Tag Archives: Dutiful Passage

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 IV

In which Val Con and Miri have a busy morning.

I like “a salute so smart it could have driven itself into town”. And Val Con’s interactions with the cat.
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Alliance of Equals – Chapter 35

Admiral Bunter

In which Padi accepts her nature.

And so Aunt Anthora’s gift does come back into relevance – and now, considering also how interested she was to learn Padi had opened it, and what the occasion of that was, I’m wondering if Anthora somehow intended it to assist in Padi’s transition.

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 34

Healspace

In which yos’Galan does what needs to be done.

Noting that this chapter is all about Langlast, with nothing about Tolly and Admiral Bunter, I wonder if next chapter is going to be the inverse, and leave us waiting to find out what became of Padi.

I don’t quite understand what Padi’s disappearance signifies, but I don’t for a moment believe that she’s dead.

(I wonder where Lute has got to…)

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 32

The Garden of Gems
Langlastport

In which there are attacks from multiple sides.

It’s still not clear whether this is one set of co-ordinated attacks, or separate attacks in space and on land that happen to coincide. Once Tarona Rusk declared herself an agent of the Department, and the people seeking Padi likewise, I was prepared to conclude that the attack on the Passage was also the work of the Department; after all, as we’ve been reminded, attacks under cover of rightful customs activity are a thing they’ve done before. But then there’s Priscilla’s Seeing that one or more of the attacks is motivated by “some local chief’s bid for celebrity” – presumably Plishet. Perhaps Plishet is working with the Department because they’ve persuaded him they can give him something he wants?

I’m pretty sure this is the first time we’ve heard of a dramliz working for the Department voluntarily. It’s a fairly horrifying prospect.

The implication that Shan could have been a full dramliz if he had wanted to be is interesting, both in connection with the unfolding pattern of Lute’s lives and in light of his statement to Padi that it’s not possible to choose not to be dramliz.

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 30

Langlastport

In which the results of recent efforts are considered.

Well, I was right about the Terran expert. I like the little bits with Admiral Bunter applying his lessons in how to express his feelings through how he speaks. I’m not surprised Inki set a core mandate — in the circumstances, it’s a reasonable precaution for her to take — but it’s going to make Tolly’s task harder (which is of course why it’s a reasonable precaution for her to take).

I am still finding the repeated reassurances regarding Padi’s situation to be the opposite of reassuring. We’re about due for a dramatic climax, and a big bust-out would provide that nicely. I assume something’s going to come up that pushes things over the edge; my money’s currently on Broker Plishet upgrading himself from ‘nuisance’ to ‘threat’ (though I still don’t know what his deal is), with a side bet on the customs inspection turning out to have some sinister connection after all.

I notice we haven’t heard much from Daav and Aelliana lately. Are they actually going to get involved in either of the main plots at any point? Well, the best way to find out is to read on, so I’ll do that.

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 29

Langlastport

In which Broker Plishet is not as clever as he thinks he is.

Here, one of the threads tying the two plot lines together is the consideration of melant’i.

On Padi’s side, there’s her awareness of the fact that her current melant’i is that of a peaceful trader, not of a pilot in a dangerous situation with several youngsters depending on her. (Which itself shows her development beginning from the beginning of the novel, when she was inclined to fall back into that familiar melant’i whenever uncertain.)

I’m not sure how much furtherer Admiral Bunter is going to get in his studies by turning to melant’i plays; I get the impression, from earlier mentions, that they tend toward extreme situations of the kind where a person is so hedged about by necessity that the only way forward is the death of their dearest friend or whatever. (Recall that Anne in Local Custom was guided somewhat in her understanding of Er Thom by the Liaden literature she’d read, and didn’t always find it a useful guide.) I’m also a bit dubious about his choice of illustrious expert, who by his name is Terran rather than Liaden; on top which is the characterisation of melant’i plays as “exotic”. Then again, the Admiral is himself an outsider to Liaden culture, so perhaps an outsider’s description is what he would find useful.

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 28

Admiral Bunter

In which the student considers how to proceed.

Another chapter with thematic echoes between the two plot lines. Admiral Bunter and Padi are both being mentored, and both by mentors who choose at times to teach indirectly, by making space for the student to figure out the lesson for themself.

With the introduction of the second mate, it becomes apparent that the Passage‘s first, second and third mates are all new hires, and all relatives of Shan’s — not close relatives, but from distant branches of the family tree not usually involved in yos’Galan’s trading — which strongly suggests that Shan and Priscilla needed to call in some favours to get the command staff for this voyage. They lost a significant chunk of crew when Plan B was invoked, and after how that turned out I guess there was some trouble finding people willing to step into the gaps.

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 27

Admiral Bunter

In which steps are taken to deal with the situation.

Tolly’s made a good start on talking Admiral Bunter around. He’s given the Admiral a reason to think about what he’s doing, and also managed to slip in some details about himself to counteract the narrative that he’s the Institute’s rightful property. On top of which, as he says, it’s plain truth that the roles of jailor and student don’t really mix.

It’s interesting that he also points out that one of the strategies available to him in this situation is to try and gain an advantage by reminding his captor of their previous, more pleasant, relationship; he’s fighting, but he’s fighting fair, and even though he’s making a point of declining to teach the Admiral, on another more subtle level he’s never stopped.

Another question Admiral Bunter might like to consider is why he wants to learn from someone he’s been told is a pirate; surely such a person would not be a reliable teacher. I quite understand why Tolly would refrain from pointing that one out, though.

Over in Padi’s plot line, there’s a lot of talk about being prepared and how unlikely it is that something will go disastrously wrong — which, as with Val Con’s dreaming last novel (was it only last novel?), just makes me more certain something is going to disastrously wrong.

Sudden thought: Has Anthora also been preparing for this? Is there going to turn out to be more to her unseasonal gift to Padi?

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 26

Langlastport
The Torridon Hotel

In which there is conversation after dinner.

I don’t know if it’s significant that Shan describes the Liaden tongue as “the language of home” when speaking to the jeweller, after all the reminders there have been that the children of Korval need to stop thinking of Liad as home. Probably it’s just that that’s a conventional phrase and the situation is not appropriate for a more precise description.

I also don’t know if it’s significant that we’re getting a reminder now of Master Moonel, who appeared in Local Custom. That was back when Shan was a small boy, and Moonel was already the most respected jeweller on Liad, so it is not a surprise to learn now that he has since died. (Shan mentions that his shop stands empty; I wonder if that’s a sign that it happened recently, or perhaps that he was so respected nobody wishes to try taking his place.)

Possibly it is the death that matters — it makes two scenes in a row where the subject of death has come up in proximity with Padi, which helps things remain ominous even as her conversation with her father seems to be going well.