Friday, 14 August 2015
Standard Operating Procedure?
"'...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.