14th Conquest Corps
Liad: Department of Interior Command Headquarters
In which Nelirikk No-Troop sympathizes with a squirrel, and Lytaxin is defended by a ship orbiting Waymart.
I’m getting the idea that the Yxtrang are very concerned with saving face, to the point that they insist on appearing effective even at the expense of actual effectiveness: their response to making an error, here as at the end of Agent of Change, is to cover it up, even if that means nobody gets to learn from the situation and avoid future errors. When Nelirikk offers unsolicted advice — which, worse, turns out to be correct after the General ignores it — the General is more concerned about having his authority undermined than about finding out what other advice Nelirikk might be able to offer. And, as Nelirikk himself notes, the whole thing might have been avoided if the Yxtrang Command had chosen to learn from his previous encounter with a Liaden Scout, instead of shoving that under the carpet too.
(And then there’s the incidental business of Over-Technician Akrant, whose career is ruined because his carelessness ruined the General’s big entrance, even though the big entrance was, as far as I can see, entirely ceremonial and made no actual difference to the progress of the campaign.)
That’s an interesting detail about Yxtrang high command being situated at “Temp Headquarters”. I wonder if it’s genuinely temporary, or if by now it’s become settled and retains the name only by tradition.
It didn’t occur to me the first time it was mentioned, but here is the Department of the Interior sending Tyl Von sig’Alda out in a ship that frequently if not continually reports its status back to Headquarters by pin-beam — and, as we have been recently reminded, pin-beam is generally regarded as expensive and only for use in particularly important circumstances. So that says something about the Department’s priorities, even if the pin-beam beacon is just another of the special accoutrements attaching to sig’Alda’s special mission, like the deputy badge and the code phrase. (If all the Department’s ships are similarly equipped, that says something else again.)