Due Diligence – Chapter 1

In which Fer Gun pen’Uldra is given an offer he can’t refuse.

I was right: I did know the protagonist’s name from somewhere. I was also right when I decided it would more entertaining trying to figure out where as the story went along than it would have been to just look up the answer.

In fact, I enjoyed having no idea where the first chapter was going so much that I’ve decided to do this novella a chapter at a time, to make the enjoyment last a bit longer.

It was actually Pilot Chi I recognised first: her name has come up more often in the series, so it didn’t take me long to recall that the only Liaden named Chi we know is Daav’s mother, which unlocked the memory of where I’d heard Fer Gun pen’Uldra’s name before. And this, it would appear, is the story of how they became Daav’s mother and father.

(Until I recognised Chi, I’d been on entirely the wrong track: something about the way the blurb was phrased led me to expect that the risky proposition Fer Gun would be offered was going to come from an agent of the Department of the Interior. Which just goes to show that you should never read the blurb.)

I’m curious about the way Chi describes her project. When her son and his agemates will have needed children with “the seeming of propriety”, they will have had no trouble doing the business with actual propriety, formal wedding negotiations and such (or at least, their troubles will not have been with that aspect of the business). Does Korval change so much in one generation? Or is there something else going on that is yet to be revealed?

6 thoughts on “Due Diligence – Chapter 1

  1. James Lynn

    Your ‘their troubles will not have been with that aspect of the business’ seems to be doing a lot of work here.

    But I think that you’re missing the context. Chi has had a daughter, who has turned out not be a pilot. Presumably, her father was an appropriate pilot. This time, Chi _needs_ the child to be a pilot. She therefore wants the best possible pilot for the father, to maximise the chances of a pilot child. That has, apparently, meant going to a member of an outworld clan of scounrdels for the father. So the appearance of propriety is the best that she can get.

  2. Paul A. Post author

    Well, I mean, the process of marriage negotiations didn’t exactly go smoothly for any of them, but they did have marriage negotiations, and sending envoys to delms of other clans, and all the respectable stuff, they didn’t go propositioning disgraced pilots in seedy bars. Chi seems here to be against even the idea of proper marriage negotiations.

    Your explanation of the context makes sense, thanks. (Although I didn’t actually need an explanation at this point – this is only the first chapter, I would have been quite happy to wait for the story to tell me the answer. The “What is going on?” noises were just me expressing excitement about not knowing where the story was going.)

  3. Othin

    For a pilot to find himself stranded on Solcintra, might be not so uncommon, though normally that wouldn’t happen to exceptional good Jump Pilot. In Fer Gun we meet an opportunity to address several topics.
    1. Read carefully before signing something – signatures on documents might lead into trouble – ok, this is revisiting the “read Liaden contracts carefully before signing”, but the perspective is a new one.
    2. If your Clan consists of scoundrels and the clans focus is scheming – your kin might not even stop at cheating or getting rid of you if you start to be inquisitive and uncomfortable.
    3. An out-world Low House might find difficulties getting income honorably.
    4. Yet on another level it reveals that Delm Korval checks regularly on goings-on in port and sometimes intervenes on behalf of a pilot.
    5. If Korval sees a chance to solve for herself as well as for a pilot, Korval takes it.
    6. The obligations to a contract-spouse
    7. We start to see the differences between a Liaden High House and an out-world Low House too. I mean Korval and Telrune – there is properly no greater social divide possible. And Fer Gun is already reflecting on customs he doesn’t really know.

    There is also a hint of why Fer Gun is so naive and why he lets habitually others do his thinking for him – he has internalized his kin’s opinion of being worthless and stupid – a condition opening him up for being easily intimidated.

    When regarding Chi as possible spouse he considers the points in the following order:
    • Can he make the decision himself – yes, Telrune is not an ordered Clan where he has to first inform the Delm
    • Is there a gain to his Clan – might be, but not likely. But certainly no disadvantage
    • Good bed-sport
    • He has no problem with someone else ordering his life as he believes Chi orders all to her own satisfaction.
    • This might be an opportunity for getting the needed money
    • He will be fed and closed and housed during the contract, allowing him to concentrate on solving his problem.

    This shows methodical thinking with the charming priorities of an honorable young men, first his clan and possible objections, then personal considerations: bed-sport before character compatibility and only then the material gain to him.

  4. Othin

    @ Fer Gun
    Scout’s Progress, ch 24
    which I had to look up
    liaden.wikia.com is quiet good for this

  5. Ed8r

    PA: When her son and his agemates will have needed children with “the seeming of propriety”, they will have had no trouble doing the business with actual propriety, formal wedding negotiations and such

    I wonder whether they did make some changes? In chapter IV, as Chi meets Kareen at the door of the gather-room, she thinks to herself that Kareen was inclined to the opinion that Korval clan law was outmoded and required revision to bring it into modern times. She was further of the opinion that adhering to a protocol made in the last universe during a time of war and strife did active harm to a clan residing in a time and universe of relative peace and prosperity. We know that Kareen did much work on the clan’s protocol’s and laws before Korval was thrown off the planet.

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