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[Comments] (4) Crisis On Infinite Universes: Gather round, fanboys and -girls, and I'll tell you the noncanonical story of how the new universe in Starslip diverged from the universe in which the past several years of the comic took place. It looks like what Kris is writing is consistent with this model, but obviously if he contradicts it, what he writes takes precedence. I'm talking about this because, as I said earlier, this is too nerdy and boring to actually cover in the strip. But on my boring weblog, anything goes!

Two and a half years ago, in the universe that was destroyed recently (universe 1), Cutter, Holiday, and Mr. Jinx worked out the problems with starslip drive, realized that the conspiracy went all the way to the top and that they had to stay away from Earth. Of course, Vanderbeam chose that moment to send the Fuseli to Earth, where our heroes were confronted by military forces and blackmailed into silence. With a kind of penny-ante blackmail that doesn't hold up very well through later character development, but that's a different issue. Suffice to say they're stymied.

Note that the timing is very tight. A couple minutes delay and Cutter/Holiday/Jinx could have convinced Vanderbeam to stay away from Earth. One decision could change everything. In the model I presented to Kris, the point of divergence between universe 1 and the new Starslip universe (universe 2) is in the third panel of this strip.

In universe 2, Cutter didn't think of calling Jinx down to engineering to help them figure out what was going on. This bought them time in two ways. First, Vanderbeam actually dresses more slowly when Mr. Jinx helps him, because he's fussier when he's got someone to push around. Second, Holiday didn't have to explain to Jinx the problem with starslip just then. The downside is that Jinx wasn't around to put the final piece of the puzzle together. It took a little longer for Cutter and Holiday to decide to stay away from Earth. But there was still a net time savings, and Holiday had time to lock the starslip drive before Vanderbeam could give the fatal command.

In other words, universe 2 turned out differently because you weren't reading the comic in that universe, so there was no need for Kris to do a bunch of exposition. (Similarly, the art style is different in universe 2 because in that universe Kris let his drawing style change naturally instead of holding it back for consistency's sake.)

As you know, Bob, the fundamental problem with starslip was revealed when the Fuseli made what turned out to be a discontinuous starslip from universe 0 (where the strip began) to universe 1. (If you must nitpick, "universe x" is a label I give to an infinite number of very very similar universes.) Universe 1 was a worse place than universe 0 for a variety of reasons. For instance, in universe 1, Jovia, the woman who is not Vanderbeam's girlfriend, is dead.

She's dead, but the Fuseli has records of Jovia after her supposed death, back when she and they lived in universe 0. In universe 1, Vanderbeam just moped about Jovia, prevented by blackmail from going up against the powerful Directorate. But in universe 2, he was able to go public with these records and stop the investigation into her death from being covered up. This lead to the events described here. And now the Fuseli from universe 1 has made another discontinuous starslip into universe 2, and become aware of all this. So NOW YOU KNOW. Noncanonically.

This is actually one of the less complicated things we came up with for the semi-reboot.


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