The original layouts for this page and the next had the captain popping up Star Trek style on the workstation’s port display. I cut this for two reasons – first, it would have meant drawing Andreissen four times for this scene (on top of Grij’s eight). Second, as the screens are slightly transparent, this would have involved doing all of her linework before the renders. So cutting that bit and replacing it with a static “audio” data shot saved me a good-sized hunk of time without impacting the story.
While Raven’s already technically told us what Heirotus is up to at the end of the previous scene, this scene gives Big H some much needed screen time. In the first edition this chapter was completely Heirotus-free, and while the major plot points are technically a re-hash, the perspective – Grij so desperate to get the QAR working he’s dropped his “costume” – foreshadows his frazzled, desperate attitude in the next book.