Tag Archives: Department of the Interior Prime Headquarters

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.

Neogenesis – Chapter 20 part I


In which Surebleak has more visitors.

A whole lotta people arriving on Surebleak in one clump, with at least one more bunch expected soon, and all of them having business with Korval. It remains to see how much more complicated things are going to get when they start (as I expect they will, sooner or later) interacting with each other as well.
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Alliance of Equals – Chapter 13

Dutiful Passage

In which experts consider possible alliances.

The mention of the captain, the first mate, and the trader reminds me that I don’t think we know who is the first mate of the Passage at the moment. Ren Zel was appointed to the position when Priscilla moved up to captain in I Dare, but as we were reminded last chapter Ren Zel is currently situated on Surebleak with Anthora, serving the clan in another capacity.

Tolly’s mission continues to be apparently continuing smoothly, which just means I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. One potential obstacle that occurs to me is that Tolly has determined that Admiral Bunter needs to be transferred onto a platform large enough to hold all of him at once, but hasn’t mentioned whether such a platform happens to be available. I suspect not; it isn’t the kind of thing likely to be just lying around, and even if Jeeves and Tocohl had foreseen the need they might well have decided it would be better to order one in after examining the Admiral on the spot than to try and guess in advance what specs would suit. Which means they’re going to have to keep the Admiral occupied until the thing arrives.

(Idle speculation: Perhaps circumstances will line up such that the easiest way for it to get to Jemiatha Station is for Dutiful Passage to bring it. That seems too tidy, but it would at least provide a connection between the two plot lines.)

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 1

Dutiful Passage

In which yos’Galan has reason to contemplate the future.

It looks like this is going to be Padi’s book for dealing with the aftermath of Runig’s Rock, the way Necessity’s Child was Syl Vor’s.

Over on Shan’s side of the chapter, we have reminders of Shan’s encounter with Lute, and of Lomar Fasholt and the disturbances in the political structures of those who follow the Goddess. I’m hoping that’s a sign that there’ll be more Lute and Moonhawk in this book.

Pale Wing is not a ship name we’ve encountered before; from context, it’s clearly a Korval ship, and probably one of yos’Galan’s trading fleet. The ship that Tor An yos’Galan brought away from the death of the Ringstars was named Light Wing; perhaps this ship was named after that one, the way yos’Galan’s flagship is named after Quick Passage.

(It’s not strictly part of the chapter, but I couldn’t help noticing that the Acknowledgments feature a thank-you to Dr Linebarger, otherwise known as the SF author Cordwainer Smith. I look forward to finding out why that’s there.)

Necessity’s Child – Chapter 2

In which Rys Lin pen’Chala runs smarter, not harder.

Another new character, Field Agent Rys Lin pen’Chala. It occurs to me that not every agent of the Department would have made the choice he makes here; some of the ones we’ve seen would have arrogantly assumed their own superiority to any attempt Korval might make against them, and gone straight into what Agent pen’Chala identifies as an area of particular danger. (Indeed, his plan to lay low until a few people have been caught and the hue and cry has died down implies that he’s expecting some of his colleagues to be that arrogant.)

Otts Clark we have heard of before: he was one of the Surebleak locals discussing the changes Korval had brought, back in Chapter 9 of Ghost Ship. It was pretty heavily implied from what he said then that he was with the saboteurs, but this is the first definite confirmation, and also the first indication that he was the actual person who attacked Miri, since Ghost Ship never got around to naming that person.

Prodigal Son

In which Scout Commander yos’Phelium returns to the scene of the crime.

I haven’t read this story since a while before the first time I read Ghost Ship, and there’s quite a bit more to it than I remembered. I remembered the mirrored scenes with Miri at the beginning and end, and I remembered everything that happened at the Explorers Club, but the entire middle section I’d completely forgotten about. It’s a much better story with the middle in.

(I recognised the bits with Nelirikk that were included in Ghost Ship, of course, because I’ve just finished reading that, but I remember thinking both times I read Ghost Ship that those must have been new additions to the course of events.)

Speaking of the mirrored sections at the beginning and end, I noticed on this re-read that the opening scene is also reflected in the middle, with Hakan and Kem taking the places of Val Con and Miri, and the place of the rocking chair being taken by a different rocking chair.

Ghost Ship – Chapter 12

Jelaza Kazone

In which Clan Korval looks to the future.

Jelaza Kazone is currently housing all the members of the Clan, excepting the children and the two adults who are with them, and they are ten in number. That would be Daav, Val Con, Miri, Pat Rin, Natesa, Shan, Priscilla, Nova, Anthora, and Ren Zel: ten. Doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t know already, but does confirm that there aren’t any extra members of the Clan everybody’s forgotten to mention.

And just when they’re beginning to feel they’ve got their feet under them, in walks Clarence O’Berin, whose presence surely portends something, though whether good or bad remains to be seen.

Ghost Ship – Chapter 9

Runcible System
Daglyte Seam

In which the Department of the Interior prepares to attack Korval and her allies.

I like the structure of this chapter. Three scenes that have no obvious connection, but implicitly the latter two scenes concern people who are going to be affected by the events of the first.

It occurs to me to wonder what would have happened if Commander of Agents had chosen to leave Korval alone for the time being. Her concern is obviously that Korval will continue to be a threat, but Korval has accepted Liad’s decision that guarding Liad is no longer its business, which means that the Department is no longer its business – but the Department will quickly become its business again if the Department attacks it directly. I suppose if the Department did leave Korval alone and concentrate on subverting Liad, Korval would eventually become involved because it does still have allies on Liad who would sooner or later be affected by the Department’s actions – but think how much the Department could get done in the mean time!

I Dare – Chapter 55


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 39

Day 52
Standard Year 1393

Department of Interior Command Headquarters

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?