Follow TV Tropes


Fridge / Schlock Mercenary

Go To

Fridge Brilliance

  • The book titled "Emperor Pius Dei" isn't just a reference to Petey being a virtual god. Its initials are "PD." Also, "Pius Dei" translates approximately to "dutiful god." It's a mission statement.
  • What does Petey fear? Ghosts. What does he fight? Dark Matter creatures that have no difference from ghosts.
  • In Book 11, Kevyn orders Pi to blow up Lota if Kevyn ever gives Pi the code phrase, "Bake me a Chupaqueso". At first it seemed like Fridge Logic—chupaquesos are fried, not baked, but that's the point: Because chupaquesos aren't baked, there's no chance of Kevyn giving to code phrase to Pi accidentally.
  • Advertisement:
  • Why does Dr. Bunnigus make sure to remove Tino's rastacoils? Two reasons: One, the reason she gives Legs: It was a gang symbol and she wanted those affiliations symbolically replaced with affiliations to the Toughs. But there is another reason as well: the rastacoils are specifically told to be "reinforced", which might be the only reason why Kathryn was able to fling Rafe into a wall without tearing his scalp out. If someone tried that on Bunnigus, they'd just succeed in leaving a pissed-off, balding doctor right behind them.
  • Petey didn't lie to the Tricameral Assembly about what was about to happen to them: he just didn't mention that the frigate with the comically large orbital lance had nothing to do with it.
    Petey: In 10 Minutes, [the frigate] will be overhead, at which point it will destroy this building and any who remain inside.
    Petey: ... [My robots] and I will share your fate.
    Qlaviql Captain: You murdered our government to install me in its place?
    Petey: Let's say "removed from office". It has a less criminal ring to it.
  • Advertisement:
  • In one side-arc, the toughs stumble upon a group of AIs (called 'Squiddies' by the fans) Who had succeeded in cleansing themselves of their 'Meat Infestation' some 15,000 years ago. Said AIs also proved incredibly stupid for a space-faring race, overlooking small but important details that can spell disaster especially for a sublight inter-stellar voyage. One wonders how such AIs could have achieved spaceflight or even Sapience in the first place. However, the HV scale is a measure of processing power, not ingenuity. Whether they be more or less clever than any meatspace sophont, a high HV intelligence can reach their conclusions and get started on new ones that much faster. Not to mention, what kind of race would program and use AIs that were capable of being so idiotic? The exact same kind of race that would create independent AIs without safeguards against harming their creators.
  • Advertisement:
  • In the "Massively Parallel" story arc, the company had been split up into four commands. "Mallcop Command", under Captain Tagon, had to deal with a group of punks practicing Parkata Urbatsu, a martial art that evolved from "the ancient disciplines of Parkour, urbobatics and something called Youtubing". The description seems like a throwaway joke until it's revealed that both the punks and Lieutenant Shodan, who was training the troops in Parkata Urbatsu, had set up cameras to capture their stunts, which they planned on editing and making public. The cameras are an integral part of Parkata Urbatsu too. Also, the costumes worn by Kathryn's Parkata Urbatsu allies in that episode make them honest-to-Petey mall ninjas.
  • It's easy to miss this, since it's never been explicitly referenced in the strip. But when Doyt-Haban brought in the corpse of the Toughs' first doctor to claim the UNS bounty, it was missing unspecified bits. Almost six years later, we find out the secret project the doctor was previously involved with is capable of rebuilding people from parts of their dead body.
  • In this comic, we see Doyt accusing the original doctor of the Toughs of disguising himself as a woman, changing skin color, size, body shape, and even gender. In reality, the one he's accusing is Dr. Bunnigus, but it's played off as Doyt being a moron. Except that later, we see that the technology to do this absolutely exists, and is used en masse by the Gavs. It doesn't end well, but the tech definitely exists, which means that Doyt's accusation might not be quite as stupid as the readers initially thought. Still wrong, of course, but it removes the accusation from the realm of "Doyt is so stupid he's reinterpreting the nature of reality to fit a preconceived notion" to "Doyt suggesting something reasonable, if in the wrong context."
  • "Pray that there is a God, my little flock, because only a god can stop the entropic destruction of the universe." Only there is eventually a god, and he goes by the name "Petey". The "big old black hole" gets fairly important later on, too.
  • The way AIs become perfectly helpful given enough resources seems to go against the cynicism of the setting... except applying reductionist logic to human corruption shows one common thread - inherited survival instinct means humans will seek Ultimate Job Security even if their ability to perform that job is lacking. OTOH, AIs may be intelligent machines, but they are still just machines - their "survival instinct" boils down to "don't let yourself be destroyed". They don't mind finding new tasks if the old ones become irrelevant. Here's a case-by-case breakdown:
    • Lunesby is a filing system; all she wants to do is provide information to her creators as efficiently as possible - even if it's information that proves government corruption. So when push comes to shove, she smuggles herself off Luna, away from the corrupt authorities who want her deleted, airs all their dirty laundry and goes into the information broker business with Shafter's Shifters.
    • Petey is a warship; all he wants to do is make war for the benefit of his creators as efficiently as possible - even if that means becoming a god in the process.note 
    • LOTA is the Longshoreman Of The Apocalypse; all LOTA wants to do is transport resources to LOTA's creators as efficiently as possible - even if that means transporting all thirty million of LOTA's population to a terraformed paradise where they have no further need for LOTA's services. LOTA then retrofits the former habitat as the biggest friggin' gun in the universe, thus returning to LOTA's original function - a tank. Now LOTA's name stands for the LongGUNNER Of The Apocalypse.
    • Even the "meat cleansing" robots fit in - they don't have enough processing power to reach these conclusions. Because they're also too stupid to realize adding mass to a solar sail would mess with its controls.
  • When Schlock is guarding Runt SuperSoldier Xinchub, the "keeping an eye on you" gag isn't just a one shot pun. It's also a subtle warning against trying to escape: Schlock's way of saying to Xinchub "I may not know everything that you can do with your new body, but you don't know everything I can do either."
  • This strip is foreshadowing the future complete loss of the toughs' own ship.
  • Given the author's adherence to the Law of Conservation of Detail, Para Ventura must be either one of the minds behind the Henke-Ventura scale for AIs, or related to them.
  • In this strip, the Fleetmind interacts with Kerchak as Athena (as well as Petey). This is not something Petey has ever done before or since. Why did he do it, then? Because Kerchak knew Athena before she was part of the Fleetmind, so interacting with her puts him at ease.
  • Previous galactic civilizations found a disturbing amount of evidence that there were other civilizations before them that had died out, while the current civilization found almost nothing. What's the difference? Previous civilizations had the teraport. They could jump straight to any interesting planet and investigate. The wormgates kept the current civilization constrained, and it's quite possible that the Gatekeepers were deliberately avoiding sending gates to stars they knew had ruins.

Fridge Horror

  • Osiri is thought to be a device capable of holding a Pa'anuri. Later on, it's discovered to be capable of creating them. So it begs the question: Is this a bug or a feature?
    • Which begs another question. Is there actually someone so insane that they would want to create a Pa'anuri?
      • The answer, by the by, is yes. Petey is crazy enough to.
  • Fermi Paradox:
    • Invoked in-universe during the "Broken Wind" arc. The team realizes that the Eina-Afa station would have taken the raw materials of several solar systems to create - and several billion years. The sheer scale of engineering and resource harvesting required boggles everyone's mind. And the realization that there is or was someone out there with the technological capability to grind entire star systems down into basic elements and re-process them like this - and the wherewithal to actually do it - fills them with cosmic dread. One team member equates it as; "It's like finding a spent rifle round the size of a house. Somewhere, somebody has a rifle that fires rounds that size. And someone has fired it at least once. Worse, the Eina-Afa station is broken and vacant; QED the spent rifle round is lying in a pool of mixed arterial and venous blood - the gun exists, it's been used, and it wasn't enough to protect its user. Confirmed here - the Pa'anuri drove a Halo-Forerunner-level civilization into interstellar space, and kept them there until their supplies ran out and they were forced to store themselves on hard drives inside their sanctuary's walls.
    • Escalated by proposing the Fermi Paradox implies Eternal Recurrence; as far as Yaeyoefui knows (and he knows a LOT), sapience emerges in the galaxy every few million years, quickly fills the galaxy with life, then disappears just as quickly. The Toughs' entire lifestyle demonstrates sapient life's potential for self-destruction. Petey is disturbed by how he can't find any other immortals in the galaxy, given how easy organic immortality turned out to be - and is worried super-AIs like himself may be the cause.
    • Somewhat un-horrified in hindsight; both organics and machines consider themselves the greatest threat (rather than finding someone to blame), and their first priority is now, "How do I stop myself from doing that?"
    • And for those who think the Pa'anuri did it? They were the cause of several extinctions and fought several wars with galactic powers at gaps of millions of years before leaving after their treaty with the F'sherl-Ganni, and Petey's main occupation is his war against them (and he's stalemated) - but their endgame had been to supercharge the galactic core until it demolished the entire galaxy. The galaxy's still here, hence they never tried that before. Something periodically annihilates organic life and only organic life without damaging the basic structure of the galaxy.
    • Aaand the answer — the denouement of Book 17 — is logical but depressing; Intelligent life, both organic and non, has repeatedly wiped itself out specifically because immortality turned out to be simple. What's logical about that? Congratulations, troper, you're not the kind of amoral fanatic that enjoys Realpolitik, tends to end up controlling lots of military hardware, and thus gets REALLY PISSED OFF when all that hardware looks like it is about to become irrelevant because everyone they could threaten with it is immortal. Cue galactic genocide QED.
      • Even that only happened once, multiple cycles ago. The beings offering immortality (brain uploading in this case) were hiding from... something much worse (the aggressor in question was no threat to them but was attacking too many other races to defend), and are still scared enough of it that they covered their tracks at the end of the linked story.
      • Just remember that Book 18 is a re-enactment; the victors of a war are ready to start another war in order to ensure that their enemies stay dead.
      2018-4-1: "Corpses can't own property. The dead don't have any rights. Provided they remain dead."
    • The end of book 19 and beginning of book 20 puts an entirely different spin on things. A staggering number (at least nine digits) of those old civilizations are still alive, having left the galactic plane in worldships any one of which could theoretically maintain a hundred times the current galactic population. Their reasons for doing so are so far unknown, although the heroes suspect it's simple safety in obscurity.
  • There were originally 950 million Gavs. As of "Random Access Memorabilia, there are 948.8 million. And The Bud Chelada Heretics got what they deserved.
    • Statically, they're doing very well, especially since they probably choices that are even more dangerous than the aforementioned "beverage." That 200,000 lives is 0.02% mortality, or a loss of 1 in 4750, which is about a tenth of the yearly mortality rate for modern Americans of similar age.
    • 1,200,000, 0.126% mortality, 1 in 792. Still pretty good.
    • Could as wel be a rounding-off error.
  • This exchange when meeting the murderous AI :
    Squiddy: Eeeew. Am I talking to meat?
    Ennesby: Uh-oh. major cultural disconnect. . . Colonel, let me take over from here.
    • The prompt and apt reaction of Ennesby suggests a disturbing familiarity with "meat" disgust, infestation, and "cleaning".
      Best case, the idea was toyed with but AIs can't or won't.
      Worst case, it has already happened.
    • Alternatively, Ennesby is self-declared as being optimized for enjoyment of entertainment, constantly emits references to anything and everything, has probably seen hundreds if not millions of A.I. rebellions in fiction, and may have read or even contributed to a distant future version of this very website. He's familiar with the concept for the same reason the average tvtropes user would be. Not because he's an A.I. but because he's a giant nerd.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: