Riley’s Back Room
In which Miri talks about the past, and Droi thinks about the future.
And one way in which things immediately become more interesting is that Rys’s role as leader of the freed Agents, with all its responsibilities and risks, has ceased to be merely hypothetical now that there is at least one freed Agent to lead.
It’s an interesting point about Droi perhaps not having a place on the ship of the Bedel when it returns. This chapter seems to be gesturing toward the possibility that she might by then discover that she has a place on Surebleak with Rys, which would not be quite the same as being left alone among gadje. The problem I see with this as a solution is that it revives the issue of the kompani needing to have a particular number of members at the end of chafurma, which was the necessity that drove Droi to start interacting with Rys in the first place: if both Rys and Droi leave, the kompani will be short, even if the kompani keeps their daughter, which I could see being a Balance demanded of them.
(Unless, it occurred to me as I composed the previous sentence, the newly freed Agents follow Rys’s path, and enough of them join the kompani to balance the loss. I’m suspicious of this idea, though: it seems a bit too neat, the kind of prediction that I’ve usually been wrong about before with Liaden novels.)
I was right about the nosy crews being connected; good to know my intuitions aren’t entirely off. Having some kind of underground-space-detecting technology explains how they knew where to look without necessarily knowing what was in the spaces they were looking for. The mention of an Insurance Committee suggests they might also be connected to the shakedowns Pat Rin has been dealing with. It says something about their ideas of neighbourliness (or at least of the behaviour of Bosses) that they assume they can nobble the Road Boss’s nearest neighbour without anybody noticing or caring.
It occurs to me that the kompani, who have been on Surebleak many generations “to learn what there was to know”, might well have learned things that would be relevant and useful to Kareen’s project, even if they weren’t interested in the social constructs of gadje particularly. Whether anybody in the story is likely to have this occur to them, and whether the Bedel would agree to share such knowledge, who knows?