Katarakis escapes with Delphius’ charged timesuit. Deep Time is held at bay for now. The crew rushes to meet with Vanderbeam in the Renaissance wing, to learn the final truth behind it all.
I will never, ever get tired of the slow laser.
Yeah, I don't get this "imprinting his engram" with the universe thing. I'll just assume it's bad, unless it has an ironic result, such as killing him, or not making a difference in the universe as it unfolds.
It's the same thing as the precursor race in Star Trek, only at a much deeper level. Life won't be able to evolve in a non-Katarakis way.
Kris, I'm STILL waiting for Time Ruiner to show up what with all this time travel! Or is one of them him?
the time ruiner carries Katarakis' engram, which is why he is an expert at ruining time
I maintain the belief that Katarakis fails because Chex beats him to it. http://www.checkerboardnightmare.com/retrocomics/…
Did anyone else feel a little heart broken for Memnon when Holiday made out with Cutter?
First comment ever!
That's a pretty elegant solution to the problem of time traveling enemies – prevent their future from coming about in the first place. But it also seems a little anticlimactic, so I hope there's going to be more to it then this.
Also, if Katarakis is erased from history, won't that cause some pretty major changes of its own? He and his "Republic of Liberated Worlds" were apparently a major force in the 35th century for a while. Or am I misunderstanding something (it's time travel, easy to do)?
I'm still trying to wrap my head around Katarakis essentially unmaking himself. He never becomes a rogue agent, so he never implants the engram, so Deep Time IS created, so he DOES become a rogue agent…. ugh!
Its not Katarakis dying that makes the difference, its the removal of Deep Time by destroying The Thought. By stopping Deep Time from being created, Katarakis can't join, He can't get hold of a timesuit, and can't go rogue..
So the paradox is slightly different, if Deep Time is destroyed. Katarakis doesn't go rogue, so the elder Vanderbeam doesn't need a Time suit to stop Katarakis, so he doesn't place the engram. Which means it would all still happen, so Elder Vanderbeam does need to stop him, but if he does then he can't get the suit himself, so he can't.
So in order to work, the events would have to be both happening and not happening at the same time, or Katarakis would have to go back to the point of the Big Bang before time kicked in to prevent the paradox. But then, if he goes back to before time, how do you time travel to pre-time with a Time suit?
I made my head hurt.
Whole lot of love for Kristofer Straub.
Really, really loving the finale (although I weep for Maverick Blazer).
Kind of a tangent, but I wonder – if there is a reunion between Vanderbeam and Jovia coming up, could they really be happy together? In Vanderbeam's original universe, Jovia didn't particularly like him. In the universe of the Jovia he's been chasing, he was (in some small way) a different person. Can Vanderbeam ever truly find whatever he's looking for?
Perhaps it was right under his nose this whole time. Like a mustache.
Was his alternate life (That he arrives in when he's unconscious) inspired by the (Cancelled) TV show Awake?
Impossible, due to the fact that nobody ever watched Awake
Hey man, I watched Awake. And it was good.
I've been wondering about this as well, ever since Vanderbeam found the love letter in "his" old desk after the Jupiter bomb. Does it get awkward when he finds her and says "I'm not the same Vanderbeam that you loved, but don't worry, I've done all the required reading"?
If he had managed to jump into a universe where she was still alive, would he have pushed that Vanderbeam into one where she had died? Would that Vanderbeam then try to find his way back? What's the morality of cheating another you out of the future you both want, even if you were cheated first? I can't imagine there's an easy answer, but I've always kinda wanted to the comic to wonder about it at some point.
The recent revelations that Vanderbeam/Jovia is a constant that Deep Time considers vital to policing the continuum doesn't *exactly* address that dynamic, but it adds a lot of dimension to it. Maverick seemed to imply they would even step in and ensure it never happened. The fact is, we have no idea if they would have hooked up in the "original" universe; between the Directorate, the Consortium, Deep Time, and Katarakis, they were cheated out of a real chance to find out, and it turns out that Vanderbeam was smitten and stubborn enough to push back, not knowing at the time what he was pushing back against. I rather like this idea (and the thematic tie-in to curation in today's comic), though I admit I don't quite understand the mechanics of what's just happened yet.
All things happen in opposition, or so it goes. A thing can be in existence and no existence when seen from another dimension. Like a dynasty in history as seen on a chart.
I swear I've read the whole archive, and yet the strip and commenters keep bringing up things I don't remember. The "Thought"?? The Time Ruiner? Republic of Liberated Worlds? And Katarakis was just a rogue Deep Time agent?
The "Thought" is the eventual evolution of humanity that Deep Time is tasked with protecting, this is definitely something referenced in the strip and something you need to remember in order to understand their motivations. Katarakis being a Deep Time agent is mentioned in the strip, it explains his vast knowledge and his possession of a time suit.
Time Ruiner is a reference to Chainsawsuit I believe, one of Kris's other works. That's just posters being humorous.
For the record, the "Thought" was first described in this strip: http://starslip.com/2008/08/21/starslip-number-85…
The Republic of Liberated Worlds was the formal name of Katarakis's empire, and was first mentioned here: http://starslip.com/2005/12/20/starslip-number-15…
Thanks guys. I don't know how y'all manage to find these things.
Also, yeah, the Time Ruiner is from Chainsaw Suit, and isn't an actual or proper character in Starslip (as far as I know!).
Ha! ElderBeam IS the Time Ruiner!
Ending prediction: the medieval universe Vanderbeam keeps dreaming about is actually the anti-Katarakis timeline, permeating the multiverse in fits and starts. In a few strips' time, each Starslip character will phase out and be replaced with a Ren Faire style equivalent (Mr. Jinx is now an elf and/or dragon of some kind). Enter Kris Straub's new fantasy comic, "Swordslip"!
If there's still time … any chance you could work some huge multi-sided battle in there too? (a la Checkerboard Nightmare's climax)
Like Vore's robots vs. the mafia vs. the angry Quell vs. space pirates vs. Vanderbeam vs. Lucifuge ?
Crud, speaking of which … where is Lucifuge and the monoliths and the space zoo and Xxxyyy and the Chronomantic?
I will admit that I'm hoping to see the return of Infra-Redbeard one last time.
As for von Lucifuge and his 'cabal'… well, the story's not over yet.
There is no time. No time left. Vanderbeam is the linchpin. The center cannot hold.
The fact that you responded to me as the strip draws to a close means a lot.
I know you have a million projects you're working on … but you still made me feel a part of this.
Thank you, Kris.
I have some tears.
Huh. You know, I *thought* Medieval!Beams looked a little older, but I figured it was just his hairstyle. But how exactly is one supposed to give Renaissance-suitable identities to the aliens?
And I still hope this isn't quite the end – there's so many unanswered questions. Will we ever know how Vanderbeam's suit became the Astry uniform?!?
I do like the hover title for this one.
Kris, pretty damn amazing.
But is it the end?
Also, the constant was already broken before Deep Time tried to stop it being broken. Nice.
Thanks Kris. That was beautiful.
I have to admit… this seems somehow less than heroic. I mean, Deep Time might have been a bunch of hardasses, but…I do sympathize with them. An entire era of humanity was just wiped out. That's harsh.
The Thought was a silent cocoon of amalgamated intelligences that was never going to hatch: the ultimate gated community. Deep Time was its engineered cyborg protectorate charged with chasing down countless ghosts. It was never much of a future.
I feel bad for Deep Time, but I've always suspected they would ultimately have to go.
Frankly, I sort of hope that we're seeing the end of time travel in general (apart from something, hopefully, to get our crew back from the Renaissance once it's time – Vanderbeam's the only one who might be happy living out his life there, what with Jovia and art). It's been far more harm then good.
I very rarely get all weepy and sentimental over love stories, but I'm getting all weepy and sentimental over this one. Perhaps because I've watched Vanderbeam seek Jovia for years now, so that when they finally are getting the chance to be together, it feels like an extraordinary accomplishment. I'm reminded that I do have a heart.
I don't cry while reading comics (or anything else), but the last two panels here did make me slightly sniffly.
Okay, after THIS one I got slightly teary. But just a little.
That last line? Beautiful. <3 Thanks for all the entertaining years with Starslip!
Is it too much to hope we'll have a small epilogue?
This strip right here obviously isn't the end of the comic; not sure why people think it is.
The question is whether it's *about* to end, or whether we have a few weeks more to go. It looks like the former, but I'm hoping for the latter.
I don't want it to end
Kris, this has been a wonderful trip and I'm really enjoying the way you're wrapping it all up. It's really felt like you've been creatively rejuvenated for the series since you found your end-point, and the last several weeks have been so much the better for it.
I'm looking forward to whatever comes next.
Thank you for giving Starslip a proper goodbye. Your writing and art has never been better. I hope you come back to this universe one day (in 13 years?) as I believe there are many more great stories to tell. Anyway with Starslip ending and F Chords on hiatus I hope you have something great planned for the future. Chainsawsuit is funny but is hardly worthy of your talents. I probably could have copy and pasted HappyGuy above, but I thought the more voices echoing a similar sentiment the better.
Slow clap and stand bro…
Slow clap and stand.
… is that it? Love the comic, but this has been going super-rushed for about the last month (ever since Deep Time re-appeared). Feels less like a resolution and more like a blur. I hope we get the pace eased off "breakneck" a bit before the final panel …
That was fucking beautiful.
Bravo, sir. Just…bravo.
Man, time travel is confusing. Deep Time is going to take 13 years to disappear – would that point be 13 years after the Renaissance, the Starslip epoch, or the Deep Time future? Does every date in history have to increment 13 years? Is that a thing?
Also, is Vanderbeam going to be able to return to the exact place in history that he left after the 13 years are up, or are we going to be seeing the entire cast as wizened future-selves in the strips to come? (And I am desperately hoping we'll get another week of strips, at least!)
This story-ending arc has been tremendous, Kris. Great work.
Those aren't tears, darnit! I just have something in my eye! Okay, both eyes!
A triple spread! I am triple-bummed, but triple-stoked as well.
Thanks for all the years of Starslip, Kris. I have enjoyed it immensely.
All things gotta end sometime, and I'm so happy I don't have to be clutching my chest and moaning "Not like this… not like this" as Starslip draws toward its own conclusion. I'm sad, of course, but happily sad.
Kris, your artistry and story-telling are amazing! But since I'm a Type A, I have to ruin the moment and ask: is this the first time we've seen that Cutter has a space peg-leg?
He picked it up way back near the beginning of this storyline, remember?
Is hieronymus b'gosh ok?
I think (and this is just my theory) the existence of the multiverse helps get rid of some of those paradoxes.
Like deep time can "not exist" in one timeline and "exist" in another one?
If they exist in one universe, they'd be able to use the starslip drive to jump to others. The only way it would work is to remove them from every timeline.
At least, thats what I think would be feasable with the level of tech available in the Starslip universe(s).
Stopping Katarakis from adjusting the fabric of space would only have to be performed once if the Starslip Universe conforms to the 'Trousers of Time' theory.
Plus a million points for using the word "Trousers."
Kris (sorry i know i've been posting a lot)
Any chance of selling any more Jinxlets?
I always put off buying one because I assumed the strip would be eternal …
How can we feel heartbroken for that when he's been travelling through time and space for years/decades/centuries for Jovia? He's never even looked at Holiday like that.
I still approve.
OK, so wrap up Starslip. But for heaven's sake start something that's up to your talents as a writer, which are clearly huge. So far your other projects are really funny, but they seem so pithy in comparison to the range on display here.
This ride has been amazing. Thanks.
I know I'm playing Devil's Advocate, but I still can't help feeling bad for Deep Time. They were just trying to defend the world they'd been born into. All they wanted was to protect humanity to the best of their ability. I just can't imagine that anyone else would have behaved differently. If any of us found out that someone was trying to change the past and erase everything we knew, wouldn't we try to stop them? Our world can be crappy, sure, but I'd rather not see everyone wiped out of existence simply because some folks a couple million years ago didn't like the way history unfolded. Is that fair to them? No, but it wouldn't be fair to everyone we know and love if we just sat back and let it happen.
They weren't the heroes from our point of view, but they weren't villains. They weren't like Katarakis. They dedicated their lives to defending their home, and now they've lost everything, doomed to fade away with barely even a memory.
This is not a story with clear-cut heroes. Earlier Meridian demonstrated outright disgust at Vanderbeam's obsession with Jovia. And from Deep Time's perspective the entirety of humanity as they knew it, a whole stage of human evolution which relied on them to safeguard it, has been wiped out all for the sake of a pair of star-crossed lovers and company.
We can applaud Katarakis and his entire being shooting down the drain. But, if nothing else, I think Deep Time at least deserves a tear or two shed on their behalf.
Ok, if you are going to play devil's advocate, play it from both sides. You say we should shed a tear or two for Deep Time, but the way they safe-guarded their future is what made them villains. They were willing to kill Vanderbeam and anyone else who might threaten their future existence. You can argue that Vanderbeam had it coming for fighting against his and Jovia's fate. But why is Vanderbeam in the wrong for fighting for a future he wants as opposed to a future that makes Deep Time happy? You are right that the heroic side of the argument can be debated, but as a certain ghostly jedi once said, "many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view." You can argue from Deep Time's point of view, or you can cheer on the victory of Vanderbeam and Jovia. I choose the latter.
Well, yeah… that's kind of my point. You can choose either side. And in a war fraught with such ambiguity, there should be some measure of respect paid to the casualties.
Deep Time wasn't overtly villainous. And I think it should be acknowledged that the outcome was regrettable. Every member, every part of The Thought, is now, for all intents and purposes, dead. It's bad enough when anyone dies, in any circumstance, be it war, espionage, accident… any death is tragic to some degree. Even where bad guys are concerned. And now it's an entire branch of humanity, as decided by a few people chasing their own version of fulfillment.
What if Vanderbeam and the others had seen the future that Deep Time comes from and said to themselves, "My God! All thinking minds united in a single blissful thought, and the remaining humans joined to fight heroically against rampant time travel. What a future! Like a cosmic work of art! What right have we to destroy it, especially having spoken with its people?" What if Beams then decided to abandon his quest for his one true love, deeming his own broken heart an acceptable price to pay for the sake of this destiny? Would that be so much worse? He's met Deep Time. Spoken with them. They're not hypothetical, they're real people. What if he had decided to spare their lives by abandoning what Holiday herself decried as a fool's errand?
It's kind of like that movie, The Adjustment Bureau. Two people fight the forces of fate itself for their love. And that's great, right? But what if the plot had been that, were they to succeed, every member of the Bureau and an entire populated section of space and time would be snuffed out? What if they hold hands long enough, and all the people chasing them collapse into pathetic, screaming piles of dust, joined by a choir of human voices calling their death throes from unseen corners of time and space? Those Bureau guys wouldn't have seemed quite so villainous, nor would Matt Damon and Whatserface have been quite so heroic.
It comes down to this… I'm happy for Vanderbeam and Jovia. But many, many lives have been lost. Generations of people who simply did what they thought they had to do. Maybe they were wrong to go about it like they did. But it's still a tragedy, however you look at it.
Or, one life has been lost, since The Thought was the amalgamated intelligence of the sum of mankind, but it didn't offer anything other than requiring constant protection! Maybe it was an evolutionary dead end.
Whatever it was, the Deep Time folks seemed to think it was worth fighting to protect. It's hard to believe they would devote themselves to guarding something without some intrinsic worth. Also, weren't they wiped out too?
To play devil's devil's devil's advocate, the agents were vat-grown for the purpose of defending the Thought.
It's worth noting that Katarakis – and every other "threat to time" we've seen – existed as a direct result of Deep Time. So the threats they were trying to protect the Thought against – their sole reason for existence? Their own fault.
I do feel *bad* for them. But it really wasn't much of a future, and given that it was essential to them that it be the only one, it had to go. It wasn't just a matter of Deep Time or Beams and Jovia – it was a matter of them and the future of every single timeline.
Am I the only one who just realized Vanderbeam is the Chronomantic's dad?
Check out the Jinxlets/Space Zoo storyline, December 2009.
Kris, I want to say how much I've enjoyed this last few months of strips. It's very clear you've been thinking about this ending for a while. I'm sad to see these characters go, but they got such a great farewell that I'm not going to complain.
Ave atque vale.
That was beautiful. A great comic from start to finish. You make us all look to the future.
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