Saturday March 14, 2009
Book 11: Massively Parallel — Part I: High Olympus Command
Note: Some of the exposition in today's strip uses jargon with which the reader may not be familiar. "Sit-cee" is how you pronounce SITC, which stands for "Sol Inbound Traffic Control," an organization comprised primarily of bureaucrats whose job it is to make difficult the lives of the tiny group of engineers, analysts, and technicians who prevent inbound traffic from becoming inbound debris fields.

Today's punchline relies on another piece of jargon: "salvage." This is a term with legal implications best summed up as "I found the broken spaceship first first so it now belongs to me." It is never used to mean "let's make the most of a bad situation," because there is usually a bureaucrat with a law degree lying in wait for just such misspeakings in order to make everyone's lives that much more difficult.


Ennesby: I requested emergency teraport clearance, but Sit-cee said no.
Captain Tagon: Bureaucrats.
Ennesby: We're probably better off waiting for a tow, sir. The fine would cost twice as much as the salvage run.
Captain Tagon: Two things, Ennesby: First, don't go requesting stuff that costs the company that kind of money. Not without doing the math first.
Captain Tagon: Second, we will be towed, not salvaged.
Schlock: Yeah, there's no way they can salvage this wreck. We're in two pieces.