December 18th, 2009

We needed our arrival to be a surprise to them, or all would be lost. We hadn’t the luxury of hiding in orbit for weeks in advance, to plan our moment of attack. Instead, we had to rely on Patch’s calculations. We were assured that they were precise to the tiniest measure, and that any error in timing or position was a literal impossibility, but still I think the Admiral was worried.

As the world of the distant past resolved out of the void, he stood in the deepest underdeck, standing ready with barely anything between him and the void beneath, a picture of authority and genuine concern, him beard steadfast and reassuring.

Everyone knew what was going through his mind as he took out his dusty old Log Book to distract himself from the devastation. He didn’t know if he could bear to revisit this awful time, even knowing that now, finally, he could save them all.

He had requested – pleaded for – an earlier drop, on the 1st or 2nd of December, when he could still have prevented the descent into darkness that began the following day. But privately I think he knew that none of his helpers would allow him to risk the kind of damage to his footing on the timeline that the Snowman once suffered by misusing quantum chocolate to alter events already experienced. No, this operation had to happen at the precise moment when it had been seen to happen, after the arrival of the great world-eating Mecha Snatter known as Yulicron.

Much of the damage, therefore, would already be done. There would be no hope of preventing it.


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