Sunday January 28, 2018
Book 18: Mandatory Failure — Part II


NARRATOR: A few light minutes away from the expanding cloud of survivor-free vapor which used to be the mercenary warship Maxim 39...

The Uuplechan heavy cruiser Trebbryshum...

captain: Read that last line back to me again.

x.o.: "Further use of force in Outer Uuple would be regrettable, but you must understand that as the sovereign power here we are morally obligated to deploy any and all force necessary to restore order."

captain: Can you make it sound less threatening? Threats might escalate this engagement.

x.o.: I could, but the mercenaries haven't suffered any losses. They aren't angry.

I think we'll be okay.

NARRATOR: News of the death of Maxim 39 has yet to reach this patch of space.

x.o.: Our threat is vague. They can back down without losing face.

And of course we do need to take a stand here. No smiley faces or flowers.

captain: Heh. Yes.

Very well. Transmit.

x.o.: Done.

sailor: Ma'am, there's been another explosion.

NARRATOR: Information Theory is complex, but it becomes quite simple when it intersects Murphy's Laws:

sailor: One of the mercenary vessels was just destroyed. It looks like hostile action.

captain: The mercenaries are probably pretty angry now.

x.o.: I'll craft a new message, starting with some of those tiny pictures of condolence flowers.

captain: No smiley faces, though.

NARRATOR: "Bad news propagates at the maximum speed of the medium, unless a delay would make the bad news worse."