''Harbourmaster'' is an original science-fiction WebComic by Melissa [=DeHaan=], a.k.a. Wayward Martian (a.k.a. author of the {{Insecticomics}}), that draws on the concepts of Creator/TheodoreSturgeon. Two centuries into beginning their exploration of the galaxy, humanity encountered a stray Aquaan colony ship, the Aquaans being a ''much'' more advanced alien race. The Aquaans, however, decided to voluntarily slow down their advancement in favor of helping humanity acclimate to the needs of spacefaring society.

''Harbourmaster'' focuses on the colony world of Tethys, the only known world to have its own landbound species, the entomorphs. The focus of the strip is on how Humans and Aquaans relate to each other. To quote the main site, "''Harbourmaster'' has spaceships and genetic engineering and aliens, but mostly it's about evolution and love."

''Harbourmaster'' can be found [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/ on the author's "Wayward Martian Graphics" website]]; the comic pages (along with other art) are also posted in [[http://waywardinsecticon.deviantart.com/gallery/11636640 the "Harbourmaster" folder]] of the author's Website/DeviantArt gallery.

!! ''Harbourmaster'' containes examples of:

* AgentScully: Richard Stevenson is [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster4/029-006.html impressively immune to evidence]] that [[FishOutOfTemporalWater he's not on Earth in 1953.]]
* AllThereInTheManual: It's a good idea to look at the [[http://waywardinsecticon.deviantart.com DeviantArt postings]], just to read Wayward's explanations of minutiae and other bits [[ShowDontTell that the characters would have no reason to immediately speak of]].
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: The Yogzarthu, although good luck telling ''[[BlueAndOrangeMorality them]]'' that. Chaotic Evil from a human or Aquaan viewpoint, yes. [[spoiler: Ultimately averted with Kema's coterie. Even if Kema has trouble with being moral, [[WhatIsThisThingYouCallLove it's because of unfamiliarity with concepts largely alien to the Yogzarthu]], not any desire to stay amoral.]]
* AmbiguouslyBrown: Except on Veras, which is obsessed with maintaining all the semblances humanity had before the Yogzarthu desolated Earth (and earlier than that), most humans are some shade of tan/brown/sepia. This is indeed the result of lineages mixing together during human spacefaring, although there are a few recognizable--and non-Veran--Asian and Caucasian archetypes. Emphasis on "few". [[InTheFutureHumansWillBeOneRace Absolute similarity]] is interdicted not just by planetary genetic localization, but by the fact that a fair number of humans use Aquaan genetic engineering to alter their own semblances--the genetic version of cosmetic surgery.
* AnachronicOrder: Most of the story is in time order, but quite a few chapters jump back in time to cover earlier events in the lives of the characters.
* ApologisesALot: Tal even apologizes for [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster3/019-006.html laughing out loud.]]
* AristocratsAreEvil: If Perius is anything to go by, this applies to a good chunk of the Monteblanc family--and why Tal and Anthemys are ''very'' happy to be away from them on Tethys.
* AnArmAndALeg: [[spoiler:Mormo, during its attack on Tal, rips off and eats his left arm at the shoulder.]]
* BilingualBonus: After the first pages of "Pulp", [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster4/029-012.html when the story switches to the viewpoint of the Tethyns]] from that of FishOutOfTemporalWater Richard Stevenson, the author shows the reader the actual French that Tal and Richard are using to communicate for a few pages. [[http://comments.deviantart.com/1/431496178/3365269193 In the words of one fluent-in-French commenter:]]
-->aahahahaha, oh man, I started at Richard's speech bubble\\
I had to reread it three times before getting it\\
I'm not criticising just deeply amused: you weren't kidding when you said he was supposed to be bad
* BloodKnight: Thunderfall in ''Nonsense''. He's kind of upset that Partasah passed over him in favor of [[TechnicalPacifist Technical Pacifists]] for the SuperSoldier treatment.
* CallASmeerpARabbit: Some of Tethys's wildlife are similar enough to Earth-style life that they get Earth-ish names. A good example being the "wolf shark"--an orca-patterned shark-like fish that hunts in packs...and [[PsychoElectricEel uses electrical pulses for both communication and attack]].
* ClonesArePeopleToo: [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster4/029-017.html The conversation about Richard Stevenson's fate in "Pulp"]] seems based in this trope.
* ColonyDrop: The Yogzarthu basically announced themselves by bombarding the planet Garden with a swarm of asteroids. Not meteors. ''Asteroids''. The planet's still there, but the same can't be said for most of its life. They later did the same with ''Earth'' [[VillainBall thinking that would demoralize humanity into truly easy pickings.]] They got [[ItsPersonal the opposite effect.]]
* CommonTongue: At the time of the story, humans and Aquaans alike primarily speak a language called Standard.
* CypherLanguage:
** Crosses over with TranslationConvention on [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster4/029-002.html Page 2 of "Pulp"]], when [[FishOutOfTemporalWater Richard Stevenson]] wakes up and Zefonith tries to converse with him: Zefonith's dialogue is rendered as English written out in the International Phonetic Alphabet to represent the fact that Richard can't understand Standard.
** [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster4/029-020.html Page 20 of "Pulp"]] adds a second cypher, representing Richard speaking in incomprehensible English to Officer Lake; the letters are transformed versions of the usual Latin alphabet.
* DarkAndTroubledPast: Nephos freaks out during a conversation about names when [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster3/018-005.html asked what "Caliga", his last name, means]] -- because it's not actually a last name, it's the name of his tribe, and [[spoiler:[[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster3/018-006.html the planet his tribe lived on was wiped out during the war]] by OrbitalBombardment]]. (Javin goes to talk to him, in part because [[spoiler:[[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster3/018-013.html he's had to deal with similar trauma in his own life]]]].)
* DeadlyDecadentCourt: Well, not quite "deadly", but Veras seems to run on feuds and machinations between the various major families.
* DeadpanSnarker: '''''Zefonith.'''''
-->'''[[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster1/007-004.html Zefonith:]]''' Of course. No one has ever cloned the memories of a body this old before. I will do it for science. I will do it for fame. And for money. Lots of money.
* DeathOrGloryAttack: The mechanism of the Last Hunt ritual of the entomorphs. A hunter who feels she's become too slow and/or weak to aid the hive will invite friends to take witness as she assails some predator that even a completely healthy and extremely adept hunter would be in a bind to kill. If the predator wins (the likely result, especially since [[AttackOfTheFiftyFootWhatever leviathans]] are a legitimate option), she enjoyed a worthy end to a full life. If the hunter wins, her self-confidence is ''heavily'' revitalized with this evidence of still being competent, and she once again aids in feeding the colony.
* DefectorFromDecadence: Tal and Anthemys. [[spoiler: Also Kema the Myriad.]]
* {{Depower}}: [[spoiler: Thanks to the way Seisha's HealingFactor works, this is what happens to any Yogzarthu who takes a bite out of her. The end result is the Yogzarthu in question--like Mormo--being indefinitely trapped as a clone of her.]]
* DirtyOldMan: Javin is not above resorting to this to polish his reputation as the town's official "Public Nuisance".
* EthicalSlut: Aquaans are naturally polyamorous and [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster1/003-004.html uninhibited about sex,]] but central to Aquaan culture -- more so than their language, even -- is The Etiquette, [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster1/003-007.html which among other things regulates sexual behavior.]]
* TheFace: Many people see this as Tal's actual role in the government of Port Tethys -- and whether it is true or not, he's reasonably good at the public interaction parts of his job.
* FamilyHonor: A big deal to Verans, like the Monteblancs.
-->'''Tal:''' [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster4/024-013.html I can trace my ancestry over a hundred and thirty generations. That's a lot of history. That's a lot of people who fought and struggled so that the Monteblancs could exist. So I could exist. It doesn't matter what I want. Destroying my family isn't a choice I can make.]]
* FantasticRacism: The denizens of Veras have an ''incredibly'' low opinion of Aquaans. Then again, their opinion of non-Veras humans [[TheBeautifulPeople isn't that much better]].
* FasterThanLightTravel: The A-S drive on humanity's spaceships ([[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster3/017-001.html and Aquaane ships, after the species met]]) allows this.
* FishOutOfTemporalWater: In [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster1/007-001.html "Pulp: Prologue"]], Zefonith is hired to clone a frozen mountain climber with his memories. In [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster4/029-001.html "Pulp"]], we get to see Richard Stevenson, the aforementioned mountain climber, awaken.
* GenderMisdirection: A curious version of this involves pronouns referring to entomorphs. The entomorph language doesn't ''have'' gendered pronouns; pronouns refer instead to an entomorph's caste. Rather than mint new words for entomorph pronouns, humans just re-mapped their own pronouns for new entomorph-specific definitions. For example, "she" is mapped to a member of the entomorphs' hunter caste. So it's completely proper to refer to a male entomorph hunter with "she" and "her". Imagine the confusion if someone completely unfamiliar with this makes Tethys landfall.
** It is also confusing with the Aquaans themselves. Consider [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster3/016-012.html this page]], and study carefully. The author admitted she struggled with whether to put a NSFW tag on this page and the ones that follow in that chapter. Why? [[spoiler:Because while both characters portrayed are hermaphrodites, and they are not displaying any genitalia to the reader, the lighter-skinned Gilou prefers to identify by a female pronoun, and in several panels you can see "her" chest.]]
* GenerationShip: The history of the Aquaans only goes back as far as their life on one such vessel, prior to discovering humanity.
* GeneticEngineeringIsTheNewNuke: The Aquaans have a society strongly built on genetic adjustments, particularly on themselves. In fact, when the humans first encountered them, the Aquaans were built like skinks and crocodiles. They only took on their humanoid shapes [[AFormYouAreComfortableWith to avoid freaking out humans]]. There's also the SuperSoldiers developed to fight off the Yogzarthu. Unlike type, though, they're ''not'' engines of bloodlust. In fact, Jendolyn ''hates'' films with lots of crime and violence; she'd prefer her entertainment to ''not'' remind her of the criminal problems Tethys occasionally suffers. (Her non-soldier girlfriend, on the other hand...)
* GoMadFromTheRevelation: When a Qohathoth monument was discovered on Mars, some groups had a hard time believing and/or accepting that there could be sapients besides humans (read: they weren't unequivocally special). At least one group thought they could only be ''demons''--and this group had [[WorldWarIII some rather impressive weaponry]].
* GratuitousFrench: The Monteblancs, like most Veran families, have aristocratic pretensions; in their case, this includes fluency in French. [[ChekhovsSkill This turns out to be unexpectedly useful]] in "Pulp", when Zefonith runs into a LanguageBarrier after [[FishOutOfTemporalWater resurrecting a twentieth-century mountain climber]].
* {{Hermaphrodite}}: Although individual Aquaans have preferred pronouns, they're all genuine hermaphrodites.
* HumansAreSpecial: Gets deconstructed in the ''With More, With Less'' arc. The entomorphs are aware that humans cannot help but "let" the entomorphs be self-determinate. Not because of anything peculiar to the human psyche or the like, but just because humans are the ones with the far more potent weapons et al. That said, the entomorphs ''do'' like humans and a select few of their devices (mostly [=PDAs=] with their texting capability), but understand that however benevolent the giant might be, its moments of carelessness, while not malevolent, can easily be malign.
* HumansThroughAlienEyes: ''With More, With Less''.
* InSeriesNickname:
** One of the running gags is Gilou calling Tal "Bloodless" -- not because he is pale, but because [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster2/009-015.html "Monteblanc" sounds like Aquaan for "drained of blood".]]
** [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster3/018-002.html Clipper explains that she got her nickname from her timber officer job]] (her real name translates "Far Sight"), and later tells Tal that [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster3/018-016.html the entomorphs generally enjoy being nicknamed.]]
** Clipper also mentions that [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster3/018-017.html the entomorphs give nicknames to the humans and aquaans in their own language.]]
--->'''Tal:''' ...er, what...?\\
'''Clipper:''' 'Smells Of Dead Leaves.'\\
'''Tal:''' Oh, thank you very much.\\
'''Clipper:''' You drink a lot of tea, we smell it on your breath. It's not a ''bad'' scent, as scents go.
* IWantMyJetpack: Part of [[AgentScully Richard Stevenson's skepticism]] about being a FishOutOfTemporalWater is based on a belief that "[[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster4/029-044.html [t]he future is supposed to be rocket ships and robots, not some primitive fishing village.]]"
* JerkAss: Richard Stevenson.
-->'''[[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster4/029-018.html Tal:]]''' [[LanguageBarrier Would you like me to translate]]?\\
'''Gilou:''' Better not. We don't want to tempt Javin.\\
'''Javin:''' How am I supposed to get his reaction to our world if you don't? Though it's pretty easy to read him. Has he said anything yet that ''isn't'' an insult?\\
'''Tal:''' ...you can tell?
* JustThinkOfThePotential: Anfre Sovi is all over this in the ''Disputed Territory'' arc in his attempts to get Tal to ignore the treaty with the entomorphs in favor of development that would de-backwater Tethys. He's just the latest in a bunch of would-be developers who can't believe the Tethyns are ''content'' with being a relative backwater.
* KillAndReplace: [[spoiler: What Mormo plans to do with Tal in ''One Deal Was What We Made''. Problem is, even without considering the Yogzarthu's poor understanding of Human and Aquaan mores, [[ATragedyOfImpulsiveness Mormo could have learned from Kema that Tal was about to leave for Veras anyway]].]]
* LanguageBarrier: In "[[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster4/029-001.html Pulp]]", Zefonith doesn't speak English and the resurrected American mountain climber Richard Stevenson doesn't speak Standard. They end up resorting to French, which Governor Tal speaks because of [[GratuitousFrench his aristocratic Veran upbringing]] and Richard speaks [[EloquentInMyNativeTongue barely]].
* LetMeTellYouAStory: [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster2/012-001.html Governor Tal uses the Yogzarthu as a metaphor to explain the motives behind the treaty to Anfre Sovi, who wants him to break it.]]
* LonersAreFreaks: Inverted with the Yogzarthu. If you're ''not'' a total loner, there's something wrong with you. Exhibit A: When Eigonshazar refers to itself and Aradneth as having a capability for cooperating with others, they only way the Yogzarthu language will ''let'' it phrase this as is "being mad".
* NobleBigot: Ever since he set foot on Tethys, Tal's been throwing everything he's got at progressing from this ([[DefectorFromDecadence and the influence of his snooty upper-class family]]) to just plain Noble. He's still good [[AccentuateTheNegative at torturing himself]] whenever he finds himself partaking of even a ''little'' of his old ways and/or thought patterns, though.
-->'''Tal''': I'm still rotten. The herring barrel always smells of herring.\\
'''Gilou''': Mm. Less so than I remember.
* OddFriendship: When Partasah died, [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster1/002-020.html Gilou tried to force Tal to abdicate in his favor.]] Instead, [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster1/002-021.html she ended up being hired as his assistant]] ... only to discover [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster2/012-004.html herself beginning to like him.]]
* OlderThanTheyLook: Even with genetic engineering increasing the lifespans of anyone who takes it, [[spoiler: Seisha Dree takes it to unmatchable heights. The HealingFactor from her genetic modifications is so powerful that she ages ''extremely'' slowly. If at all.]]
* OverlyLongName: Bretnon Falstoph Perius Tallifens Monteblanc LVII. He ''never'' uses the whole thing except to poke fun at his aristocratic past. In every other instance, "Tal Monteblanc" or "Tal" are ''quite'' sufficient.
* PaintingTheMedium: Whenever non-human/Aquaan speech and language are rendered, a different speech bubble type and font are used. Entomorphs, for instance, get speech bubbles like irregular polygons and letters like single scratch mark collections. Yogzarthu get beige, irregularly scalloped speech bubbles with handwritten-like font that connects the tails and stems of letters at various intervals (it's supposed to reflect the fluid qualities of the thought patterns of creatures for whom VoluntaryShapeshifting is second nature).
* ParalyzingFearOfSexuality: Tal is deeply uncomfortable with sexuality and physical intimacy, to the point that [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster1/002-007.html he can't even offer a perfectly chaste comforting hug.]]
* TheParanoiac: [[spoiler: Kema. It's terrified both of how humans will react to the current connection with the rogue Yogzarthu and the Thalassa...and distrustful of even its own coterie's ability to keep itself constrained.]]
* PlayAlongPrisoner: On [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster4/029-002.html Page 2 of "Pulp"]], Richard Stevenson grabs Zefonith by the wrist to drag him out to be ejected from the ship as a stowaway. [[WordOfGod The author notes]] on the Website/DeviantArt post of the page that "[[http://fav.me/d6ylfrh yes, Zefonith could break his hold easily.]]"
* PleasePutSomeClothesOn:
** One of the early arcs has a tourist woman incensed at her entomorph guide's "nudity"--as in, she isn't wearing anything like pants, skirt, etc. Despite the fact that entomorphs are ''insects'', not mammals, and should look armored to humans, as Tal notes. Twinkletoes putting on an ad-hoc skirt mollifies the woman, sure enough. Although one wonders how she'd react when she learns that entomorphs, like dragonflies, have their genitalia bound to the tips of their ''tails'' ([[NoNudityTaboo which aren't covered]]).
** That said, Tal, having grown up on straitlaced Veras, is rather unaccustomed to [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster4/029-030.html coping with naked humans or Aquaans.]]
* {{Precursors}}: The Qohathoth. Their motivation? ''Loneliness.'' The reason they terraformed so many planets was that they wanted to at least make sure that succeeding sapient species wouldn't suffer the same torment.
* RightHandCat: Perius has ''several'' such cats. Unusually for [[CatsAreMean the idea,]] the cats are ''very'' affectionate. [[SmugSnake Being a cat lover is probably the only good thing about him.]]
* SealedEvilInACan: After their defeat, the Yogzarthu were sealed into a pocket dimension.
* ShoutOut: [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster4/029-001.html The title page for "Pulp"]] has Gilou, wearing a classic men's suit, holding [[NoSmoking a lollipop]] in her fingers, presenting the story about to be told in the style and language of ... Series/TheTwilightZone.
** The [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster2/009-001.html Four Winds Bar]] is likely to be a reference to the Music/BlueOysterCult song "Astronomy."
* ShroudedInMyth: Earth seems to have suffered this somewhat. Meanwhile, memories of earlier human culture have become muddled enough that the '''''CthulhuMythos''''' is now thought to have been an actual (although defunct) religion. Hence planets and geological features [[ShoutOut getting names like Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep, and Shub-Niggurath.]]
* SingleBiomePlanet: Tethys is essentially an Ocean Planet, although given the emphasis on the creatures above sea level, we haven't yet had much cause to look at all the pelagic biomes there might be.
* TheSocialDarwinist: The entire Yogzarthu species, full-tilt. That's why they attempted to destroy humanity, but also why humans could defeat them--Yogzarthu really only act individually, teamwork hampered by an innate drive to dominate and/or destroy the weaker/unfit (read: every other creature). Humans [[TeamSpirit don't quite have that problem.]]
--> '''Jendolyn''': A cougar can take down a wolf...but wolves hunt in packs.
** It's worth noting that their big hint that humans were hopelessly unfit was that they went to the trouble of terraforming. To a Yogzarthu, that's cheating--you don't get to use advanced mentality to come up with shortcuts. Either your body can ''already'' happily endure whatever DeathWorld it might run across, or the Yogzarthu who noticed you will cull you ahead of schedule.
* StarfishLanguage: Entomorph language consists not just of vocalizations (which already use mandibles, rather than vocal cords), but pheromone releases. Therefore, they use [=PDAs=] to communicate with humans. Although they ''love'' [=PDAs=] for more than just that (they can more easily communicate over long distances, for one).
* SufficientlyAdvancedAliens: While humanity for the most part understands that the Qohathoth were just these, there's still a tendency to fetishize them as just short of demigods. The main exception to that is the Listeners, who ''deify'' the Qohathoth.
* SuperSoldier: When fighting the Yogzarthu, many humans were [[BioAugmentation bioengineered]] into these. Cleverly, the Aquaan responsible for selecting who to enhance (Thalassa Partasah) specifically chose {{Reluctant Warrior}}s.
* ThemeNaming: Yogzarthu don't just choose their own names, but also attach ''epithets''. And epithets that ''don't'' suggest multiplicity in some fashion (Flock, Sundry, Plentiful, Legion, etc.) are all but non-existent.
* TranslationConvention: The language the main characters speak -- Standard -- is not English, nor mutually comprehensible with English. (Hence [[LanguageBarrier the confusion]] that results when [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster4/029-002.html Zefonith finishes reviving]] [[FishOutOfTemporalWater Richard Stevenson]].) What gets translated how varies from scene to scene.
* {{Ubermensch}}: [[spoiler:Alu sees herself as this, with a teeming dose of AboveGoodAndEvil. She ''also'' sees it as the destiny of the Aquaans.]]
* UnderTheMistletoe: [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/strips/S-001.html The non-canon 2013 Christmas bonus strip.]]
* TheUnpronounceable: Iahutta, Aradneth, Sihuatl, and so on are just the best approximations that vocal cords can come up with for Yogzarthu names. The reason is that Yogzarthu names are actually all just ''one'' syllable each--with all the consonant phonemes in question. A ''sneeze'' would be more accurate, but still completely distant. [[VoluntaryShapeshifting Having modular voice boxes]] is how the Yogzarthu themselves can pull it off.
* VoluntaryShapeshifting: The Yogzarthu. [[spoiler: And as [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster5/033-022.html this page]] shows, it's the result of Alu becoming "unlocked".]]
* WellDoneSonGuy: Played with. Technically, Hurmiz has ''already'' earned the respect of Kema, its progenitor. But Hurmiz ''also'' wants its parental love--rather difficult when Kema's [[WhatIsThisThingYouCallLove still struggling to internalize the concept.]] As a result, it's envious, though not grudging, towards [[spoiler: Gilou]], who ''has'' caused it to begin questioning the fallout of such things as [[spoiler: accelerating Partasah's aging to force him to make a choice about the Tethyn Yogzarthu]].
* WhamEpisode: ''And Earthly Things Be Done''. [[spoiler: There's a contingent of Yogzarthu under the Sons of Tiamat, they're headed by the same [[DefectorFromDecadence Kema the Myriad]] that Sihuatl's taking notes from, Kema accelerated Partasah's aging to force him to make a choice about his connection with the Yogzarthu, and those Yogzarthu are currently keeping Alu contained.]]
* WhatIsThisThingYouCallLove: After three million years and counting, Kema's ''still'' trying to figure out love and other aspects of what Humans and Aquaans would call morality. It certainly wants to have them, but the concepts are still rather slippery. Its spawn Hurmiz has a much better grasp of the idea, at least where familial love is concerned, and among other Yogzarthu, Eigonshazar and Aradneth genuinely care about each other, even if their language will only let them name it "madness".
* YourApprovalFillsMeWithShame: When Tal's grandfather says he's sure the family will be in good hands when Tal returns to Veras, Tal immediately [[http://www.waywardmartian.com/harbourmaster6/036-036.html clutches himself in shame]] and assumes he'd done something horrible. [[spoiler: He'd demanded a clean break from the family for Anthemys in return for information that would completely destroy an aristocrat who'd sponsored piracy, illegal (on Veras) genetic engineering, and raising a clone as a sex slave.]]