Arachne’s Crime Annotations

Page numbers are for the print edition of Arachne’s Crime. Page numbers from The Arachne Omnibus print edition are in parentheses.

For convenience, relevant notes from the annotations for “Aggravated Vehicular Genocide” (AVG) will be reproduced or adapted here.

Cover

Mike McPhail’s cover art does not depict a physically real event, as Arachne’s avatar body is not constructed until after Part One (and plays a larger role in Arachne’s Exile than it does in this volume). But it’s an excellent symbolic representation of Arachne’s mindscape at the fateful moment of decision that sets everything in motion — effectively showing us Arachne’s (alleged) crime about to be committed. It’s really an inspired choice.

The design of Arachne’s avatar is faithful to my text descriptions in both novels, though without the blue highlights (but this is a virtual/symbolic version of her anyway, so that could explain the difference). I wasn’t expecting her to have ten limbs, but I never explicitly said otherwise, and I guess her spider half would’ve looked weird with just four legs. And hey, if a horse-based centaur has six limbs in all, it stands to reason that an arachnocentaur would have ten, even if the arm/leg allocation is a bit different.

Gamma Leporis is actually a yellow-white F star, but the star color here is more visually striking and ominous. We could rationalize it as the star’s light being dimmed by a filter.

The “1607:18:11” under “CYBELE” denotes the estimated days, hours, and minutes until arrival at this point, within the ship’s time-dilated frame of reference (see Appendix 2). The “18:11” is an in-joke I requested, a nod to Analog Volume CXVIII No. 11, the issue containing “Aggravated Vehicular Genocide.”

PART ONE: AGGRAVATED VEHICULAR GENOCIDE

Prologue

Solsys Equivalent Date: April 18, 2176

(Yes, technically simultaneity does not exist and Earth dates are meaningless this far from Earth. But it’s a convenient shorthand.)

Pg 1 (19)

Originally, the manuscript began with Stephen’s dream sequence in Chapter 1. I wanted the revelation of the Lesshchi disaster to be gradual, a shock to the readers as well as the characters. But I decided the book needed a stronger opening hook. Describing the disaster from a Chirrn’s perspective still preserves a lot of the mystery, not only about the disaster but about the Chirrn themselves.

Churrlaya was a minor character in the original story, merely a witness in the trial. But he was the only named Chirrn other than the two primary ones, so he became a key supporting character in the novel by default.

When I wrote AVG, I assumed the interstellar space in which the Chirrn wandered was mostly empty. Now we know that rogue planets are probably quite common in the interstellar void, and it stands to reason that the Chirrn would make them way stations in their wanderings.

Chapter 1

Date: April 18

Scene 1

Pg 5 (23)

In early drafts of the novel, I didn’t play up the racial angle of Stephen’s childhood oppression as much as I do here. Real-world events compelled me to comment more on that aspect of it. This has become even more relevant in the few years since I made these revisions.

Also, the eloquence of President Barack Obama influenced Stephen’s oratorical style in the novel.

Pg 6 (24)

What happened to the auxon probes after they reached Gamma Leporis V is depicted in “Among the Wild Cybers of Cybele” (reprinted in the namesake collection Among the Wild Cybers).

Pg 8 (26)

As in my other stories in this universe, the convention is to italicize the name Arachne when referring to the ship, but not when referring to the Arachne AI as a person.

I’m not sure that Arachne’s magsail loops would be invisible. After all, they’re cutting through the interstellar medium at 0.84 c, which would be not unlike getting struck by a sparse particle beam at that velocity, and that might be enough to make the magsails glow. Still, as stated in Chapter 4, the magnetic field is in low power mode to minimize drag against the ISM. (The drag is why I replaced the original story’s ramjet with a magsail ship.)

Scene 3

Pg 9 (27)

Haim Silbermann was called Chaim Silbermann in the 1998 and 2004 editions of AVG. Both are equally valid transliterations of the Hebrew name חַיִּים, meaning “life.” At my editor’s recommendation, I changed the spelling (both here and in the Among the Wild Cybers edition of AVG) to avoid visual confusion with the name “Chirrn.” I’ve been aware of that confusion for over 20 years now, but I was hesitant to make the change in earlier editions, probably because I didn’t realize that both spellings were pronounced the same.

The idea of hibernation dreams was based in plausibility, the need for something to keep the brain stimulated. But it provided a nicely poetic and surreal way to deliver the initial exposition.

Scene 4

Pg 11 (29)

I’ve diverged considerably from the opening of AVG by having the crew wake up already in captivity, rather than reviving on Arachne before the Chirrn board. This is largely because I realized that revival from long-term cryogenic hibernation would take a lot longer than I assumed in the original story (consider how many hours it takes to recover from heavy anaesthesia), so it wouldn’t be practical to wake the crew in time to deal with an emergency. The alternative would be to have a human constantly awake and on watch, but that would require considerably more vessel mass for atmosphere, food, water, plumbing, etc.

Thus, it made more sense to have the crew already in captivity when they awakened, which put them in a more vulnerable spot from the start. Combining that with the hibernation dream idea let me take a more experimental, surreal approach to the initial exposition.

Sita Bhatiani was named Zena in AVG (see that story’s notes for the reason why). She was a minor player there, merely an exposition engine, but when I made her a central character, I decided to change her name to one I liked better. It helped that her name was only mentioned once in spoken dialogue, in a scene that didn’t survive to the novel version. Stephen’s initial confusion about her name here is a nod to the change, and sort of a semi-rationalization for why she has the “wrong” name in the story.

Pg 12 (30)

Uttu is named for the Sumerian spider goddess. There was only one ship in the original story, but I felt it made sense that Stephen would organize two independent expeditions to better the odds that at least one would succeed (which turned out to be prophetic).

Pg 14 (32)

Chirrn sketch and notes: Click here.

Pg 15 (33)

The spelling of the name “Chirrn” was partially inspired by the name “Wirrn,” the insectoid villains in Doctor Who: “The Ark in Space” by Robert Holmes – only the second Doctor Who serial I ever saw, and still one of the best. The two names are pronounced differently, though. “Wirrn” is “Weer-un,” while “Chirrn” is more like “Cheern” with a rolled R sound.

Rillial’s lines were more fluent English in the original story. I wanted to suggest here that the Chirrn’s own computers were handling the translation and doing a clumsier job than Arachne would later on. I ran the dialogue through a couple of languages with an online translator program to help me mangle the translation, though I also had some specific aspects of Chirrn grammar and thinking in mind (for instance, the heavy emphasis on inclusion and exclusion).

Scene 5

Pg 17 (35)

The Celestia space simulator let me determine how the constellations looked from the location in question.

In AVG, the Chirrn told the crew about the destruction first, then took them to see it as proof of their accusation. I realized it was more dramatic the other way around.

Pg 18 (36)

AVG was my first published use of the shorthand “Solsys” for “Sol system,” which I’ve used consistently in this universe. However, I apparently coined the term in a 1991 story that I never sold. That story was set in the 24th century, so I was probably assuming the term had become elided over time, but I’ve since retroactively established its use as early as “The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of” in 2083 (the earliest story setting to date in the Arachne/Troubleshooter Universe).

Pg 21 (39)

From around the point where Cecilia says “this was a great tragedy,” there are no more major plot discrepancies between AVG and Arachne’s Crime, merely some differences in dialogue and technical detail (e.g. the use of HUD texts and the changed mechanisms of Arachne’s drive and defenses). Chapters 2-6 depict essentially the same events as AVG, but in far more depth (about 75% new material, I’d say).

Chapter 2

Date: April 18-19

Scene 1

Pg 23 (41)

Sita’s “perceptual security apps” are a relic of an earlier draft in which a different female lead, a journalist, carried the story arc of investigating the mysteries surrounding the Chirrn. After a few rejections by editors and agents, I realized that character had no real personal stake in the events of the story, since she was a leftover character that I’d borrowed from an earlier unsold project and grafted on to fill out the cast. (The same goes for a number of other supporting characters, but she was the most central.) Presumably that made it hard for readers to engage emotionally with her scenes, and thus she was the wrong character to carry so much of the plot. So I transferred most of her character arc to Sita (and other parts to Cecilia and Diana Thorne as appropriate), which let me make Sita a much richer and more textured character.

I wasn’t quite sure how to justify the perceptual security bit, though, aside from implying that it’s fairly normal for people — especially scientists such as Sita, who need to trust their senses — to have routine safeguards against false inputs, much the way people today routinely have antivirus protection on their computers. Which is quite a change from the original story, in which the word of honor had made a major comeback as a social safeguard against deceit and fraud.

Pg 24 (42)

It should be clear by now that the smallish green Chirrn is Churrlaya from the prologue.

Scene 2

Pg 27 (45)

In studying world history in college, I became aware of how civilizations inevitably rose and fell over time, and I realized that the current global dominance of the United States would have to end at some point, that there would come a time when the US was the weaker country needing help from stronger allies abroad. I expected it to be generations in the future, though; I didn’t anticipate that America’s standing in the world would be severely crippled from within before this novel even came out.

Conversely, my prediction that Brazil would be a prosperous, inclusive superpower seems less probable today than when I wrote the book. Still, there’s plenty of time for regimes and political winds to change over the next century.

It would be a little less than a century, in fact. I put Stephen’s date of birth in 2100 (making him physiologically about 47-48 in the novel), which means that the Gulf Coast’s crisis is ongoing during the events of Only Superhuman and the Troubleshooter series. This seems inconsistent with OS’s description of Earth as peaceful, orderly, and enlightened as of 2107, but that’s the simplified image Earth presents to outsiders like OS’s characters. Though the Union of Earth and Cislunar States is indeed mostly peaceful and prosperous by this time, it still struggles with some lingering aftereffects of the global crises of the first half of the 21st century. The Gulf States are one of the last lingering exceptions to the norm, even within the US as a whole (though that suggests that the US may have become fragmented.)

Benjamin’s death at age 12 is roughly six decades before the novel’s 2176 setting according to Chapter 10, so let’s say it was around 2115. Stephen has gotten out to São Paulo no later than 2117 (see Page 38, “over three decades” before the 2147 launch), bringing Stargazer Enterprises to its peak by 2130.

Pg 28 (46)

In AVG, I referred to Arachne’s target planet as Gamma Leporis V, using the standard convention of science fiction to number planets outward from their primary star — which in turn was derived from a 19th-century convention for numbering the moons of Jupiter. Here, I decided to conform to the current practice for designating exoplanets; Gamma Leporis Ad would be the fourth planet in order of discovery around Gamma Lep A, the primary star of the binary (or possibly trinary) system.

Scene 3

Pg 33 (51)

A cerebral perfuser would be the same sort of thing I referred to in “No Dominion” as an emergency cerebral oxygen supply — a device that would perfuse the brain’s bloodstream with oxygen to keep the brain functional if the heart stopped. Ischemic injury is the damage caused by oxygen deprivation, or rather, by the restoration of oxygen to a brain deprived of it for too long.

Chapter 3

Date: April 23

Scene 1

Pg 40 (58)

A nonthermal plasma (sometimes called “cold plasma”) is an ionized gas in which only the electrons are at high temperature while the more massive nuclei are near room temperature, so that the plasma can be safely touched and interacted with. Nonthermal plasmas are used in food processing as an antimicrobial treatment and in medicine for sterilization and other applications.

Pg 41 (59)

“Augreality” is short for “augmented reality.”

Scene 2

Pg 47 (65)

Despite how it sounds, the term “kangaroo court” for an unfair or rushed show trial is not Australian in origin, but arose in the United States in the early 1850s. It’s believed to refer to the court jumping to conclusions, or perhaps being in someone’s pocket.

Chapter 4

Date: April 24-28

Scene 2

Pg 54 (72)

Seekers of the Zenith sketch and notes: Click here.

Ryohoch sketch and notes: Click here.

I’m proud of how much weirder and more alien these species are than the Chirrn. Ideally I want my aliens to be unlike anything in Earth’s evolutionary record. I wanted the Ryohoch in particular to be as bizarre and incomprehensible as I could make them.

Pg 55 (73)

In the Among the Wild Cybers version of “Aggravated Vehicular Genocide,” it’s Cecilia who muses about the history of the courtroom as a “combat arena,” rather than Stephen. It was Stephen’s thought in the original story, but in a scene that was largely from Cecilia’s POV, so I adjusted it in the revised version. Here, I expanded the sequence considerably, which let me split it into separate scenes from Stephen’s and Cecilia’s POVs and give the musing about lawyers back to Stephen.

Scene 4

Pg 61 (79)

Haim Silbermann’s perception of Middle Eastern history is based on what I learned of the subject in a college course taught by Dr. Elizabeth Frierson of the University of Cincinnati, a leading scholar in the field. If it seems inconsistent with the general perception of Mideast history, that’s because there’s a great deal of ideologically-based distortion of that history both in the West and in the Mideast itself. But there was a time when the Ottoman Empire was a far more progressive and inclusive culture than contemporary Europe. Part of the reason the founders of the modern state of Israel chose to settle in the Mideast was because it had historically been a place where Jews could live in peace and freedom as long as they paid their taxes (indeed, Islamic law forbade taxing Muslims, so it was in the state’s economic interest to have plenty of non-Muslim subjects). As I learned it in Dr. Frierson’s class, the modern hostility between Muslims and Jews was largely fomented by Eastern European anti-Semites seeking to spread their ideology abroad, exploiting tensions that originated from fear of European colonialism in the Mideast rather than anything specifically religious.

This is more of my attempt to show how historical trends shift over time — how a culture that’s prosperous, peaceful, and inclusive in one era can become an impoverished, war-torn backwater in a later one, and vice versa. By the early 2100s, the Gulf States of the US are a Third-World ruin ruled by racist, fundamentalist strongmen, but the Mideast is in the midst of a renaissance and, like Brazil, is one of the centers of global power and modernity.

Pg 62-63 (80-81)

As mentioned in the acknowledgments, I worked out the physics and logistics of the Lesshchi disaster with considerable assistance from several posters on the ExIsle BBS, notably JPL’s Paul Woodmansee and the ExIsle moderator known as “Orpheus.” The BBS moved at the end of 2020, but the thread is archived here, if anyone wants to see in detail how the concept evolved:

https://web.archive.org/web/20201102112349/http://www.exisle.net/mb/index.php?/topic/56358-physics-questions-how-to-blow-up-a-space-habitat/

I’m surprised to see that the thread dates from the end of December 2008 and January 2009. It’s taken me 12 years to get this book written and published.

Chapter 5

Date: April 29-30

Scene 1

Pg 66 (84)

The crew testimonies on the following pages were a late addition when I split the novel into a duology and needed to expand the first volume. I’m glad it gave me the chance to enrich the characterizations of the Arachne crew.

Scene 4

Pg 68 (86)

Diana Thorne’s grandfather, of course, is Eliot Thorne from Only Superhuman, whose events Diana alludes to here. Though we only met one of Thorne’s children in that novel, he had multiple others, one of whom must have been Diana’s father or mother. (Vanguardians and other Striders don’t necessarily use patronymic naming conventions; OS’s heroine Emerald Blair chooses to go by her mother’s surname.)

Scene 5

Pg 70 (88)

Diego’s Bible quotation is from Genesis 1:28, King James Version.

Scene 6

Pg 71-72 (89-90)

Arachne’s flashback was originally a third part of Stephen’s dream/memory sequence in Chapter 1. I moved it here to speed up the pace of the opening.

HAL, of course, was the rogue AI in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Scene 8

Pg 74 (92)

As seen in “Among the Wild Cybers of Cybele,” the reason the auxons were able to mutate despite the anti-mutation safeguards Stephen mentions here is because Arachne failed to arrive on schedule, so that the auxons lay dormant for 79 years longer than expected before the second expedition finally came.

Pg 79 (97)

Diamite is a term used in this universe for synthetic crystalline carbon compounds stronger than diamond.

Chapter 6

Date: April 30-May 1

Scene 1

Pg 93 (111)

I don’t remember where I came across the phrase that a captain is responsible for their own ship’s wake, but I was definitely struck by the idea when I heard it, and was eager to incorporate it into this story. I also used the phrase in Star Trek: Rise of the Federation—Uncertain Logic.

Scene 3

Pg 100 (118)

Cecilia is, of course, alluding to Shylock from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, who was forced to convert from Judaism to Christianity as part of the “happy ending” of that play.

Scene 5

Pg 102 (120)

One of the Kickstarter bonuses for this novel was the opportunity for donors to be Tuckerized, i.e. to have their names or the character names of their choice inserted as background characters in the novel. Since this was a last-minute addition to the manuscript, there were few opportunities to insert mentions of the winning names, Josh Vidmar and “Jason Brentwood.” There is a previous mention of Brentwood in Ch. 3 (pg 38) and of Vidmar in Ch. 5 (pg 84).

Scene 6

Pg 105 (123)

Miguel Alcubierre’s theoretical “warp drive” metric was developed in 1994 and has been a subject of discussion and research among theoretical physicists ever since, though mainly as an abstract problem in the mathematics of General Relativity. The original paper and various followup papers are available on Marcelo B. Ribiero’s Warp Drive page archived here. The problems with stress-energy tensor divergence and Hawking radiation are based on Finazzi et al., “Semiclassical instability of dynamical warp drives,” Physical Review D 79, 124017 (2009), which is discussed in lay terms in the December 28, 2009 Centauri Dreams blog post “The Problem with Warp Drive” at https://www.centauri-dreams.org/2009/12/28/the-problem-with-warp-drive/, with links to the original paper. The “horizon problem” is perhaps best explained by how Silbermann’s question was phrased in the original Analog version: “How do you get around the light compression in the forward warp, see anything in front of you?”

Pg 106 (124)

The adaptation of “Aggravated Vehicular Genocide” concludes with Stephen’s line “And now it’s time to begin.” Everything beyond that point is new material. I feared it might weaken that ending a bit to follow it immediately with setup for Part Two, but I needed to establish some suspense.

Scene 7

Pg 107 (125)

The Vhehhal subplot was another addition I made to flesh out the first book of the duology. I’d left the Lesshchin extremists anonymous, and I realized it was better to name at least one and have him represent the group. Sita’s assailant seemed the best choice.

PART TWO: COMMUNITY SERVICE

Chapter 7

Date: September 18, 2176 (Scene 1); September 24 (Scenes 2-3)

Scene 1

Pg 113ff (131ff)

Here’s a rough chart of the layout of the Arachnen compound, simplified from my notes:

“Couple” here means a married couple, while “partners” are unmarried lovers. All family residences are on the outside with room to expand beyond the shown borders. Each block represents a dwelling and a large “yard” in front; each row is one terrace higher than the one below it.  The “yards” in front of Ravinder’s and Haim’s apartments slope down to combine with the public square. The courtyard between the two administration buildings is not shown. The main vertical column dividers represent stairways; Diana and Nilly’s race is up the stairway to right of center (between the Shilirrlaln offices and Kazuko & Renata’s dwelling), then down the center stairway through the public square, then up the left-of-center stairway, then back across through the admin complexes’ grounds to behind (above) the Shilirrlaln admin offices.

Originally, I came up with names for all 48 humans on Arachne and made a point of mentioning them all in the novel. That turned out to be too cluttered and confusing, so I ended up leaving many of them nameless. This is fortunate, because it allowed room for me to Tuckerize donors to the Kickstarter campaign as members of the expedition (see pg 100 note). I’m excluding my placeholder names here so I don’t lock myself down in potential future volumes. (I’ve already cannibalized a few of those names for use in Star Trek fiction, much as I cannibalized names from earlier unsold fiction to populate Arachne’s crew.)

Pg 115 (133)

I honestly don’t remember what disgusting alternative terminology Nilly was imagining to describe human reproduction. Probably something scatological, given how Chirrn would perceive human sexual anatomy.

Pg 120 (138)

Yes, the “ancient savior myth” is how Nilly interprets Die Hard. To be fair, she could be getting confused about the movie’s connection to Christmas.

Pg 121 (139)

It might seem coincidental that this small group of 48 contains several people of non-binary gender or atypical sexuality, but I think their abundance within the population is probably larger than current society recognizes. Also, as Diego mentioned during the trial, Stephen made a point of selecting a group that represented humanity’s full diversity. Additionally, I think it stands to reason that people who don’t fit “typical” categories might be more motivated to become explorers, adventurers, and innovators.

Pg 122-124 (140-142)

Here’s another part where expanding to a duology let me flesh out Shilirrlal more. Originally, this scene between Nilly and Diana was just a conversation in the tunnels without any notable scenery (failing to set the stage visually is a recurring problem for me), and the discussion of Nilly’s sex life was missing. I also took the opportunity to flesh out the Ryohoch’s alienness more fully, repurposing some throwaway exotic scenery from what’s now Arachne’s Exile.

Chapter 8

Date: September 28-October 1

Scene 3

Pg 149 (167)

It proved tricky to write about Yonchon without ever using a personal pronoun. One side effect is that I never established a gender for the character. Ryohoch may not even have gender as we define it. Writing Yonchon’s speech without adjectives was another challenge.

Pg 150 (168)

A summary of Chris Van Den Broeck’s “micro-warp drive” model can be read at https://www.npl.washington.edu/AV/altvw99.html.

Programmable quark matter was introduced in “The Weight of Silence” (reprinted in Among the Wild Cybers). As for Doctor Belghazi, she figures in an as yet unpublished work.

Pg 151 (169)

Haim is breaking the personal-pronoun rule by saying “where Ryohoch keep their brains,” but at least it’s out of Yonchon’s earshot.

Chapter 9

Date: October 3-4

Scene 3

Pg 165-6 (183-4)

Diana’s discussion of Algonquian abduction and assimilation practices is based on material I read in my Native American History courses, primarily Richter, D., “War and Culture: The Iroquois Experience” (1983), readable in full at the link. Learning about the Algonquian custom is probably what inspired me to reinterpret the Arachnen’s trial from AVG as an adoption/replenishment ritual.

Chapter 10

Date: October 6

Scene 1

Pg 172 (190)

I had to be careful to make sure Nilly’s words here wouldn’t be misconstrued as some kind of anti-abortion statement. Hence her leading with the line that it was a decision for their mothers to make, not anyone else. Ditto with Rillial’s statement on Page 171 affirming the legality of at least early-stage abortion. (I assume that once brain activity begins, it’s preferable to transfer a fetus to an artificial womb.)

Chapter 11

Date: October 12 (Scene 1); October 20-22 (Scenes 2-3)

No notes.

Chapter 12

Date: October 29-November 2

Scene 1

Pg 195 (213)

This chapter is where I had to do the most expansion upon splitting the book into a duology, since I needed to give the first book a satisfactory climax and resolution. I’m glad it gave me the chance to delve deeper into the grieving process of Sita and the other women, something that was glossed over in summary in the original.

Scene 2

Pg 199ff (217ff)

The Unrenounced’s escape attempt was originally an action sequence midway through what’s now Arachne’s Exile. Moving it here let me give Arachne’s Crime a stronger climax as well as helping to balance the lengths of the two novels. This required expanding it to incorporate Stephen, Sita, et al., as well as reworking it for a different location. It heightened the emotional stakes of the sequence, because it became a direct reaction to the Lesshchin attack on the mothers rather than just a random escape attempt, and let me add another major confrontation between Stephen and Cecilia.

Pg 203 (221)

I’m admittedly reusing ideas here. The concept of storing backup memories in the bloodstream encoded in DNA (or the alien equivalent — a recent paper suggests there may be millions of alternative genetic molecules) is recycled from my 2010 story “No Dominion,” set in a separate reality.

Pg 204 (222)

I had to do some research to find an explosive or flammable substance that might be created from the kind of high-tech materials used in Chirrn civilization. Apparently graphene (or graphite) oxide is flame-resistant in pure form, but pretty flammable when impure.

Scene 3

Pg 208-9 (226-7)

This exchange between Churrlaya and Cecilia was originally at the end of the scene in the previous chapter where Stephen gave the Unrenounced another chance to switch sides. It’s probably my favorite scene in the entire novel; I still remember how amazed I was when Cecilia’s eloquent, poetic rant about the dirt of her home somehow emerged from my fingers. It was one of those wondrous moments where a character takes over and writes her own lines better than I could. I’m glad it’s ended up being here at the end of the first book’s climax, since it’s a terrific way to (nearly) end the book.

Epilogue

Date: November 3, 2176

Pg 212-13 (230-31)

To give the book more of an ending, I also needed to provide a clearer moment of closure to Stephen and Sita’s tension, even if it’s ambiguous enough to leave some things unresolved for Book 2.

It took some thought to settle on the best point at which to break the novel. Should it be before the interstellar journey began? Should it be after their first couple of stops along the way, just before they arrive at the primary setting of Arachne’s Exile, Part One? I decided that ending shortly after the journey gets underway was the best coda, since the act of departure is the resolution that Part Two has been building toward, and since it provides a teaser for what’s to come in Exile. It also lets me end the book on an optimistic, forward-looking note as a relief from all the tragedy — though of course you can expect things to get messy again in Book 2.

Appendixes

Appendix 1 (Pg 217 (233))

Evan’s real name is Jiang Erfan; Evan is the Westernized approximation of his given name Erfan. (Or rather, I named him Evan first, then found a Chinese name it could reasonably be an approximation of.)

Appendix 2 (Pg 219 (235))

For comparison, the mission profile from the revised version of “Aggravated Vehicular Genocide” can be read at the bottom of that story’s annotations page. I put the launch of the ship three years earlier here to account for the slower velocity. The Lesshchi disaster had to remain in 2176 to fit the timing of “Among the Wild Cybers,” since my intent is that AVG is the only story in the Arachne/Troubleshooter Universe to be contradicted or superseded by Arachne’s Crime. I consider AC a more accurate account of the same canonical events, plugging into the same place in the continuity.

I’m not sure why I decided to reduce the acceleration of the Chirrn’s capture field, unless it’s just that the original version seemed too high.

Magnetic braking against the interstellar medium is the phenomenon that makes ramjet propulsion impractical and was my reason for switching to the sailbeam system for this version. But it’s still useful for slowing the ship down at the end.

Appendix 3 (Pg 221 (237))

I worked out a longer list of Chirrn time units that I never used in the novel. Just for the heck of it, here are the additional ones:

  • 8-6 narr = narrurat = 0.369 ms
  • 8-5 narr = narrureth = 2.95 ms
  • 1/4096 narr = narrur = 23.6 ms
  • 1/512 narr = narril = 0.189 s
  • 812 narr = yanarruvh = 210,446.68 y
  • 813 narr = yanarrenn = 1,683,573.42 y
  • 814 narr = yanarranl = 13,468,587.33 y
  • 815 narr = yanarrayth = 107,748,698.7 y
  • 816 narr = theyanarr = 861,989,589.2 y

And you can extrapolate to theyanarredj, theyanarrach, etc., or in the other direction.

Of the listed units in the appendix, the ones actually used in the novel are the narr, narrissh, narruvh, narrenn, narranl, narrayth, yanarr, and yanarredj. So I could’ve made the list four lines shorter, but I thought it’d be good to give a bit more context.

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