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The Starcaster Chronicles 12.24

November 28, 2023 by Tim


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RblDiver
RblDiver
6 months ago

Well, we now know that asset was indeed willing and aware.
I guess we’ll find out whether the starcaster can repair a bomb blast.

Last edited 6 months ago by RblDiver
foducool
foducool
6 months ago
Reply to  RblDiver

I think the better question is : can he recover from that before the drangalex can put their hands on him

John
John
6 months ago

Dang was he too slow on the draw to blast those bombs away? I imagine the ship would be in even worse condition if he does laser them in that direction. Hopefully he can form some kind of shield. Creating a static wall of energy that destroys things that contact it, such as head and compressed air waves, is prob possible in this world and should work.

The Legacy
The Legacy
6 months ago
Reply to  John

From what I’ve seen, there is no low power setting on the Starcaster that wouldn’t immediately punch a hole through the side of the ship. Firearms, maybe, but I’d assume that they keep their firearms in lockers.

Del Cox
Del Cox
6 months ago
Reply to  The Legacy

You’ve missed a few pages. Even Cort was already at the level where he can draw graffiti without punching through his canvas.

SkullsGrav
SkullsGrav
6 months ago
Reply to  Del Cox

Cort did punch through that 3 foot deep rock, no indication what it blew up behind it. I don’t the ship would like it, but then again its not going to like two bombs either.

Not That Brian
Not That Brian
6 months ago
Reply to  The Legacy

Many episodes ago, when they finally found the thing, they found words etched in the wall with the starcaster.

It’s clear that a user who can control it can do a lot of more nuanced things.

Del Cox
Del Cox
6 months ago
Reply to  Not That Brian

Right, that’s what I was thinking of.

VibrantEvolution
VibrantEvolution
6 months ago
Reply to  John

if you blast an explosive substance… won’t it…still explode?

ReyMonoArdilla
ReyMonoArdilla
6 months ago

It really depends on the substance. Somethings explode when they reach a certain temperature, some when they’re exposed to an electrical current or charge, some when they react with a particular chemical.

Esc
Esc
6 months ago

You can light RDX (Semtex/C4) on fire and it’ll burn but not explode. You can even shoot it with bullets and the shock won’t detonate it. Modern high explosives require an actual preexisting explosion shockwave to detonate, necessitating blasting caps which bridge the gap from electromechanical to explosive force. Who the hell knows what the explosive charge the suicide bomber is carrying and how it works or what a starcaster beam actually is, but in real life a beam of directed energy could either burn away the explosive and assailant without detonation but also I believe a sufficiently focused beam… Read more »

SkullsGrav
SkullsGrav
6 months ago

Depends. You can cook with C4.

Jaysburn
Jaysburn
6 months ago
Reply to  John

Judging by the explosion in the last panel…

Texas Red
Texas Red
6 months ago
Reply to  Jaysburn

Eh, it didn’t blow the ship apart, so it must’ve been somewhat contained I think…

KeyokeDiacherus
KeyokeDiacherus
6 months ago
Reply to  John

In fairness, he was hardly expecting a threat inside his ship and would be focused on the best way to deal with the fleet to ensure his ship’s survival. It takes time to respond to a sudden change. Also, the suicide bomber probably only got to “creators” before the bombs went off – the rest of the speech was just for the audience’s enlightenment. If he actually had time to say that whole speech, then not only would he have been hit by the starcaster, odds are good one of the other crew would have at least tackled him.

evilleet
evilleet
6 months ago

oh … oh damn o_O

GeorgeV
GeorgeV
6 months ago

I assume he simply used a manual detonator. Still, I want to believe he used a timer and had to spend so, so many hours practicing the exact walk distance and having his little speech line up perfectly with the moment of detonation.

Ursa
Ursa
6 months ago
Reply to  GeorgeV

Could also have been voice activated for “unspoiled”

Mr. Casual
Mr. Casual
6 months ago

Probably could’ve blown him away in the time it took to shout his spiel.

Zaldrak
Zaldrak
6 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Casual

Talking is a free action.

The Legacy
The Legacy
6 months ago
Reply to  Zaldrak

As long as the dialogue is six seconds long! ?

Imperator Ruscal
Imperator Ruscal
6 months ago
Reply to  The Legacy

Even then, a button push for a manual detonator would be a minor action (at worst; more likely to be at-will).

That said, I feel like a StarCaster should have some buffs to initiative as well as constitution — though I don’t know what Con bonus would be required to survive a pair of demo charges and “reach out and hug him” range.

The Legacy
The Legacy
6 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Casual

Probably, but if it’s someone you know (even if in passing), they haven’t shown any sign of betrayal or Insanity in the past, and are currently distracted with something else, you may not realize someone is about to do something bad until it’s too late. I think this fits.

Hyshi
Hyshi
6 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Casual

Dead man switch: if you RELEASE the button, the bomb goes off.

Mr. Casual
Mr. Casual
6 months ago
Reply to  Hyshi

That one I could definitely buy.

Sasquatch
Sasquatch
6 months ago
Reply to  Hyshi

Deadman switch might backfire if the Starcaster can throw a shield around the bomber. Then the jokes on him.

kaladorn
kaladorn
6 months ago

When you are at battle stations, your bridge should probably not be unlocked. If a larger group of ships come out of nowhere out in some fringe location, maneuvering or jumping should be your first response, especially if you have a) a starcaster onboard, b) you are scouting for a hostile force and c) presumably you will immediately recognize an unknown ship or hostile ship visually and can tell a cargo hauler from something that could be a warship. Also surprised that the military ships don’t have jump-capable message torpedoes. Getting out information immediately is any scouts responsibility *and immediately… Read more »

Gregoriownd
Gregoriownd
6 months ago
Reply to  Tim

While it’s true that everyone on board is Federation personnel, not everyone might be cleared for bridge access. This is something I have seen come up in military sci-fi before, and it wouldn’t surprise me if there are actual measures like this in real militaries. Typically this is a preemptive measure against things such as enemy boarders or hull breaches (this is also why a bridge near the exterior hull is also not a great idea). That being said, these enemy actions happened in quick succession, so a proper lockdown may not have even been finished, even if it is… Read more »

VibrantEvolution
VibrantEvolution
6 months ago
Reply to  Gregoriownd

This seems like a small fighter or carrier/transporter that’s not meant to hold that many people and not really a real battleship where a lot of people are stationed on. So the bridge might not really be like on a large cruiser

7eggert
7eggert
6 months ago
Reply to  Tim

A large ship will have a lot of crew who qualifies for trust by “they are willing to serve” or “do the cleaning”. Yes they are federation but the basis for trust is very thin. OTOH proper access control management is burdening and it’s likely skipped.

The message torpedoes are a thing assuming that classic radio waves would take too long or radio can easily be scrambled. I assume secure subspace communication though, space scifi does have these by default.

Barmem
Barmem
6 months ago

Well, tbh he deserved it, his reaction time is real slow if that guy managed to finish his speach before it exploded

Wut
Wut
6 months ago
Reply to  Barmem

Could have been a dead man’s switch

Luke
Luke
6 months ago
Reply to  Wut

Why would it beep then 😉

7eggert
7eggert
6 months ago
Reply to  Luke

ecause the reader needs to hear that there is a bomb

Gonfrask
Gonfrask
6 months ago

Well, now…are these individuals that are part of a cult? Is the whole race of this guy “compromised”? If the while picture is able to reach to the Federation could cause some kind of fissures in the organization? Who the hell do the recruitment that a zealot is not noticed during the process?

Casper
Casper
6 months ago

You have to be pretty thoroughly brainwashed to support a genocidal race (when you’re not that race) bent on destroying every other living thing. So suicide bombs fit. But how does such a person not get caught beforehand?

Robert
Robert
6 months ago
Reply to  Casper

Sleeper agent most likely. Look at his eyes, I´d say he doesn´t look like this normally. Some advanced tech or mind scrubbing stuff.

Olivier gagnon
Olivier gagnon
6 months ago
Reply to  Casper

Tim unfortunately painted himself in a corner with the story so he had to take a painful-to-watch shortcut to get the score back to 2v2 and the story still going. GOT-season-8-Daenerys-going-crazy-for-no-reason level shortcut. It’s very understandable, It’s not like he planned out the whole story when he drew the first page years ago. That said, the crew of a ship hosting a starcaster bearer should have nuke-handling security clearance and access to the bridge of a starcaster ship should literally have white-house-office security clearance. All be personal friends of the bearer and even the same race. The galaxy is at… Read more »

Thomas
Thomas
6 months ago
Reply to  Olivier gagnon

Yeah, there being an agent to begin with, on this ship, with access to secret, undetectable comms and to the Starcaster AND the bridge is all pretty far fetched.

It seems to me that for any of this to be feasible, there would have to be some pretty extreme factors at play. Like another sleeper agent in quite a high position indeed which arranged for this debacle. Possibly one that’s been heavily surgically altered or mind controlled somehow, or even the other Starcaster gone rogue..

chargersfan
chargersfan
6 months ago
Reply to  Tim

Okay, that all tracks. But what about the “asset” getting a message out to the Dranglaex fleet undetected? Using the comms array would have attracted attention. How would they even know which direction to send the message?

RblDiver
RblDiver
6 months ago
Reply to  Tim

To be fair, if you have an intergalactic society with spacecraft, world-ending lasers, medicine robots, etc, unless devices communicate by some sort of magic, it’s likely they would go through communication arrays on said spacecraft. It would be feasible to have a rudimentary AI monitoring messages going through the array, flagging potentially questionable messages for review by an intelligence officer or something. Maybe not for society as a whole, but definitely for sensitive areas like spacecraft carrying strategic weapons. Heck, my grandfather, as an officer during WW2, had to help censor letters sent by soldiers. Not real-time, true, but we’ve… Read more »

7eggert
7eggert
6 months ago
Reply to  RblDiver

If there is a special messenger who hides a text in a cat pic, that can totally be done. But even without that: Nowadays Russian soldiers send geo-tagged selfies.

chargersfan
chargersfan
6 months ago
Reply to  RblDiver

Agreed. Tim’s reply seems to suggest he thinks the “internet” as we know it in this century exists everywhere in the universe, which is a bit ludicrous. It still has to go through communication equipment, which in this case would be controlled by the military, which as you (RblDiver) stated, was closely monitored even in times of lesser technology. I mean, where even is this ship? I doubt they have access to public WiFi. Not to poop on what you’re doing here, Tim. I love the Starcaster series! It’s just that your answer seems to point to a potential hole… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by chargersfan
VibrantEvolution
VibrantEvolution
6 months ago
Reply to  chargersfan

He could have been calling his wife and she might be a fanatic too. Maybe outgoing calls are getting checked after that…

Thomas
Thomas
6 months ago
Reply to  Tim

Thank you for your reply! It’s been a fair few months, but skimming back a good deal, his roving presence makes a bit more sense if he’s tasked with hunting down the fleet. Still seems like they’d have tighter security on a planet killer- comms blackouts included, as someone else mentioned. Had them sometimes in the service when deployed, and we were just a medical support company- but people would die, or some VIP would be in the AO, so no news going out. Space fiction often has “comm relays” needed for ships which would screen traffic but maybe this… Read more »

Darkhorse
Darkhorse
6 months ago
Reply to  Thomas

I never understand why such things are far fetched. It is unlikely that this exact chain of events have happened, but this sort chain of events had a great likelihood of happening. How many ‘assets’ are on board each ship? Could be none to a dozen. It is then only a matter of time that one of them pulls off a big stunt. In this case all the stars align for this crewmember to do it against a Starcaster. It could’ve been Quel, or one of the Trivium using a single Dreadstorm to take him home safe or something. In… Read more »

OliGagnon
OliGagnon
6 months ago
Reply to  Tim

I appreciate that you took the time to clear up some elements. I also apologize if my comment appeared a second-guessing your writing process.

However, I do maintain my initial statement that only a massive, pure, untainted, brainfart of epic proportions on the Federation’s part could keep the story “on it’s toes” while hurting the overall credibility of the story that was flawless up to now.

OliGagnon
OliGagnon
6 months ago
Reply to  Tim

Leaving one of your two “nukes” unguarded requires more than simple betrayal for personal profit like the captain on the planet of the showdown with “The Grin” or betrayal of illuminated people like that kamikaze purple man. It requires betrayal at the highest level, Triumvir of War level (as the other two seems to not have the ability to command troops), or at the bare minimum, the generals that decide which ship goes where right under the Triumvir. Maybe the explaination will come out in the next chapters, but it was obvious that the Dranglaex were an illuminated cult, but… Read more »

GeorgeV
GeorgeV
6 months ago
Reply to  OliGagnon

He’s not unguarded though, he has an entire Dreadstorm with him. Against most threats that should be more than sufficient to either win or get away before things get too bad. Something like an entire battle-ready fleet jumping in at your specific location isn’t something you can plan for. And it’s not like this is a normal nuke that indeed has no business being anywhere in the open. There is an actual reason to have Danton out here searching, namely trying using his Starcaster to try and sense the Dranglaex Starcaster’s general location (and by extension, their missing fleet). The… Read more »

7eggert
7eggert
6 months ago
Reply to  OliGagnon

The nuke isn’t a passive object but a fighter by itself. Even with this pearl harbor plus the timed sabotage the federation might still have a chance.

Rolando
Rolando
6 months ago
Reply to  Olivier gagnon

I don’t think this is a bad idea, or a clumsy shortcut/solution, like you suggest. It’s just realistic. The Dranglaex probably planted that sleeper agent long ago, and then bid their time. Waiting for the best possible moment to use him, since that’s a one-shot weapon. My guess is, they were waiting until the power balance shifted. That is, whenever a Starcaster changed hands. Ideally for them, that should’ve been when they finally obtained the Odrossian Starcaster. But, since it ended up pretty much under federation jurisdiction… They had to play this ace in the hole now. Remember. This was… Read more »

VibrantEvolution
VibrantEvolution
6 months ago
Reply to  Casper

Well there have always been cults where someone who would be unfit to join would still be told as long as they sacrifice everything they will be allowed in.
Or for example situations like being an orphan living on the streets, cold and going hungry and someone walks along and holds out their hand… if you’re desperate enough to take it and they care for you, you’ll start doing anything they want because you feel obligated to repay their kindness or because you love them.

Rolando
Rolando
6 months ago

Here’s to hoping that Starcaster dude knows how to create an effective personal energy shield fast enough. That should be well within the device’s capabilities.

I had been thinking about how the federation seems more vulnerable to infiltration than the Dranglaex, because the latter are more strict and zealous overall and the former seem to have their fair share of corruption.

But this looks more like a Manchurian candidate type of agent, the kind that is quite hard to avoid having even if your structure is a tighter one. Maybe he’s been a sleeper for years, who knows.

Disloyal Subject
Disloyal Subject
6 months ago
Reply to  Rolando

I wouldn’t count on a shield; he’s been established as less practiced with his Starcaster than the Lance Major
Though as I recall she’s here too, so all the Federation’s Starcasters are in one place, and the Drangalex just brought a fleet there; could be real bad for either side.

Rolando
Rolando
6 months ago

Did I miss anything? What makes you think the situation showing in the last two strips, is happening in the same area as where Lance Major and Cort are located. Also, even when he’s less skilled, “personal energy shield” sounds like one of the very first things someone using a Starcaster as a military resource should focus on. Was it established that he can’t fly through space using the Starcaster? Because if he can, that means he can shield himself from the rigors of space. Getting from there, to a shield that can withstand a couple bombs sounds likely. Lastly,… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Rolando
anonymouse
anonymouse
6 months ago

to those who say the starcaster guy should have been able to blast the bomber or shield the explosion, i should point out 4 things 1: unlike a animated sequence we dont know exactly WHEN in the speech the bombs were whipped out, and how long it took before they went off. if they got yoinked out on the word unspoiled and then boomed, starcaster dude wouldnt have had a chance. 2: it takes concentration to focus a starcaster to do anything. the guy was thinking about how to beat the enemy fleet to give the ship time to escape.… Read more »

ears
ears
6 months ago

Being able to just walk to the command room with two giant bombs under both arms (from where did he have them ready, personal quarters?) is some very questionable inner security practices on that ship

El_
El_
6 months ago

Prediction time: I don’t think this will kill him at all. Starcaster will keep him alive and repair any physical damage. Drangalex will capture him though and do unpleasant things ultimately gaining the Starcaster for themselves.

Starcaster-less brother with new Starcaster challenges other brother for superiority, wins, and suddenly things in general get a lot more chaotic and bloody. Maybe he even dual-wields both their Starcasters, which would be cool to see.

TalonKane
TalonKane
6 months ago

“Roll for initiative.”
“1….cra…..”

TimeViewer
TimeViewer
6 months ago

Now the question this begs:
Was that the flash of the bomb, or the Starcaster

Scarsdale
Scarsdale
6 months ago

Judging the size of the bombs and the enclosed space, I kinda doubt it was the bombs. There’s going to be damage, but from heat and any excess energy that didn’t get used up frying the bomber and his “presents”. The flash outside wasn’t big enough and there’s no external damage so it makes me wonder if the ‘caster didn’t do a low-power zap.

D00d
D00d
6 months ago

I would be more curious how this guy managed to walk from his berthing or stash spot for explosives and not get spotted. Life on a ship is cramped, there are always people in the passageways at any time of day or night. He should have been spotted carrying to mysterious beeping packages through the ship way before making it to the Bridge.

7eggert
7eggert
6 months ago
Reply to  D00d

He made an important face while carrying the package so nobody paid attention.

Del Cox
Del Cox
6 months ago

Hopefully that death rattle gave Blueberry time to get a shield up instead of just standing there in denial.

Solokov
Solokov
6 months ago

NGL, I kinda expected this starcaster guy getting caught by the drangalex and there possibly a traitor on this ship, that said I did not expect someone onboard the ship to go full fanatic.

Halosty
Halosty
6 months ago
Reply to  Solokov

Looking at that guy’s lack of pupils, I don’t think this is a mundane level of brainwashing. I don’t know if Starcasters can mess with people’s heads or the Drangalex have something else, but it sure doesn’t look like a natural result

Kenju
Kenju
6 months ago
Reply to  Tim

Not sure if you will see this, but any chance we might get something like a encyclopedia entry for the various races with facts like this? Because this is the kind of stuff I live and breath in Sci-Fi ^^ Cool or special little traits each race has that make them stand out as unique, like in Star Trek how Klingon’s lack tear ducts, or Vulcan’s having a second eyelid etc

LadenSwallow
LadenSwallow
6 months ago

To the people mentioning the ability to transmit a message from this ship being a security implausibility – I would suggest reading the epilogue of Earthlight by Arthur C Clarke, who while being a fiction author had incredible contributions to science throughout his works. TLDR: An optical telescope can also conceivably act as a focal transmitter of optical light (aka laser), which travelling away from the source would be invisible unless it reflected off intermediary dust. Conceivably any astrocartography science officer could determine a sweep pattern of such a device and direct an intercept stealth-ship/probe to be in to pick… Read more »

Rolando
Rolando
6 months ago

I don’t think this is a bad idea, or a clumsy shortcut/solution, like some people suggest. It’s just realistic. The Dranglaex probably planted that sleeper agent long ago, and then bid their time. Waiting for the best possible moment to use him, since that’s a one-shot weapon. My guess is, they were waiting until the power balance shifted. That is, whenever a Starcaster changed hands. Ideally for them, that should’ve been when they finally obtained the Odrossian Starcaster. But, since it ended up pretty much under federation jurisdiction… They had to play this ace in the hole now. Remember. This… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Rolando
Crestlinger
Crestlinger
6 months ago

Time to find out if he can Cast barriers now.

Logic
Logic
6 months ago

Talk about weak ship security. Surely sensitive and important areas of the ship like the Bridge, Engineering, CIC would require a high level of security clearance to gain access. That

Alex
Alex
6 months ago

Huh. I wasn’t expecting it to be a random character. I was sure it would be the woman who keeps bringing people everywhere.

Sujad
Sujad
6 months ago

Wait… They have someone with a starcaster on a single ship with no escort fleet? What? That’s like having a random tank equipped with a nuclear bomb traveling around and expecting no one to go for it because it has a nuclear bomb.

GeorgeV
GeorgeV
6 months ago
Reply to  Sujad

Not quite the same situation. A nuke has no real reason to be traveling around in the open, and no real reason to be without a big army around it. There are two main differences here: -There is a purpose to having Danton go out in the field like this; They’re trying to use him (and La’Ni) to sense the enemy Starcasters victinity. -There is a reason for not having a big army, as this was (presumably) supposed to be a stealth operation. More ships = More attention, more risk for the Dranglaex to detect something and warp away again.… Read more »

Shecky
Shecky
6 months ago

That starcaster has no hustle. That is not the gait of “I’ll buy you some tecks” unless tecks are nanoseconds.

San Fran Sam
San Fran Sam
3 months ago

Not to seem ungrateful but where is issue 13? No comments less than 3 months old. Patreon only?