In which a change of course is called for.
I don’t yet understand how the failure of the Catalinc Project could result in everything that is ascribed to it, but I note that it sounds very similar to the potential bad future Ren Zel has foreseen.
Given the description of the Uncle’s sister, I think we now know the identity of the lady in the prologue, who arrived on Surebleak with one of her guards. (In the ship Cortz Lattice, claiming to be an agent of Cortz Enterprises. Cortz Crystal?) And, if I’m right about Kareen’s new guest, we know more about what being “in the Dragon’s lair” amounts to than the Uncle currently does.
It also casts a different light on the fact that she came to Surebleak intending to make contact with her brother’s people. Her brother must be the Uncle, but what people does he have on Surebleak? (And how did she come into contact with the luthia, who introduced her to Kareen? Is there some connection between the Uncle and the Bedel?)
Dulsey’s mental image of the location of Seignur Veeoni’s residence sounds like what Inki and Tocohl saw when they arrived at Tinsori Light — and the news from the residence suggests that when Inki and Tocohl went past the Uncle’s research post on the way in, and their passing was noticed, it was already in the hands of the Lyre Institute. (Perhaps this is part of Director Formyne’s alternate attempt on the Old One?)
It’s convenient for the Uncle that the plateau stage happened to hit Aelliana and Daav just now, when it gives him a reasonable excuse to get them into the autodoc as he had wanted. Too convenient? The Uncle seems sincerely surprised at their condition — but then, as Daav has noted, the Uncle has plenty of practice at making everything he does radiate sincerity. And then again, on re-reading that last scene I get the feeling that even though he avoids having to explicitly raise the matter of wanting his guests locked up out of harm’s way, Aelliana nevertheless hears him loud and clear on the matter and lets him know that she has done so.