this page is dedicated to the memory of the mars climate orbiter, taken before its time by a unit conversion error. good night, sweet mars prince.
Valeria I was a rushed Restored Empire effort to catch up with the Kyokanese Tenma FTL missions. And in a certain technical sense, it was the most successful FTL mission of all time, since it (presumably) was sent further from Iothera than any other man-made object in history. Unfortunately, it has absolutely no way of orienting itself towards Iothera (or towards wherever Iothera will in however long it takes a radio signal to travel however many lightyears it is between Valeria I and Iotherea) and transmitting its location or status.
Since then, the Restored Empire brought in Robert Cross to clean house in their FTL program, and the result was the Royal Tau Clepsydrae Orbiter’s successful jump to a stable orbit around Tau Clepsydrae and a knighthood for Sir Robert. Unfortunately, by that point the Kyokanese Space Ministry had already sent several Tenma-2 probes into orbits around TC’s individual planets, and a year later a stream of invaluable mapping and climate data about exoplanets was flowing back to the Ministry, making the prospect of a manned mission much more realistic. As a reward for her key role in the development of the first two Tenma probes, Dr. Kiyohara Takako was placed in charge of putting together a proposal for a manned Tenma-3 spacecraft, and solving the thorny issue of doing so without killing its crew, which is the trickiest part of any manned spaceflight, really.
Sir Robert Cross has since departed Iothera for the Restored Empire’s top-secret research facilities on Luna Minor, where he is leading Kestrel Project, which is definitely an effort to plan a manned FTL mission, and not some other thing that is not an FTL drive.
I would have thought that I’d hate to get the guts of magic and science exposed. But hey, I like to be proven wrong. Trying not to snicker.
Finally some exposition!
It almost feels like a reboot – in a really good way.
You know, without losing what came before.
As a physics major, I absolutely adore this page. I’ve been in way too many arguments about that fucking microwave thruster over the past few years, and it’s remarkable how many people have trouble understanding that a discovery that called into question one of the founding principles of modern physics wouldn’t mean that we literally have to start over at the beginning.
I also just love all the little details in this page, like the caffeine molecule on the kid’s shirt in the first panel, the tacky stock PowerPoint clipart in Takako’s slideshow (and Comic Sans), and the kid in the last panel who is definitely not ready to take notes on that laptop.
Thank you so much for this wonderful comic!