24

The Starcaster Chronicles 10.22

August 19, 2022 by Tim


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James Rye
James Rye
1 month ago

More like guaranteed amnesty and safety in exchange for that firepower your Starcaster gonna provide in the current war.

GUNnibal
GUNnibal
1 month ago
Reply to  James Rye

Oooh, I very much don’t think so. I remember the exact word the Triumvirat used to describe Cort – “liability”. A Starcaster is good, of course, but only when wielded by someone you can fully trust, and I don’t think anyone in their right mind would be willing to trust an ex-cop turned smuggler.
“Sunless hole”, so far, seems a much more likely scenario.

Lily
Lily
1 month ago
Reply to  GUNnibal

Wouldn’t they just kill him and remove it then?

Dagroth
Dagroth
1 month ago
Reply to  Lily

I think so too, and so probably does Cort. Or might, if he stops to think about it some more.

GUNnibal
GUNnibal
1 month ago
Reply to  Lily

I guess that depends on how far the needs of the many are going to outweigh the needs of the few.

Kenju
Kenju
1 month ago
Reply to  GUNnibal

Galactic War going on, less than a dozen of these mega ultra super weapons exist, and the Federation currently has the most, standing at two.

They’ll lop his arm off, give it to some Captain Federation poster boy and dump Cort’s body in a back alley.

Marcus
Marcus
1 month ago
Reply to  Kenju

except, the starcasters regenerative power would cause him to heal AS the LOPPING was taking place.. even if its one full swift swing with a lightsaber like cutting implement, it will heal his arm as it passes through him.

CTOWNS
CTOWNS
1 month ago
Reply to  Marcus

I don’t think we’ve seen it healing quite that fast… we’ve seen several scenes so far of starcaster users with smoldering wounded hands after a shot.

Number51x
Number51x
1 month ago
Reply to  CTOWNS

I think that was specifically stated early on though. Part of why putting in on was a total commitment.

CBL
CBL
1 month ago
Reply to  Number51x

I believe Nyra mentioned that the only way to remove it is to remove the arm. She also mentioned that Cort wouldn’t be able to cut it off himself, but he had a handheld knife, and she said it would start healing before he reached bone. My take is a single swipe would take it off, but you couldn’t, like, saw the arm off.

Meh
Meh
1 month ago
Reply to  Marcus

So chop it off with something like a guillotine so it can’t heal back together before its fully disconnected.

Jack0r
Jack0r
1 month ago
Reply to  Marcus

Just take something with a blade that’s wider than his arm is thick. For example, one of these ham cutters they have in super markets to slice meat real thin.

jack
jack
1 month ago
Reply to  GUNnibal

or the one

karrde
karrde
1 month ago
Reply to  Lily

They’d probably cut off the arm, give him a robot arm instead. Not something Cort wants to have happen, I dont think. Assuming they give him a robot arm back. Assuming they dont just kill him. Assuming if he does live, armless, he’s released.

Esc
Esc
1 month ago
Reply to  GUNnibal

That’s why Quel is here alone. Quel knows exactly what his superiors want, but he wants Cort alive too. He could have murdered him from the sky but he’s trying to balance the two sides and negotiate a way for Cort to live.

If Quel can get Cort in front of a Dranglex cruiser and demonstrate Cort is an asset instead of a liability…maybe Cort will be able to negotiate a life where he isn’t put in a hole.

BaufenBeast
BaufenBeast
1 month ago
Reply to  Esc

Murdering a starcaster wielder from the sky is a bit of a risky proposition honestly, since they’re more durable than standard. If you don’t kill them cleanly in one shot, you’re getting a sun laser in return.

James Rye
James Rye
1 month ago
Reply to  GUNnibal

But didn’t Nyrah also said that Starcasters usually kill most people who put them on, meaning the moment someone is compatible with a starcaster then that’s like one in a billion chances?
I dunno if the politicians from the Triumvirat have that much time and ressources on their hand to sacrifice lots of good soldiers and officers on the off-chance that one of them can use the starcaster.

Cragfast
Cragfast
1 month ago
Reply to  James Rye

Nyrah also claims the Drang-heads are an intergalactic threat, yet mere “planetary defenses” give them pause. Should we really believe everything she says?

Rolando
Rolando
1 month ago
Reply to  Cragfast

Dude, everyone knows the Dranglaex want to exterminate all other races. They’re freakin’ space Nazis. The fact they’re smart enough not to underestimate a strong enemy such as the Federation, doesn’t mean they’re less of a threat.

If anything, it means they’re smart. An INTELLIGENT enemy with a good sense of strategy is your worst nightmare.

Also, “mere?” If you mean about the two Dranglaex brothers arguing, they were talking about the defenses for the core planets. Vectanix implied those are the richest, thus most heavily fortified places the Federation has. That’s a BIG deal. The word “mere” doesn’t apply.

Rolando
Rolando
1 month ago
Reply to  James Rye

So, we trust promises from politicians now? They’re gonna tell him whatever needs to be said to get him close enough, then rip the Starcaster from his arm and jail/execute him.

They may even get rid of anyone else involved, just to cover their tracks.

At best, they’ll give him/them somewhat decent living conditions, but keeping him/them closely monitored forever. Yay.

chargersfan
chargersfan
1 month ago
Reply to  James Rye

Nyrah has explicitly stated that the only way to remove the starcaster is death. Or something that might very, very quickly remove his arm before the starcaster has time to heal it.

Vukodlak
Vukodlak
1 month ago
Reply to  chargersfan

It’s possible that even if you do sever the arm it will fly it back to the host so long as he lives.

Logan
Logan
1 month ago

“I’ve dissolved lots of people..

But they were all bad!”

BakaGrappler
BakaGrappler
1 month ago
Reply to  Logan

Ah, True Lies reference. Man, to think Top Gun is the only real action movie we’ve had for a while now…

Gonfrask
Gonfrask
1 month ago

No, clearly you are pointing to my new cool coat, and that’s unforgivable…

John Swift
John Swift
1 month ago

I think mentioning Spek dissolving somebody and the “sunless hole” are the real words here. Cort was already labeled a liability and iirc Quel was told Cort would be killed [if able]. In theory Cort prob could be imprisoned far enough from a star as long as theres some power for heat and such but thats not the plan anymore. Nyrah said its very hard to cut off the limb of a caster bearer. Guessing his plan is A: Ask Cort to have his arm dissolved off. Prob wont be holding his breath on that one… B: i dono but… Read more »

Marcus
Marcus
1 month ago
Reply to  John Swift

i think “hard” is nearly impossible without i dunno another star caster type weapon or cutting beam. it would have to cover the entire width of the arm in one go.

John Swift
John Swift
1 month ago
Reply to  Marcus

Well I’m sure a Mimon like Spek could eaisly dissolve his arm off. Doubt they will go for that plan but its an option. Thats what I meant there.

Rolando
Rolando
1 month ago

Quel’Oran can babble all he wants. And I’m sure his intentions are noble. But he cannot make ANY serious promises. If he brings him in, what happens to Cort next is NOT gonna be his call. The politicos are gonna decide. And they both know that. If I were Cort right now, and I’m being selfish… I wouldn’t trust politicians. If I were Cort right now, and I’m concerned about the Starcaster being misused… I wouldn’t trust politicians. Because I never trust them, because I wasn’t born yesterday. Would YOU trust them? Right now, the Federation looks like the good… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Rolando
Eldest Gruff
Eldest Gruff
1 month ago
Reply to  Rolando

The one caveat is, Cort needs allies. If he flees from the Federation, he has literally everyone out to kill him, on both sides. If he makes an ally, shows loyalty, and shows proficiency with the Starcaster… well, then, it’s not unreasonable that they find it far more convenient to allow him to keep it in these difficult times.

On the other hand, if Quel can track Cort down, literally anyone can. They’re not safe at all.

Kenju
Kenju
1 month ago
Reply to  Eldest Gruff

Cort has already been labeled as a liability, and has a kill on sight order against him BY the Federation. His only chance at being allowed to live is to fork over the Starcaster or to spend the rest of his life running.

Eldest Gruff
Eldest Gruff
1 month ago
Reply to  Kenju

And yet, there is Quel. There’s a reason why he volunteered for this role. He’s not there to fight. If he just wanted to make sure Cort’s execution was quick and painless, he’d have already done it. He has, instead, made himself quite vulnerable. He’s left his ship He wants to talk. And he wants to talk without Cort feeling like he has a gun to his face. Say what you will about Quel, the one thing that I wholly believe is that he genuinely wants what’s best for Cort. If he starts asking for Cort to consider coming with… Read more »

Dagroth
Dagroth
1 month ago
Reply to  Eldest Gruff

That’s probably what Quel wants, yes.

But as someone said already, his superiors, politicians, military, etc, are not likely to agree.

And he does not have any sort of political pull to stop them.

Eldest Gruff
Eldest Gruff
1 month ago
Reply to  Dagroth

Do you think that Quel is just naive? He’s shown himself to be more than competent; he’s an extremely smart, extremely capable person, who knows his superiors, the federation, and the criminals extremely well. If Quel was truly as incapable of giving an ounce of protection to Cort, as everyone’s so certain of, I refuse to believe that Quel wouldn’t already be aware of that. This man isn’t an idiot, nor is his loyalty to the Federation blind. He clearly wants to help Cort, not as a way to get to the Starcaster or to serve the Federation, but to… Read more »

Rolando
Rolando
1 month ago
Reply to  Eldest Gruff

Yeah, I get your points and they’re valid. I just also think… The Federation is not an ally. It’s too big and strong for that. It’s a master. Cort is gonna have a leash on him for the rest of his life, at best. Just because life on the run is an even shittier prospect, doesn’t mean being the Fed’s dog isn’t quite shitty as well. Yeah, it’s not unreasonable. But one of the many reasons I don’t trust politicians, is because they’re usually unreasonable. You’re being logical, coherent, rational. Something I don’t expect from any sentient being in fiction… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Rolando
Esc
Esc
1 month ago
Reply to  Rolando

As I watch federation soldiers, voluntary professional soldiers, die by the score, alongside whole planets and cities razed by an inevitable genocidal force…my concern is not “oh no if the federation gets 4 starcasters instead of 2 they’ll do a corruption” The citizenry of a galaxy won’t be more or less cowed by the number of superweapons. If anything we’ve witnessed a galaxy that needs more federation, not less. Everything “on the fringe” is full of death, corruption, backstabbing, and murder. Do I *trust* them? Compared to who? The Dranglex? The various space gangs? The torturers? The terrorists? Yeah! I… Read more »

jack
jack
1 month ago
Reply to  Esc

the federation is no more trustworthy than anyone else in play, especially if they get their hands on all the starcasters. a wise man once referred to the phrase “we come in peace” as “the great lie”

random_npc
random_npc
1 month ago
Reply to  jack

you can trust them to stop a genocide being done to them, and that’s not a small thing right now. You don’t need to be a saint to realize that the lunatics out to kill everyone else have to be stopped.

Rolando
Rolando
1 month ago
Reply to  Esc

1) I usually state the obvious alongside the rest, because when I don’t, this happens. People (you) point out the obvious to me, as if I didn’t know it. 2) Since this is fiction, I can afford to have less immediately practical concerns. 3) I never bothered to talk about how things look and feel from the citizenry’s perspective. So, of course that didn’t come up. After all, no one in the story thus far has explicitly shown they care about the little guy. We can assume some of them are noble enough to do so (Nyrah, some of the… Read more »

Vukodlak
Vukodlak
1 month ago
Reply to  Rolando

The Federation wouldn’t have four starcasters they’d employ four people who use Starcasters. They can quit and take the Starcasters with them. If Lex Luthor owned the daily planet and found out Clark Kent was Superman he wouldn’t think he could order Superman around.
Any Starcaster wielder who’d be willing to go along with the Federation of tyranny would probably decide they should be in charge.
If anything they’d want to lock the Starcasters away so no one would have that power.

Mael
Mael
1 month ago
Reply to  Vukodlak

and how would you lock them away? They can literally destroy planets…

Vukodlak
Vukodlak
1 month ago
Reply to  Mael

Starcaster wielders aren’t immortal, and without a fleet to support them can be overwhelmed and killed.

Mael
Mael
1 month ago
Reply to  Vukodlak

So you meant, you would kill the wielders and take the casters and lock them away. That was not obvious from your original post.

Rolando
Rolando
1 month ago
Reply to  Vukodlak

The Federation still has the upper hand in that relationship. They can’t just quit. Not without dire consequences, if the Fed decides so. A Starcaster is not an omnipotence device (or maybe it is, but no one has nearly enough control over it). A Starcaster most often has people they care for (aka hostages waiting to happen), needs to sleep at some point, can be overwhelmed by a fleet that knows what they’re doing…

evilleet
evilleet
1 month ago

fun fact: “Invoke Dad” is one of the most underrated spells in a wizards repertiore!

Wut
Wut
1 month ago
Reply to  evilleet

When they first created the spell the Wizards called it “Invoke Trauma”, but it became “Invoke Dad” so frequently when cast that the name just stuck

CTOWNS
CTOWNS
1 month ago
Reply to  Wut

Effectiveness varies wildly from one target to the next , though, so while it has the potential to be extremely effective, it can also be extremely risky and unreliable

darius404
darius404
1 month ago
Reply to  evilleet

Different genre, but I’m envisioning a tiefling with the spell she calls “Summon Dad”, and some enemies tease her for it, until she decides she really needs to summon Dad…

Ben
Ben
1 month ago

There is one way for Cort to protect himself. Stop the impending Dranglaex assault, publicly and visibly.

It will get very hard to execute him if he becomes a famous war hero.

evilleet
evilleet
1 month ago
Reply to  Ben

Which is exactly what he never wanted to be!

Scott
Scott
1 month ago
Reply to  Ben

We’ve seen that the Starcaster can take a significant toll on the individual that uses it; the Dranglaex wielder took out 4 ships in a single formation and then had to be carried away to rest. It is difficult to imagine Cort being able to take out an entire Dranglaex fleet with the Starcaster, even if they didn’t have one of their own to fight back.

Atros
Atros
1 month ago
Reply to  Scott

That’s actually the interesting thing, here. Cort doesn’t seem to be as harmed as the Dranglaex wielder is when shooting beams; he shot a smiley face into the rock for a laugh while practicing, and while his hand was briefly injured that’s three shots with him cracking jokes afterwards. I don’t know if his starcaster is better or humans are better suited for it than the Dranglaex but Cort is just not having as bad a time when using it.

Cragfast
Cragfast
1 month ago
Reply to  Atros

If the Dranglaex really are the Aug’s only perfect creation, how come they suffer Starburn more than a mere human. A human without centivales of practice. Sunspit – a human with a few decavalls max, training.

Rolando
Rolando
1 month ago
Reply to  Atros

Are you comparing the tiny rays needed to carve that smiley face, with the massive rays Vectanix needed to blow up all those ships? The range alone is thousands of times bigger.

Esc
Esc
1 month ago
Reply to  Ben

BINGO

Quel helps Cort turn the tide on a battle before the Federation scoops him up and uses that as leverage for them to not insta-execute him. Cort serves under the Federation and helps win the war and bargains for his slate to be wiped clean.

It’s the *best* chance Quel has at keeping Cort alive. Which seems to be Quel’s primary motivation (otherwise he would have just strafed their ship)

Robert
Robert
1 month ago

I guess the ship was in such a bad condition Speck had no choice but to break the rule of “Never jump off from a planet in the direction of where you are really going”.

Cragfast
Cragfast
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert

Following that rule, how would you ever reach your destination?

Helldemon
Helldemon
1 month ago
Reply to  Cragfast

Stop and make corrections?

Halosty
Halosty
1 month ago

You can’t be in a sunless hole with a starcaster on you.

Marcus
Marcus
1 month ago
Reply to  Halosty

unless you are a corpse. which would eventually be the judgement… “criminal” with super weapon, regardless of how good a cop he may have been before he turned to smuggling. or, have another star casters blast his arm off. i reckon thats what it would take.

Cragfast
Cragfast
1 month ago
Reply to  Halosty

Dristim disagrees. 💀

Resu
Resu
1 month ago

Great storyline again, thanks Tim!

Mike
Mike
1 month ago
Reply to  Resu

Don’t forget the Patreon supporters who vote whenever Tim allows choices. It’s amazing how much better Starcaster is about that than early CAD; we actually have the illusion of plot-armor even though Tim swears the story will continue minus any one character, if things turn out that way.

toughluck
toughluck
1 month ago

I don’t think anyone will kill anyone else here. But Cort doesn’t have all information. Quel can tell him about the war, can tell him about what the Federation has decided about Cort. Quel can tell Cort that he went against the Federation in looking for Cort before anybody else can find him, and can finally tell him that if he was able to find Cort, anybody can. Quel could just pick up subtle hints that others glossed over, but there will be more obvious clues in the future which will lead others to Cort. And for all its faults,… Read more »

HappyWyvern
HappyWyvern
1 month ago

Even with everything that’s going on, its good to see Cort practicing correct trigger discipline.

Last edited 1 month ago by HappyWyvern
Vukodlak
Vukodlak
1 month ago

One major problem with cutting off his arm is, it’s attached to a planet destroying weapon. And they won’t expect him to politely old still while they cut it off. No killing him will always be easier.