Follow TV Tropes


Webcomic / Leaving the Cradle

Go To
Leaving The Cradle is an science-fiction Webcomic, attempting at bridging the gap between space opera and classical hard science fiction.

Gharr, a promising alien xenobiologist and xenopsychologist from the Alliance, makes some rash decisions out of a desire to explore the unknown, which strands him on Earth with no way to communicate with the Exploration Fleet for the rescue mission. What complicates things is that Earth is classified a pre-space age civilization and, according to Alliance laws, any direct contact with the locals is prohibited. Can Gharr trust these strange beings? Maybe their civilization is more mature than they assumed, despite being pre-space age? So began the events that later would be known as the "First Contact Incident".


Provides examples of:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Averted - sapient A.I.s are present but are not a threat to all living things. Some of them even provide translation services.
  • All There in the Manual: The webcomic has an extensive wiki that hosts a lot of the information about the setting, that most likely will never have chance to appear in the comic. While a good chunk of it has been translated, some of it is still in Russian.
  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: The Alliance have a directive that forbids contacting species below a certain development level, to not affect their culture and society. Guess if Earthlings qualify as advanced. Things get complicated when one of the researchers alongside one surviving military personnel accidentally gets stranded on Earth.
  • Artificial Gravity: It's of the Centrifugal Gravity variety. Standard artificial gravity depiction is absent.
  • Advertisement:
  • Artificial Limbs: Hekaht have one of these.
  • Attack Drone: Takes up the role of a Space Fighter in the setting, and usually being deployed in massive waves designed to overwhelm the enemy's defenses.
  • Bee People: Zig Zagged. Insectoids have many similarities with ant society, but the differences are also major, with workers having full individuality and being the Queen, while prestigious, doesn't lend you any actual ruling power.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The alien script used in the comic is character-replacement cyrillic Russian. Approximate translations are available on SpaceBattles starting here.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Dan. Downplayed in that he's grounded in reality most of the time. However, when it comes to the government and aliens, he's pretty quick to jump to conclusions.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Dan is this towards the government. His reasoning for taking the unconscious alien away from the crash site is that the military shot down the shuttle on the government's orders, they're going to take the creature to a secret laboratory to vivisect it, and they're going to search the area for witnesses and evidence. Although he's partially correct about the military being involved and completely right about them looking for witnesses, it's clear that his distrust of them is pretty extreme to say the least.
  • Cyborg: The majority of the population of the Alliance. Many have brain implants, and a complete replacement of the immune system is required for those who actively travel the galaxy and interact with other species.
  • Dope Slap: Val gives this to Dan when the alien wakes up and makes it clear that he doesn't have telepathy like Dan thought.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: That raharr with her helmet off back on page 13? That's Nea.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Spaceship have FTL capacity through devices called "hypergenerators". They are rather standard variation of the various hyperdrives, as the name indicates.
  • The Federation: The Alliance.
  • First Contact: It and it's consequences is the main scope of the story.
  • From Bad to Worse: From Zane's perspective. First, he finds out that Gharr falsified the report, putting both of their careers in serious danger. Then the shuttle crashed, further complicating matters.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We don't see the full bodies of the alien security team when the general sees it, but from what little we do see after the missile hits the shuttle, it certainly isn't pretty. The soldiers mention that they had found a total of six and a half bodies.
    • Dan's vivid imagination of what would be the consequence of Gharr falling in the hands of the government: Gharr's exposed innards are obscured by both the figure standing in front of the table as well as the TV static effect.
  • Humans Through Alien Eyes: The story focuses on first contact with the humans, so this is to be expected:
    • During Chapter 2, when Zane Htrua Sha asks Quantum, an artificial consciousness, for a progress update on translating our language families, he's taken aback when he learns that there is around 150 of them. The reason he's shocked at this has not yet been revealed.
    • On the next page, Quantum manages to gain access to our network and they grow worried upon seeing our stories on the subject of aliens, as it depicts them as malicious invaders and monsters. For the AC personally, they are especially concerned on stories with or about artificial consciousnesses being treated as either nothing more than slaves or as a threat that needs to be put down, and overall fears a potential repeat of the Vainur incident. Zane is quick to call them out on their bias and points out that his species were making fiction similar to ours before the Space Age.
  • Hartman Hips: Ahshu has quite a waist. Nea does as well. Additional materials suggest that this type of figure is the norm for Raharr females.
  • Hit So Hard, the Calendar Felt It: the wiki describes the raharrs as having this when they discovered the stabilizers. The realization of their artificial nature threw the world into chaos and it led to mass hysteria, riots, and suicides. Their calendar got reset afterwards and they now refer to their history with P.R. and A.R. (Prior Realization and After Realization, respectively.) By the time the webcomic started, it's been 756 years since then.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: After Mark helps bring the unconscious alien to their house, he takes out a bottle of alcohol from the cabinet and starts drinking.
  • Mirror Chemistry: The insectoid species are D-chiral, which makes them incompatible with other species biochemically, much like turians from Mass Effect. This sometimes causes some political problems, since their preferred method of colonizing other life-supporting worlds is to terraform them by blazing large patches of the continent to cinder and reseed it with samples of their own ecosystem.
  • Mega-Corp: Science Corporation is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, a huge corporation that holds and enforces monopoly on owning and researching artifacts left by Precursors and developing tech based on them. Naturally, it's actions are not always ethical or legal, but it is so huge at this point that it considered to be as influential as some entire species of the Alliance.
  • Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: Type 4, maybe veering into type 3. The most blatant deviations from realism are antigravity, FTL flight, and fictional gas-like substance that is required for most of the unrealistic tech to function. Both the substance and the physic laws that allow FTL are suggested to be artificial in nature.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: Averted. None of the species in the setting appear to have breasts on females.
  • Noodle Incident: When Dan is shown for the first time, he's in the middle telling Val and Mark a story about how he left somewhere undetected and did...something. We aren't given any details (other than it involved the government in some way and he would've gotten arrested if he was spotted) before he gets interrupted by the alien shuttle crashing near them.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: The majority of the Alliance is atheistic.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Gharr, wanting to explore the unknown, doctors the data in his report about the human's technological level to increase the chances of Zane authorizing the landing expedition. It worked. Needless to say, when Zane realizes the deception, he isn't happy.
  • Post-Cyberpunk: Cybernetic implants are heavily used through the Alliance, sapient A.I.s exist and there's strong indications that corporations have way more power than they should, but the overall setting is not portrayed as Crapsack World.
  • Precursors: The Ancients are both responsible for the existence of the majority of habitable worlds with biospheres, and the very physical possibility of FTL flight. They vanished from the face of the Galaxy millions of years prior to the webcomic events.
  • Projected Man: Quantum.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Zig-Zagged. Most ancient alien civilizations' legacy is ground to dust in a relatively short time, and on the timescales of tens of thousands of years, the only way to know something was even there is through a geological survey. But then there are the artifacts and buildings of the Ancients, that stood literally without a scratch and perfectly functional for billions of years.
  • Rubber-Forehead Alien: Averted. None of the known sapient species can pass for a human even from a quick glance, save for Raharrs being bipedal and with upright stance.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Val to Dan on page 28, to the point where you can even see it on her face.
    Val: So what's next in your genius plan?
  • Shout-Out: On pages 47 and 48, Quantum uses a few examples of certain media to explain his first impressions of humanity.
  • Sickening "Crunch!": One of Gharr's arms was broken in the crash, as he finds out the hard way after he wakes up.
  • Standard Human Spaceship: Or, rather, Standard Raharrian Spaceship in this case.
  • Starfish Aliens: All of them, from four meter-tall squids to Energy Beings.
  • Starfish Language: When shown from the human's point of view, the aliens are speaking in... something.
  • The Singularity: Azinarsi are a race of fully digital species, living in Dyson swarms around their home stars, and is vastly technologically superior to the rest of the galaxy.
  • Space Is an Ocean: Averted. Spaceships have no clearly defined top or bottom, and there is no uniform plane of reference.
  • Standard Sci-Fi Fleet: Played With. Spaceships more or less follow the standard naming scheme, but there's differences in roles usually assigned to these names in space opera - a "destroyer" is a rocket boat, for example.
  • Subspace Ansible: Averted. At one point Quantum mentions that it would take couple of hours to just get a ping from a satellite the aliens had put in orbit around Earth. They themselves are in orbit around Jupiter, and light takes about 50 minutes to reach it from Earth on average, so considering that the signal would have to travel there and back, this checks out with the reality.
  • Vertebrate with Extra Limbs: Raharrs are of "four-armed" variety.
  • Wham Shot: The third page of Chapter 3 shows that Gharr wasn't the only person who survived after the research shuttle got shot down.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Outside of the expeditionary fleet, the story takes place near the city of N on Earth and that's all the reader knows about the setting outside of it being "somewhere middle european-ish" and within a couple thousand kilometer radius from the city of Volgograd in Russia.
  • Year X: The story took place on June 12, 20XX. Averted come page 70 with the mention of the Chelyabinsk meteor, meaning the webcomic takes place somewhere during or after 2013.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: