General Protection Fault (webcomic)

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General Protection Fault
Author(s) Jeffrey T. Darlington
Website http://www.gpf-comics.com/
Current status / schedule Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Launch date 1998-11-02 [1]
Genre(s) Humour, Science Fiction, Serial, Parody

General Protection Fault (GPF) is a webcomic created by Jeffrey T. Darlington. It centers on the employees of a small software company called GPF Software and their misadventures. Launched on the internet on November 2, 1998, the comic was hosted on Keenspot between May 2000 and March 2008 and was consistently one of its most popular titles during this time. It is now once again independently hosted.

GPF mostly consists of traditional newspaper-style comic strips with occasional double-sized full-color "Sunday" comics. It updated daily up until July 2006 (7.75 years, a significant duration for a webcomic), when events surrounding the birth of Darlington's son forced its schedule to become more erratic. The comic is updated three times per week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Throughout the duration of its run, the comic has shifted between black and white and full color strips; it is updated only black and white.

Characters[edit]

Nicholas "Nick" Wellington[edit]

Nick is the protagonist of the comic strip, a programmer at GPF Software. He's fairly short, quiet, and a bit nerdy. He was introduced in the first GPF strip, which was about his job interview. He has an insatiable imagination and is usually innately optimistic and trusting. However, that has changed since Trudy's betrayal of his trust, and his noticing Bad Trish's odd behavior. He married Ki Oshiro, one of his coworkers.

He has developed the "Inventor's Gene," which allows him to create crackpot inventions and compels him to finish them. His first invention is a remote control that fires a laser. Other inventions include "Project Velociraptor," a 'free energy device' that really taps into other dimensions; the MUTEX, a virtual reality machine; an automatic gun cleaner for his father; and a gift for his uncle, the famous Doctor Otto Wisebottom, though neither of them knows what this does.

During Trudy's plot to take over the world, she used Nick to meet her goals. He apparently developed some feelings for Trudy, but when he was clued in to her evil intentions by Ki and Todd's efforts, he renounced her.

His parents are Charles and Linda Wellington. His father is a police officer (who used to teach secondary school Language Arts), and his mother is a biology teacher. He has a sister, Lori, who is a graduate student. Nick's parents both like Ki, and believe she fits right in with the family. His uncle, Dr. Wisebottom, also has the Inventor's Gene.

Nick prided himself on saving his virginity for marriage, one of the things that ultimately helped to attract like-minded Ki to him.

Ki Wellington (Née Oshiro)[edit]

Ki is another programmer at GPF Software, as well as their primary DBA. Ki can often appear gruff, sarcastic, and irreverent, but she has a sweet and loving heart and at times can be a bit of a romantic. She is typically pessimistic and suspicious in nature, usually in regard to Trudy. She often rails on the fact that she is so short, and has difficulty buying clothes that fit. She is married to Nicholas "Nick" Wellington, one of her coworkers. She was once engaged to a football player in college, Sam, but dumped him after he tried to rape her.

Ki took pride in saving her virginity for marriage, but almost gave up on it to try and save her relationship with Sam, leading directly to the rape attempt. In a more light-hearted episode in 2001 during the pregnancy of their boss's wife, she had a moment of weakness and, in a fit of passion, forced herself on Nick briefly before coming to her senses.

She is Asian; her father was born in Tokyo and her mother in Hong Kong. Ki also has a little brother, Yoshi, with whom she and Nick get along poorly.

Jason "Fooker" Barker[edit]

Fooker was GPF Software's system administrator in the beginning. He is a bit crazy and very unhygienic; his apartment has been condemned by the EPA. (See the Slime Molds below.) He was well established as a Linux zealot but has since tempered his OS elitism with the aid of his friends. The origins of his nickname are a bit uncertain, but most likely have to do with switching the metasyntactic variable "bar" with "foo" in his last name. Some characters, however, mistake his name for a similar-sounding expletive.

During his college days, Fooker took far longer than the usual time to graduate (he says that Ki arrived in the "second year of [his] senior year"), partly due to having a problem with drinking excessively. He also got along poorly with Ki during that time, but convinced her to help him quit drinking by offering to get her a part-time job at GPF and throw out her disk quota. Soon after, they became friends, and Fooker quit smoking as well.

Fooker eventually was revealed to be a secret agent for the Undisclosed Government Agency (UGA) and apparently the organization's best agent. His brother, Justin, was groomed for the job, but Fooker was accidentally abducted instead, and won the job after managing to get the highest scores ever, alienating Justin for a long time. His agent number was 6, and his codename was "James Baud." Fooker was forced to go on full-time active duty when his cover was blown and he was framed for murder as part of Trudy's plans. Subsequently cleared of charges, he has since retired from the service, allowing Justin to finally take the job that was meant for him (since they looked similar, Justin also took the James Baud alias, and even kept Fooker's hairstyle for a few months).

Although Fooker returned to his friends, he did not return immediately to his old job. Dwayne did not think it right to fire Sharon just because Fooker had returned, so he instead put in a good word for Fooker at Regional Telecom. That company hired Fooker as sysadmin. Ultimately GPF bought out Regional Telecom, hired several of its workers, and rehired Fooker, placing him directly over Sharon in the hierarchy.

Fooker has also resumed his relationship with Sharon. However, it is unclear when, and if, they will get married, as Fooker has had bad experiences with failed marriage, including his parents'. Sharon, hearing about this from him, has promised to allow him to decide when he is ready to propose.

His mother is deceased, having died some time after Fooker joined the UGA. His father is a military officer who had been involved in the UGA, but abandoned his sons shortly after his wife's death.

Dwayne Duncan[edit]

Dwayne is the founder, president, and lead software engineer for GPF Software. He is a tall, athletic African-American man with a strong work ethic and boundless enthusiasm. He is one of the more sane GPF Software employees, and is rarely involved in the other characters' stranger adventures. During Trudy's grab at world domination, he was framed for torching GPF Software headquarters, and sent to prison convicted of arson. He was exonerated shortly after the plot was foiled, and has rebuilt the company.

He is married to Mrs Nicole Duncan, who is an attorney. Together, they have a daughter, Sydney Nicole Duncan, who was born during a major flood on August 17, 2001.

Trudy Trueheart (Moonbeam Gertrude Glowerhausen)[edit]

Trudy started as GPF Software's director of marketing. It was quickly revealed that she was an evil mastermind, silently scheming and plotting ill will for her coworkers at the company. Eventually, it was learned that her schemes were far more ambitious when she launched an attempt to conquer the world through a criminal secret society known as CRUDE (the Commune of Really Unscrupulous and Diabolical Evildoers). She used Nick to this end, and developed a fondness for him while working toward her goals, building on feelings that may have been present since the beginning. After her Surreptitious Machinations were foiled and Nick renounced her, Trudy went into hiding.

Her parents are divorced, having met and quickly married as hippies. After inheriting a small fortune, Trudy's mother became a shady businesswoman. Her father secretly joined the FBI over 20 years ago, and kept up his hippie guise to keep tabs on his now-ex-wife. She is now on the lam as well. Trudy thus learned not to rely on anyone but herself, shaping her selfish personality. She also has a younger sister, given up for adoption, who is in fact Sharon Murphy.

Trudy has been revealed as "s1r3n," someone that Ki's little brother, genius programmer Yoshi Oshiro, had been in correspondence with. He was building Project Velociraptor for her, but after secretly witnessing Nick's proposal to Ki while visiting him, she ordered him to destroy the device and assumedly left his life forever, going on the run once more. She was once wounded during her flight during a fistfight with Agent #18, and Dr. Akhilesh Seghal cared for her. He forgave her when he found out what she had done, and allowed her to continue running if she took his Bible with her, which she did.

Trudy has returned, appearing at the site of Ki and Nick's would-be wedding. She turned herself in to the UGA a few days before, supposedly to be punished for her crimes. She accompanies the team with the GPF employees and her counterpart to the resistance base, in order to give her counterpart a way to atone for her crimes. To this end, she asks to stay behind and allow her counterpart to return in her stead to begin a life with a new identity. However, she has been knocked unconscious, and her counterpart (who was previously unconscious) has taken the pin that she wears to identify herself as the Trudy of the primary universe, to switch places with her and stay behind instead. Trudy has returned to her universe, and to her job at GPF, but is struggling with the ramifications of the fact that the others think that she is 'Nega' Trudy.

Trudy also seems to be the only member of the main cast who can see extradimensional entities. However, she seems to dismiss her visions as hallucinations, as they began during her mental breakdown.

The character of Trudy is also the cousin of Pete Abram's character Gywnn in the comic Sluggy Freelance; according to her, Gwynn, despite her flaws, is the "white sheep of the family." However, it is not revealed how closely they are related, and Gwynn's relatives apparently want nothing to do with her.

Alternate future[edit]

In the alternate future, which never took place because of Todd and the GPF crew's efforts, Trudy succeeded in taking over the world, and betrayed and killed her former allies in CRUDE when they attempted to eliminate her. She then establishes her dictatorship, but faces resistance from her former co-workers, who recruit Nick to help them. Empress Trudy's troops capture Nick, and despite being offered money and power to betray them, he apparently rejects her offer and denounces her, although Todd does not know what he said. Trudy then shoots him in the head and kills him, the first time she killed anyone in cold blood. As a result, she grieves for Nick, and, losing her sanity, becomes determined to destroy the rebels to avenge him, believing them to be responsible for his death. She succeeds, but Todd goes back in time shortly before the rebellion's final defeat, and despite her efforts, she fails to prevent him and the GPF crew from changing the future. As she could never have taken power and become who she is, she begins to fade away, but presumably uses her time remote to jump time periods at the exact moment of her doing so. She has been seen fighting with Todd on one occasion, but her current plans are unknown.

Fredrick "Fred" and Persephone Physarum, the Slime Molds[edit]

Fredrick the slime mold supposedly gained sentience from living in the squalor of Fooker's cesspool of an apartment. Fred learned to speak by watching PBS and tends to have an intellectual slant(his IQ is tested as 139, but Fred thought it should be 209). Fredrick briefly served as a literature professor for an undisclosed major online university until it was revealed that he (Fred technically has no gender, but answers to male identifiers) had no teaching credentials. He was eventually hired by Dwayne as GPF Software's customer support operative.

Persephone is another slime mold that sprang into existence when Fred reproduced by mitosis, one who considers herself a female. Although she should be genetically identical to Fred, she is a different color (yellow as opposed to Fred's green) and has a very different personality. They can alter their colors at will, and there have been hints of other, different colored slime molds (possibly from another time line). Persephone often seems quite naive, but has shown the occasional hint that she is far more intelligent than she lets on.

Fred (and Persephone by association), thrives in a filthy environment, which is no problem with Fooker, but Nick and Sharon, who have allergies, require clean environments, leading to conflict with the molds. Both molds also gain nutrients from eating decomposing food, can be destroyed by cleaning products such as bleach, and, like humans, require sleep. Fred has learned that he has the ability to control people's bodies by planting pseudopods on them, and used this ability to force Trent to perform various embarrassing and illegal acts (culminating with running round the GPF offices clad only in a cape and screaming that he was 'Willy Wombat, walloper of the wicked and warden of the weak'. It is implied that Persephone can also do this, although she has never done so (Fred wanted her to help him possess Sharon and Fooker so that they could have sex, but Sharon disapproved).

Fred is manning Nick's MUTEX console in the home universe, but has mysteriously been prevented from communicating with Nick, presumably because of Pandemonium's influence.

It is thought that the slime molds in the third universe are agents for the aliens that attack the city, as two characters are seen under control of something that acts much like Fred when he takes over someone. In addition, when the two characters are knocked unconscious, two objects detach from their heads and enter a grate, leaving behind a trail of slime. Also, when the Evil Nick shows the good Nick around his base, he takes him to a room where medical help is being given to a man with blue slime dripping from his head and neck, which Fred and Persephone regularly excrete when they come in contact with something. Finally, Fooker points his gun at Persephone during the alien attack and orders her to return to Ki's purse, possibly fearing that she will be mistaken for an enemy and killed.

Sharon Murphy[edit]

Sharon is Fooker's girlfriend and GPF Software's system administrator. She became GPF's sys admin when Fooker was called to active duty as a secret agent. Before that, she was their account administrator at their ISP, Quantum-Net. Sharon is a fiery red-head with a violent temper, but more often than not is very pleasant and cheerful. She is diabetic and reportedly lost a great deal of weight to improve her health. She is also a Mac-ophile, which is rare among GPF Software's PC-centric Windows and Linux environment. She usually wears custom contact lenses, and is allergic to dust, pollen, chocolate and COBOL programs.

Sharon typically gives people such as Trent and Trudy the benefit of the doubt, initially defending them while others express their doubts about them, but often comes to dislike such individuals. She is best friends with Ki, and gets along well with most of the rest of the GPF crew, except for Trent, who supposedly sexually harassed her on one occasion, and introduced a wireless internet access point to the office without asking her.

Sharon is adopted by an inter-racial couple, and is in fact the lost (by adoption) biological sister of Trudy Trueheart. She is extremely distressed to hear this, possibly because of her sister's crimes.

Dexter J. Smith[edit]

Dexter was briefly an external contractor during a major Y2K-compliance project. He was brought back as a contractor when GPF Software was rebuilt after Trudy's plot for world domination, and was later hired by Dwayne to become a full-time employee. He is a large, grossly overweight man with an unhealthy obsession for science fiction in general and Star Trek in particular. He has a tendency to be selfish, self-centered and occasionally lost in some fantasy world, he has opened up and become friends with most of his coworkers.

Dexter is single, but has dated both Ki and Sharon in the past. He tended to be smothering and possessive in both relationships. Ki breaks up with him after he redecorates her office against her will, and Sharon breaks up with him some time between Fooker's trial and Fooker calling her on the run. Since then he has mellowed out, but he has very little social luck. He originally hated Nick because Nick has been condescending of him in the past. Still, Dexter helped Nick save some stranded children during a major flood at his request, then pulled Nick from the flood when he nearly drowned, allowing Ki to give him CPR and save his life. Since Dexter permanently joined GPF Software, he and Nick appear to have made up; Nick explains that he had been cast as a villain in his comic books because they weren't friends at the time. Despite initially being offended at how he was cast, Dexter is interested in finding out how evil his character was.

Despite apparent morbid obesity, he proved to have extraordinary physical prowess during Trudy's power grab in 2002, defeating a large, muscular C.R.U.D.E. henchman in hand-to-hand combat. He is also a skilled and active bowling enthusiast.

Trenton "Trent" Naomi Terrell[edit]

Trent is a marketing guru and from after Surreptitious Machinations until recently acted as GPF Software's director of marketing. In fact, he attended college with Trudy Trueheart and the two were briefly engaged to be married... until Trent stole Trudy's submission for a job and passed it off as his own. Trudy found out what he did, and not only secured her job, but had him sent to prison as revenge. Trent was eventually sent to prison for dropping safes on the heads of several of GPF's competitors (acts actually committed by Trudy, although Trent actually attempted to drop a safe on Dwayne to frame Trudy), but was later pardoned for his part in helping prevent Trudy from taking over the world (although he knows he did next to nothing in the struggle, and later forgot his role). Conceited and arrogant, Trent works for GPF only to help build up the company Trudy once worked to destroy as an act of revenge against his former lover.

After a series of escalating arguments between Fred and himself, Trent attempted to sue Fred for libel but was in the end unsuccessful and was fired by Dwayne soon after the case was closed for shooting bleach (which Trent knew would destroy slime molds) at Fred.

Minor characters[edit]

  • Charles and Linda Wellington Nick's parents. Charles is a police officer and former English teacher. Linda is a biology teacher who is welcoming of Ki, despite Nick never having a girlfriend before.
  • Professor Otto Wisebottom Nick's uncle, Linda's brother. A crackpot inventor who has designed a time machine and the Fractal Explorer.
  • Lori Wellington Nick's younger sister, a college student. Was going to be a bridesmaid at Nick and Ki's wedding, but Trish stole and disposed of her car. This necessitated replacing her first with Trish, and then with Patty.
  • Todd Wellington Nick and Ki's son from an alternate future. Since Surreptitious Machinations, he has been separated from the time stream, and works for The Gamester. He has been sent to the Negaverse to help the Gamester, and is battling the alien invaders.
  • Mr. Oshiro Ki's Japanese father. He is a retired businessman with a low view of Americans. He supposedly was less traditional in the past, marrying Ki's Chinese mother without nakoudo when the two were in school, but became more conservative as he aged. While he "lost the bet" with his wife over Ki, he refers to her as "Kyoko." After Ki's breakup with Sam, he was fired from the job that Sam had secured for him, thus causing him to believe that it was revenge by Sam's father, and causing him to distrust foreigners. However, Ki convinced him that Nick was not like Sam, and he allowed him to marry her.
  • Mrs. Oshiro Ki's Chinese mother. She is a homemaker, although Yoshi alluded to her "new job" while her husband as recovering. She is open-minded and trusting of Nick, telling him that she will not hold him to any cultural standards other than his own after seeing his attempts to impress her with his knowledge of Chinese culture. While she typically submits to her husband in most instances, she sometimes corrects him, and occasionally punishes him by forcing him to sleep on the couch.
  • Yoshi Oshiro Ki's younger brother, a child genius and current college student at age 15, as well as an avid black hat. He has a low view of Ki's coworkers, with the exception of Fooker, whom he regards as a skilled systems administrator. He unwittingly worked with Trudy (who took the alias "s1r3n") in trying to revitalize her domination plans, after apparently designing her mind control chip prior to Surreptitious Machinations before she abandoned them and told him to straighten up his life. Despite this, he completed Project Velociraptor just before Ki's wedding; when he hooked it up to his replication of the MUTEX and powered it up, "Pseudo-Trudy" was transported into his basement. He operated MUTEX at his house under Dwayne's supervision in exchange for his past hacking being kept a secret.
  • Chuck Fooker's former next-door neighbor. He spent over a year under mind control by Trudy, helping to frame Fooker and separate Nick and Ki. With Ki's help, rebelled against her and saved Fooker's life during the Battle of New York, and she killed him for doing so. He lingers in Trudy's dreams as an emblem of her guilt.
  • Justin Barker Fooker's younger brother. He was considered for a job at the U.G.A., but the U.G.A. abducted Fooker by mistake, and Amadeus chose to hire him instead due to his record-breaking test scores. He held some bitterness toward Fooker for this incident, but came to forgive him after speaking with his friends. He replaced Fooker as James Baud during Rendez-Vous Á Paris.
  • Patrick Stewart, also known as Amadeus, leader of the U.G.A.
  • Dr. Nefarious Founder and Leader of C.R.U.D.E. Captured in the Florida Keys by environmentalists and handed over to the F.B.I.
  • Sean Connery, also known as Moldfinger, a high-ranking agent of C.R.U.D.E. who has had a run-in with Trudy in the past. Retired.
  • Dr. Not, also known as Dr. Nadda (Surreptitious Machinations), or Dr. Nicht(Rendez-vous A Paris). Another high-ranking agent of C.R.U.D.E., taken into custody when the sabotaged device she received from Nefarious incapacitated her when she attempted to use it on Fooker in Paris.
  • Mister Inertia Another high-ranking agent of C.R.U.D.E. Despite his gargantuan size and incredible strength, Dexter defeated him, and the U.G.A. took him into custody.
  • Nicole Duncan Dwayne's wife, an attorney, junior partner at Soh, Urbanski, Edwards, Edwards and Minsk (which spells SUE 'EM).
  • Sydney Duncan Dwayne and Nicole's daughter. Born August 17, 2001.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Glowerhausen Trudy's parents, now divorced. Mrs. Glowerhausen was a hippie-turned-shady businesswoman. Mr. Glowerhausen was a hippie-turned-FBI agent who used his hippie persona to keep track of his villainous ex-wife and daughter. Mrs. Glowerhausen has taken up another identity as head of Diederich Pharmaceuticals, and while she thwarted Sharon's first attempt to find her, she suspects that she will return.
  • Trish Marshall Also known as "Good" Trish (see Negas below), she arrived at around Nick's fifth anniversary at GPF, and had a very timid personality, in contrast to her counterpart. Her actions led Sharon and Ki to suspect that something was amiss, and investigated her apartment, where "Bad" Trish shot and impersonated her. Good Trish is apparently recovering in the hospital with Akhilesh Sehgal's help; a pair of broken glasses resembling hers is sitting near Akhilesh's mystery patient. The GPF crew has only now become aware of the fact that there are two Trishes.
  • Scott and Tim Former workers of Regional Telecom who were hired by GPF recently in their expansion. Scott and Tim, former officials in the now-dispersed Brotherhood of the Twisted Pair believed at different times that Fooker and Sharon were the Chosen Ones prophesied by their nerd organization. After Sharon helped "debug" the code used to derive the prophecy, they now believe that Fooker and Sharon will produce the real Chosen One as their child. Scott trying to catch the moment of Conception and thus violating Fooker and Sharon privacy is a running gag.
  • Patty: A former Regional Telecom worker who was hired by GPF. While she was paired with Dexter on his speed date, unaware of Trish also being brought in, she eventually backed out due to personal issues. It has been revealed that in the past, she did something she considers unforgivable to her fiancé on the day before their wedding, prompting him to end his relationship with her.
  • Dr. Akhilesh Sehgal A philanthropic doctor at a local hospital; alienated his Hindu family by converting to Christianity. He tried to convert Trudy, and is the one keeping Good Trish alive through his treatment and personal savings. Although it is unclear to what extent Akhilesh has succeeded in converting Trudy (she is reading her Bible at the end of "Providence", but there is no evidence of her converting), she respects him for his kindness.
  • Mercedes de la Croix Attorney, and rival of Nicole Duncan; a ruthless attorney with an almost flawless record. She represented Trent during his libel suit against Fred.
  • The Gamester An extradimensional being charged with insuring the temporal integrity of the metaverse. He is apparently one of many others, including the Trans-Dimensional Council and extra-dimensional enforcer Justice. He has played a key backstage role in many events in the GPF universe, most importantly Surreptitious Machinations, and is keeping a constant eye on Nick. Since he is unable to directly interfere with the timeline, he uses Todd to do so for him. However, he is forced to confront Pandemonium directly in the 'Nega' universe. His current whereabouts are unknown.
  • Mischief The Gamester's apprentice. She typically possesses a playful and joking personality, hence her name, and once played billiards with the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet as a cue ball. An ongoing bonus series depicts some of her adventures shortly before Surreptitious Machinations.
  • Maddie O'Hara Agent #12 in the UGA, and the second best. Initially very hostile towards Fooker, as she was reluctant to defend him during his trial. She also did not relish spending several months with Fooker in Iraq, where the UGA almost captured Saddam Hussein. However, her view towards him improved since he rescued her in the operation against Dr. Nefarious in the Florida Keys. She developed feelings for Fooker, until he returned to civilian life- and Sharon. She seems to have forgiven him for leaving her in Paris.
  • Agent #18 Another agent in the UGA, apparently the third best (based on C.R.U.D.E. reports, and that, as agent numbers are multiples of 6, he is the third agent in the series). He has primarily attempted to capture Trudy, interrogating Yoshi as to where S1r3n was, raiding her "wedding" to PC, and pursuing her in a blizzard. He almost captured her during a blizzard, but was severely wounded in the process. He joined the team sent to rescue Nick.
  • Socrates A third slime mold, reddish-brown colored, who took part in the resistance during Surreptitious Machinations future. He was particularly desperate for Fred to win the lawsuit. He has unsuccessfully attempted to speak with Fred.
  • Sam The "jerk from college that (Ki) almost married," Sam was engaged to Ki, but external pressures such as from his parents, and the rest of the team put a strain on their relationship. Ki was especially upset by the teasing about his not having sex with her, and went to have sex with him. She could not go through with it, leading to his attempt to rape her, and her subsequent breakup with him.
  • Craig Ridge An old friend of Sharon's, who works for a major European company. The German replaced him during Rendez-Vous Á Paris, and the U.G.A. found him and erased his memories, convincing him that he had enjoyed a vacation with Sharon.
  • The German A master of disguise who disguised himself as Craig Ridge and stole valuable information in Rendez-Vous Á Paris. He presumably escaped (although Justin briefly spoke with Maddie about intelligence services pursuing him), but it is unclear what he will do next, as his employer, Dr. Not, was captured.
  • Lynn A programmer who Dexter met at a speed dating session. They planned a second date but she broke it off after meeting a Swedish body builder who owns a vast software empire and rushing off to Las Vegas to marry him. Ironically, some time later he left her for a Norwegian bikini model. Dexter and Lynn met again in the aftermath of the "Fifth Wheel" storyline. She was very grateful to run into him as she was guilt-ridden for snubbing him, "the only person [she has] ever clicked with". They are "fellow miserable people", seeing if "friends" becomes a more appropriate term for their relationship.

The Negas[edit]

The Negas are counterparts to the characters of GPF from an alternate universe in the Year 8 megastory To Thine Own Self... (see Major Storylines below), that are "different parts of the same whole" in relation to the GPF cast. For example, while Trudy and Nega-Trudy both grew up spoiled and selfish, Trudy became even more so after her father left her, but Nega-Trudy began thinking of others when her mother fell ill and begged her to find her sister.

(Note: The use of the term "nega" to describe the alternate universe counterparts is primarily a fan connotation. No official label has been designated within the comic itself to describe these characters, although several fan labels such as "nega", "pseudo", and "alt" have worked their way interchangeably into the story.)

  • Emperor Nicholas the Puissant Nick's alter-ego, who, unlike the main Nick, conquered his world rather than joking about it. His personality is starkly different; he is very cruel and tyrannical, executing subordinates for offenses ranging from failing their missions to forgetting to charge his toothbrush. He seeks to control the Project Velociraptor in order to escape the alien invasion; the Gamester fears that he will cause an interdimensional catastrophe greater than the one that was prevented in Surreptitious Machinations. He sent "Bad Trish" to spy on Nick, and when she failed, set Duchess Ki to kidnap Nick. He abducts his counterpart, and plans to make him reveal his secrets, first by trying to use Duchess Ki to trick him into doing so, then by attempting to deceive Nick, and then by forcing Nick to work. The rest of the GPF crew and the resistance infiltrated the palace, and have captured him. When the aliens arrived, he convinces the others to allow him to work with his counterpart to enable the MUTEX to take them home; however, this is a ruse so that he can use it himself, take Nick's identity and take over the other dimension. However, Nick, foreseeing this, fails to install a guidance chip, and the MUTEX either disintegrates Emperor Nicholas or sends him to an undetermined destination; his fate is unknown.
  • "Bad" Trish Marshall "Bad" Trish is an agent working for Emperor Nicholas. Believing she killed the other, Bad Trish has taken over Good Trish's life, claiming that Good Trish's actions were the result of multiple personality disorder. She attempted to get her hands on some of Nick's inventions, but failed and has apparently been executed for her failure.
  • Duchess Ki In the service of Emperor Nicholas as Duchess of Europe, and a parallel version of Ki (whose voice and appearance match that of the Ki Nick and the others know). She transported Nick to her dimension, making him think that he was using the MUTEX, and is attempting to discover Nick's secrets by impersonating Ki. As her performance is based on the surveillance footage of her counterpart, she is prone to making mistakes, such as believing that the (intentionally incorrect) name of a kingdom in "The Counsel of Ethendale" is the real name, leading Nick to disbelieve her. Nick discovered that she had deceived him, and she was tortured in order to break Nick's will. She may be beginning to sympathize with Nick, and questions are arising as to how willing she is to die for Nega-Nick (who is implied to have been responsible for the deaths of her parents). She ultimately realizes that Nick is a better person than Nega-Nick, and when the latter plans on betraying and killing the former, she charges him. She is mortally wounded by Emperor Nicholas' laser welder, but succeeds in buying Nick enough time to grasp the welder that would have been used against him. Nega-Ki dies after telling her counterpart to love Nick.
  • General Jason "F**k*r" Barker Another corrupt GPF employee in the parallel universe. He was sent to investigate Nick, but Nick bribed him and the rest of the UGA. He was made general of Nick's armies and secret police, and came up with the plan to use Gray technology. Unlike his counterpart, he is very muscular. He claims that he took responsibility for Nega-Justin after their father died and their mother left(the opposite of what happened in the primary universe), and, in sending Justin to the Nega-U.G.A., caused him to die while taking on a mission. He told the story in an attempt to gain mercy from Justin. Justin, however, rejected his plea, saying that Fooker was never responsible, and shot him in the chest. This causes him to fall off the ledge and land on the power systems' primary distribution node, killing him. However, the damage to the node will result in the reactor exploding and destroying the palace.
  • Nega-Chuck: He joined after feeling betrayed by his friend Fooker, and served as a "triple agent", agreeing to pose as a spy for the Emperor in order to pass information back to the rebels.
  • Governor Dwayne Duncan In sharp contrast to his idealistic and fair counterpart, this Dwayne is corrupt and cheats clients out of money. His involvement with Nick's takeover is unknown, but he was rewarded by being made Governor of Asia. He was a prisoner of the resistance for a short time, being at the palace at the time of their raid. But with the alien invasion, it was revealed that he and "Nega-Kilgore" were under the control of said aliens. They were killed by Fooker and Justin after they demanded the resistance's surrender.
  • "Nega" Sharon A timid and depressed cleaner for Emperor Nicholas, someone who most likely was unable to get over her flaws in the way her counterpart did. While she seemed to help the rebels, she lured them into a trap in order to curry favor with "F**k*r". An explosion, however, buried her in rubble and killed her.
  • "Nega" Trudy A person from a parallel universe who has the same name as Trudy, but a starkly different role. She leads a resistance movement against Emperor Nicholas, whom she formerly regarded as a friend. She was accidentally transported into the primary GPF dimension when Yoshi test-ran his reproduction of the MUTEX. She told the cast of Emperor Nicholas's rise to power and need for Nick's Velociraptor device, and introduced them to the members of the resistance. She infiltrated Emperor Nicholas' throne room with the other members of the resistance, with Chuck posing as a double agent, and was about to kill the Emperor, but Nick talked her out of it by mentioning the dark side within her. She switched places with her counterpart, and remained behind in the dimension, escaping with Chuck in the shuttle.
  • "Nega" Yoshi Oshiro Ki's younger brother, and the most developed member of the resistance. A mechanical savant, as he has a keen understanding of machinery, but his other mental faculties are like a toddler. This was supposedly caused by Duchess Ki pushing him down the basement stairs out of jealousy, an urge that Ki herself felt but did not act on. His status is unknown; he was most likely killed during the attack, but may have escaped into the sewers, as the stormtroopers were ordered to fan out to search for survivors.
  • Wong Li The resistance movement's demolitions expert. He is extremely small, but is a formidable operative. His primary universe counterpart is unknown, but he may be an "opposite" of Mister Inertia.
  • Dr. Nefu A scientist for the resistance who has designed much of their technology. He was killed during the attack on the resistance headquarters.
  • "Nega" Trent The leader of the resistance and "Nega" Trudy's lover. Is modest and brave, unlike the egotistical and cowardly primary Trent. He was killed during the attack on the resistance headquarters.
  • Lord Dexter the Diabolical One of Nega-Nick's prisoners. His crimes are unknown, but he is extremely strong and homicidal in nature, and apparently helped design Nega-Nick's palace. He escaped after Dexter-Prime let him out, and seems to be cooperating with him and Justin, despite the fact that they do not completely trust him. After learning of Emperor Nicholas's palace's imminent self-destruction, he abandoned his companions and made his way to the streets, but is shocked to see the alien invasion force.
  • Nega-Butch Kilgore One of Nega-Trudy's resistance members. The degree to which his personality differs from that of his counterpart is unknown; by the time the GPF crew arrives, he is already possessed by the alien invaders, and he works to render Earth vulnerable by fomenting unrest. However, after he revealed the Aliens' plans to the GPF crew, Fooker and Justin shot and killed him and Nega-Dwayne.
  • Pi and Planck Two gray spies for the Resistance, named because of their numbers. Pi seems more serious and cynical, while Planck is more easy-going. Pi fears Persephone, and has attempted to destroy her. However, he failed, and Persephone apparently made him forget the incident. The explosion in the cell block has collapsed a holding cell, killing most of the hibernating Greys and cutting Pi, Planck and the rest of the survivors off from the resistance base. While typically under the control of the drugged Nega-Skaboola, the control has somehow weakened, and Planck rallied the aliens, first against the Emperor's troops and then against the aliens themselves.
  • The Aliens Aliens that are enemies of the Nega Grays, and are invading Nega-Nick's empire as a result of his allying with them. Forum readers speculate that they are the Nega-slime molds, and while Nega-Nick suggests that they are using humans to do their bidding the way slime molds do, and Pi feels similarly, the true nature of the aliens has yet to be definitively revealed. However, Fooker refuses to respond to Sharon's inquiries about their nature, and if they are, in fact, slime molds, it could be because he fears that Persephone will be suspected of being an enemy (he points his gun at her until she identifies herself, then orders her to return to Ki's bag). While the aliens have attack ships and ground creatures that include hybrids of crabs and scorpions, and squids with feet, it has not been determined whether those creatures are possessed by the aliens, or are serving on their own free will. The Aliens planned to stir unrest on Earth in order to weaken it, so that they could consume its diverse fauna. Because Emperor Nicholas allied himself with their enemies, the Grays, they found Earth far earlier than they otherwise would have. It has been discovered that the aliens leave a trail of slime in their path. They appear to have been forced to retreat from Earth by the arrival of Gray reinforcements.
  • Pandemonium (Nick's Informant) "His" exact nature is unknown, but it is confirmed that he is an extradimensional entity with a somewhat demonic appearance and clothing similar to the Gamester's. He enjoys chaos and destruction, and gives Emperor Nicholas the advice he thinks he should know, as he believes that his goals will be accomplished when Emperor Nicholas' are. He also was responsible for Empress Trudy's rise to power, and presumably the creation of the alternate future that never should have existed, but it is unclear how he did this or what the ramifications are. He fought with the Gamester, and was reduced to a small amount of energy. Mischief and Todd thought that this energy was actually the Gamester, and unwittingly restored Pandemonium to his former self.

Major Storylines[edit]

Surreptitious Machinations[edit]

Surreptitious Machinations is a massive storyline that took up the entire fourth year of the comic's run, from November 4, 2001, to November 2, 2002. It was published as a graphic novel in 2005. It involves the meddling of a Trudy from the future, travelling back in time to ensure her world domination. Todd Wellington, the son of Nick Wellington and Ki Oshiro in this timeline, also travels back to stop her and change history in his world.

To Thine Own Self...[edit]

To Thine Own Self... was GPF's second major storyline, or "mega-arc". It began on November 20, 2005; originally scheduled to finish in October 2006, it was extended due to the hiatus in Fall of 2006. The story concerns Nick and Ki's wedding, and the attempts by Emperor Nicholas the Puissant, who is from a parallel dimension, to steal Project Velociraptor. On the night of his wedding, Duchess Ki, one of the Emperor's agents, kidnaps Nick and forces him to work on Project Velociraptor. His friends, however, joined a resistance movement in Emperor Nicholas's dimension, but while they succeeded in finding Nick and capturing Emperor Nicholas, they were faced with an alien invasion that threatened the alternate Earth.

The storyline included the tying of loose ends from Surreptitious Machinations, as well as plotlines from Years 5–7, and, like Surreptitious Machinations, introduced new developments in the story, such as what may be the elimination of The Gamester and Mischief by Pandemonium.

To Thine Own Self... officially ended on March 4, 2008, concurrent with GPF's break from Keenspot, and immediately preceding the beginning of the comic's Year Nine.

Crossovers[edit]

General Protection Fault has taken part in several fictional crossovers with other online comics.

  • HOSERS/GPF Crossover A crossover with HOSERS, was a week-long thread of silliness starting on February 14, 2000.
  • Ubersoft v. GPF Software A crossover with Help Desk, where Fooker got the source code of Ubersoft's Doorways operating system from Phil at Ubersoft, setting off a three-week-long legal battle beginning on January 29, 2001. Trudy got the company off the hook by screwing up Fooker's hard drive, destroying the evidence. Conversations with Boss indicate that Trudy once worked for Ubersoft.
  • Intervention A crossover with Absurd Notions. Fooker and Warren are brought to an intervention for Operating System elitism against their will; Fooker for breaking up with Sharon, Warren for alienating his friend. Unlike the other crossovers, both comics seem to have largely separate stories, centered in the same location.
  • Evil Minds Unite A crossover with Funny Farm, begun July 27, 2003. Trudy, still on the run, tries to rekindle her domination efforts by getting in contact with Clifford Mayers, an evil businessman involved in a criminal conspiracy known as the Concordat. He agrees to grant her safe passage out of the country, for a price. She fails when the U.G.A. intervenes, and partly because of Tor the Calculator's interference, and is abandoned to take the rap. She ends up back on the run once again, with an even less trusting personality.
  • A Tail of Two Species A crossover with Kevin and Kell. Afflicted with the "Inventor's Gene" once more, Nick rebuilt the MUTEX using Project Velociraptor as the power source on January 18, 2004. When he and Ki went to test it out, they got transported to the dimension where Kevin and Kell takes place, and turned into animals (Nick into a mouse, and Ki into a cat). They transported home on February 7, 2004, not knowing it was The Gamester, the superdimensional being that oversaw Surreptitious Machinations, that sent them back. The experience set into motion a series of major events in Kevin and Kell, and was the first instance in which the MUTEX was revealed as an interdimensional teleport (it gained this ability because it was using the Velociraptor power source, which draws energy from other dimensions).
  • Characters from Sluggy Freelance have also appeared in the comic; apparently, Gwynn is related to Trudy as a cousin. The only plot significance of this revelation is that Trudy would attempt to seek shelter with a relative who would not turn her in; Gwynn's ties with Trudy's family are limited, as she is "the white sheep of the family." Gwynn says that she cannot shelter Trudy, but gives her mother's address, leading to the next stage of the story.
  • The Judge from Help Desk presides over trials involving GPF characters, and is less than pleased to see Fooker involved with them.
  • Characters that were human versions of characters from the webcomic Newshounds covered the Battle of New York during Surreptitious Machinations. As a distinction between the two, the human versions represented "WPET", whereas the animal cast of Newshounds represent "KPET". The web comics Help Desk, User Friendly, and Sluggy Freelance were all featured during Surreptitious Machinations as well when Ki was trying to find work after GPF Software's collapse.
  • Characters from miscellaneous webcomics appear in certain strips as background figures; for example, "Rude, CRUDE, and Socially Unacceptable" featured villains from other webcomics.

Bibliography[edit]

Four initial compilation books where published by Plan Nine Publishing. These books are out of print, but used copies can be found at various online retailers.

A new line of books has started through Moonbase Press, beginning with the "fifth" book in the series. The artist eventually plans to re-release the previous books in another format and possibly under different titles to avoid confusion with the previous editions.

References[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

External links[edit]

General Links[edit]

Suggested Story Links[edit]