Friday, 14 August 2015

Standard Operating Procedure?

The Patrol has found a literary indication of extra-temporal activity in Jutish Kent. Mainwethering in the London office tells Everard and Whitcomb:

"'...consider. You two gentlemen go back to Jutish times and find the marauder. But you fail. Perhaps he shoots you before you shoot him; perhaps he waylays those we send after you. Then he goes on to establish an industrial revolution or whatever he's after. History changes.'" (Time Patrol, p. 23)

But Mainwethering does not yet know that there is any "marauder," let alone a single one, who plans to change history. As yet, the evidence indicates only that a barrow contained something that could have come from the future. That would be compatible with a civilian time traveler or even a Patrol agent making a mistake, being accidentally stranded etc.

Surely the Patrol would send an Unattached agent, not two inexperienced new recruits, to observe events from a distance in order to establish what had happened before taking any action? The single Unattached might be able to deal with the situation, might discover that no action is necessary or might instead judge that a team of specially prepared Unattacheds must be dispatched. Look how carefully Everard and Floris approach a potential problem in a later installment. And when Everard tackles the Exaltationists, having tracked them down by patient individual detective work, he does it as part of a team strong enough to outnumber and outmaneuver their adverseries.

"...or whatever he's after..." is a woefully inadequate Intelligence assessment. But then the Patrol already knows that this case and its aftermath will make or break Everard as a potential Unattached agent so they must have their own reasons for proceeding with apparent sloppiness on this occasion.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Interesting. I think you have found a possible weakness in "Time Patrol." Unless senior officers of the Patrol had discovered that instead of following the more cautious standard procedures here, it was better to let Everard and Whitcomb proceed as we them doing. In fact, the comment by another Patrol agent near the end of the story that Manse would be promoted to Unattached status after further training would seem to bear this out. So, maybe this possible weakness was not a flaw!


John Jones said...

If the agents sent to arrest them spotted his Unattached potential, how did Gordon's testing and the Academy miss it? And how did Whitcomb pass the tests? Perhaps the Danellians greenlit the whole affair to resolve the matter of which century he lived in.

Paul Shackley said...

Yes, it looks as if this was all stage-managed by the Danellians.