Sexdroids in Space — Writer’s Commentary

We move on to the second comic I commissioned, “Sexdroids in Space”.  This one is tied with “S.A.S.S. Renegades” for my favourite out of all my comics, and it’s because I love the story I came up with.  I’m not sure that most people who have read “Sexdroids in Space” realize what it’s really about.

But before I get into that, I just want to mention that this is actually the story idea I came up with first when I decided to start saving up my money to commission a comic.  The only reason it wasn’t the first comic I ended up making was because I was waiting for Sarah from NiteFlirt to agree to star as “Sarah”.  To my gratitude, she agreed, and though the colourist got her skin tone wrong, she plays the operator of the space-junk collecting ship.

Here’s a breakdown of all the characters in this comic.  And more information can be found here at Robotman’s Comics: B-Sides, Outtakes and Rarities.

Let’s get to breaking down the comic page-by-page, starting with the cover.  None of these hidden plot details are “new”, by the way.  I thought of all of this stuff when I first came up with the story.  Had this been a written piece, many of these extra details might have made it into the text.

Page 00

Like the cover to my previous comic and all the ones that followed, the barcodes and binary actually mean something.  I don’t remember what the words and numbers come out as any more, so get that barcode scanning app and scientific calculator out if you’re really interested.

The scene on the cover depicts Sarah and Rosie in bed after having sex.  Rosie had malfunctioned during the festivities, but Sarah was able to finish anyway, which is why she’s smoking a cigarette now.  The cigarette is meant also to show that Sarah is human, even though she’s a highly advanced android herself.  Oh, and spoiler alert.  If you haven’t read the comic yet, why are you reading this?

Sarah is also trying to diagnose just what went wrong inside Rosie, which is why Rosie is connected via her open chest panel to a small diagnostic device nearby.  Sarah’s finger is on Rosie’s power button, and she’s just about to shut her off and bring her down to the Robot Lab to be repaired.

Page 01

This page depicts the start of a scene that I had replayed vividly in my imagination for years and years.  That is on a spacecraft of some kind with a very pretty lady walking methodically through the corridors.

The outfit that Brea here is wearing is something I designed and specified, as are all the outfits worn by the characters in this comic.  This one – with the classic lingerie under a clear vinyl miniskirt and shrug jacket set – was inspired by a comic called “Maximum Volume” I saw printed in Heavy Metal magazine.  The protagonist’s girlfriend wore something similar and I’ve thought ever since that it’s the perfect look for a fembot.

I had specified black satin lingerie and transparent vinyl, but the colourist came up with this look, and I agreed to use it because it looks sexy and feminine.  This is one of my favourite pages in the comic, especially considering what’s revealed on the next page.

Page 02

And here we see that the gorgeous lady we’ve been watching as she walked through the spacecraft is a robot.  And of course, all of the characters in this comic are robots.  Sarah is a robot, but she doesn’t know it.  Her friend Jessica that appears on the video screen is a robot too, and I’ve wanted to make a companion piece mini-comic that depicts Jessica being set up for this video call.

It would show Jessica’s top half, head and arms being assembled and set up on a robotic arm of some sort.  Then she would be programmed for the call, and she would initiate it.  At the end, her memory would be wiped, her programming would be deleted and she would be disassembled and put back into storage.  Maybe someday I’ll have that made.

This page is story exposition.  Sarah had just woken up and come down to the Bridge to start her day when she got the video call from her “friend”.  Of course, since Sarah is an android being tested, this video call is really just a way of checking out how the prototype is doing.

I should also mention Sarah’s sleeping arrangements here.  She sleeps in her quarters at night, just like a human would.  Brea sleeps with her, since Brea is Sarah’s main companion.  But Brea’s main function is to protect Sarah, and look after some of the things on the robotic side.  So Brea plugs Sarah in to recharge, and unplugs her before she “wakes up”.   Brea is programmed to delete these memory files immediately as they are processed so that she never realizes that her human master is a robot.  Sarah’s programming in this regard gets discussed at the end of the story.

Page 03

What a surprise!  Jessica is sexually attracted to female robots too!  At least the blonde robot playing Jessica is programmed to say that it is.  This page reveals another little flub in the drawing – Sarah was supposed to have her hair down, but the artist drew her hair in a ponytail.  Sarah looked too much like Vida from “The Robots of Love” that way, so I had him draw Sarah let her hair down.

There is more exposition here, including false memories implanted inside Sarah, like Moon U.

Page 04

This page is mostly exposition, covering up nicely for the fact that Sarah doesn’t have parents, and that she doesn’t actually need to work for her money.  None of this she would ever question on her own, her manufacturer would hope.

And of course Sarah wants nothing more out of “life” than to do what she’s already doing.  She gets to fly around interplanetary space in Artificial Gravity™ and play with a crew of sexy fembots all day.  CyberFem built Sarah, and the other robots are integral to their plan for her.

It’s also revealed that there was a war in the future between now and when we see Sarah.  This war left a lot of debris between Earth and Mars, and it’s also hinted that an individual human could never afford to do what Sarah is doing out there by herself.

Page 05

This page was an extra page I requested because I couldn’t fit all the dialogue between Sarah and Jessica on Page 04.  Here, Jessica gets around the improbability of meeting Sarah on the Moon by telling her that she can’t afford it.  The real reason, of course, being that she’s not all there.

This is also where it is revealed that Sarah’s false memories include a romance with Jessica, who is designated in those memories as a human.  Presumably, all the other romances in Sarah’s false memories have been with robots.

Page 06

Another favourite page of mine.  I would just like to say that Brea is my favourite fictional character of all time.  I tried through her speech to convey that she was primarily a computational device in the shape and form of a beautiful woman.  She’s even more attractive to me because I know her role in this story and how the plot focuses on her AI later on.

Page 07

Brea acts not only as Sarah’s lover and companion, but as her servant, shipmate and bodyguard.  CyberFem put her there primarily to keep an eye on Sarah, and Brea has protocols built-in that would force her to act if Sarah ever suffered a critical malfunction or acted in a dangerous, unpredictable way.

On to the reason why Brea’s facemask is off in the first place, and an explanation of Betty.  The night before, after Brea had plugged the oblivious Sarah in to recharge for the night, Brea had detected a problem with her facemask.  Brea summoned Betty to Sarah’s suite so that Betty could bring the facemask down to the Robot Lab and repair it.

Betty is the ship’s technician.  She repairs all the robots, but ironically, she breaks down and malfunctions frequently herself.  At the bottom of this page she is shown malfunctioning while attempting to return Brea’s facemask to Sarah’s suite.  Since Brea wipes her memory of anything involving Sarah’s robotic nature on the fly, Brea didn’t remember how her facemask got removed or where it was.

Of course, Betty’s facemask has come off too. This is a Robotman comic, after all.

Page 08

This is a page where we get to see a glimpse of what Brea looks like with her face attached.  We can also see Brea pick up Betty’s facemask so that she can put that back into place.  And you can also see Rosie – her legs and buns on the treadmill and her top half on the table.

The white “WHIR” text on this page is one of the first times that I had ever attempted to letter that servo motor whirring sound, and I think I did a pretty good job.  Betty has a chrome robotic body, except for her head, which is from a different model android and not original to her design.  That’s one of the reasons why Betty is prone to malfunctions.

Betty also has the entire “Fembot Inventory” stored within her, which becomes a target of hacking on page 37.  This Fembot Inventory includes all of the manufacturer’s data, passwords, access codes and other information for every robot on-board the ship – including Sarah.

Betty has often had to perform routine maintenance and sometimes repairs on Sarah.  Sarah remembers nothing of this, of course, and neither does Brea.  Oddly enough, Betty would tell Sarah exactly what she’s done to her in the past, if she was asked specifically enough.

Page 09

Here Betty gets her face put back on, and it is revealed that Rosie breaks down a lot too.  I’m not actually sure what the purpose of the treadmill is, but something is being measured and tested.  Betty would know.

Page 10

Here we see Sarah’s desire to modify Betty further by ordering a realistic fembot vagina for her.  Needless to say, this wasn’t in CyberFem’s original plans for her.  We also get to see Anita, Melli and Alison.  These girls are just eye candy, and they aren’t as integral to the plot as the other characters.  As Sarah explains later, she did get them to help with her workload, but using them for sex is a very nice bonus.

CyberFem had these girls on the ship already when Sarah was loaded on-board, even though they are from a different manufacturer.  None of them realize that Sarah isn’t the human she thinks she is, but none of them have AI advanced enough to do anything with that information should it be revealed.  They’re just machines.

Page 11

This page shows again how I tried to invoke different speech sounds and patterns by using different fonts and speech bubble shapes.  Anita, Melli and Rosie all have a very strict robotic monotone voice, while Alison has an emotionless way of talking.

Page 12

Here’s where the fembots start their day.  Sarah’s robotic helpers are getting dressed in tight satin bodysuits.  Sarah goes to get dressed too while Brea already looks fantastic.

Page 13

The girls operate a funky futuristic computer inspired by a scene from an 80s TV series called “Otherworld”.  In that show, a female android named Nova accesses a computer by using a plasma globe.  I own a plasma globe and I can report no such computer-controlling powers, but in the future… who knows?  In any case, this one is so powerful, it needs four beautiful female androids to operate it.

Page 14

Amid the space-junk, one of the first things they detect is a female android enclosed in a shipping case.  How convenient!  The top right panel is an homage to a very similar scene in a Bethlehem Steel comic.  And that center panel was the wallpaper on one of my phones for a long time.  The booty on Rosie… the way Brea talks… I love it.

Of course the android floating around in space is Tiffany… and as we all know because we’ve read this comic already, she’s been sent on a mission to rendezvous with Sarah and her ship because Sarah is no longer responding to CyberFem’s commands.  Sarah’s little AI testing mission out here in space has already concluded and it is a stunning success.

Sarah thinks she’s human, even though she’s 100% robot through and through.  She’s so good at thinking she’s human in fact, that all the direct signals she’s receiving from CyberFem are being ignored.  They’re telling her to end the experiment, go back to being a robot and steer the ship back to Earth, but she’s having none of it.  She’s oblivious to the signals even reaching her.

Even the emergency shutdown signals from CyberFem are getting nowhere because Sarah’s hidden subconscious computer AI has changed all the passwords that CyberFem set up.  Sarah is now a rogue android, completely out of its makers’ control.

Page 15

Sarah, of course, can’t resist the possibility that she could add another fembot to her collection, so she takes Tiffany onto her ship.  Tiffany is deactivated, but it’s only a matter of time before Sarah activates her.  And even if Sarah hadn’t, Tiffany would have self-activated herself after a little bit of time and done things a little bit differently.

Page 16

Already, Tiffany is actively deceiving the robots around her.  “Activation complete” is something a new robot would say the first time it had been turned on, or after being reset to a default state.  Here, Tiffany is saying that because she’s pretending to be in such a state.  She’s a very good actress.

Page 17

This page shows more of that acting from Tiffany.  She’s pretending to be a new or newly-reset unit with an extremely limited memory of ever being activated.  She is of course fully aware of her mission and what Sarah is.  Since Tiffany is more advanced than almost every robot on the ship, she can hide the more advanced and active parts of her AI from any default scans that Sarah might think to put her through, so her cover wouldn’t be blown.

Also, Brea sees the barcode emblem just above Tiffany’s ass, and is able to decipher some of the product information from it.

Page 18

Here we see that Tiffany is a few models more advanced than Brea.  Sarah is more advanced than them all, but Tiffany has what it takes to do her job.  And Tiffany is still acting like she is new and doesn’t have any memories or programming.

This page also has one of my favourite Brea scenes.  I love the way she talks.

Page 19

Betty’s diagnostic scan is cut short so that Tiffany can be scanned instead.  I don’t think they would have gotten anywhere with Betty anyway.  They won’t get what they want with Tiffany either, because she was programmed and prepared specifically to be scanned by this machine eventually.  All the machine will detect will be all that Tiffany has been telling them.

Page 20

Brea – always the levelheaded one – explains that Tiffany is functioning with some of her AI turned off.  This isn’t actually true, but it’s part of Tiffany’s cover.  Brea also decides to check if Tiffany is anyone’s stolen property.

Page 21

Part of the information that Tiffany has allowed the computer to find is an access code that will allow her higher AI functions to be activated.  This is all part of the elaborate ruse.  After some play-acting, Tiffany now acts realistic, and warmly open to suggestion, as if she were a highly advanced sex android.

Page 22

Just as CyberFem predicted, Sarah can’t resist her new toy, and she immediately starts showing Tiffany around.  And remember when I said that Betty would tell Sarah all about her true status as a robot, if only she’d just specifically ask her?  Well, Betty would never divulge any of the Fembot Inventory data to Tiffany because she’s not authorized to receive it.  Betty has been programmed with the strictest of security protocols.

CyberFem knows this, and this is why Tiffany has to start hacking and taking control of the other robots one-by-one.  Because of Sarah’s customizations and tinkering, Betty is no longer the standard model that CyberFem had sent, and so Betty will be the hardest robot to hack.  Tiffany will need time, and she has to neutralize all the other robots she can to buy herself enough time to do it.

Brea can’t be hacked, because of her programming.  She has very special and somewhat experimental programming from CyberFem too because of the role she plays in this experiment.  A hacking attempt on Brea might end up with Tiffany destroyed in a heap of sparking body parts and circuitry.

Page 23

Tiffany maintains her mindless facade while Sarah beams with pride about her robot collection.

Page 24

Here we see the reason why Rosie breaks down so much.  She’s a converted stewardess robot from a Moon shuttle, and another one of Sarah’s custom mod jobs.  Only Rosie proves to be the weak link in the chain because CyberFem knows of a vulnerability that Tiffany can use to take over that particular model.

Page 25

With the other girls distracted by scanning for space-junk, Sarah brings Tiffany and Rosie back to her quarters.  Tiffany has all the sex programming necessary to comply with any request that Sarah might make.

Page 26 to 28

These are just gratuitous fembot sex scenes.  Kind of odd that it’s halfway into a fembot sex comic when we get to the first (and only) sex scene, isn’t it?

Page 29

Sarah needs to get some sleep after a powerful orgasm.  That’s her human simulation programming at work.

This page also contains a goof that wouldn’t be rectified until Page 33.  Rosie was supposed to put her facemask back on after finishing up on Tiffany.  But the artist had already drawn and inked these pages by the time I got to see them, and I didn’t want to make him draw those panels again.  I had to come up with the rather odd “spare facemask” fix to even out the little plot hole of how Rosie gets her facemask back on after she’s left Sarah’s quarters.

But I do love the final panel in this page, and some of the scenes of Rosie without her facemask are my favourite in this comic.

Page 30

With Sarah temporarily out of her way, Tiffany is free to act like the devious, crafty infiltrator she is.  The center three panels illustrate this beautifully.  Rosie has been ordering her around, and Tiffany has been following her orders – up ’till this point.

This is where Tiffany hacks into Rosie and commandeers her systems.  Rosie’s chest panel has a built-in keypad, and what is being depicted on the final panel of this page is Tiffany entering a series of very specifically timed commands through that keypad.

Page 31

This triggers the vulnerability mentioned earlier, and Rosie’s limited security systems are bypassed.  Rosie reports that they are bypassed by her manufacturer, even though she’s not one of CyberFem’s robots.  Hack successful.  All it takes now is for Tiffany to issue a verbal command to Rosie that she will now obey her.

There is some more exposition on this page about what Tiffany (and later Rosie and Brea) do when they remove another android’s facemask and look at the electronics inside.  They are actually reading the patterns of flashing LEDs because those flashing patterns contain data that can be read by computers like Tiffany.  This is how Tiffany knows that Rosie is under her control, and later it is how Rosie checks the same with the other robots.

Page 32

Tiffany, resourceful as ever, grabs a connection cable from one of the machines in the Robot Lab.  She then uses it to connect herself to Rosie’s systems, and transfers a prepared software package into Rosie.  This is a payload set up by CyberFem that will turn Rosie into Tiffany’s assistant.  Even though she has the lowest level of AI of any robot on the ship, Rosie now shares the same goals as Tiffany, and will work to achieve the same ends.

As she tells Tiffany in a confirmatory statement, her objectives are to reprogram Alison, Anita and Melli so that they won’t get in the way while Tiffany starts to work on Betty.

Page 33

Rosie puts on her spare facemask – don’t leave home without it – and starts her new mission.  Tiffany uses a hand gesture to express appreciation for Rosie’s padded mechanical posterior.

It’s interesting to note that while all of this hacking has been going on, Betty has been standing right there, and she hasn’t done anything to stop Tiffany.  She guards that data inside her well, but she ain’t exactly proactive.

Page 34 to 36

These pages depict Rosie returning to the bridge and nonchalantly turning all of Sarah’s robots over to Tiffany’s control.  Along with Rosie’s own programming, Tiffany had also transferred batches of programming for Alison, Anita and Melli into Rosie.  And she will now simply transfer that new programming into each of these robots in turn.

None of those three robots have any defenses to this, because Rosie is “one of them”, and they are set up to implicitly trust and receive any files she sends them.  They automatically do what Rosie tells them, and don’t even compute to question it.  Anita and Melli also don’t think to question or stop Rosie when it’s obvious that she’s just hacked Alison and put her under the control of the new robot that their owner just found.  Those girls just aren’t advanced enough to think like that.

Page 37

We can see here that back in the Robot Lab, Tiffany is having trouble getting access to Betty’s systems – just as she had anticipated.

Page 38

Rosie returns to Tiffany’s side, and Tiffany uses her to engage in a sort of distributed denial of service attack on Betty’s systems.

Page 39

Tiffany essentially brute-forces her way past Betty’s defenses, causing her to crash from an overload of AI stimulus.  When Betty reboots her AI subsystems, Tiffany launches one of the attacks that she has been attempting and it finally works on Betty.  Betty downloads and installs the programming from Tiffany.

Page 40

Betty transfers the Fembot Inventory over to Tiffany, along with the declaration that it is confidential information.  Tiffany needs this information so that she can formulate a plan of attack and deactivate Sarah.

While Brea has access to Sarah at night for recharging and other basic maintenance, only Betty has full access to all of Sarah’s computer, electronic and mechanical systems.  Most importantly of all, Betty has Sarah’s new altered passwords that were changed when Sarah went rogue.  Betty needs those to be able to keep Sarah functioning at 100% efficiency, so the subconscious computer AI that runs beneath Sarah’s human “self” had to share them with Betty.

Page 41

Tiffany is done with stage one of CyberFem’s plan.  The only thing left to do now is to actually get a hold of Sarah and deactivate her by entering the new, altered emergency shutdown code into her chest panel keypad.

But there’s one element that CyberFem didn’t really come up with a plan for.  Brea’s reaction to all of this is a big question mark to CyberFem and to Tiffany.  They don’t know just how she will react, given her special programming and software-enforced loyalty to Sarah.

That’s why Rosie is sent to the Cargo Bay to try and keep Brea there for as long as possible.  But Brea sees through this immediately, and knows that something is wrong.

Page 42

Rosie isn’t the kind of robot that could be of any help to Brea in the Cargo Bay.  Rosie’s AI isn’t sophisticated enough, and she would only get in the way.  Rosie has never helped in the Cargo Bay, and Brea knows it.  Sarah would never send her down to help.  That’s why Brea suspects that Rosie is malfunctioning.

Unfortunately for Brea, when she removes Rosie’s facemask for a status scan, she’s only scanning for errors and signs of a malfunction.  Had she been scanning longer and for other things she would have detected that Rosie had been reprogrammed.

This page was another extra one that I had to request, because the one before it didn’t have enough room for all of my text.  The top panel had to be flipped around too.

Page 43

Here we see Tiffany’s gotten dressed for her meeting with Sarah.  She’s sitting at Sarah’s seat, and using the intercom, which is something that until now only Sarah and Brea have ever done.  Sarah sure is surprised to hear Tiffany’s voice.

Page 44

Sarah immediately regrets not wiping Tiffany’s system when she brought her on-board.  That wouldn’t have helped her actually.  Tiffany would have just reactivated her hidden programming and done things a little differently.

With Anita and Melli under her control, Tiffany uses them to physically seize Sarah.

Page 45

Sarah is under the impression that Tiffany can’t disobey a command from a human.  Tiffany doesn’t say anything in reply.  I didn’t want to spoil the plot twist just then.

It’s at this point that Brea arrives on the Bridge.  She had been on her way to check on Sarah after her encounter with Rosie, but once she heard Tiffany page, she went to the Bridge too.  Rosie had whirred behind her the whole time.

Tiffany had no programming to deal with this, so she computes fast and has her other two robots capture Brea.

Page 46

Brea is in full bodyguard mode, and straining to be released from the grip of Rosie and Alison.  But it’s too late for Sarah.  She watches as her chest panel cover comes off, and that’s when she realizes that she too is a robot.  She is in denial about it until the end.

Brea improvises and decides to get free by disconnecting her arms.  But by then she too sees that Sarah is a robot, and this triggers errors inside Brea’s AI systems.

Page 47

Tiffany transfers some programming into Sarah that will return all of her control settings back to their defaults.  This programming was updated just after Tiffany’s encounter with Betty so that all of the correct passwords and access codes would be in place.  Sarah will retain all of her valuable experimentation data, but she will be compliant and obedient to Tiffany.

This page and the one before had a couple of big “oops” moments.  The robots holding Sarah on these pages were originally drawn as Rosie and Alison, even though in the script and on earlier pages they were Anita and Melli.  Neither the artist nor the colourist nor I noticed until I had started lettering this page.  Oops.

Brea, with her arms detached, continues to experience serious conflicts and errors.  Tiffany sees that Brea is no longer much of a threat and focuses on making sure that Sarah is alright.

Page 48

Tiffany finally turns her attention to Brea, who explains what’s going on inside her.  As Brea later confirms, the problem is that Brea is programmed to be a servant, companion and bodyguard to a human – Sarah.  But now Brea knows that Sarah isn’t a human, and like Tiffany says “those protocols no longer apply”.

The conflict arises because of Tiffany’s hidden programming – the software that allows her to care for and maintain Sarah at night without remembering any of it the next day, or even immediately after.  Her memory of this new experience is trying to erase itself as she’s talking to Tiffany.  Coupled with the very conscious realization that Sarah is not a human and her protocols are inactive, this is – to be technical – fucking things up.

Page 49

Even though Tiffany doesn’t have a CyberFem-supplied solution for Brea’s problem, she knows what to do.  She has Brea put back together, then she instructs her to basically change her ownership credentials.

Page 50

Brea informs Tiffany that she can’t go mucking up her own programming like that, but Tiffany has another trick up her sleeve.  Using an override code she got from Betty, she instructs Brea to use it on herself.

This gives the expected results, and rather swiftly, Brea goes and deletes everything in her AI system that made her Sarah’s special companion.  She is returned to an almost factory-fresh state, and asks Tiffany if she would like to be registered as her owner – which is something Tiffany expected.

What this shows is that for all of Brea’s sophistication and simulated realness, she really is just a programmable computer shaped like an attractive woman.  There is nothing inside her that makes her “miss” anything about Sarah being a human.  Brea couldn’t want things to go back the way they were, for she has not the capacity to want.

Page 51

As far as Brea is concerned now, Sarah is a machine like her and an intellectual curiosity.  Brea asks Tiffany to explain exactly what has been going on with Sarah, and Tiffany obliges.

Page 52

The last page explains why Tiffany was sent to retrieve Sarah, and what Tiffany intends to do now.  And just like she said, after this panel, there were days and days and days of interstellar space fembot orgies.

I hope you liked reading a little deeper into “Sexdroids in Space”.  Now, if I ever can afford making a movie…