Back in the early Aughts, Warren Ellis watched an episode of Star Trek: Voyager. The man who Bromanced Patrick Stewart described it as "Katharine Hepburn impersonating William Shatner". Out of sheer exasperation, he cried out, "They should get Ray Winstone as captain". The result was a July, 2003 graphic novel using said idea. Hilarity Ensues....
Two Hundred Years From Today, Earth is
fighting losing an interstellar war with a Jerkass Herd Mind known as the Chasta. General Ripper comes up with a desperate strategy. "We can't be the U.S. Marines anymore. Now we have to be the Viet Cong." The result is the experimental guerrilla space destroyer Switchblade Honey. He hoped to build eight more. He got the one.
Meet The Crew.
- Captain: John Ryder - Imprisoned and awaiting execution for disobeying direct orders in the face of the enemy and assault on military property. (Command ordered him to destroy a crippled friendly vessel as a proxy suicide attack. He refused, and fired on and disabled a vessel that attempted to follow those orders in his stead.)
- First Officer: Susan "Switchblade" Niles - Imprisoned and awaiting execution for assault on a superior officer. (She caught her captain raping the Communications Officer. She cut his dick off, then jettisoned it into space.)
- Chief Engineer: Jack Rhodes - Imprisoned and awaiting execution for disobeying direct orders in the face of the enemy. (After his captain decided to abandon his engine crew on a Chasta world to save weight, he sealed all of them in the engine room and lifted off anyway.)
- Gunner: Aliya Jones - Imprisoned and awaiting execution for disobeying direct orders in the face of the enemy, assault on military property, and assault on military personnel. (She refused to fire on civilians, then destroyed her gunnery station with a pistol taken off a guard who was trying to make her do it. Then she shot the guard.)
- Electronics station: Milligan - Imprisoned and awaiting execution for disobeying direct orders in the face of the enemy and substance abuse. (He hacked an enemy vessel and opened its airlocks, killing its entire crew while sparing prisoners in its sealed hold, rather than let his captain, an admiral's son, destroy the vessel for personal glory. But he really was stoned out of his fucking mind when he did it.)
- Pilot: Harwood, B. - Imprisoned and awaiting execution for disobeying direct orders in the face of the enemy. (He refused to ram an enemy vessel.)
They've all been fucked by the Navy. They're all pretty disgusted with the human race. Hell, they're probably only three steps from trying to kill each other.
And they're pretty much the only hope we have left.
Tropes associated with Switchblade Honey:
- Aliens Steal Cable: Chasta are using their knowledge about humans to telepathically torture them during the battle. The problem is that they had a serious case of Critical Research Failure, resulting in threats like:''While you are here, fighting in vain, your children are being abused by famous Earth actors like Bart Simpson.
- Army of Thieves and Whores
- Expy: John Ryder is clearly based or Ray Winstone in London Gangster mode.
- Jerkass: Basically everybody in some way.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Basically everybody in some way.
- Kirk Summation: Ryder gets two. Why isn't this an ongoing series, again?
Ryder: I joined the Navy because I wanted to explore. I wanted to captain a starship and say, "we don't know what's over there. Let's go that way."
- On being a starship captain;
Niles: We can do that.''
Ryder: Not if we don't have a home to come back to. Not if we don't have a place to return to and say, "This is what we learned, this is what we saw, this is what's out there." We went to war and I stayed in the Navy because I knew that I needed the human race. I needed to take it with me, out there.
Ryder: We've all been fucked by the Navy. We're all pretty disgusted by the human race. Hell, we're probably only three steps away from trying to kill each other. But you need to choose: do we have a responsibility to the race or not? Do we have a responsibility to all the people on Earth who never started a war, didn't want a war, and really only looked to living their lives as well as they can? Or do we say, "screw 'em", and go somewhere and hide and pretend none of it ever happened? I'm not talking about Navy duty or procedure or any of the shit we've put up with until now. This is the decision. There's no semantic dancing around here, no ifs or buts.
- On being a hero in a Crapsack World;
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: In case the description didn't make it clear enough...Niles: Okay. We've got an engineer who locks himself in the engine room on bad days. We've got a gunner who won't fire her guns unless she wants to. Probably the most brilliant man in the navy, can't operate e-station unless he's all fucked up on drugs. And a pilot who humps procedure books at night.Ryder: We're doomed. But we got a nice boat.