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Webcomic / Deep Rise

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Starfish Aliens note 

Deep Rise (mirror) is a Science- Xenofiction Interactive Comic written and drawn by Nighzmarquls aka. Morgan J. Heacock.

The story initially follows a trio of young Nobles, a race of biologically immortal beings who entertain an underground civilization, consisting of cities built around ancient, sleeping, gigantic corals, known as Royals, with infrastructure mainly consisting of, among other kinds, human-based BioTech.

Plot: One figurative morning MetaSeavori of House Quoriaka runs in the hallways and meets Ramaniculs Machinartisan and MetaSeavori discovers that theyMeta have much greater desire for — shall we say — intimate companionship and proliferation of their House, than what is considered culturally appropriate. TheyMeta then get into various inconsequential shenanigans with theirMeta room-mate Cheertwit and after a meal of Plains Ape they both head out in search of Rama. Rama, they find taking a shower after decommissioning a malfunctioning washing machine which was very dear to Cheertwit, and before Cheertwit tears themRama in half, MetaSeavori defuses the situation by almost sexually assaulting themRama instead. After a brief consideration they decide to leave the city for the surface world.

It then slowly develops into a mix of Attack on Titan and Pacific Rim.

Deep Rise builds upon a long running idea-complex of the Deep Noble Civilization, built by Nighzmarquls over the years. It draws inspiration from Orion's Arm and is a very complete setting.

Deep Rise provides examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: MetaSeavori casually throws her laundry on the living Washing Machine's head. The washing machine cannot see its favorite clothnote , causing it to think that the cloth has disappeared or died, which prompts it to commit suicide. Whoops.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Nobles don't have genders at all. The readership is scattered on their headcannons and use of pronouns.
  • And I Must Scream: Servitors are macrofauna of the surface, captured, vivisected and rebuilt. Much of what we humans would use mechanical devices and computers for, the Nobles prefer an organic solution. Some of them retain a bit of their former minds.
  • Anyone Can Die: Invoked by the Royals when they play a game with the readers. Cheertwit's father, best friend, and The Merchant die.
  • Black Box: The artifacts that the Royals drop upon death. Filled with many strange bits and gears, their primary use is as self-contained starship engines that can run for centuries. They also contain the secret to creating Royal Armor.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The Royals.
    [Puppies] are adorable and should be squashed into jelly so they can be fully appreciated.
  • Body Horror: Surgery is a common skill among Nobles. Hoppi in particular is a bioengineering virtuoso who primarily uses the freshest Human resources. And animals. At the same time.
  • Cerebus Syndrome:
    • Act I is a Lovecraft Lite Story about college shenanigans leading to an RPG-style adventure.
    • Act II is about Enslavement, Pillaging, and the horror of war.
    • Act III is about cutthroat politics, industrial devastation, and Kaiju. No matter how many titanic Royals are killed, they always have reserves. It escalates badly.
    • Act IV goes into full-blown Cosmic Horror Story as the true domain of the Royals encompasses the entire galaxy, crushing the hope created in Act III.
    • Act V is a bleak Breather Episode about the long-term effects of Cabin Fever on family relationships, a documentary about the rise and destruction of a prosperous alien civilization, and a terrifying existential question of how accountable you are to the suffering of the universe if you're so special.
  • Color-Coded Speech: Makes heavy use of colors, both for conversation, and going so far as to color pronouns to clarify to whom these refer.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: The Royals are so incomprehensible and massive that the Nobles are the good guys - sort of. Then in Act IV the royals pop up on alien planets and the Nobles meet the Royals' space fleet. The Nobles have been fighting toenails compared to the Royal Horde, and in Act V it's revealed the Royals have orchestrated the protagonists' harrowing survival for the sole purpose of killing the only thing that can stop them - and it's also a cosmic force of civilization-ending destruction.
  • Darkest Hour: Act IV ends with the survivors of the Arkship fleeing in the equivalent of a space dinghy and Dartu failing to destroy the Royal fleet with everything she had. The signalers in act V also lose their civilization to "HER", a hive mind whose true motives are left unknown.
  • Death Seeker: Dartu goes on escalating suicide missions against the royals for a noble death, but it just mocks her and captures her on their final fight.
  • Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?: The King and Eurayle. One's an immortal human king, the other's a Noble who thinks she's human. note 
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: For the survivors on Earth, that is; the epilogue features a former noble terraforming Earth after the Royals have left the barren planet to chase MetaSeavori's Arkship. The fact that there is any life on the surface of Earth implies that the Royals' plans for Omnicide are screwed beyond all reason. Also, the Royals end their interactions with the readers on peaceful terms.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Nobles build their cities around huge sleeping things that emit a steady stream of heat, radiation and other useful things.
  • Fantastic Racism: Nobles believe themselves superior to all other forms of life other than the Royals. This goes to the point that they'll sometimes try to... improve other species through mutilation and mutation.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The Royals (and at the end, "HER") are the only ones with Medium Awareness.
    • There is always a command prompt, no matter how small, always asking the audience with enthusiasm about the latest topic to suggest about. Now realize that the command prompt is almost always the same color (or Grey. Or Light blue near the end) as the Royals' name-color, which is Bold.
    • The Attack Element requests peace. No Royal ever requests a truce with the Nobles. Turns out she's the archrival of the Royals.
  • Gainax Ending: The Hive Mind Collective of Equestria (from another webcomic) assimilates an entire race of sentient lizards with sexist issues, MetaSeavori and the survivors are transformed into a Royal by The Philosopher, the two forces combine and explode into a sea of black tentacles, and in the center MetaSeavori and "HER" stare at the readers and tell them to fuck off. Yeah, it's that kind of story.
  • Gray-and-Gray Morality: Every faction in the series has serious issues and their own reasons for why they do what they do:
    • Underground: Blue-and-Orange Morality and a racist lack of empathy give rise to a surprisingly civilized society of hard-working bioengineers. Who chop up peoples' bodies and minds to become their food and machines.
    • MetaSeavori: Wanted to start a big family and become scientist adventurers. End up conquering the Earth and decimating the face of the planet to help humanity survive the onslaught of the titanic and sociopathic Royals.
    • Humanity: Desire the power of immortality and enslaving the poor. The Immortal King himself ends up regretting it as the masses willingly mutate themselves into superhuman industry workers and pollute the planet to Matrix levels so their families will have a chance of surviving the apocalypse.
    • Signalers: Extremely sexist quadrupedal lizards trying to get by on their planet, their wars are brutal but they're good mothers.
    • Attack Element: Wishes for eternal peace and happiness upon as many people as possible, and can deliver salvation instantly. Too bad her intrusion into various civilizations causes mass panic and total societal collapse; she's indirectly responsible for the deaths of billions.
    • Royals: Extreme Blue-and-Orange Morality and desire the destruction of all life, as is the will of the Pattern that they are subservient to. They are ultimately friendly towards the readers and respect their wishes (with some insults and laughter).
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Dartu, and any other characters that Hoppi created from combining man with animal.
  • Hermaphrodite: The Nobles are capable of siring, giving birth, or infesting other humans into Nobles.
  • Human Resources: They're used for food and "servitors". Cheertwit's "tablet" servitor "Scribblebrite" used to be a little kid.
  • Innocent Inaccurate: MetaSeavori's kids learn to murder soldiers and eat gunpowder at the age of two. Dartu has to raise the little demons so she teaches them how to fight. This works.
  • It's All About Me: Nobles have this attitude towards themselves as a race. At best everyone else is inferior and unimportant compared to Nobles, at worst their tools to be used/eaten or enemies to be wiped out.
  • Kill It with Fire: Impoverished Nobles are so mentally tormented from a mental debt called 'clout' that they beg to be burned to death to make the pain stop.
  • Lack of Empathy: Nobles rarely if ever, feel or display empathy towards beings of other races, due to feeling that they are superior to all other life. Subverted with Cheertwit, who was raised around Servitors and saw them as friends.
  • Mad Scientist: Both of MetaSeavori's firstborn kids. Z'troh develops artillery, N'uah develops rockets. They blow themselves up every morning.
  • Many Spirits Inside of One: Dartu is made from a little girl, her grandmother, and the family dog.
  • Mind Hive: The Nobles themselves have between 10 and 20 neural centres for each individual, collectively referred to as "Congress". Also, representative of the readers' suggestions.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The names given to the Royals by the Nobles. Examples include: Tender Hater who Lashes at us With Kindness, The Drinker of Earth Dispenser of Mirth, Merciful Majesty, They Who Protect Us of The Unknowable Minuet.
  • No-Sell: One of the Royals directly laughs at the readers and the Nobles when their first nuke misses by a long shot.
    You missed.
  • Obsessive Hobby Episode: MetaSeavori spends most of Act V watching television from another planet, fascinated with the culture of the Signalers and their Sexist issues and Internet. They spend so much time watching that their kids hate them and their friends and mate have shunned them due to 812 counts of negligent homicide. The few who are still their friends think that this was preferable to going insane with Cabin Fever.
  • Organic Technology: Every bit of technology more advanced than an abbacus or a lighter is alive and skin-coloured.
  • Organ Autonomy: Nobles have multiple nerve clusters that have some individual consciousness. At one point Cheertwit severs an arm so it can deliver a "surprise".
  • The Reveal: MetaSeavori might be the main character, but the client and practically "player character" of the story... is none other than the Royals. The people in Real Life that were trying to help the Nobles have been inadvertently assisting the Royals fulfill their goals; their color text is black, they constantly asked the readers for help and the readers answered. Unfortunately for the Royals, the final boss "SHE" had Medium Awareness. MetaSeavori is so angered by this that they break all ties with the suggesters, leaving the readers unable to witness or influence MetaSeavori's final decisions.
  • Society of Immortals: The Nobles are biologically immortal.
  • Starfish Aliens: Much of the Nobles physiology is inspired by real life starfish.
  • Shout-Out: Everything from Care Bears, over Homestuck, to Monty Python. Both in dialogue and in visuals.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Hoppi; they see the other Nobles as ignorant slowpokes who worship the beings that hate them. They also have a low opinion of their daughter and her friends. Unfortunately for them, the constant stress of taking care of an entire clan of humans, combined with their onset super-dementia from growing into an Elder, drives them to order their own lobotomy.
  • Square-Cube Law: Averted. The gigantic coral-like Royals look very solid and compact, and are definitively not made from bone and muscle.
  • Take That!: Tender Hater Who Lashes Us With Kindness decides to "do the windy thing" to an in-universe Homestuck fan (a Noble who plays John Egbert, the "Hero of Wind") for kicks - who was sitting on a ledge over blue lava. They feel that they have done a service to all of existence.
  • Timed Mission: One of the Royals decides to play a game with the readers; for every 3.5 in-universe years that they don't kill them, the other royals will find a way to kill off one of the fan-favorites with extreme prejudice. They're somewhat impressed that it took less than 14 years, but they stay true to their word and kill off three main characters.
  • To Serve Man: Played to it's most horrifying conclusions. Humans aren't just food to the Nobles, they're living technology. We get to see a washing machine made out of a person.
  • Was Once a Man: The Philosopher and Dartu. Eurayle is an inversion. They learn to live with their new bodies, but life takes its toll. By the end, Goddess!Dartu regains her humanity, but is captured by the Royals and left to Go Mad from the Isolation.