Accepting the Lance – Chapter 90

Surebleak Port

In which Boss Surebleak’s plan is revealed.

So, no shocking twist regarding Boss Surebleak’s identity. Different shocking twist instead.

It didn’t occur to me at the time, because once the portmaster and survey team leader failed to arrive I was figuring the fella in the blue jacket was just some minion sent to be a distraction, but there might have been a hint about Boss Surebleak’s identity in the one thing Herb could tell about him despite the hooded coat: namely, that he was short for a Bleaker (but, perhaps, a good size for an Agent of Change).

And now I’m wondering: did Boss Surebleak have a back-up plan for if the portmaster and the survey team leader had taken a cab? Or did they have the portmaster figured so precisely that they knew she’d take the opportunity to walk the surveyor past the construction work?

I think this is the first time we’ve had mention of there being an assistant portmaster, who is explicitly not the same person as the night-shift portmaster. Back when we first met Portmaster Liu and Nightside Portmaster Borden in I Dare, I got the distinct impression that they comprised the entire staff of Surebleak Port. Maybe I was wrong even then, and certainly they’ll have taken on more staff now that there are ships actually using the port.

2 thoughts on “Accepting the Lance – Chapter 90

  1. Ed8r

    Paul: first time we’ve had mention of there being an assistant portmaster. Yes, I was surprised and was mentally thinking of the night-shift portmaster (not recalling his name) until he was mentioned separately. It does make sense that, as the port and its traffic grows, the office of portmaster would need another backup person.

    RE: The opening line to this chapter . . . the authors just couldn’t resist!

    Speaking of the authors, it was interesting to me to observe that they put the title into the mouth of Emissary Twelve, using it in a metaphorical sense, while—without duplicating the title exactly—they gave Val Con the actual physical move from l’apeleka and said instead Val Con rode with it, accepting the thrust . . .. At least I hope that was the authors’ intention and not an editor’s blink.

    And then—the shocking twist!

  2. Skip

    It was a good twist, there at the end of this chapter. I should have been expecting it, but was not.

    I’m glad the gloating agent had already revealed the Department’s manipulative plans and fascist philosophy to Portmaster Liu and survey team leader Kasveini. That should undo a great deal of damage to Korval’s reputation caused by DOI agents and jealous business competitors across the galaxy. I only wish the survey member who displayed such a strong bias against Korval in NEOGENESIS had been there to hear it.

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