Accepting the Lance – Chapter 51


In which the Pathfinders discuss progress.

The cats are making themselves at home. I wonder if they intend to become members of the crew as well.

I’m not quite sure how to read the statement that there’s been an alteration in the universe that “produced a realization that choice is available”. One possible reading is that they observed the alteration, then said to themselves, “If this is possible, then it’s also possible for us to make choices.” Another reading is that the alteration itself, as one of its effects, gave them the ability to make choices, or at least awareness of the ability. One way that might work is what I was talking about last entry: if they were still being influenced by a control signal from the old universe, that was cut off when Ren Zel sealed it away.

I’m curious about Stone Ronin’s history now. If it’s sophisticated enough to be recognised as an intelligence capable of speaking for itself, what’s it doing working rudimentary surveillance? For, furthermore, a company notorious for being a cheapskate, who I wouldn’t expect to shell out the money for a device of that sophistication even if it weren’t considered illegal to have one? (Or did they get cheap because it was illegal?)

Scout Commander yos’Phelium’s field judgement is not, in itself, a complete answer to what to do with the Old Tech fleet. Scout Commander yos’Phelium specified that the judgement does not apply to any intelligence that is “provably an artifact of Old Technology”, which was a wise choice to minimise the grounds on which the judgement might be challenged, but does mean that it can’t be applied directly to these artifacts here. Even so, it gives them hope and direction; knowing that there exists a category of socially acceptable Free Logics, even if it doesn’t include them, offers the possibility that they might one day be included and shows them how to behave if they want to improve their odds. Something that will help, once they can establish it, is that this particular bunch of Old Tech artifacts is no longer marked by the main attribute that makes Old Tech socially unacceptable, i.e. being under the control of the bad guys.

7 thoughts on “Accepting the Lance – Chapter 51

  1. Ed8r

    Not sure we can accurately refer in general to “the bad guys,” because I would say that appellation belongs as much to the Lyre Institute as it does to the sheriekas and the DOI. And thus far we have no evidence that the Lyre Institute directs any of the Old Tech devices—or ships? Once Disian escaped, were there others?

  2. Ed8r

    I forgot I had other observations from this chapter:

    I was really excited about Joyita speaking norbear, and explaining that murbles are simply that human ears (and Yxtrang ears) cannot hear sounds that exist out of range. Perhaps communication with Hevelin can become more specific than the vague images and impressions the biological persons have received.

    Also of interest is that Aberthaz Ferry identifies as female.

    Amusement was added in the form of cat behavior: As soon as Chernak and Stost opened their dinner trays, the cats abandoned their post on the desk and came to sit at the Pathfinders’ feet. Typical. 🙂

  3. Paul A. Post author

    Regarding the Lyre Institute, so far we only know about their failures when it comes to gaining control of machine intelligences: Disian, Admiral Bunter, Tocohl, Tinsori Light, all escaped their clutches one way or another. But if we assume they’ve been trying at least as long as Tolly’s been alive, there must have been other attempts, and maybe some of them weren’t failures.

    (At first I phrased that as “it seems unlikely they’d still be trying if they were all failures”, but this is the Lyre Institute, and the Directors might consider that the potential prize is worth continued attempts even if they’ve all failed so far; after all, it’s not like any real people are being hurt in the process.)

  4. Othin

    @Scout Commander yos’Phelium’s field judgement … can be applied to several things. In a way it is a definition of what makes a person with a person’s rights. It might be applied to Tolly and other made humans. It might also be applied to the Troop – at least those parts of the Troop that are willing to follow the ambassador’s solution (when he finally comes around to have one).

    Regarding the ships and AI’s from the DoI Library – right now most of them have an expiry date (- that sounds just so much like the M solders with their build in expiry date. But it also might be just tech restrains. – Which do you think more likely? -) So most of the gathered ships will have a very finite future. But not all of them are from the old universe (see the mix of languages) and I assume that Aberthaz Ferry made sure that none of those gathered were built from old plans.

    By the way, is Aberthaz Ferry the one listening in for Bon Vit and Sye Mon?

  5. Paul A. Post author

    I think it’s almost certainly tech constraints surrounding the impossibility of getting replacement parts in the new universe. As I think Ed8r said in another comment, it’s really a wonder they’ve lasted this long. Anything that had a built-in expiry date would have gone long ago.

    The group Sye Mon have been talking to are characterised as being keen to go out and spread mayhem just as soon as somebody offers them a valid target, which doesn’t fit my impression of Aberthaz Ferry.

  6. Ed8r

    Regarding Paul’s confirmation: it’s almost certainly tech constraints surrounding the impossibility of getting replacement parts in the new universe.

    I keep hoping that possibly Signeur Veeoni’s discovery of how to replicate tiles may allow at least some of these to be rejuvenated. In fact, I was very sorry to see Aberthaz Ferry‘s choice later, because I was thinking there might have been this other possibility if only she had traveled to Tinsori Light—and not destroyed it on principle.

    If there are other parts, not just the tiles, that need to be manufactured for them, I have no doubt the Bedel would be capable of designing and recreating what is needed.

  7. Engywuck

    Just an idea: was Tinsori Light the beacon for the Old Tech? We learned somewhere that it … remade ships of the new universe to serve the Will of the Enemy, perhaps it did so for the ships of the old universe, too? Or simply took over as their Controller?

    Methinks Stone Ronin could be an accident. Give a vessel enough subroutines to act without supervision (which isn’t cheap) and at some point you cross the point of “intelligent enough”. Just look at how long it took to decide it’s an intelligence – if it was deliberately intelligent this should have been more obvious.

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