Sunday November 26, 2006
Book 8: The Sharp End of the Stick — Part III: Out of the Frying Pan...
Note: Astute readers prone to idle speculation will find much upon which to mull in the final three panels of today's installment. In order to keep the wilder theories in some sort of check, let it be known that the sensors being used in the first panel are attached to a star-orbiting satellite that arrived in this system by unhappy accident during the failure of an experimental extragalactic teraport. It is badly damaged and cannot report to anyone where it is, so in order to pass the time it looks for interesting things. During the time-period designated "G31" it has seen twelve interesting things, of which Kevyn's forest fire is the twelfth. The contrail was number eleven. The remaining ten were astronomical observations of little consequence.

The other bits of speculation-bait are the apparent damage to the forward blade of the mercenary warship Touch-and-Go, and Ennesby's eye patch. Explaining those is beyond the scope of this footnote, so have at 'em.


Narrator: Kevyn accidentally started a fire. He is now both too unconscious and too low-to-the-ground to fully appreciate it.
Narrator: The plume of smoke is over five kilometers high, and casts its shadow over 900 square kilometers of landscape.
Narrator: It is visible to Kevyn's companions; whose march has taken them over a hundred kilometers away.
Schlock: Smoke. That can't be good.
Pronto: You know what I learned in my Space-Scout Fire-Starting Badge?
Pronto: Where there's smoke, there's something making smoke. Not necessarily fire, though.
Narrator: It is also visible from orbit. . .
Narrator: With good enough sensors, it is visible from several light-minutes away.
Narrator: From 25,000 light-years away, however, it is a little difficult to resolve in any detail.
Captain Tagon: Any news?
Ennesby: Nothing. They might as well be on the other side of the Galaxy.
Narrator: (For starters, you have to wait for light to travel 25,000 years.)