Tag Archives: Clutch songs

Accepting the Lance – Chapter 32

Surebleak Port
Portmaster’s Office

In which Team Leader Kasveini has her limits.

The idea that social change on Surebleak works from the bottom up, by improving the lives of the people at the bottom of the heap, was a major theme of Dragon in Exile. Part of it was that, as seen again in the Road Boss’s meeting here, it’s harder for the Old Ways to come back if everyone knows they’re better off under the new ways.

Dragon in Exile also saw the origin of Kareen and Kamele’s project collating the historical documents of Surebleak.

Accepting the Lance – Chapter 23

Jelaza Kazone

In which Yulie Shaper is visited by a young lady.

Yulie knows what’s important in a person. What they look like doesn’t matter nearly as much as will they do right by the cats.
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Shout of Honor – Chapter 8

In which Ochin has been thinking.

I am curious about whom Cheladin intends to quote Ochin’s assessment to. I can’t think of any regulatory body that would be able to claim and enforce jurisdiction if he’s right about what’s going on.
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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 37

Day 51
Standard Year 1393

Departing Lytaxin

In which Daav and Aelliana go on a journey with several surprises in store.

I find myself wondering when Edger found time to acquire the new shuttle and have it fitted to the ship of the clan. The months he and Sheather spent waiting on Shaltren to see if the Juntavas could find Val Con and Miri seem most hopeful, except that they didn’t have the ship with them, it having gone on to Volmer and them having opted to go straight to Shaltren on a Terran vessel.

That also gets me wondering how they got from Shaltren back to Lufkit to visit Liz, and then from there to Lytaxin. They must have switched back to the ship of the clan at some point, since they arrived at Lytaxin in it.

Perhaps when Edger and Sheather left Lufkit for Shaltren, Edger sent Handler, Selector, and Watcher ahead to Volmer, to secure the ship of the clan, make arrangements for the addition of the shuttle, and await them there. Then after Sheather’s visit to Liz, Edger and Sheather went to Volmer, collected the upgraded ship, and proceeded to Lytaxin. That seems to cover everything, except that we’re still left with the question of where Handler, Selector, and Watcher are now.

I Dare – Chapter 16

Things That Go Bump in the Night

In which several people pass a restless night.

Anthora and Ren Zel together always fill me with fond amusement, or amused fondness, which I think I might now be sufficiently old enough to carry off successfully, though it’s been there even since the first time I read I Dare, when I was about the same age as Anthora. I think there’s something about the way Anthora presents herself that encourages one to think of her as a precocious youngster whatever her actual age. Sober Ren Zel, on the other hand, sometimes seems older than his years, but I’ve always had a few years on him because he’s actually younger than Anthora.

The interesting thing about Anthora’s encounter with Ren Zel is that it’s not just a case of her bumping into him when she goes to follow up her vision of the Passage under attack: her nightmare of battle is almost certainly an echo of his nightmare memory. (When Anthora talks in her sleep, what she says is Ren Zel’s dialogue from a particularly harrowing moment in the battle.) Which suggests that there was already some kind of connection between them, a suggestion reinforced by the fact that Ren Zel finds her presence somehow familiar.

I Dare – Chapter 9

Day 50
Standard Year 1393

Lytaxin
Erob’s Medical Centre
Catastrophe Unit

In which healing goes forth.

Erob’s medical technicians think a lot of themselves, don’t they? To be fair, I suppose they have a right to, most of the time; it’s just that this situation is unlike anything they’ve been trained for.

A couple of unexplained visions occur. Shan gets a vision of Moonhawk to match his vision of Lute last week (I really hope those get elaborated on some day), and Miri gets a vision of Val Con in Jelaza Kazone’s garden. Val Con’s easy enough to explain, given the lifemate link, but it seems unlikely, even given the givens, that he and she have literally travelled all the way back to Liad; perhaps it’s Val Con’s metaphor for some safe space within himself that he retreated to for protection from the damage that was unwittingly being done him. It might not be an inappropriate metaphor, at that; the way the Tree meddles with its mobile branches, it might be personally responsible for Val Con’s survival even if it’s not directly present.

I like the moment where Shan thinks of the room he’s in as the “room of catastrophes”, leaving it open whether it’s a room in which catastrophes are dealt with, per the official designation, or a room in which catastrophes are created.

I Dare – Chapter 7

Day 50
Standard Year 1393

Lytaxin
Erob’s House

In which Edger gives a demo.

A nice concise summary from Shan of what a Healer is, and isn’t.

An interesting touch in the med tech’s rant, the complaint that Edger and Sheather are “not of Erob’s house medical staff”. Separately, it’s reasonable to be concerned that they are not certified medical staff, and understandable to be concerned that they are not of Erob’s staff (and therefore are unknowns). But with that wording it isn’t just the sum of those two concerns, but has the flavour of an ingroup-outgroup bias (“Erob’s house medical staff are the best; I am of Erob’s house medical staff and these persons are not; I am obviously right and they are obviously wrong”).

The similarity Shan sees between the Turtles and the Tree is intriguing. It doesn’t mean they’re related, particularly since the similarity seems to be one of kind rather than detail, but more like another facet of their other commonalities, being very old and having more to them than meets the eye.

Plan B – Chapter 9

Shaltren
Juntavas Headquarters

In which Edger and Sheather decide to search elsewhere.

Edger and Sheather have apparently been sitting around on Shaltren for the last few months, waiting for any response to the Juntavas danger-tree broadcast. Maybe that doesn’t seem like such a long time to a Turtle, though it’s long enough that even they are getting a bit impatient. I bet it seemed much longer to the Juntavas.

Carpe Diem – Chapter 34

Shaltren
Cessilee

In which Grom Trogar demonstrates the extent of his power.

It is not that Grom Trogar rules unchallenged, but that he has confidence that he can overcome whatever challenges are presented to him. This confidence is presumably based in past experience (I expect gaining and retaining the highest position in the Juntavas would have involved many challenges), but it seems to have led to him becoming incautious.

And so he puts himself in a position where his limits are discovered — very publicly, in front of delegates, security guards, unit managers, and all. None of whom, I notice, seem to be at all eager to avenge his death. Somebody who approaches challenges the way he does probably wasn’t winning any popularity contests; there are likely to be people in the crowd who are glad to see him go. The others might not be confident that they can take the Turtles even through superior numbers — or, if they think they have a chance there, perhaps they’ve asked themselves a question that doesn’t seem to have even occurred to Grom Trogar: If we do kill these two, who’s going to come and ask what happened to them?

That’s a beautiful detail about Edger and Sheather taking the time to ensure nobody might injure themselves by tripping over the lump of wall they removed.