Poor burnt-up yak, we hardly knew yee. Waaay back when I was breaking the story, I knew I wanted the yak to be set on fire and explode, but I had a really hard time figuring out how to make that happen. In the earlier drafts, I had Goshen do it (obviously before he died). I thought it would be believable as something his character would do if he really wanted the drugs gone and was at the end of his rope for options. I could see him just lashing out and burning them all in front of Dhama Suul. But it also seemed extremely cruel to the yak and made Goshen much less sympathetic to me, which I had a problem with. I think the solution I came up with works much better, with Baso accidentally lighting them on fire as he dies. Since the idea of setting sentient animals on fire is pretty awful, I like that at least now it’s the result of an accident, as opposed to something a character does on purpose.

As a random note, back in The Big Snow Job #4, Page 7, when Goshen is talking about the explosive properties of raw Crush, in the original draft of the story, I didn’t have him toss the bit in the fire. It was all just in the dialog. In the Commentary for that page, I mentioned that I added the action in order to spice up the scene a bit, which had been pretty exposition-heavy. That’s only partially true. The main reason is that in the yak-on-fire scene, I wanted Roka and Ril to have that moment of realization of the danger they’re in, right before the yak actually explode. Without the previous visual example shown by Goshen back in the hut, I didn’t think the explosive nature would really stick with Roka and Ril through words alone. So there you go.