From: Los Anga-lees
1.) I love both Sheldon and Drive and I read them daily. But I came late to Drive, and I'm a bit confused by the backstory. What, exactly, is "La Familia"? Is it the ruling class? Are they a species or race? I poked around for a page on your site that explains it, but all I found was stuff explaining Sheldon. Any help for a new-ish reader?
2.) Hey Dave, what ever happened to drivecomic.com? It seems like you announced this months ago and I keep checking back to it periodically to see if it's up yet, but still nothing but the "coming soon" banner. Out of all the many daily comics I read, Sheldon is by-far the most consistently on time, so this seems very un-Dave-like. What's up? If there's a blog entry somewhere that explains, feel free to just point me in that direction.
3.) The Enclopedia Xenobiologica refers to "The Alliance" with Veeta before it became part of the "greater Empire". Does this mean that Veeta is a tributary of the Empire, or should we take it that it's now an integral part? On a related note, Gustavo Cruz is referred to as "Proconsul on Veeta". Presumably he's the Emperor's direct representative there. Is he more of a viceroy or more of a high commissioner?
4.) In prison, is Nosh hearing the captain through a cochlear implant, or can everyone hear the captain speaking? Also, if La Familia understand The Drive only in an engineering sense, how have they developed superluminal communications for signalling when cochlear implants are explicitly referred to?
5.) Orla O'Malley is Junior Adjutant Imperial Xenobiologist. This implies that she might be on the Emperor's personal staff, but not that she's familia. We see her gesturing to Gustavo, but he looks on with contempt. Is she actually Familia (reporting back on Fernando) or is she just imitating the sign language for fun? In the former case, does Fernando actually realise she's familia, and if so, why has he not mentioned it? I only interpreted it that way when you showed her receiving the summons to the Grand Council.
6.) Regarding the Grand Council, if the last time was before the death of Conrado, who crafted the empire as he saw fit, why is the procedure well enough enshrined that a) it's "necessary" under certain circumstances, b) the cousin (will we learn his name?) knows about it without hesitation, and c) there's a button set up to announce it?
(On a really petty note, why does the cousin address the Emperor as "Sir"? If it's too formal a situation to address him as "cousin", wouldn't he need to call him "Sire"?
7.) When Fernando shows his position on the family tree, the tree seems to show that the youngest generation is about 9 generations from the patriarch, and seems to show only several dozen members. Is this supposed to be a representative portion?
8.) The fatality rate is 0.25% per use of the drive, or 5-6 per week. If there are 1,200 Familia working on the drive, and the war has been underway for 17 years (events take place around 2401, and the Empire was militarising in 2384) then there could well have been 5000 lost ships, each (unless a ship can take others with it) with a Familia member on board. I presume that the war has caused an increase in naval manoeuvres, and therefore the actual number of fatalities has been a bit under half that, but still, that suggests that, of those servicing the drive in recent years, two thirds have died. This explains Fernando working so young, but it does pose the question of why Famili@s (or whatever the neuter word for one of them is) of other roles weren't pulled in first. I would assume that all of the Familia are trained in The Drive, as it's the source of their power, and you haven't contradicted this in the forum, but why, then, aren't Familia being dragged away from other roles to help the war effort? Also, why do Familia have to serve as magistrates, trade legates, etc.? Those roles could be filled by loyal citizens without risk, as long as the Familia held the knowledge that gave them military power.
9.) It is mentioned that the Armada numbers in the thousands of ships, and the Emperor implies that the figure is 10,439. How are these manned by only 1,200 Familia? Do Familia engineers (should that be Ingeniurs?) not need to be present between services? Fernando seems to be attached to a particular crew... If they serve on particular ships and only go to others in the same squadron etc. as needed, I would wonder whether they would enable higher survival of the ships they're on relative to those they aren't, but even so, I would be imagine that (given the ratio between Familia serving as Engineers and the size of "La Grande e Felissima Armada" (apologies if I've misspelled that) the fatality during the present conflict would have been at least 200, not including those lost to enemy action, which has currently reached about 9 times the level of attrition by accident (56 versus 6 (or 8, that week)).