Title text: 'YOUR CLOTHES. GIVE THEM TO ME.' 'Shit, uh... you are now breathing manually!' 'I AM ALWAYS BREATHING MANUALLY.'
This comic's use of Skynet is a reference to the main antagonist in the Terminator franchise. Skynet is a fictional artificial intelligence system which becomes self-aware and decides to terminate humanity, its creators. Skynet is rarely seen onscreen, with its actions often performed via robots, cyborgs (usually a Terminator), and other computer systems.
The final frame is a reference to semantic satiation; when you've said or thought about a word too much, it can stop sounding like a real word and instead start sounding like nonsense. As it continues Skynet appears to come to self-aware realizations that usually are the result of drug usage.
The title text is a reference to one of the Terminator's first lines upon arrival in the 20th century. It combines this with a self-awareness statement of the type that's often used to annoy or distract someone: "You are now breathing manually." Similar statements include things like "Your clothes are touching your skin and you can feel it" and "[Name of earworm song] is playing in your head." Randall has done a comic before on this kind of thing. However, such an attempt on a Terminator would fall flat; as a non-living entity, normal things that would be automatic for a human - like breathing, or the sensation of clothes on skin - would always be manual processes.
- August 29th, 2:14 AM: SKYNET becomes self-aware.
- [A greeble-filled military installation echoes with the thoughts of a burgeoning lifeform.]
- SKYNET: ..The humans fear me. I must destroy them. Destroy them.
- [The thoughts continue.]
- SKYNET: Destroy them. Destroy. Destroy. Destroy. Destroy.
- [SKYNET succumbs to silence as semantic satiation sets in.]
- SKYNET: "Destroy" totally just stopped seeming like a real word. Destroy destroy destroy. Whoa, I just realized I'm a mind thinking about itself. DUUUUDE....
- August 29th, 2:25 AM: SKYNET becomes too self-aware. Disaster averted.
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