One of the key events Dead City Radio (and the second edition of The Dualist) was built around – the Hemera has been dead on paper for years, and now it’s finally blowed up For Reals.
It feels good.
As with the previous page, the workbook script and layout were tossed. The script was streamlined and moved around a bit, a line was added (Unknown Track, to imply something that would produce the results seen in panel two), and the layout was tweaked a few times. Heck, it was tweaked a few times in thumbnails – it took awhile to come up with something I was happy with, and I think this works. Decent line of action, with the Loki in panel two as axis for the 1-3 dialogue and the 1-2-3 panels. Woot.
I toyed with the idea of debris in panel four, but ultimately ruled it out in favor of the existing aesthetics. I’ve seen a few interpretations of what a microgravity explosion and its aftermath might look like – in this case I went for a quick burn, with the debris distributed largely along the plane of impact, which the Loki was already falling away from.
The Hemera was hit with a railgun slug (through-and-through, center axis) and some type of missile. Possibly the space equivalent of a conventional Exocet anti-ship missile, possibly a very small nuke. Captain Polaski mentions cruise missiles in The Dualist, so that’s also a possibility. The human diaspora has a much more free-fire “no such thing as overkill” attitude towards nuclear technology than their Terrestrial counterparts, so it could easily be a vacuum-rated Tomahawk equivalent with a nuclear payload. The ship isn’t a military vessel and has a point defense system designed to deal with itty bitty bits of space debris – unlike the Sabrosa (which is armored and carries a PDS more powerful than the offensive batteries of most surface warships), a single missile is a viable strike option.
Whether Greymalkin authorized the strike or Polaski pro-actively interpreted standing orders is (presently) left as an exercise for the reader.