Wow.... I would have / likely still will say this in AIM in but a moment... but I think you broke through in this piece. Not only did you capture that technical flare for which your writing is defined, but you captured that raw emotion too. If -- for that -- you call it a tribute, then I don't think there is a better tribute to be had, and a gift from a friend is always held in high regard.
Now enough of that formal bullcrap! That story was balls deep. WOOTPANDA