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If the government wants to disappear you, there isn't any 'insurance' you can arrange to actually stop it happening. Not to put too fine a point on it, but if you're trusting to the government's good nature not to hurt you if there are witnesses, you probably don't need the witnesses. If you really do need witnesses, chances are the witnesses also get dissapeared - or they just get ignored - or the government just shoots you all openly in the street.

I can understand the impulse, but objectively, this feels like Val and Mark coming up with excuses not to do something they just don't want to do. Hopefully Gharr doesn't come to the same conclusion. If he does, things coudl get complicated.

Lord Eric

The answer to that is to get a gun you can put to their head in return, by arranging a massive secrecy breach on some manner of deadman switch, so that the only way the government can avoid it is if they leave you alive and free. Then make sure the government knows you have such a thing prepared before meeting them.

Easier said than done, I'll admit, but that's what insurance would consist of in that scenario.


The problem with a dead mans switch is it needs to:

1) be something 'the bad people' actually cares about

2) reliably go off if something happens to you

3) reliably not go off if something doesn't happen to you

4) remain hidden from the bad people that know about it and wants to find it ...

5) ... even after they have access to you. (You are going to meet them, remember?)

And you have to get everything right the first time, because you will not get a do-over

In fiction, and sometimes in reality, you can get away with it, if you already know enough about the opposition to know what will meet requirement one. I don't think anyone in this comic knows that information, so persuring a dead mans switch strategy is probably a non starter from the get go.

But in the majority of real world cases, 'bad people' that have the power to muder you to keep their secrets, usually also have the power to not care if you reveal their secrets. Either because they benifit from horror stories being spread about them, or they deflect all blame onto a couple of sacrificial pawns.

Mark may honestly think this is a good idea, and may honestly intend to persue it at this point - but the moment he sits down and thinks about it, he should realise they can't pull this off with any prospect of reliability. And I'll laugh my socks off, if Dan is the one to (accurately) explain to him why.


I would think the easiest move at this point would simply be to obtain quality video footage of Gharr and them that can't be construed as fake. Unless he's willing to give nail clippings or blood samples they could take to an independent lab I doubt there's much more they could do.

Mark or Val take the recordings and go into hiding for up to a week then mail copies of the tape to every news agency they can if they don't get word from the other.

The main issue is working out a way to let the one in hiding know they're alright and the recordings should not be distributed without the possibility they'd be found.

Lord Eric

for letting the hider know the ambassador is all right, what I would do is set up something online that anyone can access but no one but them would look for, like a newly created social media page, and authenticate by dropping an in-joke along with every update. A friend group that's been around for a long time will have at least a few weeks' worth of those, and by then it should be clear whether to pull the trigger or not.


There's a plethora of ways from the technological to the simple. I don't really see it being much of an issue to figure out SOMETHING if this is their goal.

Honestly, I'm more worried that Dan is listening in on this conversation and is about to conspire with his Paranoichan group to take Gharr or all of them hostage "for their own good" because he's so heavily convinced the government would kill or perform tests on them all. As you and others have noted, Dan has already broken the outside communications rule, I doubt it would take much more than hearing this discussion to trigger him into betraying the group.

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These trivia bits are generated randomly.
Raharrs are warm-blooded creatures and are accustomed to temperature range a bit warmer than Earth's.
"Dawn" class mothership and "Lake" class tankers are the only spacecraft in the Exploration fleet that can create artificial gravity while not under acceleration.
If a space ship accelerates at the same rate as it would in a free-fall under Earth's gravity (Otherwise known as "1G acceleration"), it can reach Jupiter from Earth in just under 6 days. It would need to flip in the middle of the travel, to start decelerating and enter the planet's orbit.
Insectoids in a lot of ways are the weird ones among the Alliance members. Besides having a completely unpronounceable name of the species, they have dextero amino acid biochemistry, which makes their food and biosphere to be inedible by the rest of the Alliance, and vice versa.
The names of every species of the Alliance (besides Insectoids) are words taken directly from their respective native languages that they use to refer to themselves. They all have same translation:
"a human".
Azinarsi relationship to death is different from the rest of the civilizations of the Alliance: they do not care about it. Death would mean loss of information and experience gathered by that instance of a person's mind, though, and these two things are about the only valuables for an Uploaded mind, so Azinarsi try to avoid it when possible.
A lot of backgrounds and other elements in the comic are actually 3d models. It helps reduce the time each page takes to make.
Raharrs descended from the evolutionary branch that can be described as "apelike cats" by their evolutionary niche. Although initially carnivorous and solitary, they were forced to become omnivorous and form persistent packs during the latest of the rare ice ages of their homeworld, approximately 30 million years ago.
It takes more than a year to cross the Alliance space even with the fastest FTL drive.
Prior to becoming a webcomic, Leaving The Cradle was initially developed as a modification for Source engine, back in 2007. It was vastly different back then, much closer to the usual space opera look and feel, and the plot had nothing in common with the webcomic version, sharing only exactly two characters and nothing else.
Many homeworlds of the respective species are still divided into countries, but freshly established colonies on other planets are almost always monolithic and basically independent, since they sprawled from a single initial outpost, and time lag involved due to interstellar distances making remote management of the colony from a homeworld to be ineffective and frustrating at best.
There's no way to communicate faster than light. If you want to send your message to another solar system, your best bet is to use a courier spaceship. It can take even a month for it to finally reach the destination, but it still beats sending it as a transmission and expecting it to arrive decades or thousands of years later.
So far there hasn't been a single instance of a massive interstellar war. Due to the vastness of space, there's no territorial or economic gain from it. The presence of armed spaceships is still warranted for keeping space travel safe and for peacekeeping or policing missions since unexpected events or rogue states can still happen and might require force as a solution.
The Alliance space stretches for an impressive 16 thousand light years along the longest axis, and contains approximately twelve billion star systems. Despite that, 99.99% of those star systems weren't explored even by an automatic mapping drone yet, and the borders of the Alliance space are defined mostly by the reach of spaceships from the nearest colony or space station.