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24

The Starcaster Chronicles 12.15

November 15, 2023 by Tim


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Colin
Colin
6 months ago

Job Offer!!

Stephen
Stephen
6 months ago

To be honest, this is the best attitude from the Vicen that Cort could expect considering the Vicen is currently trying to stop a galatic genocide and needs that particular fashion accessory out there making (plasma) waves

I feel sorry for the Vicen. It’s true you go to war with the army you spent almost a hundred years preparing, but having to factor in a tool (in all senses of the word) like Cort wasn’t on his bucket list

kaladorn
kaladorn
6 months ago
Reply to  Stephen

Not feeling much sympathy.

That which is labelled pragmatic and necessary are often convenient and beneath any proffered values. If we give up our values to save our values… well, that’s not such a good plan. It’s ‘Can’t see the trees because the trees are all burning….’ kind of situation.

Pajuka
Pajuka
6 months ago
Reply to  kaladorn

That’s the part he feels sorry for him for. On one hand, conscripting Cort like that is giving up those values of personal freedom and agency the feds value. It is slavery, and a kind that will have Cort risking his very life. But on the other hand, not conscripting Cort could mean a loss to a genocidal race hell bent on killing every last one of your citizens. Those values of freedom and liberty don’t count for much when you’re a smoldering corpse. So do you stick to your morals and risk dooming the citizens you swore to protect,… Read more »

Bloof
Bloof
6 months ago
Reply to  Pajuka

They could cut off his arm and get him the best replacement possible to avoid the forced conscription. It’s a lot better deal than the certain death he had before putting it on.

Probably less ideal for the feds, as it’d lose Ryder- a famously good shot and slippery mind, and his one of a kind cyborg teacher- but considering what is at stake, I feel it is a very reasonable offer.

Kenju
Kenju
6 months ago
Reply to  kaladorn

You are presuming the Federation has values. At this point from what we have seen those are about equal to ‘not religiously genocidal’ compared to the other side.

Bloof
Bloof
6 months ago
Reply to  Kenju

If their values were that low, he’d already be dead, with the starcaster on a loyal trooper.

Kevin Greenbaum
Kevin Greenbaum
6 months ago
Reply to  Kenju

Every organization has corruption in their ranks, it’s unavoidable. This puts them in a spot where serving and protecting the people comes at the cost of a guys freedom and overall safety, and that would definitely go against their values overall. But if they don’t do it and lose they failed everyone, break their values on one to keep them intact for countless others is a trade almost anyone would make, however hard that choice is.

The Legacy
The Legacy
6 months ago
Reply to  Stephen

True, but it’s perhaps a good thing that the Dragalax used intergalactic Amazon for their Starcaster deliver

Stephen
Stephen
6 months ago
Reply to  The Legacy

Yes,

Standing down your religious crusade for prep time and building up your forces for 100 years while waiting for a parcel is a bit excessive

John
John
6 months ago

And there it is. Assumed we would get here in time. I think Cort saying he may never use it again is odd, an unrealistic claim but makes sense to say.

Pajuka
Pajuka
6 months ago
Reply to  John

I mean Cort was only learning how to use the starcaster so that he wouldn’t accidentally blow a hole out of the side of his ship. So while it is an unrealistic claim, I do think Cort- if given the option – would gladly take that starcaster off and chuck it into a black hole.

Gonfrask
Gonfrask
6 months ago

Recruitment or amputation? And if he says no?

Pajuka
Pajuka
6 months ago
Reply to  Gonfrask

Recruitment if he says yes, the arm chop-o-matic if he says no.

The Legacy
The Legacy
6 months ago
Reply to  Gonfrask

Recruitation?

Bo F
Bo F
6 months ago

Hey Tim, love the comic(s)
Would be good to change “Would” into “Wish” in that last panel 😉

GeorgeV
GeorgeV
6 months ago
Reply to  Bo F

Not really. For some situations or characters that might work, but for this ‘would’ is more suitable phrasing for a formal person like the Vicen.

Bo F
Bo F
6 months ago
Reply to  GeorgeV

Oh thanks. Never heard of that phrasing ?! (i’m not a native english speaker)

I thought the sentence was supposed to be “Wish that I could, Mr Ryder” and that it was a typo ?!

GeorgeV
GeorgeV
6 months ago
Reply to  Bo F

Ah, that explains. I was wondering if that might be the case.

But no, it’s not a typo. “Would that I could” is already a correct sentence, just less common in casual speech. It’s basically a more formal (maybe a bit archaic) way to say that same thing. (‘I’d do it if I could, but I can’t’).

(‘Would that it were’ is another, similar phrase.)

Kenju
Kenju
6 months ago
Reply to  GeorgeV

There is also a very important distinction to consider. ‘Wish’ implies personal desire, ‘would’ denotes willingness. Given that this is basically the Secretary of War, I think ‘would’ fits more than ‘wish’ as their personal preference would likely always slant towards anything advantageous. So it could be a case of genuine honesty here that they ‘WOULD’ be willing even if it is not what they personally would prefer. Words contain a great deal of power and insight after all. Case and point, Cort was up front and admitted the reason why he has the Starcaster was due to a medical… Read more »

LanMan66
LanMan66
6 months ago
Reply to  GeorgeV

I would if I could, but I can’t so I wont. ?

L M
L M
6 months ago
Reply to  Bo F

That usage of “would” is a little old school but valid, and it makes perfect sense for this character to talk like that.

xrogaan
xrogaan
6 months ago

If Cort has a brain, he would request of the big boss to convince his friend and mentor. Cort ain’t alone, he comes with a package.

M37h3w3
M37h3w3
6 months ago

“You’re drafted.”

‘Thanks but no thanks.’

“It wasn’t a request.”

Stephen
Stephen
6 months ago
Reply to  M37h3w3

Your officer commission is re-activated. You signed those papers twenty years ago and we desperately need your anti-planetary grade terraformer bracelet

Yes, you were a Marshall, but now we need you as an Lieutenant/Ensign/Private First Class with an Attitude Problem

We can go lower. There’s always Auxiliary and Asinus Handler

Lower? Cleansing Support Technician is always up for grabs

kaladorn
kaladorn
6 months ago
Reply to  Stephen

Until he figures out how to fly in space without a suit and that he can cut his way out of any prison. Then maybe he’ll get a better offer.

Dagroth
Dagroth
6 months ago
Reply to  kaladorn

If he’d resort to blasting his way out however, I’m pretty sure the Federation would stop playing nice (which yes, they are doing at the moment) and send another Starcaster wielder after him, probably with “shoot to kill, then collect a Starcaster from his corpse” orders.

Bwauder
Bwauder
6 months ago
Reply to  Stephen

Third Technician, Vending machine cleaning assistant.

Stephen
Stephen
6 months ago
Reply to  Bwauder

That’s some vending machine if you need to use a starcaster to scrub out those stains

Just keep Cort away from the drive plates. Bits keep on falling off the Aphelion

Jacob
Jacob
6 months ago
Reply to  Bwauder

The crew are dead, killed by a radiation leak. The only survivors are Dave Lister, who was in suspended-animation during the disaster, and his pregnant cat who was safely sealed in the hold. Revived 3 million years later, Lister’s only companions are, a life form who evolved from his cat and Arnold Rimmer, a hologram simulation of one of the dead crew. I am Holly, the ships computer with an IQ of 6,000 – the same IQ of 6,000 P.E. teachers.
It’s cold outside
There’s no kind of atmosphere
I’m all alone, more or less
Let me fly far away from here
Fun fun fun, in the sun sun sun

I want to lie, shipwrecked and comatose
Drinking fresh mango juice
Gold fish shoals nibbling at my toes
Fun fun fun in the sun sun sun
Fun fun fun in the sun sun sun

I pack my bags and head into hyperspace
Where I’ll succeed at time warp speeds
Spend my days in ultraviolet rays
Fun fun fun, in the sun sun sun

We’ll lock on course straight through the universe
You and me and the galaxy
Reach the stage where hyper-drive’s engaged
Fun fun fun, in the sun sun sun
Fun fun fun, in the sun sun sun

Paul
Paul
6 months ago

I suspect that Cort is going to be forced to reconsider that statement about never using it again preeeeetty quickly…

wolph
wolph
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul

Not necessarily. Think of the cold war, the threat of having multiple starcasters available could be enough.

Paul
Paul
6 months ago
Reply to  wolph

Given it sounded from a previous page like the Dranglaex were seeking him out, he may not have a choice in the mattter.

RblDiver
RblDiver
6 months ago
Reply to  wolph

I think Paul is referencing the Drang’s impending attack with all their ships. We are currently to assume that the attack is on Cort’s ship, but I have a sneaking suspicion it’s not his ship that the Drang are about to attack, but the other Fed officer with a starcaster (Major Danton iirc), meaning they’re about to tie the game, 2 casters to 2 casters.

evilleet
evilleet
6 months ago

the triumvar should at least hear her out as well. The sworn protector of the starcaster from a now extinct race. The concerns and the reasoning need to be considered.
If the Federation just forces him to do it, they are little-to-no better than the drangalex.

Dagroth
Dagroth
6 months ago
Reply to  evilleet

I don’t quite agree – not that Feds are morally all perfect and white, but they aren’t trying to eradicate all other life in the galaxy (or galaxies?), as proven by being multi-species organisation.
Sure, conscripting him (or taking his arm away) would both be a nasty move, but considering the stakes? Fully understandable.

Darkhorse
Darkhorse
6 months ago

This is the right approach of Vicenage sir. As Speck has often referred to, and I assume Quel probably has been able to trace while tracking Cort in his ‘free time’, Cort wants to still do good. Though he has no qualms to smuggle and get an advantage in many ways, we’ve seen he still tries to look out for the less fortunate people. Starting on the path about saving billions of lives is the right call. Cort is smart enough to understand the pressure from the Federation to help them, but he tries to weasel out if it. But… Read more »

kaladorn
kaladorn
6 months ago
Reply to  Darkhorse

Not exactly feeling a starcaster in the way it has been used so far as being perhaps better than a slaughter because the only thing anyone can really do with caster is some destruction.

Perhaps everyone should just use diplomacy backed up with the threat.

Stephen
Stephen
6 months ago
Reply to  kaladorn

It’s a terraforming device. Technically using it for fighting is the least productive use of it’s capabilities

Since it’s channeling raw solar fusion energies from a nearby star, I’d guess it has matter formation capabilies inbuilt

Shame that most people in the setting don’t (or can’t) seem to be able to figure out how to use the positive abilities it could potentially have

Blackthorne
Blackthorne
6 months ago
Reply to  Stephen

It’s like Mjolnir in that sense. At the start of the first Thor movie Odin calls it a weapon but also “a tool to build”. We just never see it used as anything but a blunt instrument.

Kenju
Kenju
6 months ago
Reply to  Stephen

The Genesis Torpedo was also a terraforming device. Typically those are among THE most powerful weapons in existence.

Mnemnosyne
Mnemnosyne
6 months ago
Reply to  kaladorn

The core goal of the Dranglaex appears to be universal extermination. Diplomacy with them will never result in anything other than a delay of the war. Just like Daleks, if the Dranglaex are ever not trying to exterminate you at any given moment, it’s probably because they think it will be to their advantage to delay. Unless you’re pretty damn sure the delay will be more beneficial to you than to them, you shouldn’t go for it, so diplomacy is only a good option if you both think you can benefit more from the delay than the other. Given what… Read more »

Dagroth
Dagroth
6 months ago
Reply to  Mnemnosyne

Another advantage of the Dranglaex might be their wilingness to blow up inhabited planets – so far they destroyed a minor world (and part of its inhabitants was saved), but what if they target, say, major industrial/military shipyards?

Rolando
Rolando
6 months ago

The classic irony here, and one I hope the Vicen recognises fully… Is that you WANT someone who doesn’t really WANT such power. Because those who DO want it, almost always go the “power corrupts” route.

Jay
Jay
6 months ago

Ah yes! The “little known, seldom used, reactivation clause!”

William
William
6 months ago

First you insult me, then want to call upon my duty to the Federation? How about a big “fuck you” instead?

Michael
Michael
6 months ago
Reply to  William

He’s bungling the negotiation. He’d be better off just cutting to the chase with “The past is the past. We need you, and we’re desperate so we can at least limit the bloodshed past the half-million lives already lost. Will you help us?”

Kenju
Kenju
6 months ago

As a favorite quote of mine from Reign of Fire goes “Now ends the volunteer portion, it’s time for the draft.”

Marsh
Marsh
6 months ago

“And thus we will now put you into cyro until we need you as a shooty weapon”

Ben
Ben
6 months ago

And now for the next problem: Unlike everyone reading along at home, Cort does NOT want to participate in this war.

To be honest, if he’s not willing to use the Starcaster to help stop what is very obviously a greater evil than the Federation, he should just consent to the amputate-and-get-a-robot-arm option, and potentially take a payout in the process.

Meatballs21
Meatballs21
6 months ago

Finding it harder and harder to root for Cort… he’s a frigging dope. A series of impulsive bad decisions (some seemingly trying to show off what a carefree maverick he is) and now thinking he can just promise to be good and be allowed to leave.

Darkhorse
Darkhorse
6 months ago
Reply to  Meatballs21

To me he’s using reductio ad absurdum. He’s making fun of the situation, to make light of how f*cked he is. He has a good understanding of the Federation. He has an asset of ridiculous proportions grafted to his arm. An asset that, if used correctly, it better than having a group of dreadstorms. Would the Federation have him just up and leave eith a group of dreadstorms, because he said he wouldn’t use them? Definitely not. He uses the truth mixed with ridiculousness to make it all manageable. Just like soldiers in war or surgeons in a hospital do… Read more »

Meatballs21
Meatballs21
6 months ago
Reply to  Darkhorse

For sure, a bit of gallows humour. It just seems to me that he’s counted on luck so much so far (well before we joined the story) and is long overdue this comeuppance. He’s still hoping to weasel out of it if he can.

Garry
Garry
6 months ago

It wouldn’t make for the most exciting story, but if Cort doesn’t want to be on the front lines, he could volunteer to go to federation colonies and use the starcaster in it’s intended role to improve the terraforming on those planets – making them more fertile, adjusting the orbit fractionally to improve the growing season, or converting ice planets into warm ones. It would improve the Federation’s warfighting ability, show the people that their government cares just as much about them as it does for fighting, and keeps Cort out of direct confrontation while he learns to channel power… Read more »

Derfman
Derfman
6 months ago

In other words… you’ve been drafted.

Mithramuse
Mithramuse
6 months ago

Ruth (Angela Lansbury): “Your sense of DOOO-teee…”

Kevin Greenbaum
Kevin Greenbaum
6 months ago

This is the best outcome he could fairly expect to get, he should’ve known being told he was free to go without incident wasn’t in the card, hopeful as he might be. Only issue here would be he clearly needs more training to be effective with it to help them, but he also now has access to a significantly more experienced teacher.

Thallone
Thallone
6 months ago

Prediction: Cort refuses, thus causing him to be precisely where he needs to be the next time the federation is attacked, allowing him to become the hero.

Crestlinger
Crestlinger
6 months ago

Bore no ill will. Cause here’s a steaming Pile of it headed your way! Cort should negotiate for Everything he can now while it’s just present company.