24

The Starcaster Chronicles 10.23

August 22, 2022 by Tim


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Ken
Ken
1 month ago

… I hate to say it, but, as scummy as the Federation has been, he might have a point. There’s a literally genocidal army currently attacking them, and they don’t have the time to stand on principles. From their perspective, either Cort helps them, or they need to kill him and find another who will, and they likely have contingency trainees ready for precisely the case of any of the current holders dying. And this is before we include the calculus from the impending planetary attack that only the reader knows is coming. Making an enemy of two armies isn’t… Read more »

M37h3w3
M37h3w3
1 month ago
Reply to  Ken

There’s also the possibility that the Federation just offs him anyways. They can’t trust him 100% at this point, assuming he turned himself in as soon as he was able to once he had the Starcaster they still couldn’t trust him 100%. And facing the possibility of such a variable walking around with a wrist mounted superweapon? The solution might be for there to be an “accident” and for someone far more controllable to take the Starcaster. Morally reprehensible? Yes, absoultely, but again the stakes are high and one life to save untold -illions?

CBL
CBL
1 month ago
Reply to  M37h3w3

Yeah, but I do think that’s what Quel is trying to prevent here. It seems like he’s arguing that it’s only a matter of time before the federation actually sends the kill order, so Cort has to accept his off-the-job help right now

nealithi
nealithi
1 month ago
Reply to  CBL

Seems to me they don’t need an order. Didn’t he order a commander to just observe Cort and the guy went shoot to kill because Quel wasn’t in the room or something?

GeorgeV
GeorgeV
1 month ago
Reply to  nealithi

No, thats not what happened. It was an ‘observe-and-talk’ mission, Cort panicked because he recognized Fed agents, and things went shooty mayhem because Grin attacked the Feds with a small criminal fleet as a distraction to get to Cort. (And the Feds retaliated).

The only mistake Ulogg made was thinking the crime fleet was a rescue instead of abduct/kill. People keep making it out as if he started the mess, but he didnt. He did his job well enough, the situation escalated by itself.

nealithi
nealithi
1 month ago
Reply to  GeorgeV

https://cad-comic.com/comic/the-starcaster-chronicles-06-17/

He ordered weapons free long before the anyone was shooting. And stated that since the guy that gave the observe order was not there, he was in command. IE ignoring the order. Cort was to be taken in restraints or a body bag.

Mx. Me
Mx. Me
1 month ago
Reply to  Ken

Authoritarian Jerks vs. Genocidal Maniacs is a fool’s choice. Flip them both the bird, it’s the only right thing to do.

Esc
Esc
1 month ago
Reply to  Mx. Me

People are talking like the Federation is 1984 Ingsoc.

We’ve seen corrupt officials on the fringes but really nothing more than that and Cort himself going on the take, and his lies to Nyrah.

Is the Federation really an authoritarian jerk? What have we seen in the comic that supports that?

Mx. Me
Mx. Me
1 month ago
Reply to  Esc

Oh, I don’t know. This whole ‘forced conscription’ thing for starters maybe?

Cmd1095
Cmd1095
1 month ago
Reply to  Mx. Me

It’s easy to stand on principle from the sidelines. But bear in mind Cort wants to survive. If he flips them both the bird that’s not going to happen for long. Sure he can take the moral high ground and go against both sides but that’s suicide.

When it’s your own life on the line, sometimes your moral principles bend and shift a bit. Maybe the federation is a tolerable option over death for Cort.

Mx. Me
Mx. Me
1 month ago
Reply to  Cmd1095

Speak for yourself. For some, when your life is on the line is precisely when your moral principles matter the most. If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything and all that.

Nyzer
Nyzer
1 month ago
Reply to  Mx. Me

This argument makes absolutely no sense in this context. Even if we take your assumption that a big galactic government means bad guys, which is one hell of a stretch at this point in time, the Dranglaex are explicitly attacking this galaxy in order to commit mass genocide.

Being the bearer of one of the four strongest weapons in the galaxy – having the capability to turn the tables on almost any battle – and yet choosing to “flip them all the bird” is no moral choice – it would be cowardice.

Rolando
Rolando
1 month ago
Reply to  Mx. Me

You’ve seen too many movies where the star beats multiple huge organisations by being cool and throwing witty one-liners. So, you forgot how absurd and suicidal the “lone wolf” bs actually is.

This is supposed to be more realistic. So, whichever large group gets to him first in full force, will not fail to resolve the situation in their favor. He cannot outmaneuver entire interplanetary networks of spies, detectives and warriors.

Because he’s just one guy in a very small team, with very very few resources for now.

He’d better pick a side, before they do it for him.

Lily
Lily
1 month ago
Reply to  Ken

If he went to them willingly to help, and they knew he had some training and stuff, they would likely pardon him of any crimes and welcome him with open arms. Of course, ‘helping’ them means fighting the war for them.

nealithi
nealithi
1 month ago
Reply to  Lily

In their way how they say to do it. I think he would be seen as a weapon to be pointed and not a person any more. I think the Federation needs to break the mold of the meta. Now this is only a thought based on snippets. We hear the two sides of the war refer to the Star Casters as weapons. But we have heard the Star Casters were tools, used to create worlds and life. When Cort was delirious he started having a vision, seeing a world. I think the Star Caster was trying to teach him.… Read more »

Vukodlak
Vukodlak
1 month ago

Ohhh I think some outside interference is about to shoot him…… is that Merc guy still alive?

Rolando
Rolando
1 month ago
Reply to  Vukodlak

Dissolved legs, lost his ship and most of his toys, alone in enemy territory, no syndicate support anymore…

That Merc is either dead (most likely), or in an ICU. Waiting to be healthy enough to go to jail/get executed.

Logan
Logan
1 month ago

Getting some The Negotiator vibes with this one. ^_^

DrakeStarkiller
DrakeStarkiller
1 month ago

He seems to really care about Cort its just really hard to trust the feds

Seanjamin
Seanjamin
1 month ago

Yeah this is where I struggle too. I believe he genuinely wants to help and protect Cort but the system behind him is a big issue.

Eldest Gruff
Eldest Gruff
1 month ago

I’m going to be real, real disappointed when I wake up tomorrow and learn that the Patrons decided to do what they do, and have Cort run away yet again.

HelloWorld
HelloWorld
1 month ago
Reply to  Eldest Gruff

I wish I didn’t read the comments section. Last time there was a choice, most people said what they would have chosen and then the comic we found out the result was discussion of how surprised they were it was that big of a margin. We didn’t even know that there was a vote coming up and now had both surprises ruined.

Kenju
Kenju
1 month ago
Reply to  Eldest Gruff

Perhaps, put picking the option you know leads to non-standard character death game over (turning yourself in to get your arm cut off and corpse dumped in aback alley) isn’t exactly something most people would do willingly. Lets face the facts here, no matter how much pull, sway or influence tentacle uncle has, at the end of the day he’s just one man, surrounded by people either perfectly willing/happy to follow orders from higher up the food chain and willing to turn a blind eye to the ‘occasional dubious stuff’, or part of the problem. Hell, I’m betting if Cort… Read more »

Esc
Esc
1 month ago
Reply to  Kenju

picking the option you know leads to non-standard character death game over (turning yourself in to get your arm cut off and corpse dumped in aback alley)

Do we know that is for certain what happens if Cort teams up with Quel here? If Quel wanted that outcome he would have done it already, blasted him and his ship.

Quel thinks he can figure out a way for Cort to survive.

Kenju
Kenju
1 month ago
Reply to  Esc

Blasting him and his ship wouldn’t insure getting the Starcaster. Honestly, *IF* I was willing to bet my life on Quel being on Cort’s side (I am not) I would say he’s got medical equipment on the ship to remove that portion of Cort’s arm, and would take it back claiming he found and killed Cort to get it back. With the Starcaster the Federation would stop caring/looking for Cort and he would be left alone to go about his life. That is provided I was sure Quel isn’t as corrupt as the only other two Federation officers we’ve seen… Read more »

Eldest Gruff
Eldest Gruff
1 month ago
Reply to  Kenju

This isn’t exactly the Ethan Macmanus Space Archaeologist series. Tim’s said before that when he gives a choice to the audience, he does so knowing already what he would write for either of those decisions, and being happy with choosing either. And this is *his* story. Yes, Cort could die, but I don’t see Tim killing him off without some sort of narratively satisfying conclusion. Right now, the battle is between the Dranglaex and the Federation. We’re past “one lone guy and his partner in the greater universe.” It can’t be JUST Cort. Luke didn’t just Jedi all by himself;… Read more »

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

The issue is literally the guy Quel literally hand picked to try and keep an eye on Cort tried to kill Spek. That tells us the rot of the Federation runs pretty deep if THE guy tentacle uncle chose from his ENTIRE CREW was on the take. Also remember the name of this story is ‘The STARCASTER Chronicles’ not ‘The Chronicles of Cort’. Honestly, the single smartest thing Cort could do in this case is just have Spek melt his arm through, give the Starcaster to Quel and then go on his way. Without the Starcaster Quel has zero reason… Read more »

Nyzer
Nyzer
1 month ago
Reply to  Kenju

Seriously? Typically, refusing the call to action is what leads to the non-standard game over. And it’s really hard for me to see that going any differently here. Look at how Cort and crew are doing: one barely functional ship, a handful of small arms, a Starcaster he only just learned how to control, and no allies outside of the tiny crew of three. If he doesn’t dive in to the main plot soon, he won’t have any place in it whatsoever, leaving him either benched for training while the two Federation Starcaster bearers take center stage, or getting him… Read more »

Casper
Casper
1 month ago
Reply to  Eldest Gruff

To be fair the choice between genocidal maniacs and a corrupt police state is not an easy one. Even if the corrupt police state is slightly better overall, it’s about equally bad for Cort’s chances of survival (as we saw on the space station earlier).

Mr_Meng
Mr_Meng
1 month ago
Reply to  Eldest Gruff

Frankly it seems like the decision making process for most Patron voters doesn’t go past ‘I ain’t letting THE MAN tell me what to do!’.

evilleet
evilleet
1 month ago

Oooh… “Dad invokes Reason”
lets see if it is super effevtive!

Eldest Gruff
Eldest Gruff
1 month ago
Reply to  evilleet

“It didn’t affect enemy CORT…”

Mx. Me
Mx. Me
1 month ago

Quel, Patron Saint of Burnt Bridges.

The guy
The guy
1 month ago

No way Chosé

Last edited 1 month ago by The guy
-The John-
-The John-
1 month ago

If you can’t trust tentacle faced back story level friend then…
There is only so alone a protagonist can be.
He will choose to join the side who is trying to prevent the other folks who -literally- want to destroy everything else. /paraphrase

VincentPriceISright
VincentPriceISright
1 month ago

Unseen assailant takes out father figure just as he’s about to consider.

Dagroth
Dagroth
1 month ago

There’s a chance Cort pulls off a Han Solo. By that I mean, refuses to help, and leaves (or escapes, if Quel tries to stop him) only to return later in a key moment to save the day. (if either his own consience gets to him, or maybe Nyrah talks him into it)

GUNnibal
GUNnibal
1 month ago
Reply to  Dagroth

You shouldn’t have compared Cort to Han – this opens another massive can of worms, which is the question “Who is a better side-kick: Spec or Chewie?”
The kind of wars that will ensue once people begin to contemplate this conundrum are going to wipe humanity out completely.
These wars might even involve some stars.

Reso
Reso
1 month ago
Reply to  GUNnibal

The real question is will the people repping Chewie be called Chewians or the Wooks?

Daemone
Daemone
1 month ago
Reply to  GUNnibal

The correct answer is Blue Milk Special Chewie. What if you the viewer could understand the dirty talk Chewie gives Leia?

Mx. Me
Mx. Me
1 month ago
Reply to  Dagroth

Quel’s side is no Rebel Alliance. Saving the day with them would most definitely not make him Han Solo.

Dagroth
Dagroth
1 month ago
Reply to  Mx. Me

Fair, but as I said, I meant changing his mind, and unexpectedly coming to help in a key moment of a battle, like Han in “A New Hope”.

CMasta1992
CMasta1992
1 month ago

Quel has a point, I mean what exactly is Cort’s endgame now. The old life is over as long as he’s got the Starcaster. I don’t think there’s a path to him just going back to the Han Solo life with the at minimum 2 factions with Starcasters pursuing him. Even if you manage to take them both out, there’s no way to secure your freedom and peace of mind without going tyrant.

ShonaSoF
ShonaSoF
1 month ago

Sometimes it helps to have a friend with authority.

jack
jack
1 month ago

I’m just glad that Cort is displaying propper trigger discipline and doesn’t have his finger in the trigger guard. He doesn’t really want to shoot Quel and isn’t going to risk a ND. Thumbs up.

Cmd1095
Cmd1095
1 month ago

Ultimately I think Cort needs to take the offer here. If he had more resources, a better ship, more fuel and supplies, etc… maybe he could chance staying on the run. But his ship is barely holding together, he has no money, not much in the way of supplies, and clearly no way to cover his tracks. Someone is going to find him again, and next time it won’t be with an olive branch. He can fire the starcaster at will now, he can fight back. But he can’t fight forever due to the toll the starcaster takes, and he’s… Read more »

chargersfan
chargersfan
1 month ago
Reply to  Cmd1095

He can fire the starcaster at will now

I doubt he can fire that thing anywhere other than standing on solid ground. Anywhere else, he would surely put a massive hole in its hull, whether he wanted to or not.

Dagroth
Dagroth
1 month ago
Reply to  chargersfan

The Dranglaex guy also had to go and have a clear sight on Federation ships to fire at them (in the battle, where he destroyed some), so that’s probably the same for everyone, channeled energy needs a straight line from the starcaster to a target.

RoL
RoL
1 month ago

Yeah I wouldn’t trust the federation at this point either. They already view him as a fuck up who only looks out for himself, it would be far easier to lop off his arm or outright kill him then give the starcaster to someone they could control. They have no reason to care about ONE guy when the fate of the known galaxy is at stake here. Quel is being highly optimistic thinking he has any control right now. Then again if I were Cort I probably would throw myself at the mercy of the federation and be like “look… Read more »

chargersfan
chargersfan
1 month ago
Reply to  RoL

You’re correct, IMO, except that Cort would likely expect to be paid massively for the starcaster.

RoL
RoL
1 month ago
Reply to  chargersfan

Yeah I also expect Cort’s greed to get in the way somehow. He’s the kind of person who thinks the universe owes him for all the shit he’s been through, his journey towards becoming a selfless hero who does what is best for all before what is best for him is far from complete

Rolando
Rolando
1 month ago

Once again, Quel’Oran is being smart, reasonable and realistic.

Problem is that, ironically enough, you cannot realistically expect THE OTHERS to be realistic/smart/etc.

SOMEONE is gonna do something stupid, soon enough. Out of fear, selfishness, being an a-hole, etc.

Stray thought: I hope Nyrah doesn’t come out at the worst possible moment, and misconstrues the situation in the worst possible way. That’d be out of character with her, and we can expect Quel to keep a cool head through it all as well anyway.

But, who knows…

Vukodlak
Vukodlak
1 month ago

Let’s look at this logically from a narrative structure.
Can Cort trust the Federation? No, not if he goes with him as that make things to easy. If he does go with him. it end with another daring escape with Quels help.

Auryn
Auryn
1 month ago

My two cents on this matter, knowing that it’s not an actual vote: Cort’s discussion with Nyrah about having flaws but still trying to be better should be playing very strongly in his mind right now. He’s got valid reasons to worry about the Federation, but from the sound of this Quel is sticking his neck out to help Cort – that should count for something. Get Quel to join up with the group as a chance to prove that he’s really here to help Cort and not just bring him in. Meet Nyrah, help fix the ship, hear the… Read more »

Nyzer
Nyzer
1 month ago
Reply to  Auryn

That’s about the only smart “refuse the call to action” option I can see here, too. Just allowing Quel to stick around for a bit, or at least keep tabs on him, would be something that the Federation can work with. Quel could go back to the higher-ups and inform them that he’s made contact with Cort, that he’s in a safe place, and is currently adjusting to the Starcaster and training in its use.

Cort doesn’t necessarily have to go to the Federation right now, but he does have to give something.