The Gathering Edge – Chapter 38


In which it is demonstrated that it is right to disarm norbears.

I wonder if there’s something particular Rig Tranza finds remarkable on his first sight of the new Theo, or if it’s just a general reaction to how much she’s changed. The air of command is pretty much new since he last saw her, for one thing.

With Bechimo now headed for Surebleak, and Ambassador Vepal looking in that direction to learn more about Val Con’s Yxtrang, we at least have an indication of where the subplot is going to intersect the main plot, though it doesn’t seem likely it will happen in this book. I suppose that will have to do.

(The Scout’s assertion that a ship of ordinary capabilities wishing to be at Surebleak in twelve days would have to have set out yesterday could be foreshadowing of a sort; it might have been yesterday that Vepal set out.)

(I wonder if Val Con or Miri will be tempted to tell Vepal about the incident of the ambassador’s motor vehicle.)

Before then, though, I hope we will get a proper accounting of what’s up with Hugglelans and the dodgy co-pilot and the cargo pod.

9 thoughts on “The Gathering Edge – Chapter 38

  1. Jami

    I don’t see how a norbear that fits on your hand and shoulder should carry a gun while pacing the dock

  2. Paul A. Post author

    Depends how big the gun is. The text says “small”, which is imprecise, but handguns designed for concealed carry can get pretty tiny.

  3. Jami

    Then a twee gun, indeed. According to Mouse and Dragon, a norbear is only about 6-8 inches long.

  4. Rosemary

    I’ve always thought of them as the same size as a koala bear. On their back legs they can reach quite high.

  5. Jami

    I thought of them as koala sized, too, until I read the specific dimensions when Alliana and Dave rescued Havelin, in Mouse & Dragon

  6. Ed8r

    Unless I’m mistaken (and perhaps in spite of discussion elsewhere) it seems to me that the information indicating the size of norbears has varied across the books and the short story. Curling up in your hand is definitely much smaller than standing on your shoulder with head at height of your head. It doesn’t all add up.

    Not only are we reminded of Jethri’s challenge in Trade Secret with the reference to a star hammer being thrown last chapter, but then this chapter, for the first time since Trade Secret, Win Ton cites the rule that the one who is challenged has the right to choose the weapon…which in this case is which Scout Commander to appeal to regarding rightful ownership of Bechimo.

  7. Othin

    Yes, here we see finally Theo’s talent for managing crowds. But I wonder: When did Win Ton had a chance to get to know it? Wasn’t it a few scenes back he wished he had her talent with crowds? Or did he refer to something else?

  8. Ed8r

    Yes, I was wondering the same thing. He did refer to her talent with crowds, and I was wondering (one of those little bobbles in my suspended disbelief) where he had seen it at work. Was there something all the way back in Saltation? Or does he refer to how she handled the situation at Codrescu?

  9. Skip

    Mouse and Dragon does seem scientifically specific about size of norbear

    Chapter Twenty


    Size: 16–22 cm; Weight: 121–180 g. Furred quadrupedal mammal with a burrowing habit; soft dense coat, ranging in color from grey, brown, black, orange, white and mixed. Herbivore. Fearless and lively disposition, natural empath. Adapts well to domestication. Banned on certain worlds. Check port rules before importing. — Courier Wildlife Guide, Fourteenth Edition

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