Saturday December 11, 2004
Book 6: Resident Mad Scientist — Part III: Life's a Beach
Note: The total annihilation of Stukka's Stormtroopers, the 3rd-largest company of mercenaries on record, is a mystery only to those with no military experience. Sure, piloting even a single warship too close to a star requires quite a bit of situational stupidity. This much is obvious. It only follows that giving EIGHT of them (including two troop transports) a prominence-bath while their annie-plants were already overtaxed and low on fuel, should require more stupidity than can theoretically exist in a single place.

Factor in pressure from a hostile former employer who happens to be a planetary government, a substantial amount of greed among the senior officers, and some poorly timed lapses in communication, however, and the theoretically impossible becomes a statistical likelihood. Insurance companies thrive on statistics, and statistically speaking, anything that has happened once is bound to happen again.

Off the historical record, "Stukka's Sunbathers" had three survivors -- officers whose personal teraports got them clear of the Charlie Foxtrot. Two of whom were quietly murdered following the depletion of Stukka's accounts. The third has retired in non-trivial luxury, troubled only by taxes and the occasional glimmer of conscience.


REYNSTEIN: Disability isn't a very attractive benefit for mercenaries to cash in, Captain.

REYNSTEIN: You see, it doesn't pay for life.  It pays for life expectancy, as determined through a statistical analysis of covered professionals in your industry and position.

KEVYN: Oh, no.  They're not counting the...

REYNSTEIN: *interrupting* Yes, they are.

REYNSTEIN: Hypercare was covering Stukka's Stormtroopers last year when the whole company fleet got chased into a star.

KEVYN: Somebody always has to go and ruin things for the rest of us.