Sunday June 10, 2018
Book 18: Mandatory Failure — Part III


NARRATOR: The manually-piloted warship Breath Weapon departs Eina-Afa...

BALA-AMIN: The Commodore says we won't be clear of teraport denial for several hours.

SORLIE: Then I have time to explain why we should go to the Plenipotent Dominion instead of Sol System.

BALA-AMIN: I want the version that doesn't take several hours.

SORLIE: That's easy. We need to warn Petey that the Pa'anuri are walking their shots straight at him.

BALA-AMIN: Keep talking.

SORLIE: Plotted over time, the shots are a random scatter of pairs, which then begin walking toward the Galactic Core.

BALA-AMIN: How it is "walking shots" when every single shot has been a direct hit?

SORLIE: A direct hit to an annie plant.

In previous engagements the Pa'anuri have preferentially targeted active annie plants.

Perhaps our neutronium-fueled power systems are the only things the Pa'anuri can see from Andromeda.

SORLIE: Imagine you're an artillery captain laying in your guns with data from a forward observer.

The ground is the only thing you know you'll hit with every shot.

You adjust your aim with each shot until you hit whatever is atop the right patch of ground.

BALA-AMIN: So, for the Pa'anuri and their Long Gun, our annie plants are the ground?

SORLIE: It explains the pattern.

BALA-AMIN: I assume you have some nice five-space string diagrams to explain how Andromedan dark matter life forms can see our annie plants in real time from millions of light years away.

SORLIE: That version of this explanation will take several hours.

BALA-AMIN: Don't teach me the math. Show me some pictures.

SORLIE: There won't be any pictures until I find someone who can teach me the math.