If there's a big, scary, experimental weapon in a science fiction plot, it will be used against the heroes. This is a hard and fast rule. Please c.f. Star Trek, Star Wars, Space: 1999, the Foundation novels, et al.
About a week ago, we received a couple of questions from Robert Bauer here at AMoS Central. I've been attempting to reply to them, but I've been unable to get through via email. His questions were certainly interesting, so I'll reply to them here for all of you to view.
First, he asks how to pronounce Sergeant Bhroinn's name. My answer is both simple and relatively unhelpful: Bhroinn is an Irish name, and I stole it from a Public Relations official in the Irish Parliament. I'm not certain how it's pronounced. Knowing Irish names, I suspect it would be pronounced vaguely like "brone," to rhyme with "stone." If anyone out there has a solid answer to this, please email me and I'll put the answer here.
Mr. Bauer also asks: If the activation of their primary weapon causes the Gorbachev's neutrino count to go "off the scale," why don't they calibrate themselves a new scale? I mean, you'd assume they'd see readings like that every time, which would make the neutrino counter useless whenever they want to fire that gun. It's not a big deal, but you guys are usually really good about continuity and realism and that stuff, and it seemed rather odd.
This one has a straightforward answer. I could give a longwinded reply to this question, explaining how neutrinos are hard to detect and how sensitivity is more important than anything else, leading to a detector which is easily overwhelmed. However, I'm going to tell you the truth instead.
The excited speaker who says the detector is off the scale says that in order to heighten dramatic tension, which leads into the humorous pause between Bhroinn and Taylor. It was phrased that way for effect, in the same way I could say "I'm starving!" when in fact I'm not malnourished at all.
Last but certainly not least, I have today's icon! It's Caprice in all her perky, smiling glory:
I sure wish I would start getting these comics done before mumble AM on the day they're supposed to come out; perhaps then I'd be more lucid for this "Mark sez" column I'm supposed to do here.
So, uh, lot of weather we're having lately, huh?
Also note: The LiveJournal icon alluded to left is hosted on Jon's server, cinxia.com. cinxia.com has been kind of reclusive lately (at least, I've had trouble connecting from time to time, such as right this very moment for example) so you might not be able to see the icon. I would say that "we're working on it" except that would give the wrong impression, namely that we're not working on it. Seriously, since when has the promise "we're working on it" on a website ever been true? Should be "we're briefly considering fixing the problem and then blowing the rest of the night playing Dance Dance Revolution, CARRIBE.AN is restyling please check back in 1996" more like it.
Um... so, er, the point of all this is that we're working on it. No, seriously.
Update on Monday: Indeed, the situation has been sorted out (if you're curious, it was pretty much due not to Jon's but to my own connectivity, which has been a bit flaky for a while.) That's A Miracle of Science for you: promises made, promises kept.