Balance of Trade – Chapter 38

Day 180
Standard Year 1118


In which the cargo pod is opened, and many things are revealed.

This is the chapter in which Jethri gets his family background – and someone does indeed mention him and the word “clone” in conjunction, though the details are skipped over for the present moment.

I like how casually the matter of Grig’s true age is dropped in, near the beginning of the chapter.

It is also established that “duplicating unit” is what Grig’s family call the type of device Cantra called a “first aid kit” – which raises a few questions about what they used them for before they figured out the first aid kit function.

Well, all right, one thing they apparently used them for was duplicating people, what Raisy calls “reproducing the pure stock”. Pure what, she doesn’t say. Anyhow, that brings us back around to Jethri being a clone.

21 thoughts on “Balance of Trade – Chapter 38

  1. Ed8r

    I was a bit confused by the presence of Raisy in this story. Okay, she’s Grig’s “sister” but where is Dulsey? Or maybe I should ask, where does Raisy disappear to after this? Does Grig’s decision to die a natural death mean that she must do so also? That is, if Grig is the original “pure stock,” maybe Raisy is a one-off?

  2. Paul A. Post author

    “Where is Dulsey?” is a question that didn’t arise when I first read the book, because at that point Dulsey had only appeared in the prequels and we didn’t know if she’d made it to the new universe with the Uncle, but it’s a reasonable question to ask now that the authors have established that she did and that she’s usually to be found wherever the Uncle is. (And that Grig’s Uncle is Dulsey’s Uncle.) I suppose we must assume that she’s temporarily off taking care of bidness somewhere else.

    If Raisy was only temporarily standing in for Dulsey, she might still be around, just not in the Uncle’s immediate vicinity; he could have reassigned her to one of his many projects that have never appeared on the page. Or perhaps she ended up deciding Grig was right and following his example. Or maybe she’s like Seignur Veeoni and was only ever meant to live one lifetime and achieve one purpose.

  3. Ed8r

    Yes, I thought of Seignur Veeoni, as well. In a later chapter of Trade Secret we find out that Raisy is actually “older” than Grig, at least older than this particular iteration of Grig…or wait…are we really talking about iterations of Uncle? They all end up being identified as Uncle’s “brothers” so that makes Raisy a “sister” in the same DNA stock. All individuals, as Dulsey says later, and yet “clones” in the sense that they originated from the exact same DNA.

  4. Paul A. Post author

    That’s actually in this chapter, I think: the Scout makes a leading comment about how Grig and Raisy look so alike they must be twins, and Grig says that Raisy’s actually older than him.

    (And now it occurs to me that it probably wasn’t just happenstance that the authors put a set of clones and a set of identical twins in the same book, although what they might have meant by it I wouldn’t say without reading the book again.)

  5. Ed8r

    So who are you referring to as clones: Jethri and Arin? Because later, in Trade Secret, Dulsey assures Jethri that he is not actually a “clone” of Arin.

  6. Paul A. Post author

    I was following the lead of the comment I was replying to, which said that they’re all “clones” in the sense that they originated from the exact same DNA.

    The Uncle’s kin might not technically be clones by a strict definition, but do we have a better word for what they are?

  7. Ed8r

    I think I understand this now.

    After reading Neogenesis I think we all know exactly what the duplicating unit can accomplish. We also, I think, have a better idea of what Raisey and later Dulsey mean when using the terms “brother” versus “clone.” The “brothers” (and “sisters”) in this family sprang from the same root DNA, but had certain traits manipulated to be stronger than others.

    Thus, Uncle’s DNA has been used to grow an “Arin” and a “Grig” and a “Raisey” and a “Seignur Veeoni,” as well as probably others we have no names for*. Meanwhile, it is Uncle who has cloned himself and used smart strands so as not to lose the memory gained by each new iteration. And Jethri is from the same root DNA with tweaks done to make him understand Old Tech even better than the others.

    *Note that later on we hear that there were three “of [Arin’s] claimed git working as pilots ” . . . amd that is the number they *know* of!

  8. Ed8r

    Oops! I was in the middle of editing my post above, when the time was up!

    I wanted to mention—as possibly another line of Uncle’s “brothers” and “sisters”—the Bedel, who apparently are put down on worlds to find Old Tech and pull its teeth.

  9. Othin

    Where did you get the idea that “Grig” and “Raisey” are of the same stock as the Uncle? If we go far enough back, we know the Uncle gathered batchers around him to help him do his work. I believe that after the purge of overzealous followers (thanks to Cantra and Jela) those of his group who escaped with him to the new universe might have become what one calls family. Especially since the Uncle is properly himself a batcher.

    So Grig and Raisey or more precisely their original stock might be just as engeneered as Dulsey was.

    The questiond about reproducing the pure stock – reminds me on the way Monsanto reproduces plants or poultry farming – were the chickens that are produced are unable to pass on their ‘superior’ trades to a next generation.

  10. Ed8r

    I believe my thoughts on Grig and Raisey are colored by the additional information we are given in Trade Secret, so strictly speaking, this was not the place for me to introduce them (although here is the only time that Raisey is mentioned). I have gotten ahead of myself, since I am reading at a faster rate than I can keep up with my posting.

  11. Paul A. Post author

    This isn’t necessarily too early to bring it up — I put some of my thoughts about why I thought Grig might be a younger brother of the Uncle in the post for Chapter 32 of this book. (At this point in this book, I admit, they mainly consist of: his physical description is not unlike the Uncle’s.)

  12. Othin

    Thanks Paul for pointing that out. But I have to disagree.

    My reason for why Grig can’t be the Uncle’s or Arin’s brother is Iza and her familie. Iza won’t be able to react to Grig or to Jethri the way she does if Grig “is the spit of Arin”.

    Also Jethri isn’t that unobservant. Grig must look different enough for there to not an obvious familie resemblance, or Jethri would view him differently.

    Another reason is that at least til now there is no reason in the storryline for Grig and Raisey to be that closey related to the Uncle or Arin.

    So no – Grig and Raisey may have special batcher talents, but they are not contaminated the Uncles DNA.

  13. Ed8r

    Othin, I’ll track this thread so that I can respond more fully when I find the information that led me to this conclusion. I agree that the authors did not include anything to suggest that Jethri noticed a family resemblance in this book . . . BUT.

    I think we’ll find that further information bears out this idea. Perhaps we’ll have to agree to disagree, we’ll see.

  14. Ed8r

    Paitor tells Khat, in chapter 9: Family resemblance between Arin and the Uncle, I say, and Jethri a twin of his dad.

    We know that Jethri is not a clone (according to what Dulsey tells him in chptr 22 when he meets the Uncle), but he is a manufactured human, a twin-with-tweaks TM.

    In chptr 18, Grandma Doricky explained to Jethri that Uncle is Arin Gobelyn’s for-real brother, and Arin was the spit of him. Then one paragraph later, she says: You’re the spit of Arin and Arin was the spit of Uncle.

    So unless we have evidence that this character is an unreliable narrator, we can assume that first Arin was grown/manufactured from Uncle’s stock. Not a batcher, really, and not a clone, per se, but another twin-with-tweaks.

  15. Ed8r

    From there we can circle back to Grig and Raisey and say that any “brother” and “sister” of Arin’s must have been modified from the same stock: Uncle’s.

  16. Ed8r

    I’m really dragging this out, sorry, but there is also this . . .

    When Uncle first appears, to bid on the fire-gem Triluxian ring, the text says: [Jethri] glanced down—and into a face he had never hoped to see again. His father stood before him.

  17. Othin

    woh, ho ho, what do you say? We seem to be taking about different things.
    The Uncle, Arin and Jethry are seeds of the same pot. (Do you say this?) There is no question in my mind that they are closely related and derive from the same gen-set. And yes there are others that also belong to this sibling or clone group or whatever we call it.

    Grig and Raisey don’t belong to this same gen-set. Grig and Raisey belong to another gen-set. And I suspect that it is another batcher gen-set.

  18. Paul A. Post author

    From there we can circle back to Grig and Raisey and say that any “brother” and “sister” of Arin’s must have been modified from the same stock: Uncle’s.

    This appears to be the central point of your argument, right, Ed8r? That “brother” means “from the same genetic stock”, so if Grig is Arin’s brother…

    …but the thing is, I don’t believe it’s ever said that Grig is Arin’s brother. In Balance of Trade, I’ve just checked, it says Grig is Arin’s cousin. Which would appear, by the same argument, to show that they aren’t from the same stock.

  19. Ed8r

    Ah . . . good sleuthing, you two! I concede the point.

    I agree that “cousin” would be a different gene set than “brother,” although just to keep in mind, even in the RW, “cousins” of identical twins carry a very similar gene set. And it has been known that a pair of identical twins marries a pair of identical twins, thus having children that are even closer in gene composition.

    But Othin, I’m not sure of your terminology. Am I not reasoning this through? I don’t think “batcher” is synonymous with manufactured human. What would you say is the difference?

  20. Othin

    The question is which distinction are Sharon and Steve using.

    Batcher was used in the old universe.
    Manufactured human is used in the Liaden universe. It remains unclear weather the old universe also had manufactured humans, but I strongly suspect so.
    A batcher is part of a group with the same gene set.
    Manufactured human – may mean a single or a group.
    Batcher is created by a corporatoin and own by it.
    Manufactured human may be created within a simple Laboratory – a corporation or other bigger organisation is not neccessary. Whether a manufactured human is owned by someone is … unclear or a question of local custom.
    Batchers are branded.
    Manufactured humans – who know?

    Batchers are designed for a specific use – garanteed qualities. And I believe that some of those qualities are so special that they won’t survive naturally. Meaning that while those qualities may benefit an adult they won’t benefit a normal prenatal development and maybe even childhood. (in order to gain something there would have to be a los of something else)

    All in all the term “manufactured human” may be used as a superordinate concept, while batcher is only a specific.

    But I don’t know if Sharon and Steve will agree with my analyses this far. Maybe we will get a clearer picture in the next Jethri book.

    Paul, can you add something for a better picture? And what do you think Ed8r?

  21. Othin

    And here we have the fastship’s travel time for Grig and Raisy from Kinaveral to Irikwae in just less than 12 days.

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