Sunday September 28, 2003
Book 4: The Blackness Between — Part II: Breya in the Zoojack
Note: The astute, observant reader may have cause to believe that the author has mixed up "fore" and "aft" when referring to the damage done to the U.N.S. Athens. Indeed, on Sunday last Ennesby refers to the damaged ship by saying that her "aft half is gone, annie-plant and everything." In today's strip, however, he says "her fore annie-plant blew."

(For those not well-versed in nautical terminology, fore is front and aft is back.)

Brace yourself for impact... U.N.S. ships are not, strictly speaking, built like nautical ships. Both ends can be the fore or the aft -- it just depends on which direction the ship is moving. Naturally, this means that in tight maneuvers, the midshipman you send aft to your cabin is going to run both fore and aft, because halfway through his run down the hall you reverse course, and now he's running in the other direction. But he's still headed to your cabin, and believe it or not, he knows exactly where he's going.

Clearly, then, the first time Ennesby spied Athens, she was drifting "knobby end first" (note the highly technical terminology). Now she's moving "jagged bits first."

Don't ask what happens when she moves sideways. It's hard to tell starboard from port when there's no port in sight and there are stars everywhere.

Addendum to Note: The author reserves the right to change the dialog in today's strip and subsequently remove this footnote should it become too freakin' difficult to keep the story consistent going forward. Err... aftward. Whatever.


Narrator: Aboard the mercenary transport Serial Peacemaker plans are laid for the violent betrayal of old friends.
Tagon: I don't know Colonel. I don't feel good about this plan.
Jevee Ceeta: What's to feel good about? We're planning the capture of your former C.O., and the sister of one of your officers.
Jevee Ceeta: If you wanted to feel good all the time, I have to wonder why you picked a career as a mercenary.
Tagon: Colonel, It's the plan I don't feel good about. Not the objective.
Kevyn: And here I thought you were going to start sticking up for my sister.
Tagon: Okay, we know the current disposition of Athens, Breya, her crew, and Colonel Jaksmouth's Marines. Sensors have found the Frigate Sarasota parked inside Station Alpha.
Tagon: I agree that with this information we should be able to capture Breya and the Athens, but something doesn't add up.
Jevee Ceeta: Tagon, we've been invited to assume positions optimal to the quick capture of our targets. We can do this without firing shots.
Ennesby: Tagon's right. It doesn't add up.
Jevee Ceeta: And who would know better than a hovering calculator?
Ennesby: You wound me, Colonel.
Ennesby: Given the damage to Athens there are too many surviving crew and Marines, unless most of them were station-side when her fore Annie-plant blew.
Ennesby: Now look at the way those forces are currently deployed.

Conclusion: Athens got hit in this system, by an enemy Breya has not told us about. . .

Ennesby: . . . an enemy she's still defending against.
Tagon: I told you it didn't add up.
Jevee Ceeta: I bow to your tactical genius, Tagon.
Ennesby: That would be me you're bowing to, right, purple cheeks?