You don’t need to leave. Just stay where you are and the city leaves.
“Will it ever return? No, won’t ever return,
And it’s fate is still unlearned…
It’ll geek forever ‘neath the streets of Boston,
It’s the town that never returns!”
**BLINKBLINK** And that’s what I get for writing a response before reading all the comments– didn’t realize (but should have) that Ed had written a filk below. His is MUCH better than my sorry attempt! 😀
Ruby looks like Tip’s long-lost sister here.
i think sweetheart noticed that first thing
no, i’m wrong; sweetheart observed that about violet bee. but it’s even more true of ruby, now that you mention it.
Exercise to the reader – if, for purely practical purposes, we constrain St. Charlie’s speed to that of the fastest currently known train (Japan’s MXL, 581 km/h), and “never” to span from today (August 6, noon 12:00 GMT sharp) to the expected end-of-life of Earth (500 million to 900 million years in the future, give or take), how much (contiguous!) track would one need “never to return”…?
…Then again things (and the passengers) being what they are, it’s of course entirely possible that she’s traversing between multiple extra dimensions / realities, which would make that a lot easier…
You’re assuming that the tracks must be at the same altitude. Add aerial tracks and… presto! you have practically no limits, as long as you find a way to breath outside the atmosphere.
I absolutely guarantee that hard-core physical analysis of anything in this strip is going to leave you disappointed.
Mad Science + Theory of Narrative Causality = Pie!!
I think Dr. Wilkin might disagree with you on that point, Channing.
You’re right. Let me amend my statement with the caveat that hard-core physical analysis of the sexy cast member of your choice may in fact lead to satisfaction of some kind.
Nah, there’s a rack of Heraclites Compensators down in the boiler room that takes care of all that.
Aw dangit, I went with ‘Heraclites Compensators’ for the Star Trek joke, and then immediately afterward realized that those would actually work the other way around. This place needs an edit button.
To “never return” you simply need to change your mind about where you want to be.
>>>Will someone hand Unity a sandwich every day at quarter past two?
Dang! I was going to say that.! (Ever wonder why the person always handed Charlie a sandwich and never simply gave him the exit fare?)
It’s a simple question to answer.
In standard Einsteinian 4-dimensional spacetime, masses being unable to be accelerated to the speed of light, and t always increasing, it is impossible to return to the same point in spacetime; not just where, but when.
However, wormholes, FTL travel, infinitely long rotating cylinders, and other non-standard spacetime connectivity might allow timelike loops, i.e. returning to the same point in spacetime.
If the world ends in exactly 500 million years, and if the city is always traveling at that top speed, 2.546 quadrillion kilometers.
Then again, that doesn’t tell you much. If we calculate the density of track over the Earth’s surface, we get… huh. Very close to 5000 linear meters per square meter.
But St. Charlie is parked right now, so that throws off those calculations. Assuming instead a leisurely average speed of 5 kph, the city requires 43.03 linear meters of track per square meter of Earth’s surface. Depending how wide and how tall the train is, the tracks might have to be tiered up to several kilometers.
Or the city and/or world could be destroyed first.
Or the world could change so much between visits of the same geographical location that it can’t really count as “returning.”
Or “the city that never returns” might not be literally true.
Of course they can’t leave. The mads need to railroad them through their schemes.
Someone has been watching Galaxy Express 999. Totally Shaneon’s expertise.
So who hands Charlie a sandwich?
I believe it’s his wife, at least in the versions of the song that I’ve heard.
You had to know this was coming …
(TUNE: “Charlie on the MTA”, Jacqueline Steiner & Bess Lomax Hawes)
Now welcome! It’s all aboard the good St. Charlie,
Where the madboys and -girls all dwell!
And we’re rather proud of it, we hope you’ll like it
‘Cause you’re gonna have to stay a spell!
And will they ever return? No, they’ll never return!
Oh, the secrets they will learn!
Where it’s never rainin’, ’cause it’s subterranean,
The train will never return!
Now on the St. Charlie, you will lose your freedom
And you’re safety’s no guarantee!
But cheer up, there’s satellite TV and wi-fi,
And all premium channels are free!
I’ll tell you politely, and you’d best believe us
That St. Charlie is where you’ll stay!
You can check out anytime, but never leave us
Just like Hotel Ca-li-for-ni-ay!
I saw that first panel today and started worrying this entire plotline was just an excuse to get someone to write these lyrics…
This is, I suspect, not the first Skin Horse strip that has been tweaked specifically to get a filk out of Ed.
Well done, sir! The “Hotel California” reference is a nice touch, and the line “Where it’s never rainin’, ’cause it’s subterranean” is inspired.
Think the cyborg recognizes the robot? And yeah, Violet Bee, presumably the creation of a mad scientist, probably would fit in just fine….
“You’ll fit in… as the CPU for our new ventilation system!!! Ahahaha! Ahahahahahaha!”
i wonder if violet is noting that if things get bad, she can upload herself out on the wifi….
Ah, but what flavor of Wifi: 802.11a, -b, -g, -n, or -ac? And what’s the St. Charlie using for the backhaul to the Internet backbone? It’d be a pity if it has 802.11ac for the wireless LAN with an old V.34 acoustic modem for the WAN.
Pfft. 802.11n? They’re running 802.11q. Yes, the one where the IEEE keeps claiming there’s no such specification. You know it has to have been erased from public consumption for a reason! 😉
802.11q was erased from public consumption because the first silicon had a nasty tendency to consume the public. Those fools at the IEEE were told time and again to use gallium nitride as a substrate, but noooOOOooo, “silicon would enable faster die spins during development”. Never mind the fact that the silicon was a perfect growth medium for the n-th dimensional noosvores drawn by the summoning circuit created by the first draft 802.11q physical layer…
Are you saying Violet doesn’t have her own built-in router? That’d be the first thing I asked for, if I woke up and discovered I was an android.
Will someone hand Unity a sandwich every day at quarter past two?
Did anyone notice on Saturday that Sain’t Charlie has an apostrophe? As in “S ain’t Charlie”?
That’s just a curlicue, one of many.
Aw, man! Thought I saw something! You’re right. The “N” is Saint is overly ornate.
Hmm… I forsee Nick performing some sort of two-bit rescue plan later on.
Should I be worried that my priorities seem to match Violet’s?
No, but you should be more specific. “The sports channel on the satellite T.V. It’s not just curling, is it? And the porn channels? Does that include goblin? Does that include *only* goblin? And wifi, who pays for that?”
Yes, the sports channel is just curling, mostly repeats of the 2010 Winter Olypmics. Why? ^_^
“Will we be able to leave freely?”
“Relax, ” said the night man, “We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like, But you can never leave! “
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