A race of deadly creatures who are widely feared throughout the Perception Range for their unrelenting brutality.
- Dolphin: HELLO FREMB.
Shortly after they'd read through the storybook on the Parliament's origins, Fern and Maggie both fell fast asleep. Fern then proceeded to have a series of dreams about "many things [she'd] seen and some things that [she] hasn't." Culminating in one particularly frightful monster that definitely fell into the latter category. A monster that addressed her as "Fremb". It wouldn't be all that long before it began appearing in the waking world... and Fern eventually found out there were more.
- Always Chaotic Evil: If it's a dolphin and it has Mr. Jonathan Wojcik as its creator, it's every bit as fiendish, unholy, twisted and indiscriminately bloodthirsty as any Deadite from the Evil Dead franchise. No exceptions.
- Animalistic Abomination: Dolphins are analogous to demons in this webcomic's universe.
- Author Appeal: Inverted completely. Bogleech has never had anything nice to say about either the Delphinidae or Phocoenidae families, and he's a guy who'll defend cockroaches, spiders and parasitic maggots to the very end as misunderstood creatures.note
- Ax-Crazy: Wherever Dolphins swim, slaughter follows.
- Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": These monstrosities are called "dolphins" even if they can resemble a Eldritch Abomination more than their grey-zone counterparts.
- Chest Burster: They've been known to parasitize other creatures. The telltale indicator of infestation is a blue boil, somewhere on the host's body.Bogleech: The worm was a real worm, the dolphin was just developing inside it. The "boil" was where it got implanted by its dolphin mommy, it's dolphin science.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The first time a dolphin appeared, there was a certain familiar splotchy red pattern around its body, suggesting it was affiliated with The Parliament. This was later proved to be the wrong assumption.
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Dolphins' primary weapons seem to be their muzzles. They'll jab them straight through their enemies as though their bottleneck snouts were every bit as sharp as the "swords" of swordfish. Corpses they leave behind tend to look as though they've been riddled with high-caliber bullets.
- Desecrating the Dead: See for yourself: before and after.
- Devious Dolphins: These dolphins are the setting's equivalent of demons, the stuff of nightmares in the Perception Range. When one shows up, it's a nigh-unstoppable Juggernaut that creatively mutilates its victims and can punch through a steel bulkhead.
- The Dreaded: Dolphins are so overwhelmingly malicious and violent that everyone in the multiverse - the Parliament included - is terrified of these things.
- Dream Spying: A dolphin first appears to Fern in her dreams, letting her know that Big Flipper is watching.
- Eviler Than Thou: It's been assumed so far they're on the same side as the Parliament. Turns out not even the Parliament knew they were around, and Wallflap at least is less than pleased to hear about it.Fern: Are they with the parliament?
Magdolene: Doubt it. If anyone or anything were capable of tellin' dolphins what to do we'd already'a been goners.
- Eye Scream: Gouging out eyeballs of other things are a signature move of theirs.
- For the Evulz: Dolphins do what they do for the sheer Hell of it.Flair: A dolphin will tear you from your core just to see what color it seeps.
- Flying Seafood Special: Avoiding bodies of water is a worthless tactic. These dolphins can swim through the air too.
- Friendly, Playful Dolphin: The form of "playfulness" these dolphins have in mind for their "frembs" is the stuff of nightmares.
- Horrifying the Horror: Even the Parliament is scared out of its wits of them.
- LEGO Genetics: Not all dolphins resemble the specimens you'd find on Earth. With non-grey-zone dolphins, there's evidence that they inherit some of their genes from the host bodies◊ they incubate in.◊
- Mind Wipe: If they don't want you to retain info on their species, you won't.Flair: Nobody's ever been quite certain where dolphins originated, what manner of concept or zone they may derive from, how they multiply or even what their cores are like. They shield themselves from the perception of their prey, and selectively fade from the memories of others with no apparent purpose but to sow further fear and confusion.
- No Name Given: If dolphins even have individual names, they never share them with others... not that any others have asked for them, so far.
- Outside-Context Problem: WHY dolphins?! Fern was inside a morgue when the first dolphin made its appearance! Not an aquarium and not the ocean!
- Perception Filter: Unlike the Parliament, the Hospital's staff does at least realize that they exist, and they do not completely space out when dolphins are talked about. But a staff member still has trouble hearing when Fern tries to talk about one.
- Puppeteer Parasite: It seems they can control Worms they've parasitized to use as instruments of infanticide.
- Sapient Cetaceans: Their sapience makes them all the more dangerous, though.
- Sleeps with Both Eyes Open: All dolphins sleep with one eye open, even the grey-zone breeds.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: The Dolphins actually aren't the first characters to use the appellation "fremb".
- Super Speed: "Faster than lightning," indeed.
- Super Strength: Dolphins can ram themselves through metal walls, and decimate enemies by piecing straight through them like a living, airborne jousting lance.
- The Quiet One: Dolphins are brusque creatures of action. So far, there's only been one time any of them have spoken words.
- Villainous Rescue: One dolphin's appearance in Balmer's facility ultimately serves to rescue Fern from having her organs sold.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Only in the Gray Zone, though, where they have thankfully never been able to fully awaken. Absolutely everywhere else, dolphins are rightfully despised.To think they were your favorite animal when you were nine.
- Wham Line: For most of the story, most readers are led to believe that the dolphins work for the Parliament, then comes the conversation between the Commentators and Parliamentary member Wallflap, which threw this presumption into question.Commentators: ...And the dolphins?Wallflap: The ......The what.Commentators: Dolphins. Aren't they yours?Wallflap: D....Dolph................ I, uh...I'll be back.
- Would Hurt a Child: As ludicrously superpowered as dolphins are in this setting, Bogleech let his audience know about one little-known yet absolutely horrific fact about Real Life dolphins which his own cetaceans would also be demonstrating. Namely; dolphins are naturally predisposed to kill any infants they happen across on sight, just as most humans would kill spiders.Bogleech: Dolphins ARE a whole lot more infanticidal than the average animal, though, and slaughter other, smaller dolphin species because they trigger the same baby-killing instinct. This is especially true for pygmy whales, whose corpses often wash ashore covered in dolphin bruises. Dolphins, from their perspective, literally run across mysterious pods of babies out in the middle of nowhere and think "welp, these gotta go".
- This will surely put Fern at very strict cross-purposes with all dolphin-kind.
The first dolphin that Fern encountered. It first showed up in a dream she had in the Inert Vessel, but she eventually saw it in person, when it broke into Dr. Balmer's hideout while she was Balmer's prisoner. For whatever nefarious reason, it was after the exvironator.
- All in the Manual: "Flipper" comes from the title of its debut webpage, (#418.) He's never officially named in-story.
- Animalistic Abomination: While almost all of the OTHER dolphins look bizarrely mutated, this first dolphin bears the closest resemblance to Real Life dolphins on Earth... a "baseline dolphin," if you will.
- Fusion Dance: This was the very Dolphin that fused with Balmer. Together, they combined into the Balphin.
- The Quiet One: So far, it's the only dolphin that's ever said anything at all... albeit in a dream Fern had.
- Wingding Eyes: Its eyes go exvironator-shaped when it sees the exvironator is about to drop into Balmer's giant pool of embalming fluid.
- The Balphin: I'll eat this world myself! I'll eat...EVERYTHING.
Balmer's seizure of the anomalous "exvironator", a microchip-like Parliament device that apparently generates a horrible disease known as the Red Blight, went off without a hitch. He had the anomaly. He had Fern in a cage; his to sell to whomever he pleased. Balmer had still made one grave error: he'd failed to properly dolphin-proof his headquarters. And wouldn't you know it: a dolphin chose that very moment to crash his party and massacre everyone; skewering Balmer with its own cetacean body like a jousting lance through a knight. Except that the exvironator (which the dolphin had also been after all along) then fell into the deep pool of embalming fluid in the middle of the floor.
Not even bothering to shake free of Balmer's body, the Dolphin dove right after the anomaly. Minutes later... a new lifeform surfaced up from the pool; this abysmally mutated, messy mélange of the Dolphin, Dr. Balmer, and the cancer-generating exvironator they both had sought.
Special Note: For tropes relating to Dr. Balmer, please click here.
- Abnormal Ammo: One of his new weapons is a "Carcino-Ray." As in; a gun that shoots cancer.
- Actually a Doombot: Turns out the Balmer that was in the Inert Vessel was just a spare branchination of him. Though the Dr. Balmer in the Morgue is livid about this branchination's ultimate fate.Dr. Balmer: Part of me is a DEAD DOLPHIN.
- Body Horror: According to Word of God they were literally melted together.
- Character Level: According to Celia, he's level 9999, which gives him the highest known level, surpassing even the doctors in the Hospital.
- Cutscene Boss: After they have Ascended, Celia, Staph, and Maggie vanquish this thing without needing The Commentators' guidance.
- Fusion Dance: Balmer and the Dolphin were effectively cooked together into this new being, in a vat of chemicals and carcinoma.
- Given Name Reveal: He's the guy who first speaks Fern's name.
- Hand WaveCommentator: Where did it get that wing from?Bogleech: Mutated dolphin flesh.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: Celia ranks the Balphin at level 9,999. Considering it's just a twenty-sided tabletop dice Bogleech throws on his heroine's behalf... Fern never had a chance of scratching him.
- Mental Fusion: Of the three "source materials", Balmer seems to have won out as the dominant ego. Yet the dolphin's bloodlust and the cancer's voracity have drastically interwoven themselves into his personality.
- One-Winged Angel: The fact that it has that one feathered wing is Bogleech's way of parodying this very trope, especially with regards to Sephiroth.Bogleech: The reason it has a bird wing is strictly because of the RPG trope where the final villain's ultimate form has angel-like properties, which began long before Sephiroth but was especially popularized by Sephiroth's "one winged angel" silliness.
- Parting Words Regret: For his final words, Balphin tells Fern he regrets not eating her. Because when she finally finds "him"note she'll wish he had.
- Planet Eater: As an Establishing Character Moment, he did come out declaring that he'd "eat this world [my]self". Which is to say, the cadaver of the Fern clone whose neck got snapped by a skeleton. Or rather, the actual world which is an anthropomorphic "adaption" of what's happening to that cadaver on a microscopic level. Remember; Fern never truly shrank. Her companions and all the other "microfauna" are human-sized. Possibly the Balphin would be affecting both at once, via some interdimensional Synchronization?
- Shock and Awe: Gee, that's quite a bit of electricity sparking on that thing's metal ends!
- Unwitting Pawn: It's likely that Balphin was acting on pure monster instinct when he decided to eat the "world", and not as a Parliament lackey.
- Weaponized Offspring: One of his attacks is "Foetal Flurry", which is pretty much what it sounds like. It's also something of a Call-Back, referencing this old comic.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Before his 'ascension,' Balmer had been a perfectly civilized, (albeit villainous) entrepreneurial mortician. Afterward, his thoughts were singularly consumed with consuming.
- A familiar, yet alien shape hovers upright in the air as it regards you with a wild, blood red eye. As the last droplets of worm blood run cleanly off its slick flesh, the thing blinks, clicks its bony jaws a few times...and emits an ear-splitting SQUEAL.
The first dolphin Fern's party confronts in direct combat. It steals one of the egglets Fern was tasked with caring for, forcing her to figure out how to eliminate it.
- Acid Attack: It can shoot acidic mucus out of its blowholes. This is a powerful area attack that penetrates 50% of its enemies' defenses.
- Armor-Piercing Attack: It unleashes an attack that completely ignores Fern's party's defense and half ignores the Defend Command.
- Character Level: It is level 16 on "birth".
- Cruel and Unusual Death: When Fern tricks it into eating food that has been infested with vibrio vulnificus, its demise is so horrifying that it results in a Gory Discretion Shot and makes Fern wonder if even a dolphin deserved such a terrible death.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: With only one attack, it clearly demonstrates that Fern and company have no chance of beating it in direct combat, forcing them to retreat.
- Enfant Terrible: It rips itself gruesomely of its host's upper body and immediately enters battle against Fern's group. At Level 16, no less!
- Hopeless Boss Fight: While its Character Level is only slightly higher than Fern and company's, it's enough to reduce all direct attacks to Scratch Damage. Fern and company aren't given the amount of time it would take to beat it since it Curb Stomp Battles the party down to their last few hitpoints with only one attack, forcing them to retreat.
- Willis: FERN! NO!!! THAT'S A DOLPH—
A fleshy creature with dozens of whiteheads all over its skin, that kills Fern with a powerful bite. We have Willis' word that it's a dolphin.
- Diabolus ex Nihilo: It just suddenly appears by Fern's side, out of nowhere.
- Eating the Enemy: We don't know yet if the Pimply Dolphin straight-up devoured Fern, but it did kill her with a single strong chomp.
- Eyeless Face: No eyeballs. Many zits.
- Fat Bastard: Flabby and murderous.
- Humanlike Hand Anatomy: They're extremely stubby, but this dolphin does possess humanlike fingers instead of flippers.
- Informed Species: Let's be honest: it looks far more like an extremely mutated humanoid than the dolphin that Willis insists it to be.
- Rise of Zitboy: Its skin has an AWFUL lot of acne.
- Silent Antagonist: Unless you count the crunching noises it makes.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Under the influence of Anna's gas... Fern mistook the Pimply Dolphin◊ for one of those lovably adorable Friendly Playful Dolphins that often populate magical Sugar Bowl fantasy worlds. So she reached a hand towards its snout, as though to pet it and... well...