Unexpected Finger was detected when she fired her engines to decelerate. How far away was that?

From your high-school physics, recall that if you accelerate at constant rate *a*, you
will cover distance
*d* = ½*at*^{2}, where *t* is time.

Finger decelerated at one third of an Earth gravity (*a*
= 3.3*m*/*s*^{2}) for a period of seven months
(*t* = 1.8×10^{7}*s*).

So Finger's deceleration covered a distance of
*d* = ½*at*^{2}
= ½(3.3*m/s ^{2}*)(1.8×10

(Yes, I am using the words *accelerate* and *decelerate* interchangeably. This is okay.)

In other words, Finger fired her engines (and was detected) at a distance of 530 billion *km* which is
20 light days or 3500 *au*, near the inner edge of the Oort cloud.

Everything in that last paragraph was wrong, because Finger's deceleration was not constant. She braked slower at the beginning, when she was heavy with fuel. This is also when her velocity was highest, so she actually covered more distance than is implied by the formula for constant acceleration.

Sorry about that, but the error is only about 5%,
and fixing it requires calculus or numerical simulations. I solved it with numerical simulation, and the real answer is
540 billion *km*, which is 21 light days or 3600 *au*. But putting a numerical simulation into a free
math supplement to a popular novel would be even dumber than putting in calculus.