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But, for the moment at least, I know what to do. As I think I have said before, war in space is slow, and that is exactly the right kind of speed for me. This, I have been trained for.

You see, the pirates test our defences regularly. Why? Well, it’s rather a strange game, and I must say I do not really understand their motivations : all right, they don’t always die but they never, ever, succeed, so I would still call the stakes rather high.

So, if we use a formula where the frequency of pirate incursions is a given and the rate of success is always the same (i.e. zero), we are left with only one variable : the ratio of pirate death per attack. The p.d.p.a., although we are not supposed to call it that. It’s dehumanizing, apparently.

Anyway, my p.d.p.a. is rather good, even if I say so myself. Rather good but not too good, which is the important point.

( Because, you see, we know next to nothing of the pirates. We don’t know where they come from, why they are trying to invade us; we don’t know what they look like or even if they are human. And obviously, when you know so little, the small things take on a lot of importance. Like the p.d.p.a.

Nobody back at peri-Central would admit it, but right now the p.d.p.a. is basically near enough the sum total of our knowledge when it comes to the pirates.

Yes, it is that bad.)

So, a low p.d.p.a. could be bad news. The sign for instance that the pirates are developing better ships, or better systems, counter-measures, armaments, that sort of things. That would be bad.

But an even lower p.d.p.a. would be even worse, especially for yours truly. Because then somebody at peri-Central could very quickly start wondering about my level of competence. And that would not be very good either. Gotta keep these pirates’ heads rolling!

Fortunately I am not too bad at my job, but still, I’ve got to be careful. Because too good a p.d.p.a. could also be the sign of a problem, you see. I would almost certainly point toward a greater commitment from the pirates. Greater confidence perhaps. Maybe a massing of their forces before a big push.

Or perhaps, and that would be very bad, it could also mean greater desperation, that whatever is pushing them is now pushing harder

But anyway, I am find, as I told you earlier. My p.d.p.a. is good, thank you very much. Good, but not too good. After only a few months into the job, I am in that sweet little zone.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is all you need to know to realize how screwed up this little war of ours is.

Because, think about it for a minute, if all we know of the pirates is the number of them we manage to kill every time they visit, and if that ratio is pretty much the result of one guy’s actions (for this sector, that would be me), and this guy has been told what the ideal ratio should look like…

Well, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that, in the end, when it comes to the pirates, we know exactly fuck all…

One last thing: you would think that, in view of what I just explained, now would be a good time to develop some new and better weapons, systems, ships? But we can’t do that, remember? That would definitely fuck up the p.d.p.a., and all these lovely, long running, endlessly pored over and, above all, absolutely fucking useless statistics would be rendered moot in a instant!

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