Time for a nice geeky joke for any Star Trek fans reading this. If you haven’t understood this joke by now, then you should probably use the “Previous” button to find some that you do like, because although I’m going to explain the pun below, it’s well known that explaining a joke is a sure-fire way to stop it being at all funny.

In the Star Trek world there are matter transporters. One of the features of these, is a buffer for storing the data which represent the thing being transported. Those data are referred to as the object’s “pattern”, and the buffer is referred to as the “pattern buffer”.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, a “pattern” often refers to the design on wallpaper, carpets, or which is used to flood-fill areas in graphic design programs. This comic explores what happens if you mix up the Star Trek use of the word “pattern” with the everyday use of the word. In other words it’s just a pun on the word “pattern”. See, I told you that an explanation would stop it being funny.

This particular strip has been posted now in order to complete a short theme that’s been running through the past couple of comics. Back in “Camouflage” we made use of Inkscape’s camouflage fill pattern. In “The Real John Grey” we made use of Inkscape’s sand fill pattern to simulate a pile of dust. This comic is the culmination of our epic adventure into the world of fill patterns with the use of wavy lines, polka dots and a checkerboard fill. We also have a custom fill pattern in the form of the flowers on the centre Grey, but the spiral on the left is actually an Inkscape spiral primitive with a clipping mask, rather than a fill pattern.

If you download the SVG file you’ll find a slight difference from the image posted here. We’ve replaced the polka dots with stripes, because the polka dot and checkerboard patterns didn’t render properly when the SVG was viewed in a web browser. The checkerboard pattern was left in place because although the rendering isn’t “correct”, it does give a pleasant effect. The polka dot pattern, however, appeared in the browser as something so thin and wispy that it was barely visible, so we decided to change it to stripes in the SVG version, which appear much more clearly in the browser (though still not the same as they do in Inkscape).

Cette bande dessinée est aussi disponible en français
This comic is also available in French

Click here to download the SVG source for this comic

↓ Transcript
Several Greys on Star Trek style transporter pads. Each has a different, slightly ludicrous fill pattern.

G1: Okay, who's been playing with the pattern buffer?