Thursday, 20 November 2014
Eric Tamarin will become Grand Duke of Hermes;
Beatrix Yeo married Malcolm Conyon and had a daughter, Coya.
The Conyons lived on Earth, where van Rijn visited, bringing extra-solar presents for Coya, and took her sailing, to the theater and around the Solar System. Now aged twenty-five, Coya is an astrophysicist at Luna Astrocenter.
Supernova remnants are white dwarfs, neutron stars or black holes. Their probable distribution within a radius of a few hundred parsecs can be computed from:
the known distribution of former supernovae;
data on other star types, dust, gas, radiation, magnetism, locations, concentrations and time derivatives;
theories of galactic development.
The problem is complex enough to require the best self-programming computer used by a highly skilled astrophysicist. The solution is a list of decreasing probabilities. A spaceship searching on a path defined by the equations will find the type of body sought. Van Rijn asks Coya to solve the problem and Astrocenter records tell her that van Rijn's protege and her hero, David Falkayn, mounted exactly the same search secretly ten years previously.
Coya is caught in the middle of a possible conflict between van Rijn and Falkayn...