"Shadow of Infiltration -- East": The Inside Track....

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Unlike several of the stories so far, Shadow of Infiltration -- West didn't undergo any major revisions as I produced it. The basic story and all the hinge points -- the junkman's discovery, Annabelle's reaction to Brett, the final "Sheila vs Sheila" battle, and the discovery of a way to reverse the Ketterlings' powers -- remained the same throughout production. On that last, though: That fact will play an important role in the future Planet in Rebellion series where Hearthstone's controlled weather system goes bonkers.

There's just a couple of notes to make as a result.

I should point out that while Sheila would be aware of the Cartel's ability to duplicate people, she isn't aware that they can suck in that person's memories to be able to imitate them. That news just broke in the East, and wouldn't be revealed to the Range Patrol team until the time of the meeting -- which of course, she was missing.

I would have liked to have had the fake Sheila bum around the station for a few days, yes. But then we'd leave the real Sheila in limbo for too long. That would have made the story a lot longer as I tried to figure out what to do with her. Maybe if I get to work on a second edition, we can figure something out.

No points if you guessed that that large island facility has something to do with time travel. But you can understand why Charlock wants to keep it secret from all but his Tilkrig. He's no doubt in a bind (as are all) about the potential paradoxes of time travel, and whether he'll change the future even just by telling people about it.

Shrike Team #9 is ahead -- and they'll be taking care of those missiles but good.