In which Tolly does some housecleaning.
There’s a moment, when Tolly is reflecting on the horrors of being forced to do things against one’s will, when I get the feeling he’s recalling a specific thing from his own past. I wonder if we’ll be hearing more about it, at some point when he has less urgent things on his mind. (And I wonder if it has anything to do with the question of how Thirteen-Sixty-Two became Tolly Jones.)
It’s interesting to compare Inkirani’s plans for escape from the Institute, as Tolly deduces them here, with his own (most recent?) escape described in “Wise Child”. Both of them made use of an intelligent ship to aid their plan, but although Tolly manipulated Disian somewhat to guide her thoughts in a direction useful to him, he always allowed her to make her own decisions, never forced her to do anything against her will. And as soon as he could after he’d achieved his purpose, he apologised and did everything he could to put things right between them, which I somehow don’t picture Inkirani doing.
I can see a down side to Tolly’s success here: Having regained the ability to decide not to go to Nostrilia, Tolly and Admiral Bunter have decided to go somewhere else instead — not knowing that Hazenthull was planning to catch up with them there. So what’s going to happen when Hazenthull gets to Nostrilia and finds no Admiral Bunter and Tolly? She probably does have a plan for that eventuality, since she wasn’t 100% certain that Nostrilia was where they were headed in the first place — but I’m wondering if, having arrived at Nostrilia, she’s going to find it as easy to leave…