The general notion of a strip like this has gone back and forth in my head for nearly a half-decade now. I've screwed around with characters in a room doing exposition dumps, stock flashbacks, all manner of shit. The general timeline of Gen Eric's backstory has been heavily workshopped to death, and a lot of what's here is salad. If you can put up with the chaos, I hope you can find some humor in what specific references I chose to run with.
The modified diagram of the plaque that went out into space on Pioneer 10 and 11 was made for an earlier draft of a strip with this general motif. It's part of the reason the clock on the comic was dialed back from "today" to "1999 thereabouts." When I looked at when they were launching the Pioneer probes, I realized there was no logical scenario for that modification to take place unless either the comic was a period piece or Gen Eric was old.
I chose the asshole option and started writing alternate history.
Published on by Alpha Prime.