Latest blog post: An unforseen hiatus. (2023-01-02)

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There's new spiders in the spiderforest, check their webs out!

The Struggles of Youth

Two new webcomics to SpiderForest about being in a new school and learning new things about yourself... with a twist.

The Nightmare Witch
The Nightmare Witch - Five children struggle to find a future living day to day with a condition that causes them to create monsters.

True Colors
True Colors - The first day of college is a big step...just don’t let the past trip you up. At least there’s free pizza.

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Lord Eric

"Maybe you just need to read some more. For example, about..."

"Hey, did I mention I have a PhD in this exact kind of reasearch?"


"When are you going to help me get back to me ship?"

"When are you going to tell us anything about your energancy proceedures?"

"They are... Um... Classified."

"Uh huh. Because you don't remember thenm, or because you don't have them?"

"... Yes."

Sorry Ghar, but that is 99% your job, not theirs. And 99% of that job should have involved appropiet planning, briefings, and preperation that all took place prior to departure. So pull those briefings out of your implant, look at fleet SOP for CSAR, and share with the trest of the boys and girls what frequencies, coding, and format the fleet will be looking for.

Then it's going to be a case buying some radio transmitters, a diesel generator, and a big old tank of fuel, and dumping them out in the middle of country, somewhere where it's likely not to be disturbed. Because you sure as hell don't want something like that set up next to your home.


Dan: "Well maybe if you consider-"

Gharr: "Okay if you're not gonna get the idea that we're not morally superior to you, can we get me in contact with my people already?"

Dan is one of those people, who refuse to see any potential good in people and then call themselves enlightened. Isn't he?


Gharr might be a therapeutic influence on Dan, but his patience can only last so long. Now that he's fluent in the local human language, he might start getting stir crazy, and I doubt the arm brace and pain killers from his first aid kit are enough to fully treat such a serious bone fracture. I expect he's going to have a growing sense of urgency and diminishing patience for anything besides reconnecting with his people. Don't get too comfortable, kids!


After delivering his report, Gharr:

So, yeah, those are my experiences with the Humans...

Alliance government:

So they basically all need therapy...

Better to just glass the planet before they spread.


Also, Does Gharr have any communicators besides his implant? I don't think Dan would be able to set up comms with the fleet, and they don't know that Zane is heading towards earth.


Hard to know. Gharr still believes the fleet to be in orbit of Jupiter, so he wouldn't know that he can direct the communication towards the moon. I'm not sure of the capabilities and limitations on the fleet's ability to filter and sift through the comms as well but that could give them two things to consider.

1. A communication that can reach Jupiter with enough power and coherency left in the signal to deliver a message.

2. A communication the fleet would recognise as coming from Gharr and get flagged for inspection from among the plethora of other communication noise.

We've talked about the government possibly monitoring for odd communications and activity. If there's one thing I'd consider an alien trapped on the planet to be doing it would be attempting communication with it's fleet. I'd be keeping an eye on communications regarding transmission to Jupiter or outer planets and any purchase activity that could relate to equipment for that purpose.


Gharr isn't an engineer or a physicist, and the kids he's with almost certainly don't have access to the kind of technology they'd need to aim a laser at a moving target several hundred million kilometers away. I bet it won't be long before Gharr realizes that and decides it's time to turn himself in peacefully, betting on the likelihood that the fleet is watching.


Come to think of it, I've no idea what their backgrounds are. 25 year old Val is supposed to be somewhat sporty and enjoy the outdoors while 23 year old Dan appears to have some I.T. knowledge and possibly security if his talk at the campfire was about bypassing it at some facility. Mark is 29 years old but I'm yet to see much of an indication as to his profession or knowledge on things.

Regardless, they don't necessarily need a high power laser communicator to hit the Jupiter fleet with pin-point accuracy. The Alliance fleet was picking up signals from outside the system, let alone Jupiter. They only need to broadcast with enough strength that it can reach Jupiter in a coherent enough fashion for Alliance tech to pickup and interpret together with some method of ensuring the Alliance fleet would flag it among the many other random broadcasts being transmitted from Earth with enough power to be picked up. They also don't need to necessarily worry about making it two way. It could easily be enough to let the Alliance know simply Gharr's location. Gharr's own communicator in turn is likely capable of picking up signals, even if it doesn't have the range to respond and Alliance communicator equipment is likely strong enough that even if the fleet signal is picked up, it won't be anything they could interpret.

The other key would be for Gharr and friends to transmit the location in a way that couldn't be decoded by Earth military listening in. Their best bet would be using the strongest commercial encryption methods they can. Even if we presume there are secret, state of the art military computers capable of cracking such encryption, it would likely still take some days or even weeks while Alliance computers could likely crack it in an hour if not minutes.

If there's nothing abnormal about a general, strong broadcast, it might not even warrant suspicion enough to be assigned to the best decryption methods and there can be a lot of noise to filter through for signals you care about. I remember a guy who was an engineer for the Royal Danish Airforce in the 80's telling me how they saw a guy turn up to the base in a car with one of the first remote key locks. They recorded the signal his keys put out and then proceeded to retransmit it from their powerful, airbase transmitter and laugh as the man suffered problems with his car immediately unlocking after he locked it. Personally I always found it funny to think of the 80's Soviet Union, monitoring communications being broadcast from a Danish airforce base and trying to ascertain just what the repeating, simple signal could mean.


They only need to broadcast with enough strength that it can reach Jupiter

At which point we're talking about power limits (to prevent harm to humans standing right next to it) to publicly sold lasers, and dispersion in Earth's atmosphere. (Assuming that we're still talking exclusively about lasers, rather than - much less focused - radio.)

The other key would be for Gharr and friends to transmit the location in a way that couldn't be decoded by Earth military listening in. Their best bet would be using the strongest commercial encryption methods they can.

Why use Terran crypto in the first place? If the Alliance is at all used to encrypting their transmissions, it's a safe bet that Gharrs communicator is equipped with an en-/decoder subunit and holds appropriate valid keys to contact "the fleet". Add use of some Raharr coordinate system instead of the domestic WGS84 or whatnot and it should be ultimate gibberish to human SIGINT.

Personally I always found it funny to think of the 80's Soviet Union, monitoring communications being broadcast from a Danish airforce base and trying to ascertain just what the repeating, simple signal could mean.

Why, it's a woodpecker, obviously.


I'm talking more general radio, I'm not sure if the limits of the standard power grid would prevent them getting a signal thats legible enough for the fleet's technology but if so then that could easily be an issue.

You're correct that Gharr's communicator and/or wrist computer would likely have sufficient encryption to frustrate any terran military. However that presents the new difficulty of interfacing Gharr's communicator or computer with Terran transmission technology. It would likely solve the issue of getting the Fleet's attention from among the flood of other radio signals it picks up though.

How readily they can rig this all up depends either on one of them having some electrical and/or signal know-how or Gharr's neural computer having some basic tech details built in or the ability to upload Terran schematics and present guidance and options they can readily follow.

dr pepper

Nice touch with the half tucked shirt.

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These trivia bits are generated randomly.
Raharrs are warm-blooded creatures and are accustomed to temperature range a bit warmer than Earth's.
"Dawn" class mothership and "Lake" class tankers are the only spacecraft in the Exploration fleet that can create artificial gravity while not under acceleration.
If a space ship accelerates at the same rate as it would in a free-fall under Earth's gravity (Otherwise known as "1G acceleration"), it can reach Jupiter from Earth in just under 6 days. It would need to flip in the middle of the travel, to start decelerating and enter the planet's orbit.
Insectoids in a lot of ways are the weird ones among the Alliance members. Besides having a completely unpronounceable name of the species, they have dextero amino acid biochemistry, which makes their food and biosphere to be inedible by the rest of the Alliance, and vice versa.
The names of every species of the Alliance (besides Insectoids) are words taken directly from their respective native languages that they use to refer to themselves. They all have same translation:
"a human".
Azinarsi relationship to death is different from the rest of the civilizations of the Alliance: they do not care about it. Death would mean loss of information and experience gathered by that instance of a person's mind, though, and these two things are about the only valuables for an Uploaded mind, so Azinarsi try to avoid it when possible.
A lot of backgrounds and other elements in the comic are actually 3d models. It helps reduce the time each page takes to make.
Raharrs descended from the evolutionary branch that can be described as "apelike cats" by their evolutionary niche. Although initially carnivorous and solitary, they were forced to become omnivorous and form persistent packs during the latest of the rare ice ages of their homeworld, approximately 30 million years ago.
It takes more than a year to cross the Alliance space even with the fastest FTL drive.
Prior to becoming a webcomic, Leaving The Cradle was initially developed as a modification for Source engine, back in 2007. It was vastly different back then, much closer to the usual space opera look and feel, and the plot had nothing in common with the webcomic version, sharing only exactly two characters and nothing else.
Many homeworlds of the respective species are still divided into countries, but freshly established colonies on other planets are almost always monolithic and basically independent, since they sprawled from a single initial outpost, and time lag involved due to interstellar distances making remote management of the colony from a homeworld to be ineffective and frustrating at best.
There's no way to communicate faster than light. If you want to send your message to another solar system, your best bet is to use a courier spaceship. It can take even a month for it to finally reach the destination, but it still beats sending it as a transmission and expecting it to arrive decades or thousands of years later.
So far there hasn't been a single instance of a massive interstellar war. Due to the vastness of space, there's no territorial or economic gain from it. The presence of armed spaceships is still warranted for keeping space travel safe and for peacekeeping or policing missions since unexpected events or rogue states can still happen and might require force as a solution.
The Alliance space stretches for an impressive 16 thousand light years along the longest axis, and contains approximately twelve billion star systems. Despite that, 99.99% of those star systems weren't explored even by an automatic mapping drone yet, and the borders of the Alliance space are defined mostly by the reach of spaceships from the nearest colony or space station.