children, assuming a wombat generation is somewhere around 20 years, and assuming each child only had two descendants, and assuming each descendant also only had two descendants and thus doubled the number of Helixlets each generation, would give a maximum population, assuming every single descendant bred, of around 4,503 trillion Wombats after 50 generations (1,000 years).

    Assuming Helix’s line is still extant, there’s a good chance that EVERY wombat at Quartzclaw is descended from him. You go back just a few generations, and a substantial portion of all the breeders at the time are likely to be your ancestors. That’s why everyone finds a famous relative when they research their family tree.

  27. Sebastian says:

    Eh, who need Destiny when you have statistic.

  28. KNO3 says:

    Explosives? Neat. Ah, and gunpowder is easy to make…

  29. Blob says:

    How does the wombat child-rearing system work? I haven’t read the archives in ages, but I always remember Digger referencing female relatives. I can’t remember her every referencing her father. I also find it somewhat odd that Helix had 8 sons and no daughters. While that’s not unheard of, it’s fairly unlikely. If the wombat marriages only last five years, what happens at the end? Do the fathers raise the sons and the mothers raise the daughters? By contracting with outside clans, they presumably cut down on inbreeding. Then, at the end of the contract, the wombats could return to their respective warrens with some additions. Admittedly, this is wild and pretty uninformed speculation. I welcome any evidence to the contrary.

  30. Urthdigger says:

    Yeah, pretty sure Helix’s eldest son was Digger’s great great great great great great grandfather, with the girl who was good with explosives being Digger’s yadda yadda grandmother.

  31. Yubi Shines says:

    Thing is, I think Digger is in her early-to-mid twenties, going from when she was imagining her tombstone.

  32. Kelci says:

    That makes me attempt to think about how many ancestors I have who lived a thousand years ago…it makes my brain hurt.

  33. CE Murphy says:

    Kevinbunny: Re ‘contracted with’–me too. πŸ™‚

  34. Skydancer says:

    Yep. Even assuming human generation times for these wombats, you’re looking at 2^42 possible descendants in Digger’s generation. About 4.4 trillion. In practice, people tend to lose track of cousins by four generations or so, so the lines recross a lot. But in essence, in a thousand years you’re descended from everyone who left descendants (and wasn’t in an isolated gene pool such as the New Guinea tribes).

  35. Lucius Appaloosius says:

    So, I’m guessing Helix wasn’t interested in taking up genealogy as a hobby on the Other Side….. which raises the question: what *is* there for a wombat to do over there to while away Eternity? Ethereal Geology? Parcheesi? 7@=Q

  36. abb3w says:

    As I noted, Werrf, and guessed based on my family tree: at time at the rough order of 10*generation size, the main limiting factor becomes migration between clans.

    Lucius: I’d suspect Helix may be taking up watching tectonic drift as a hobby. Bumping continents makes for some real excitement, even if Bobby Jindal doesn’t understand that.

  37. Rowan says:

    “Very good with explosives.” and “You do the math.” are becoming buttons so I can wear my geeky digger pride.

  38. NakedCelt says:

    Wait, wait, wait. Wombats had explosives a thousand years ago?

  39. Phirefly says:

    It was stated some time ago that Digger is 25.

  40. Scott Malcomson says:

    Wait. DUCT? Digger’s initials spell DUCT?!


  41. Archangel Beth says:

    Hm. If they’re related, this messes with my OTP idea. Slightly. Oh, well!

  42. Cerulean says:

    NakedCelt: Not too surprising. In our world, humans had explosives a thousand years ago.

  43. Jamie4 says:

    I keep reading Helix’s speech bubbles with Sean Connery’s accent.

  44. Hamor says:

    Scott, that’s awesome! I totally didn’t make the connection till you mentioned it πŸ˜›

  45. Callonius says:

    So, apparently wombats have themselves a very STABLE society. Same figures of speech and marital customs after a thousand years…

    (Granted, I suppose we do, too. Mostly.)

  46. BunnyRock says:

    when Digger is disusing whether or not her parents back home would have given up hope of her coming back she wonder’s if they would raise a tasteful little plack in the Quartzcalw burial hall saying

    “Digger-Of-Unusually-Convoluted-Tunnels: 403-428. Worked Hard, vanished mysteriously.”

    This puts her age at 25, confirms that her parents are still alive and in contact with her, and implies that as it is implied to be normal for her not to have had any children by 25 but would also be accepted for her to do so, then presumably her parents would be of a similar age when they had her, which would put her parents in their 50’s (and also indicates that although the marge contracts are shot, the parents appear to remain in contact with/raise the child for a prolonged period). Maybe. So if we go on comparable lifespan and promiscuity as a human being with modern or at least early 20th century western healthcare (their other tech seems very modern… Digger has glow-sticks for Shale’s sakes!) rather than a non-sentient wombat, eight sons a thousand years ago would mean that the only limiting factor to number of descendants would be their ability to travel and marry into various groups.

    As we know Helix’s eldest son “Contracted” read ‘married’ a Quartzcalw over a thousand years ago, when Digger said that wombat warrens aren’t that large, and that she had well respected elders (the uncle with the sound advice about having a pic-axe and a good breakfast) who never went more that eight miles of the warren in their life? Yeah, presuming none of her ancestors got the Quartzcalw name by adoption, she’s a descendant.

  47. Veritas says:

    Helix only said he had eight sons. He never said he has zero daughters.

    RE: the long possession of explosives – yes, humans have had explosives for a thousand years. But look at the other things our society has that Digger, at the very least, has never alluded to missing.

  48. helusanation says:

    OK, I can’t believe I’m the first person, to post this, but descending helix, downward spiral, the first shell that digger picked up at the very beginning? Bones of the ocean….Spiral shell…dedede

  49. helusanation says:

    cant believe that bunnyrock missed that

  50. TekServer says:

    > Wait. DUCT? Digger’s initials spell DUCT?!

    That’s great; can’t believe I missed that. Wonder if it was intentional?