Alliance of Equals – Chapter 33

Admiral Bunter

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.

10 thoughts on “Alliance of Equals – Chapter 33

  1. Othin

    As to Shan’s dramliz qualification – I believe it is due to his meeting Lute and walking the weapon hall, maybe also to his link with Priscilla. I don’t believe anybody told him while he was training that he had more talent than just healer – and as a healer he exceptionally talented. If anybody noticed those other talents might have been regarded as small and not worth training – similar to Val Con’s talent of moving things.

    I wonder, is Tarona Rusk one of those Dramliz the DoI referred to when talking about the box to imprison Aelliana? Ensnaring a Dramliz must be different from producing an agent.

  2. Ed8r

    Othin: Ensnaring a Dramliz must be different from producing an agent..

    Well, I would expect that the “Dramliz Killer” that she used to initially stun Shan was a further development of that box. Fortunately for Shan, she had refused to set it on full, or he would have been more thoroughly disabled. No, I believe Paul was correct in his comment for Chapter 32: I’m pretty sure this is the first time we’ve heard of a dramliz working for the Department voluntarily. It’s a fairly horrifying prospect.

  3. Ed8r

    Okay, I guess I have a question for Paul AND a question for Othin . . .

    Paul: Wasn’t your comment for Chapter 32—the one that I quoted above—regarding Tarona Rusk? Did your opinion on this point change after Shan had healed her?

    Othin: On what basis do you presume to declare that Tarona Rusk’s work for the DOI is not voluntary? Is it just that once she is healed, she seems to be ready to do what she can to fight them?

  4. Othin

    Yes, that is the mean reason. Someone voluntarily working for the DoI won’t have to be bound. And Tarona definitely had wounds Shan recognized form Val Con.

    The second is that the DoI spoke of a young Dramliz they had persuaded to work for them because they had the Damliz chalek. I think that was shortly before Anthora was put into the box. I won’t call that voluntarily. Maybe naive, not to go get big help. But of course I can’t know if that was Tarona the DoI was referring to.

  5. Paul A. Post author

    Othin, you’re reaching ahead: that’s information we don’t get until a later chapter than this one. When I wrote the entry for chapter 32, Tarona Rusk appeared to be acting voluntarily, and it didn’t seem reasonable to assume that the Department could force a dramliza to act for them involuntarily.

    Now, having read the rest of the book, I agree that she wasn’t acting voluntarily any more than Val Con was when he was an Agent of the Department. During the healing scene, it’s clearly stated that she’s in the same condition Val Con was. (And the prospect that the Department is able to bind dramliz as agents is at least as horrifying as the prospect of dramliz working for them voluntarilty. I take refuge in the hope that they have not succeeded at it often.)

    I don’t believe that sparing Shan was a sign of her being able to act against the Department’s interests; only, as she told him, that she believes that she can bind him to her will, and he’s more use to the Department as a living servant than as a dead body.

  6. Ed8r

    Well, that reference is more convincing to me than the wounds, because I believe that even someone who came to the DOI willingly would have to be remade into a tool the DOI could keep under their thumb, and that would mean undergoing the kind of wounding and the building up of a different personality that the DOI requires. However, as you say, the DOI mentions their capture of a young dramliz who very well might have been Tarona Rusk—although she does not identify herself as a dramliz but only a Healer, IIRC.

  7. Paul A. Post author

    The dramliza in I Dare whose cha’leket was held hostage was somebody I had in mind when I made the “voluntarily” distinction, yes. I don’t think he can have been Tarona Rusk, because he was male, and it was strongly implied that they intended to kill him as soon as his immediate use was over, to prevent him telling anybody what they’d been doing. (Which implies a limit to how strong they thought their hold over him was; they could keep him from calling for help for a short while, but didn’t expect that to last in the longer term.)

  8. Paul A. Post author

    she does not identify herself as a dramliz but only a Healer

    Does she? I think you’re right. So maybe they can fully ensnare Healers, but a full dramliza can only be persuaded to co-operate (and that probably only temporarily).

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