In which things are concealed.
Padi has finally had an opportunity to do the thing she was too-ready to do at the beginning of the novel, and found that she doesn’t like it.
As I follow Tolly’s reasoning, the problem is that there’s no certainty about what Admiral Bunter will do once the core mandate is removed. The Admiral says, now, that he trusts Tolly, and he might even mean it, now – but once Tolly has restored his freedom, he’ll be faced with the immediate situation of another person in a position to do him over the way Inki did, or worse, which is a definite problem. And, as Tolly says, the Admiral’s toolset for dealing with definite problems has historically tended toward immediate lethality as the best and only solution.
I’m a bit bemused that Tarona Rusk fell for Shan’s false compliance so easily. Partly, I suppose, it’s that she sees what she wants and expects to see; and also that what she sees of Shan is only what he wants her to see. I get the feeling that, for all she mocked him for being only a Healer, it’s his Healer training that’s giving him the advantage here.