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A Bridge Too Far 29/41

A Bridge Too Far 29/41 published on 14 Comments on A Bridge Too Far 29/41

Kale: “Because I’ve been looking at the comment section, and a lot of readers seem really suspicious about this…”

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Leif: And here you are, owning up to what you did — trying to make amends — getting better, so it won’t happen again . . . I know how much that means. Because they never did it!

If they had put in half the work you have . . . I know I could have forgiven them!

Kale: Leif . . . This means a lot. It really does. Thank you.

Just — Was there a reason why you don’t believe the “not guilty” plea?

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Leif, Leif, Leif, so brainwashed by the government he doesn’t understand he’s being lied to by them.

personally, my suspicions are tempered slightly by the fact that Valrún never claimed her own innocence, and the closest thing to a primary source (Blue, whose claims on their OWN crimes are suspect) says that from Valrún’s perspective “it was an accident or something. outside her control” (Quarantine with a Vampire, Part 4(20/21)) I read it as HER mistake lead to the accident.

(also, please note that as far as Valrún was concerned, Lief should have only been saddled with part of the debt if she tried to escape… but Leif was absolutely hit with the full debt before the Bruma got her. did his other parents take the leap, or was Valrún misled?)

Most engineering disasters need a *lot* of people fucking up in combination.

If Valrún was, for instance, the designing engineer for the bridge, and she’d specified a certain thickness and grade of steel… and then the local foundry (possibly owned by an Important Person) delivers pig iron full of defects that make it half as strong as it should be…

…and then let’s assume a junior gets bribed to accept the batch, while she’s off site. And then let’s assume she *does* find problems in the next batch… but Important Person reassures her that, oh yes it’s only this one batch, we’re very sorry, and gosh it cause *so much trouble* if she tried to buy elsewhere…

…well, she *could* have the half-built bridge ripped apart, inspected, and rebuilt with steel from elsewhere. All it would cost is tripling the construction time, quadrupling the cost, and making a bunch of political enemies.

So who’s fault is it when the bridge collapses? She’s certainly not *innocent*. She could have stopped it. But the junior or the foundry owner or the foundry foreman could have stopped it, too…

I was trying to find the bridge collapse Erin was using and ended up spending a *lot* of time reading about the Tay Bridge:

There are even more people who *could* have stopped the collapse in that one…

So the question becomes: was it just Leif’s parents who were charged, or were others held responsible? Also, Leif’s parents just happened to all work on this bridge? Not impossible, but again, we already know that Valrun believed that Leif wouldn’t be held responsible for the debt: I feel like between that and the treatment of servents by the embassy, we have every reason to believe that something is wrong here.

Ooooh, that final panel pointing out that they are currently on a bridge. That’s probably not just an aesthetic distance shot.

Leif: sympathizes with Kale because he’s also lived with massive, soul-crushing guilt due to an unspeakably horrible crime
Kale: sympathizes with Leif because he’s also been brainwashed and manipulated by authority
The funny part is that both of their reasons for sympathizing with each other are…not mutually exclusive, exactly, but they really contradict some core parts of the narratives each of them has told themselves about their own lives.

I notice Leif said they “tried to pass the blame”; they DIDN’T say it was something unavoidable, because the powers-that-be wouldn’t have believed that, because when a train crashes and people die, res ipsa loquitur. It’s as I said about Juniper Mine a few strips ago, it’s a notion people have that when something goes wrong so badly that people die, someone MUST be to blame, either an individual, a small group thereof, or a corporation, private or state. Except maybe not – which makes me think there are three options now, either both of these are human error (probably Valrún and her husbands were under orders in this case, or at least under pressure), only the mine collapse was human error (we might see the two cases in contrast in this case), or both were unavoidable (we might see Leif give Chase’s wife a crisis of conscience in this case).

(Option four, that the mine collapse was unavoidable and the bridge collapse human error, I sincerely doubt, but given my recent track record, I’ll put both a hundred marks and a hundred crowns on the longshot.)

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