Sunday March 13, 2005
Book 6: Resident Mad Scientist — Part IV: Old Habits Die Hard

Note: 31st-century communication suffers from few of the light-speed delays experienced by 21st-century long-distance callers. The conversation taking place between the Colonel Pranger and the Serial Peacemaker used hypernet relays, so that although light would take 38 seconds to travel from one ship to the other, they could talk in "real time." The 'circuitry' in the hypernet equipment used, which has a signal path of four micrometers (plus 48.3 cm, because there's this one really long, stray wire, but I digress) introduces more delay into the conversation than does the wormspace path taken by the transmitted message.

The launching of a missile, however, is not something you typically "announce" over the hypercomm. It's rude enough to fire it in the first place, and the odds are good that if you're launching missiles, you'd prefer your targets not find out about the incoming missiles until they can see them coming, or (in the best case (for YOU)) until it's too late to do anything but assume crash positions and fire a message off to their next-of-kin.


NARRATOR: Our heroes are in trouble.  They can't run, they're outgunned, and the enemy has murder on his mind.

KEVYN: Ch'vorthq!  You were a diplomat once!  Get on the horn!

CH'VORTHQ: I need bargaining chips, Captain.  What can I offer them?

KEVYN: Whatever you think will work, Ch'vorthq.  Anything.

CH'VORTHQ: Okay...  I could start by offering them you, if they'll spare the troops.

KEVYN: Will you think less of me if I tell you that right now I'm too important to be sacrificed?

CH'VORTHQ: I'd never say as much, no.

KEVYN: You are a diplomat.

ENNESBY: You're on, Ch'vorthq.  I'm connected to their flagship, the Colonel Pranger.

CH'VORTHQ: Greetings, gentlefolk!  We seek a non-violent solution to this little impasse.  Violence need not be the last resort.

BANGER CAPTAIN: Says you, maybe.

BANGER CAPTAIN: MAXIM 6: "If violence wasn't your last resort, you failed to resort to enough of it."

ENNESBY: Captain, I detect multiple missile launches from the Pranger.

KEVYN: They're still almost a light minute away.  How are you...

KEVYN: Never mind.  I figured it out my own self.

CH'VORTHQ: Figured what out?

ENNESBY: Launch detection is strictly speed-of-light, Einstein.

CH'VORTHQ: Do you mean to tell me that they launched while I was negotiating?

KEVYN: If there's a next time, then next time, be sure to grovel and beg a little earlier in your negotiations.