Hi folks! Thanks for tuning in.
Figured I’d answer a couple of these emailed questions here in case other readers had similar issues.
Q: Just double checking here to see if I got this correct. The current queen is Marsura, yes? Has she been queen for a while? Who came before her?
A: Marsura is the current queen; she took office comparatively young during Third Mior (so she’s been on the throne over three decades – not long in terms of a kaffir life span but longer than Sol has been alive). She succeeded Aphoisia, who was extremely popular with civilians and military within the Archon empire. The careful reader has probably noted that in spite of her popularity, Aphoisia failed to keep Archos out of a long conflict with the Ilu, whereas the Accord was signed rapidly on Marsura’s watch, briefly elevating her popularity among civilians. Over the ensuing years, she slashed military spending including cutting entire units, apparently to further appease her morally offended public, and cutting benefits to veterans living off the home world in a very tricky move approved by a home world-majority High Council, deeply to the slight of Holtiin (Archos’ “sister planet” should have more Council representation, but that’s another story).
Q: I’ve read the glossary entry on staging, but I’m still not 100% clear on the functions of the process. I understand that the first stage(s?) are temporary or at least low-impact in terms of negative side effects, but the higher-level side effects seem traumatic! What are the benefits, aside from apparent “eternal youth”? Can pure humans be staged the same as kaffir?
A: Depends on how one defines “benefits”. The third and fourth stages hone the body into a better killing machine – faster, stronger, tougher, quicker thinking; if you game, think of it as a massive across the board stat buff for your character. In kaffir, haki, and saurka with functional pulse organs, a strong boost occurs; staging can shift a kaffir’s rating from “safe” to “HTC” levels, ergo the third stage is not available as an option to everyone who might want to take the risk of losing fertility for extended youth. With the addition of the ESDD (usually found only in the black collars of Star Assault) and training, a fourth stage soldier may decide (or be assigned) to activate a pulse “loop cycle” which ramps up over a short period to turn the individual and any equipment he carries essentially into a devastating chain reaction (something like a miniature hydrogen bomb). If an SA member is allowed to retire or should he join the Haarnsvaar, his ESDD collar is removed. The general public within the empire are unaware of this side of Star Assault, although as mentioned during Sol’s admission to the unit, urban legends do spread near the air defense bases.
As for the final part of the question, regarding pure humans: experimentation has been performed; later stories may answer this better for you.
Q: OMG TYPOS. OMG PUNCTUATION AND CAPITALIZATION INCONSISTENCY.
A: That’ll get fixed before the print version! A new editor came onto the project this past weekend.
Q: I am really sad! Why for you do that!?
A: You know, you are now the third reader to ask me that. Do you want my reasons as a writer, or the in-canon reasons in terms of the world? I am sorry, though. If it helps any, I cried like a bitch not only when I wrote it – even though I knew from day one what happened at the end – but every time I edited it. At least you enjoyed it enough to get to that part?