Tag Archives: Accountants Guild

Accepting the Lance – Prologue

Runcible System
Daglyte Seam

In which the Commander of Agents decides to stay on target.

That’s an interesting moment there, where the Commander starts to consider giving the whole thing up and disbanding the Department, and then is suddenly confident success is within grasp if they hold the course. Given what we already know about how the Department messes about with the insides of its assets’ heads, I suspect the Commander has something within hers devoted to heading off that train of thought. Something to keep an eye on, going forward.

Another thing to keep an eye on is the situation with the Old Tech having gone missing, including “the eldest and most destructive of the Department’s accumulated machines”. Not enough information yet to say who might be behind that, or with what purpose.

On the other hand, I suspect that I know who is behind the affliction of the Department’s dramliz: that would most likely be the lady from Alliance of Equals who set out to achieve her own Balance against the Department.

The Commander considers that it would be a crushing defeat for Korval if the clan were forced to disband and be absorbed by the Terran hordes; I suspect Korval would be less bothered by it, except if it meant they couldn’t protect the people they owed duty to. Even having the Luck diffused might not be something they mourned too much — and frankly, I’m not as confident as the Commander that it would be diffused in such a case. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that just meant it got spread around more, without losing any of its potency.

Degrees of Separation – Chapter 4

Low Port

In which Don Eyr achieves a separation.

I wonder what Har Per’s lady friend sees in him? It’s clearly not his sparkling personality. Perhaps it’s that she appreciates what he sees in her.
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Degrees of Separation – Chapter 3

Liad

In which Don Eyr fails to persuade Serana to leave him.

I was actually kind of surprised by how useful Don Eyr and Serana found the melant’i plays as a guide to Liaden behaviour; people who have tried that in other stories have had mixed success due to their source texts being unrealistic, melodramtic, or outright fraudulent.
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Neogenesis – Chapter 1 part I

Surebleak

In which we are reunited with various people already resident on Surebleak.

As the first chapter of the latest book of a series, this is mainly concerned with reminding the reader (or introducing them if they’re entering the series here) who everyone is and what they’ve been up to. It’s quite a long chapter, which might simply be that it’s a long series and there are a lot of characters to catch up on — but then, we don’t catch up on everybody, which suggests that these might be just the characters we need to know about to follow what’s going to happen in this novel. Which suggests there’s going to be a lot happening.

(Just how long a chapter the first chapter is depends whether the first part of the novel set on Surebleak, divided into three sections headed I, II & III, is one chapter or three. I wrote the paragraph above thinking of the whole thing as one chapter, but on reflection, I think I’m going to blog it as three chapters, if only so that the blog entries are a reasonable length.)
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Dragon in Exile – Chapter 33

Jelaza Kazone
Surebleak

In which the Tree reaches out to a visitor, and Quin decides to go for a walk.

kin’Joyt professes to be offended that Korval is (supposedly) charging money for viewing the house, instead of having a free open day like properly civilised people, but it doesn’t seem to have occurred to her to protest by, say, refusing to buy a ticket. Then again, I get the impression kin’Joyt is willing to embrace an opportunity to be offended by Korval’s behaviour.

The mode of captain-to-passenger is an interesting choice; technically, that’s no longer an option that lies within Korval’s melant’i, since the Contract that made Korval the Liadens’ captain was concluded. It efficiently announces the delm’s identity, though; everybody still remembers, and if it’s no longer within Korval’s melant’i, there is yet nobody else who can lay claim to it.

“Lefty” pen’Erit’s new name follows the existing Surebleak pattern of This Is What Your Name Sounds Like To Me, though I had to go and look his personal name up to be sure because it’s been mentioned less often than the other examples we’ve seen.

Code of Honor

In which Tommy Lee goes home.

It can be tricky placing a story in chronological order without reading it first, as we’ve seen already in this project, but I think I did all right with this one. It’s definitely set somewhere during Ghost Ship; a bit further on than where I’ve put it, I suspect, but we were already stopping here to read two other short stories, so doing “Code of Honor” as well means that after this we can finish off Ghost Ship without any further interruptions.

Putting it next to “Kin Ties” also produces a nice bit of synchronicity, since this story, too, turns out to be concerned with the question of bad delms and where duty lies for those burdened with them.

I have my doubts that it’s within any clan’s reach to take Korval’s proverbially unique place aside-but-not-among the Fifty High Houses; surely the fact that Korval is in a class by itself is the very point of the proverb. (For that matter, I would think that no clan would want that place, if they’d really thought about what it meant to be aside but not among the High Houses.) But I suppose that when ambition talks there’s always somebody willing to listen.

I appreciate the detail that Tommy needs his aunt to point out a flaw in his plans for his future. He’s clever enough to think his way out of a very difficult situation, but he doesn’t think of everything.


Tomorrow: We resume Ghost Ship at Chapter 24.

I Dare – Chapter 57

Day 59
Standard Year 1393

Solcintra
Liad

In which the Council of Clans throws Korval into the briar patch.

The Delm Hedrede who delivers the Council’s judgment here is not the same Delm Hedrede who clashed with Korval thirty years ago in Scout’s Progress – different pronouns – but it does make me wonder if Hedrede has a personal investment in Korval getting booted off the planet.

There’s a neat bit of narrative sleight of hand with the problem of what to do with the dies: the problem is carefully laid out, then just as Val Con is about to suggest a solution, the conversation is interrupted. The reader is left to assume that a solution is found without the authors having to actually come up with one.


Tomorrow and tomorrow: Revisiting old friends and seeing how they’re affected by recent events, in “Misfits” and then the remainder of Saltation.

I Dare – Chapter 55

Solcintra
Liad

In which the Captain acts for the safety of the passengers.

The mode of Ultimate Authority, which is referred to twice in this chapter, has, perhaps unsurprisingly, not come up much before: three times in the series up to this point. Priscilla adopts it briefly when putting Sav Rid Olanek in his place at the end of Conflict of Honors; Commander of Agents is said in Carpe Diem to use it when dealing with his underlings; and Val Con, greeting the Tree in Plan B, places the Tree in the position of ultimate authority.

The fact that it’s used twice in this chapter, and by whom, is the central conflict in a nutshell: the first is Commander of Agents again, and the second is Miri when she takes on the melant’i of Liad’s Captain. And I think it says something that, whereas Miri adopts the mode temporarily and in a situation where she is in fact the duly-appointed ultimate authority until the emergency is resolved, the Commander is not only self-appointed but apparently expects to be regarded as the ultimate authority all the time.

There’s a leap near the end of the chapter that I’ve never been able to follow. After the doomsday weapons are activated, ter’Fendil says he can deactivate them if Val Con gives him the control device, and Val Con does. Then it cuts to another scene, and when it cuts back everybody’s running for their lives and talking about the urgent need to do something before the weapons break out and start killing everybody. Is there something missing, or is it just me missing something?

I Dare – Chapter 49

Day 54
Standard Year 1393

Solcintra
Liad

In which Anthora is boxed in.

Well, that’s one way to prevent Nova sorting things out by going in front of the Council and accusing the Department: send someone in front of the Council to accuse Korval of everything the Department has done.

Interesting that it’s Aragon who’s been maneuvred into making the accusation. Aragon has been mentioned several times as an old and respected High House, so an accusation from Aragon will be taken seriously; it’s a significant step up from the last time we saw somebody make an accusation in Council at the Department’s instigation, when it was an ambitious clan hovering around the border between the high and mid levels. Also interesting because the most recent of the Agents of Change that have been named to us, earlier in this book, was a chel’Mara, and chel’Mara looks to Aragon — so it might even be her specifically that Aragon is about to ask about when he’s interrupted.

Because of course there’s an interruption: having Korval called before the Council to answer an accusation might be an effective way to force Anthora out of Jelaza Kazone, but letting things run on long enough for her to actually answer would be risky. I presume the interruption was part of the plan, for that reason and because it provided the excuse to hustle Anthora into the room where the trap lay ready, but I wonder how the Department managed it. Did they know their targets so well as to be able to predict that attacking dea’Gauss at a particular time would result in a Master Accountant interrupting the Council hearing? Worrying thought, that.

Having done this re-read, paying more attention to names than I usually do, I recognize everyone in the list of Korval’s allies and friends. Justus is the clan of Ken Rik, Guayar is the clan of Clonak, Ixin is the clan of Jethri and of Aelliana’s prize student Rema, Reptor is the clan of Aelliana’s space pirates, and Mizel is the clan that produced Aelliana herself. (The fact that it’s counted now among Korval’s friends is a pretty clear sign that Aelliana’s mother is no longer delm.)

The date issue is compounding itself: if the chapter heading was wrong about it being Day 53 when Anthora was told to present herself to the Council the next day, this chapter must also be wrong about it being Day 54 when she presents herself to the Council. But I still think that’s more straightforward than the alternative.

I Dare – Chapter 39

Day 52
Standard Year 1393

Department of Interior Command Headquarters
Liad

In which an appropriate moment has arrived.

Here’s an important detail: Commander of Agents recalls an exercise he was taught many years ago as an Agent-in-training. What this tells us is that the Department has been around a long time, and that this Commander of Agents is not the first person to have been in command of it. (If the nature of the training given to Agents is not a recent innovation, it also suggests the disturbing idea that although he is now in command, to some extent he’s acting as a puppet of some long-dead Commander of times past.)

There are some cracks appearing in the Commander’s all-business persona. Have we ever before seen him say anything as vituperative as he does about Anthora here?