Monthly Archives: November 2013

Trade Secret – Chapter 18

Tradedesk, Gallery 770

In which it is always good to have news of kin.

The red bar, it appears, indicates a person who’s been invited to the traders’ after-dinner. That number includes, apart from Jethri and Grandma Ricky, Samay pin’Aker and Infreya chel’Gaibin, but not Bar Jan chel’Gaibin. With Infreya chel’Gaibin, instead of her son, is a pilot Jethri doesn’t recognise – perhaps Former Scout yos’Belin – wearing her red badge tag “slightly askew”, which may be an indication that she’s been adjusting the number and colour of tags from those to which she is properly entitled.

Jethri gets to learn some more of the things about his father that people assume he knows already. In this case, it’s about Uncle and Dulsey, and the fact that Arin looked as much like Uncle as Jethri looks like Arin. Which, as Jethri himself notes, is interesting.

Trade Secret – Chapter 17


In which Jethri goes to dinner.

Jethri’s badge has three colour codes on it: green, indicating he’s a trader; blue, indicating he’s a pilot; and red, which we still haven’t been told what it means. The fact that Grandma DeNobli picks a table under the red banner to eat at suggests a couple of possibilities.

One of the things on offer at the dinner is bloosharie – the third different spelling for it in as many books.

It being a dress-up sort of occasion, Jethri’s wearing the firegem ring that he bought in the prologue and which hasn’t been mentioned since. I wonder if, with all these people around, someone’s going to take an interest in it.

Trade Secret – Chapter 16

Tradedesk, Dockside and More

In which networks are affirmed and expanded.

At Tradedesk Control, Jethri and the Scout make the acquaintence of Director ViChels Carresens, who is in charge of the station, and who shares a name with the Carresens Coordinating Committee that’s running the trade meeting.

Speaking of shared names: the ship he mentions that his family has donated for moving the station to its final position, Nubella Run, is one of those ships Paitor mentioned to Khat as being involved in whatever Arin Gobelyn was up to.

Speaking of shared names: along the way, Jethri overhears some pilots discussing another arrival whose name is doubly interesting. The new arrival bears the name of Omron, and is perhaps that same D. Omron who signed the invitation that brought Jethri here; and her given name is Dulsey, perhaps that same Dulsey who is an associate of the Uncle. If all the perhapses bear out, it would appear that the Uncle wishes to meet with Jethri…

And as if Jethri didn’t have enough to look forward to, there’s Samay pin’Aker, Clan Midys, who went to such trouble to accidentally meet him. (A familiar name, here: one of the students who facilitates Aelliana’s demonstration of practical probabilities in Scout’s Progress is a pin’Aker – and his partner is a ven’Deelin. No way of knowing whether that tells us anything useful about Samay, of course.)

Trade Secret – Chapter 15

Aboard Keravath in Jump to Vincza

In which Jethri and the Scout – and others – arrive at Vincza.

Captain ter’Astin continues to give Jethri practical lessons in piloting, to the point that Jethri is able to sit Pilot in Charge when Keravath docks at Tradedesk Station, and do a creditable job despite an unwarranted distraction.

(And I wonder if he had the spare attention to note the name of the distraction, or if the distraction had the situational awareness to notice who it was they were distracting.)

Speaking of distractions: during the drill, the Scout attempts to distract Jethri by trying to draw him into a conversation about local relationship and marriage rules, and Jethri says to hold it and tell him later. I wonder if this is foreshadowing that local relationship and marriage rules are going to be something Jethri needs to know about; if so, I hope the Scout did indeed get around to raising the subject again later.

Trade Secret – Chapter 14

Coyander Kenso at Finifter

In which Tan Sim pen’Akla collects the mail.

The ship on which Tan Sim is serving out his exile has undergone a mysterious transformation. When he told his tale to Jethri in Balance of Trade, the ship was Genchi and its captain was named sea’Kira; now, though it’s clearly the same ship, its name is Coyander Kenso and the captain’s name is dea’Blanco.

We learn in passing that Tan Sim plays a musical instrument, of the keyboard family, though we don’t learn whether he has one available to him in his exile.

It appears Tan Sim is going to be able to persuade the Captain (whatever his name is) that accepting the invitation to the trade fair will be good for the ship as well as for Tan Sim himself. If he keeps this up, by the time Master ven’Deelin and Jethri get their rescue planned out he may not need rescuing.

Trade Secret – Chapter 13

Keravath, on Port, Balfour

In which Jethri and ter’Astin finish their business on Balfour and move on to their next destination.

Trouble indeed: somebody has been aboard the ship. Somebody who had a key, which they ought not to have had, and by the signs is a Scout. (Or an ex-Scout? I continue to cast suspicious looks in a very particular direction.)

Jethri’s meeting with the memorable Mr Dorster has turned up more of Iza’s neglect: basic documents and proofs of identity never completed or filed.

The Scout is also interested in the mysterious manifesto, “Arin’s Envidaria of the Seventeen Worlds”. As it is now too late to ask Freza more about it, Jethri merely tells him, truthfully but incompletely, that he never heard of it before today. The Seventeen Worlds are apparently a cluster of planets along the galatic arm where travel is unusually restricted by cosmic phenomena that are expected to last for the next few centuries; if Arin was taking the long view – and considering how old he probably was, it might not have seemed as long as all that – the Envidaria may involve a plan for how things will shift when the cosmic phenomena get out of the way. (And although “the next few centuries” is a pretty vague timespan, I can’t help noting that one plausible interpretation of a few centuries on from this novel puts us right about the time the next Liaden novel is due to be set…)

And now they are off to Vincza, where the Scout has hope for finding something and Jethri has been invited to a regional trade meeting (run by the Carresens Coordinating Committee, a name which rings a distinct bell: the Carresens are still trading in one of the later novels, and I seem to remember one of them mentioning Arin in a historical context, though I don’t recall what is said).

I wonder if Freza’s ship will also be attending the trade meeting. Not just because of the several reasons Jethri has for wanting to see her again, but also because the meeting’s being held in the system where they had their last, ill-fated meeting, and it would be kind of appropriate for it also to be the location of their next meeting, where hopefully they will fare better.

Trade Secret – Chapter 12

Keravath, on Port, Balfour

In which Jethri meets an old friend and a lawyer.

Jethri and ter’Astin have come to Balfour to meet some people. The Scout is to meet with some “specialists” (in which specialism, he does not specify), and Jethri is to meet with a lawyer, a trade law specialist who has had previous business with Elthoria, to explore the question of what can be done about his logbook being stolen.

Jay Rivenkid Dorster, Esquire, professional trade law specialist and free-lance stress-tester of furniture, is a real character. I may have said before that one of the things I like about this series is that many of the characters who only stick around on the page for a chapter or two have enough personality to stick around in the memory for much longer.

This is the first time Jethri’s been among Terrans since he shipped out with Elthoria, and he’s having some difficulty shifting smoothly back into dealing with Terran faces and Terran ways. I hope that doesn’t get him into any trouble.

The old friend he meets is Freza DeNobli, the young woman he might once have had a thing with if the scheduling had worked out. It seems like they’re both hoping the scheduling will work out a bit better this time. For now, though, the schedule only has room for a brief session of essential catching-up talk.

(It appears that there really is some kind of document bearing some resemblance to the thing yos’Belin was talking about last chapter – and to the information-share Paitor was telling Khat about a few chapters before. But I still think that the reason there’s no mention of it in the Commission’s records is that the Commission isn’t interested.)

I am not happy about the pair of workers Jethri sees moving around closer to the ship than they ought to be. That kind of thing too often means trouble one way or another.

Trade Secret – Chapter 11

Wynhael, Sater System, Orbit

In which Bar Jan chel’Gaibin wishes to take command of his own affairs.

Bar Jan chel’Gaibin is showing as a rather ambitious young man; more ambitious, I think, than is quite wise. I think it may be within his power to gain the Delm’s ring as he plans, but I remain unconvinced he has it in him to hold it and use it well. It’s clear that he, unlike Jethri, has never been taught that an effective trader needs to have some understanding of people and things outside his own particular sphere. (Not that he seems much interested in being an effective trader, either, but it would have been a useful lesson for a Delm-to-be, as well.)

We are introduced to a new member of the conspiracy, Rand yos’Belin, who presents as a courier, but has rather more influence over the making of plans than that might suggest. Bar Jan notices the amount of influence she has with his mother, but seems less aware of her influence on himself; by the end of the chapter, she’s got rather more from him than he apparently has from her.

Courier yos’Belin is a former Scout, flying a top-of-the-line ship such as a Scout Pilot might be expected to fly (but an ex-Scout might, perhaps, not). She speaks of a determination to preserve Liad’s natural supremacy over the Terrans. I find myself wondering if perhaps she’s an agent of that “internal agency” of which we’ve lately heard.

The Terran plan of which she speaks seems likely to be connected with the politics Paitor has been discussing with Khat. The proposition that its progress has been kept off the record by a secret cabal doesn’t ring true to me; I suspect, given what Paitor said, that it just never got off the ground. The question is, does yos’Belin (or whoever’s behind yos’Belin) actually believe in the secret cabal, or is it just a convenient hook to pull in conspirators with?

On a side note, it’s interesting that the former employer of Wynhael‘s captain was Ixin, of all clans, considering how things stand between Ixin and Rinork. Just coincidence, or has Rinork been actively poaching Ixin’s employees when it sees profit in doing so?

And now Bar Jan is looking toward Franticle. Who else do we know who was headed in that direction…?

Trade Secret – Chapter 10

Keravath‘s Second Cabin, in Jump

In which Jethri watches.

My working hypothesis about the indicator that shows a band of color for the Scout and just a sliver of pink for Jethri is that it has something to do with dramliz abilities. We know from last novel that the Scout has some capabilities in that area, while Jethri hasn’t shown any signs, unless it’s in his knack for salvage lots.

Seeing as it’s turning out there was something more to young Jethri’s make-believe trade route, and remembering that the Scout has spent time studying the logbook he planned it out in, I don’t think it’s just coincidence that all the Jump targets the Scout has set Jethri to practice with are stops on the route.

Also, it sounded from last chapter like Paitor was wanting the Market to try the route out. If they’re both going to be hitting the same set of destinations, chances are they’ll cross paths somewhere along the way.

Trade Secret – Chapter 9

Flight Deck, Gobelyn’s Market, Raising Serconia Three

In which the First Mate and the Senior Trader talk about the future and the past.

So Iza’s always known Jethri wasn’t hers – Arin showed up with the infant Jethri one day, at the end of a long trip away, and talked Iza into accepting him as a Gobelyn. (That’s a clarification I’m right glad to have, considering where my train of thought was ending up on the back of the information we’d previously had.) So then she had to work with the apparent implication of Arin acquiring a son somewhere without her involvement, and then the less apparent but more unsettling creeping realisation that Jethri was all Arin’s, all the more unsettling set aside the growing realisation that she knew much less about Arin than she’d thought she did.

Paitor mentions that they found out Arin had had other children before he met Iza. I wonder if we’re going to meet any of them this trip – and I wonder if any of them have the same “family resemblance” as Jethri.

Speaking of family resemblances, Paitor says that there was a family resemblance between Arin and the Uncle, though he stops short of “twin”, which is what he says about Arin and Jethri, so I don’t know if he’s implying that he thinks that the Uncle is to Arin what Arin is to Jethri.

(I’ve actually been thinking that might be the case myself for a few weeks now, since the “Arin’s youngest brother” chapter of Balance of Trade, because it reminded me of the scene in Crystal Dragon where Cantra earns a sharp look from the Uncle by suggesting that Arin looks enough like him to be his brother. And it’s prompted me to finally get around to comparing the physical descriptions of Arin and his Uncle, which I hadn’t done before because they’re in separate books of the duology; I suspect now that that was deliberate, to avoid making it too obvious that Arin and his Uncle are both tall, lean, dark-haired and grey-eyed.)

(But here’s an odd thing: Grig’s Uncle Yuri is tall and lean, but contrariwise is grey-haired and dark-eyed.)

(And while we’re at it: Jethri’s father Arin, in the photocube from Balance of Trade, has hair described similarly to the earlier Arin’s but his eyes, like Jethri’s, are brown.)

In Paitor’s stories about the doing of the Tomas family, I see the seeds of several things that crop up in the novels featuring Theo. (And given the bit about the Uncle’s secret shipyard, I’m wondering if Bechimo is one of them.)