Standard Year 1393
In which Boss Conrad goes on an outing with some pilots.
I’m not surprised, on reflection, to see Portmaster Borden among the pilots; makes sense a portmaster would be a pilot himself. Portmaster Liu is probably a pilot as well, but somebody’s gotta stay home and mind the store. I wonder how they decided who’d go and who’d stay. Flipped a coin for it? Or maybe Liu let Borden go because he’s the one who’s always upset about never having anything to do.
I want to know more about the “alternative courses of education” Er Thom offered the young Pat Rin: what they were, and why Pat Rin rejected them. I can think of several possibilities, but I’m not sure which best fits Pat Rin and Er Thom. One possibililty I’m pretty confident in rejecting is “education in useful non-piloting careers, which Pat Rin rejected because they weren’t piloting”; it’s clear that Pat Rin had already accommodated himself to the idea of not being a pilot. A more interesting idea is that they were not alternatives to being a pilot, but alternative ways of learning to be a pilot, since the family’s usual methods had failed – which Pat Rin rejected… why? The narration makes a point of mentioning that they were all offworld, which suggests several answers: perhaps Pat Rin just didn’t want to live anywhere but Liad (seems unlikely, stated so baldly); perhaps he feared the clan was trying to hide their non-pilot away from polite society; perhaps he’d already come to believe, as in “Heirloom”, that he was an unproductive load on the clan, and didn’t want the family to waste money sending him away for an education he was convinced would come to nothing.