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The Starcaster Chronicles 12.16

November 16, 2023 by Tim


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Lincoln
Lincoln
7 months ago

A good deal… through it depends on what rank Officer they offer to make him.

With what he has to offer, and what he’s worth… “General” is the appropriate rank.

If Solo and Calrissian deserve to be Generals, Ryder does.

xrogaan
xrogaan
7 months ago
Reply to  Lincoln

General is an administrative rank. It’s somebody dealing with troops and whatever. Cort isn’t made to be General, he’s independent. This is going to be a MassEffect specter thing, where he reports to a select few people.

Mailar
Mailar
7 months ago
Reply to  xrogaan

the oher starcaster bearers are a Lance Major and a Major. I would assume Ryder also would receive a simular rank.
having said that, i’d think he gains most from joining the federation. there is much Lance Major La’ni can teach him on the use of the starcaster.

EMMachine
EMMachine
7 months ago
Reply to  Lincoln

My guess would be Major or Lance Major (like the other known Starcaster Characters).

Dave
Dave
7 months ago
Reply to  EMMachine

Not certain what ranks they have, but in the US system a Warrant Office rank would be the most appropriate. Then he’d be as independent as he and they agreed he needed to be w/o any of the administrative/command duties of typical officers.

kaladorn
kaladorn
7 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Based on the other two officers, I’d assume he’d be a Lance Major. In some militaries, the officer corps are sticky about some parts of their responsibilities and privileges. To be listened to, anyone lesser than a Major are not really given much of a voice to the higher ups (and by that, I mean Colonels to flag rank folk) and that seems important for the StarCaster wielders. It’s like the nuclear bombs – there were lots of non-officers on those planes, but the guy responsible and his second at least were officers. For some sorts of situation, the military… Read more »

Lincoln
Lincoln
7 months ago

Also, *ahem*, “First”.

BakaGrappler
BakaGrappler
7 months ago

Now, THIS was a highly debated vote. I think there were 60 or 80 comments between the Patrons as we discussed, argued, and persuaded people into making a vote. And as far as I know, it’s the second closest vote we’ve had so far as to what to do. Refuse and live on the run from all parties Become a Contracted Mercenary with the Federation Accept the offer and rejoin the Federation Now. What do YOU all think the right move would be to make? And remember, Tim ONLY offered suggestions when he had ideas that seemed interesting to fill… Read more »

P. Stein
P. Stein
7 months ago
Reply to  BakaGrappler

to me, it’s option 2 or 3, frankly. Regardless of what happens, you’ll have to fight the dranglaex one way or another. And, frankly, you also have to live with yourself. How do you do that if you know you had a weapon at your disposal – and only at your disposal – that could turn the tide of the war? Especially when this war has a clear “bad guy” and a clear “good guy” (or at least “not actively bad guy”). Cort is a mixed character, sure, but he has a conscience. I don’t see a logical explanation for… Read more »

Daniel Sørensen
Daniel Sørensen
7 months ago
Reply to  BakaGrappler

The right move is to rejoin. The fine compromise is the Mercenary route. But Cort has yet to grow fully with the responsibility of the starcaster and his role in all this. Hell, he often ignores his heart and conscience, because deep down he is still running away from his trauma and past.
So I think in this point in time, even with the progress he has made, he will still do the first option. I don’t think he has had that final push to accept who he is yet.

kaladorn
kaladorn
7 months ago
Reply to  BakaGrappler

The problem is you lack context. On principle, one expects any government to be corrupt if it has been running things for a while and where space and money and populations are so large that corruption can easily disappear. So what are you joining? It wasn’t good enough the first time… it’s like going to fridge, taking out the milk you threw up last night because was off and then tasting it again to make sure it still is. That’s just dumb. And what if the real plan here is to take out the Dranglaex as a real competitor? What… Read more »

Vukodlak
Vukodlak
7 months ago
Reply to  kaladorn

Here’s the fact, WE KNOW the Dranglaex are bent on GENOCIDE. This is not open to debate, this is not open to alternate character interruption. Even if the Federation had the moral capacity of The Empire from Starwars ITS STILL and improvement over the Dranglaex.

Charles Gollmar
Charles Gollmar
7 months ago
Reply to  kaladorn

So, Cort can go feel morally superior on the sidelines and watch the Dranglaex eradicate the Federation planet by planet and ‘cleanse’ millions of innocent people that don’t deserve to live but “hey” at least he still has his principles.

kaladorn
kaladorn
7 months ago

And if he goes to war and wipes out a significant part of the Dranglaex, he has to live with that.

Some folks aren’t willing to do harm to prevent harm because it is an evil to stop another evil and they can’t accept that choice because it all ends evil.

We’ve got a lot of pacifist communities who hew to those sorts of values.

GeorgeV
GeorgeV
7 months ago
Reply to  kaladorn

You’re raging against a lot of horrible things the Federation could do, but you seem to be ignoring none of those have actually happened (yet). Nor is there any evidence to suggest they will. It’s pretty pointless to argue if you’re just going to use imaginary situations as if they’re actual flaws. Don’t get so enamored with your ‘rebel against the tyrant government’ fantasies that you start having to make up tyranny just to rebel against it. And on the topic of context, you seem to be ignoring the reality the Federation is dealing with. They’re fighting against an enemy… Read more »

kaladorn
kaladorn
7 months ago
Reply to  GeorgeV

If he says no, do you honestly think they will not attempt to take it from him? Your own argument of the urgency and necessity of having the StarCaster to sway the balance goes against the thought that they would not force him. In the end, violence begets violence. Many of the ‘well it was better to kill these (bad) people than let the bad people kill these other people’ examples in the real world have resulted in further violence over time. Least of the evils is still evil. And perpetuating violence leads to cycles that get worse or at… Read more »

GeorgeV
GeorgeV
7 months ago
Reply to  kaladorn

I’m not sure if you actually understood my post, because you’re still only arguing based on imaginary ‘what ifs’ rather than actually existing information.

And if you apparently can’t even understand how a moral dilemma works, there’s little point debating them with you.

Stephen
Stephen
7 months ago
Reply to  BakaGrappler

On the one hand bringing up Cort’s dad isn’t a good move. We don’t know why, but we do know he died in service But on the other other hand, Cort is still an ex-Marshal (he’s still got the uniform despite everything) and he has a conscience buried under all the chaotic “me and my crew first” attitude Running away while the Vicen is arranging informing next of kin for entire planets? Speck is right there – Cort couldn’t cope with it. He’d try to, but he couldn’t Suppose it all depends on how much Cort has grown since he… Read more »

xrogaan
xrogaan
7 months ago
Reply to  BakaGrappler

Cort isn’t his father. He’s not going to play good little soldier, no way.

TamTroll
TamTroll
7 months ago
Reply to  BakaGrappler

i’d say hard 3, soft 2.

i’m tired of running.

robin
robin
7 months ago
Reply to  BakaGrappler

option 2 or 3 but it depends on which one includes a pardon and benefits for his friends also

Kenju
Kenju
7 months ago
Reply to  BakaGrappler

Contracted merc would be the smart move. Retain some degree of freedom and independence so that they can’t royally screw him over. Rejoin the Federation and you become chained to it, subordinate to an authority that can and more than likely will force you to do things that will haunt you. Merc though, that means working for someone but not completely surrendering total and absolute control over your actions. After all, soldiers don’t have the right to ask questions or refuse orders, including stupid ones. Of course it doesn’t hurt that it would mean getting something out of the deal.… Read more »

Francis
Francis
7 months ago
Reply to  BakaGrappler

I think contracted merc is significantly the best option.
He will still help the Federation, and fight the Dranglaex, but on his own terms. And he wouldn’t be the good little soldier his father and Quel wanted him to be but he never wanted to be and never will.
If he joins the federation, he will hate it and hinself every second of it. That’s not a good way to live

RblDiver
RblDiver
7 months ago
Reply to  BakaGrappler

I think I would go with 2. He’s not super comfortable with the “weapon” nature of the caster, and having just learned that there are ways it can be used that people don’t know about, I think he will want to explore those new ways to use the caster (like, maybe he can raise a mountain as a shield or whatnot). If he’s the contracted merc, he might have more freedom to pursue this path, rather than “Go here and shoot them” that the Fed may demand.

RblDiver
RblDiver
7 months ago
Reply to  RblDiver

(Of course, if he raised this sort of objection and they allowed him this sort of freedom, then #3 would be fine)

Meatballs21
Meatballs21
7 months ago
Reply to  BakaGrappler

Somehow I doubt they’d let him become a mercenary. A weapon of mass destruction out for the highest bidder? They’d have endless problems after this war is over. Cort would, as well – if he’s in the Federation military, he has their protection. As a mercenary, he’d be dodging bullets from aggrieved targets of his future jobs as well as opportunists of all stripes trying to kill him and/or take the Starcaster. Good for future stories, maybe, but a bad choice for the character himself. He’d not know the peace and freedom he craves – he’d have to get lucky… Read more »

GeorgeV
GeorgeV
7 months ago
Reply to  Meatballs21

I don’t think the idea there is that Cort would actually go full for-hire mercenary, just that that’d be the type of arrangement under which to work with the Federation. (So he does help them, but doesn’t explicitly fall under their commands.)

The Federation obviously wouldn’t allow a rogue for-hire Starcaster running amok around their galaxy, but presumably there would be some mutually acceptable deal for that afterwards. Free to go/retire comfortably as long as he promises not to (mis)use it, something like that. Probably with some conditions to have the Starcaster returned to Federation custody when Cort eventually dies..

Meatballs21
Meatballs21
7 months ago
Reply to  GeorgeV

Yes, as others have mentioned: something like Spectre status in that he’s given more free rein to troubleshoot but still takes missions from the Federation as needed. If anything, it would appeal to his disillusionment that lead to him giving up his badge in the first place. Permission to do things in what he perceives to be the “right” way rather than be bound by being essentially rank and file. It’s a very interesting thing to contemplate.

Epsilon
Epsilon
7 months ago
Reply to  BakaGrappler

With the limited knowledge of what those choices entail, the right choice is 2 or 3. Cort does not like to see innocent civilians suffer, and while the Federation is not great, they aren’t enslaving or genociding entire races and teaming up with another starcaster is the best bet to beat the Dranglaex. My personal opinion is that Cort will choose option 2. My reasoning is that he still does not trust the Federation, he’s only here because he does trust Quel’oran. Being a mercenary grants him the ability to defy orders without as many legal/social repercussions, while still allowing… Read more »

Casper
Casper
7 months ago
Reply to  BakaGrappler

Makes no sense. I get that “Cort on the run” was the setup for his personality, but at some point there has to be growth or this is just repetitive. Also the argument about the Draenglax being out to exterminate everyone is a very strong one. With what he now knows he would need to be either dumb as s rock or flat out evil to keep running. He is neither.4 Is workable as a compromise. It’s slightly unbelievable that THAT is where he’d draw the line, or that the Federation would accept a “mercenary starcaster”, but for it’s development… Read more »

Burg
Burg
7 months ago
Reply to  BakaGrappler

A lot of people completely discounting option 1 saying it’s just some bull moral high ground but the point of running was always safety. Cort doesn’t trust the federation and giving them too great a hold on him just makes it easier for them to kill him for his starcaster. Having said that, I think option 2 could provide him with enough of a safety net if he negotiates the contract well enough. Some non-negotiable terms like: Once the Dranglaex starcaster is retrieved Cort can go his own way. Cort reports only to Quel’oran Info on his involvement is provided… Read more »

Dhaes
Dhaes
7 months ago
Reply to  BakaGrappler

I’d be thinking option 1. More or less because of the trauma and timespan of this comic’s length. How much time did he have coming to terms with it all.. and how did he deal with it? He’s being pushed into big decisions of he will regret part of it. What books and movies might say, trauma’s do not turn people into heroes overnight if they’re called upon. Thus fright fight flight reaction. He didn’t trust him to start with. My thoughts are that he’s going renegade and try to even the balance himself, by taking out the users (and… Read more »

Steve
Steve
6 months ago
Reply to  BakaGrappler

Is Tim not showing/commenting on the votes anymore? I mean I k ow non-Patrons don’t vote but it is odd to not see where the story MIGHT have branched out…

Steve
Steve
6 months ago
Reply to  Tim

Fair enough, I was just curious if we’d no longer know about story branches unless someone else posted in the comments.

Good luck with the house.

DahrAmahr
DahrAmahr
7 months ago

The unphased look on Cort’s face on the last panel is priceless.

As for what he should and what he would do… I believe he SHOULD accept the offer, but I doubt he will.

Jedi
Jedi
7 months ago
Reply to  DahrAmahr

That is the expression of a man that realized that he SHOULD accept the offer, however every single fiber in his body is struggling against it due to what he experienced.

Paul
Paul
7 months ago

The Triumvir’s species looks quite like one of the species templates from Stellaris…wonder if Tim found some inspiration there? Side note: if anyone wants to make a Starcaster mod for Stellaris…

Stephen
Stephen
7 months ago

I suppose Cort’s most honest answer is “Probably not, but I want to help anyway. I’m scared of losing my freedom”

kaladorn
kaladorn
7 months ago

Cort: “If you plan to use my friends as leverage or are willing to kill me to get it, then you aren’t worth defending. AND while I was studying this thing on my own (without any guidance), I did find out how to have the thing overload and blow a fair radius nearby to atoms… so maybe you want to let me depart with my friends and settle for that for now. You’ve got a war to fight and you didn’t want me before and now you can’t have me.”

7eggert
7eggert
7 months ago
Reply to  kaladorn

They aren’t worth defending but the people on the street are – including the officials of the federation when they happen to get a biscuit and are slaughtered by the space nazis.

Esc
Esc
7 months ago
Reply to  kaladorn

Threatening people who could have simply ended you won’t go well.

La’ni is right behind Cort. She’s fast. If she doesn’t separate his arm from his body it will be his head. She can survive in cold vacuum. Cort gets to sound like a tough guy for a moment, a terrible conflict ensues, Cort dies and maybe a lot of people, including his friends, go to. La’ni picks up the starcaster off his corpse and the world moves on.

Gonfrask
Gonfrask
7 months ago

Ah, well, more people with high regards of him without asking about the true… maybe Cort should break some dreams before asking.
Mercenary is more his role

Evan
Evan
7 months ago

I always find it curious in many scifi settings that spaceships where real-estate should be really precious use massive rooms for communication purposes where the same could be achieved with say just a VR headset

foducool
foducool
7 months ago

lol reminds me of that comic page where the orphanage burned down and everyone inside died and the chief of firefighters goes “at least I don’t have any family to notify”

Naustghoul
Naustghoul
7 months ago

Nope. But, he is the man you are going to get.

Teocali
Teocali
7 months ago

Brain say “stay”, Guts say “run”… Let see if he remember that, most of the times, guts are full of shit…

Banjo
Banjo
7 months ago

I don’t know if he really is that man. I don’t think he thinks he is

Scarsdale
Scarsdale
7 months ago

There is one option no one’s thinking of, Cort could volunteer to have the arm removed and go back to the life he had with a new arm. Only draw-back is she’d stay behind. He’s been a free spirit for so long, I don’t see him taking orders like a good little soldier. He might as a merc, but he’d still have them up his arse barking orders at him and controlling who he works with. Sadly, there IS no good option for him, one way or another he’s going to lose something, and after what he’s been through, He’s… Read more »

DevMerlin
DevMerlin
7 months ago
Reply to  Scarsdale

It’s possible the Starcaster might directly prevent that – it heals wounds if I recall correctly.

Darkhorse
Darkhorse
7 months ago
Reply to  DevMerlin

It does heal wounds, preventing slower methods of cutting. However, the healing is not unlimited instaheal and not always immediate. It is heavily suggested that a quick cut can sever the arm before the healing can take place/repair it, severing the connection of the Starcaster and the person. It was even mentioned on the dirt planet if he should live with a state of the art robotic arm, so he would be free of the Starcaster.

Last edited 7 months ago by Darkhorse
chargersfan
chargersfan
7 months ago
Reply to  Scarsdale

Don’t forget that his original aim when he and Speck discovered Nyrah was to make a quick buck. So he could agree to sell the starcaster to the feds for a tidy sum. But of course, Nyrah would never go for that.

It’s interesting that Nyrah and Speck aren’t in the room for this discussion, because it seems their fates are tied to his, and they should be given a say.

Scarsdale
Scarsdale
7 months ago
Reply to  chargersfan

It’s a common tactic, get him away from anyone that could advise him, force him to make a hasty decision, and then lock him into a situation he wouldn’t enjoy. This makes me think of someone getting convinced that he’s getting this great promotion, next thing he knows he’s in the north end of Alaska fighting snow flakes the size of his face. That why I said he’s neither stable or clear headed, I highly doubt he can think clearly. I know I wouldn’t. Keep in mind as soon as he learned who she was and what she knew about… Read more »

Spinman
Spinman
7 months ago

I’m trying to remember what specifically happened between Cort and the Federation, I know the fault was not just on Cort but can’t remember specifics. My kingdom for a Starcaster wiki!

Scarsdale
Scarsdale
7 months ago
Reply to  Spinman

Cort took a bribe from someone he called “Half-stash” and it ended up for him to keep doing that until he was caught.

Number51x
Number51x
7 months ago

Cort is going to have to just suck it up right now, but this could be better. I forget what his issues actually are with the Feds, but I feel like there needs to be a better balancing of the ledger here. Something more personal than a “we forgive YOU for whatever you did.” They need to own up to something I suspect.

Darkhorse
Darkhorse
7 months ago
Reply to  Number51x

Do not worry. Any HR person worth their salt would understand that giving a person with a Starcaster the wealth of a planet would be better than losing several planets and more in a bloody war. Incidentally it takes much, much less to sate people’s desires than a planets worth. So all in all it is a cheap deal. The fact that Cort must be managed and will get curtailed in his freedom is a given, but as long as he plays ball there is no reason for him to lack anything else.

Number51x
Number51x
7 months ago
Reply to  Darkhorse

Possibly, but I was thinking all it might actually take is some sort of apology from whoever it was that wronged him. I wish I could remember what his issue is or if it has ever been clearly stated.

That could be a verbal apology, or holding someone accountable, IDK, but something like that.

Kevin Greenbaum
Kevin Greenbaum
7 months ago

Return him to the rank he had before he left, having a starcaster doesn’t suddenly give him qualifications to move up in the ranks. Especially with him having such limited training with it.

Lord Hideous
Lord Hideous
7 months ago

“No” really isn’t an option here. Cort doesn’t know how far the Triumvir will go to get the starcaster. A lot of people think the Feds would just take his arm. The way I see it, that quick laser cut would be to Cort’s head. “he tried to escape, it was tragic”. No chance of resistance, no chance to be vocal about it afterwards. That’s not to say Cort doesn’t have some leverage, but running for it will get him killed, and probably his friends along with him. Random thought- has anyone ever worn two starcasters at once? It occurs… Read more »

Not That Brian
Not That Brian
7 months ago

Damn, now that’s an offer.

If he doesn’t take it (and we all know he won’t) he’s a fool (we all know he is).

Do the job which is inescapable anyways, get the free starcaster training, and when the war is done point blank demand you be released on the condition that you never bring the starcaster to bear against the federation and that you’ll leave it to them in your will.

Vedrit
Vedrit
7 months ago

And here we have it, folks. The “heroes call to adventure”
Will Cort answer it, or let it go to voicemail?

Rob
Rob
7 months ago

This is the (literal) call to adventure in the narrative. Cort Accepts now – or struggles deeper and accepts later. The Dranglex have certainly made the problem about as bad as it can be. Cant see how it could getting much worse… Cort could say something like: “I’d like to think so too…” – it’s clear that he has some past trauma but has looked up to his Dad and Quel for a long time. Now, He also SHOULD say he has at least 2 BIG conditions: 1) The Feds will have to Convince Nyrah BEFORE guaranteeing his service… She’s… Read more »

wilddeath
wilddeath
7 months ago

Oh he hit the daddy button. historically that has not gone well.

Matthew
Matthew
7 months ago

The most appropriate rank for Cort would be Warrant Officer. He wouldn’t be in charge of anyone, but within the limits of his specialty (the Starcaster) he would have wide latitude of action and respect from even the highest ranking officers.

Bies
Bies
6 months ago

The only thing he did not mention is that Dranglex know he has it. They will not stop till they going to get it. Whatever hole he is going to hide in they will make every effort possible to find him. If Federation loses the war he is first person they will look for. Can he afford to make that kind of gamble.