The Happy Occasion
In which some things are coming to a close, and some things are just beginning.
Tolly’s arrow completely fails to find its mark. It’ll be interesting to see the conversation where Haz explains to him where his judgment failed him. Part of it, no doubt, is that she’s at least as determined not to let him get killed or worse as he is to protect her. And it occurs to me that Tolly’s never really seen Hazenthull when she’s on mission; even when she was on duty as a Port Security officer, that was a dialled-down version of her. Full-throttle Hazenthull is the Hazenthull who ignored orders, misappropriated supplies and personnel, crossed hostile territory and behaved in an unprecedented fashion in the face of the enemy in an attempt to save the life of her senior partner — which, come to think of it, is not so unlike what she’s attempting now, so her motivation would also include a measure of this time I will not fail.
Meanwhile, it’s going to be a rough journey for Tolly, because he’s convinced that he’s on his own, and that he’s dealt an injury to his best friend to keep her from following. That’s something that’s going to weigh on him, even with his attention bent on talking the Admiral around.
I had wondered why Inki had mentioned her shared background with Tolly to Haz; it seemed like an obvious slip at the time. But the explanation that it was a hint meant to be recognised only in hindsight makes sense. Likewise the mention of the directors in her final message; though it’s not quoted here, that was accompanied by a reminder of the shared background.
Padi’s uncertainty about Ms Hartensis’ reaction is presumably a consequence of the block Shan placed last chapter. I did wonder, a block on what? but it makes sense that it would be a block on her ability to pick up the emotions of the people around her, which would otherwise be a distraction and a source of stress and which she hasn’t yet learned to block out herself.
(A minor continuity thing: Last chapter, the assistant caterer was wearing a long red apron over white clothes. This chapter, the long apron is white. Perhaps on Langlast there’s a custom of wearing different aprons for tidying up than for serving?)
And just when it seemed everything was smoothing out with Padi and that things might be resolved without too much further trouble, we get that very worrying final scene…