Tag Archives: Lina Faaldom

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 34


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 30


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 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 25

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…

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 22

The Happy Occasion

In which there are awakenings.

…or Inki could persuade Admiral Bunter to abduct Tolly (in retrospect, I should have been more suspicious about how it was a private conversation with Inki that made him change his tune) and then take off in Ahab-Esais — I’m guessing possibly with Tocohl — leaving Haz to figure out which one to follow.

Assuming she hasn’t done something more permanent to Haz than she did to Tolly.

Shan sees no reason to assume Padi’s going to have a breakout during the reception, but with the advantage of knowing this is a story I’m inclined to differ: it would be a bit of an anticlimax if all that happens next is that Shan and Padi have a friendly conversation in their hotel room. (Or would it? Considering how much Padi has bottled up, she’s in a fair way to cause a lot of fireworks if the friendly conversation cracks her open.)

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 5

Dutiful Passage

In which there are uncomfortable awakenings.

So now we know what Padi’s secret is. Poor kid. Of course it didn’t occur to her, while she was taking great care not to let the others see how much afraid she was, that the others might be doing likewise.

Given the bit about how Padi’s found herself thinking of the milaster scheme as if it might somehow make or break her trading career, I see two ways that might go, depending on how far into the book they get to Chessel’s World. It might be a disaster, and that be a launching point for more plot. Or it might be that they get to Chessel’s World only at the end of the novel, after many adventures, and it’s a success but by then Padi has other bigger things to think about.

Another change in Dutiful Passage‘s roster becomes apparent: It appears that, after so many years, Ken Rik yo’Lanna is no longer the cargo master.

I said, back when it was first made clear, that I didn’t understand why Tolly hasn’t been told it’s Korval he’s working for; I think I’m getting the idea now. One thing I hadn’t borne in mind was just how much trouble Tocohl’s mere existence could cause her creators, given the Complex Logic Laws, if the identity of her creators became known. And I think what Shan said about it being bad-mannered to burden Lina with Korval’s secrets unnecessarily also applies to Tolly.

I’m beginning to really wonder who it was who served as the connection between Tolly and Korval for employment purposes. It seems to me like Tolly started to say a name or designation beginning with “The” before he thought better of saying it out loud. I don’t think it’s the Uncle, given the way Tolly thinks about him later in the conversation. It’s definitely not Theo, both because she doesn’t know people like Tolly and because if Korval had contact with her they’d doubtless be requiring her to aid the situation in a more direct manner.

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 4

In Jump

In which there are consultations on matters of healing.

Yay! We’re getting more of Tolly and Tocohl and Haz already! I’d assumed that it would be another whole book before we found out what happened to them next. (I see that Hazenthull, like Nelirikk, has traded in her Explorer designation for a “nor’Phelium”.)

When Tocohl speaks of her mentor, I think she’s referring to Val Con. Strictly speaking it was Jeeves who oversaw her awakening (and isn’t that a thought to horrify the framers of the Complex Logic Laws, an AI being taught how to be human by another AI), but he said that to save time he basically gave her a direct download of what he’d learned from his own mentor. And while he must have had another mentor back in the long-ago time that he was first activated, much of what he knows about smooth social interaction he learned from Val Con. The specific trick of pausing as if to consider is one we see Val Con teaching him in “Intelligent Design”.

This is the first mention of ‘mite since the Jethri books. I wonder if that’s a sign other elements from the Jethri books will be reappearing.

There is definitely something up with Padi, but not yet enough clues to start guessing about what.

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 3

Dutiful Passage

In which Padi has a lesson to learn.

I raise an eyebrow at Padi’s dismissal of things that serve no purpose other than looking pretty. Apart from the error she’s making of assuming that “I see no purpose to this” is the same as “There is no purpose to this”, it seems shortsighted for one who aspires to be a trader: even if a thing’s only value lies in looking pretty, it still has value that may be usefully leveraged or may cause problems if ignored. People value the things they value, for whatever reason.

(That said, being unreasonable isn’t all that unlikely for someone Padi’s age.)

I’m wondering if the Carresens Syndicate is going be part of the “alliance of equals” referred to in the title. When the family (and Pilot Janifer Carresens-DeNobli) was last mentioned, in Dragon in Exile, the delm summed them up by saying they were very like Korval. (I somehow doubt the Uncle is going to be part of it; has he ever recognised an equal?)

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 2

Dutiful Passage

In which Padi tends to the growth of the garden and Shan tends to the growth of his heir.

That’s an interesting word choice by Padi in response to the suggestion that she might have Healer abilities coming on. Not that she hasn’t seen any evidence of it (and I notice she doesn’t say that she hasn’t), but that she’s determined not to be a Healer — as if determination has ever made any difference in the matter. I wonder why she’s so firm on the subject. It surely can’t be that she thinks being a Healer would prevent her becoming a Trader, since her own father is proof that a person can be both.

Possibly there’s a clue to be had by considering Shan’s timing in raising the matter: He does it as an apparent tangent off the discussion about Padi’s motivation in her self-defence training, which suggests that he sees some connection. Perhaps he’s thinking that a Healer might be reluctant to harm others and that this could lead to overcompensation.

The interlude with the Uncle places the timing of this story with some precision, within the timespan of Dragon in Exile, and raises the prospect of the Uncle and Dulsey playing a larger part in this novel. And perhaps their two guests as well?

I Dare – Chapter 21

Day 50
Standard Year 1393

Dutiful Passage
Lytaxin Orbit

In which Ren Zel consults a Healer.

There’s a lot going on under the surface in this chapter, I feel.

It’s been two, three years since the unhappy run of events that ended with Ren Zel being offered a place on Dutiful Passage. Being used to living in a world without Healers, it hadn’t occurred to me until Lina brought it up that there was anything unusual about him still being haunted by those events, but of course among Liadens – and especially in a community such as the Passage which looks after its own and is, as Lina mentions, well supplied with proficient Healers – it would not be usual for a person to still be afflicted after so long.

(I wonder if the authors started with the fact of Ren Zel still being haunted by his past, and from there followed the implication that something about him impeded his healing, or started with the fact of him possessing a natural shield, and from there followed the consequence that his healing would be thus impaired.)