Tag Archives: menfri’at

Ghost Ship – Chapter 29

Jelaza Kazone

In which Theo meets more relatives.

It occurs to me that, as out-of-place as Kareen might have seemed as an expert on the Code in a family widely seen as a Code unto themselves, it pales next to being an expert on the Liaden Code of Proper Conduct in a family that’s never going to set foot on Liad again. That’s going to be something she’s going to need to work out for herself – is she a Liaden in exile, upholding the standards of Proper Conduct among rag-mannered barbarians, or would she be truer to herself if she set herself with equal diligence to learning what’s proper to her new situation?

(The rest of the family, I think, has less of an adjustment, because they’re pilots and familiar, at least in principle, with the variation of local custom. And there’s always been that level on which Korval always considered itself not really Liaden, just temporarily resident on Liad.)

There’s a lot of foreshadowing going on: mysterious people about on mysterious jobs, dubious ships in orbit, and so on. Some of it will doubtless come out at the “housewarming party”; that, dramatically speaking, is what important diplomatic events are for.

Ghost Ship – Chapter 17

Portmaster’s Office

In which Theo meets her new ship.

Here’s another mention of the Federated Trade Commission. What it portends that an operative of the Department is operating under their name, I’m not sure. I don’t think it’s likely that the FTC is simply a front for the Department. It might just be that Operative pel’Naria believes she can take their name in vain with impunity, at least here on Tokeoport where a large pile of cash is the best of credentials.

Either way, I’m thinking the Portmaster, whatever his other faults, shows good sense in not relaxing his guard before they’ve left the room.

Ghost Ship – Chapter 15

Arin’s Toss

In which Tokeoport is not safe.

Theo says a lot of things about how she expects to get away from Tokeo soon and without trouble, which might be a sign that she’s not really confident and needs the self-reassurance. (Or that the authors are cranking up the foreshadowing. Or there’s no reason it couldn’t be both.)

I’m not entirely sure why Daav’s reaction is so violent to the seed pod addressed to Aelliana: it’s not the first time he’s received one since Aelliana died, and he took the one in I Dare much more calmly.

Fledgling – Chapter 41


In which Kamele and Theo go home.

Immediately, Theo is thrown into a situation that shows how much she’s changed in the six months she’s been away. (Incidentally, considering they spent maybe a week on Melchiza, that means they spent the better part of three months on Vashtara in each direction. Kind of drives home what a serious undertaking the trip was.) The terminal is the kind of chaotic jostling situation that would have been a disaster during her “clumsy” phase, but not only does she not create any disasters, she deftly avoids several that might have been caused by the inattention of the people around her. And the fact that Kamele essentially chose to throw her into this situation by sending her off to get the luggage unattended shows that Kamele trusted she would be able to get through it unscathed.

(On the other hand, the luggage scene also shows Theo with a new habit that’s going to cause her some trouble in Saltation. Continuity!)

Boy, that terminal helper is really inadvertant. Somehow, I doubt that the comment Kamele left on his feedback form was a complimentary one.

I’m pretty sure the reunion in this chapter is the first time in the book we’ve seen the entire family interacting; we’ve had Theo with Jen Sar, Theo with Kamele, and Kamele with Jen Sar, but not all three, for the entire time the family has been living separately. The occasional moments when all three have been in the same place together (such as when Theo showed Kamele and Jen Sar the snake AI) happened off the page — until now, when the family is properly back together.

Fledgling – Chapter 37

City of Treasures

In which Theo is getting along better than might have been expected.

I have a suspicion that Hafley is telling the truth when she says that she would have had Beltaire come along, given the choice, but not with the motive she suggests. Until the research team produces solid evidence, Beltaire’s observations are the key to their case, and if she were to come along on an interplanetary journey you never know but that something might happen to her — even without the hints we’ve been getting that something is likely to happen to her in any case if she ever returns to Melchiza.

Her accusation that Kamele is too ambitious, on the other hand, is a classic case of accusing one’s opponent of one’s own sins.

I think I see, now, what the point of having Theo assigned to the Parole Class was: So that it could be revealed at an appropriate moment in an attempt to make Kamele abandon her research and rush off to rescue Theo — which would probably, given the security set-up, only be possible if the whole research team agrees to leave the archive with her, thereby bringing the research trip to an end — or else to reduce her usefulness to the research effort by distracting her if she does remain in the archive. (An appropriate moment being one after Hafley’s cover has already been blown to such an extent that it won’t be giving anything away to reveal that she has secret knowledge about what’s been happening to Theo.) I don’t think it’ll work, though, precisely because Hafley’s accusation of ambition isn’t true; Kamele is here in service of a greater cause than her own ambition, and knows that she can’t turn away now even for Theo’s sake. I doubt she’s going to be badly distracted, either; she’s already proven that she’s made of sterner stuff than Hafley thinks, and I suspect Hafley’s just given her more reason to concentrate on getting the job done.

Fledgling – Chapter 36

Transit School

In which Theo and Kamele make progress.

On Melchiza, pilots are recognised as rare and special people, and apparently this means that Melchizan pilot culture is affected by the Melchizan attitude that leaders should stand aloof and not hold themselves back trying to help others less special. Inspector Vidige’s lesson about a pilot bearing sole responsibility for the decisions he must make is not entirely new (I’m particularly reminded of Aelliana in Scout’s Progress, and the lesson that she must learn to back her own judgement if she wishes to be a pilot), but the emphasis is different. At least it’s somewhat softened by Pilot-Instructor Arman’s comment which suggests that Melchizan pilots do form bonds of loyalty with their crew (like the brother’s friends in the folk tale?); self-sufficiency is one thing, but if they’d been taking it to the extent of not even trusting a co-pilot that would have been asking for serious trouble sooner or later.

Fledgling – Chapter 35

Efraim Agricultural Zone

In which Jen Sar, Theo, and Kamele pass beyond the gatekeepers.

It’s good that it’s Appletorn who gets to explain to the Chapelia why their course of action is not as desirable as they might have thought; if too much of the work of saving Delgado fell to Jen Sar the outsider, one might start wondering whether it was worth the effort of saving. Looked at another way, it simply makes sense that it’s Appletorn who produces that explanation; after all, he’s the man whose profession is Advertancy, the practice of knowing what you’re getting yourself into.

Incidentally, it’s looking increasingly likely that my question from way back about whether the Chapelia has any male members can be answered in the negative.

Pilot-Instructor Arman’s test of Theo seems rather unforgiving; if she hadn’t known how to handle a bowli ball properly, she could have been seriously injured. Is it that if she had been laying an unearned claim to the bowli ball, it would have cancelled out the testimony of her dancing and left her, in Arman’s eyes, not enough of a pilot to deserve protection?

I’m getting the distinct impression that Hafley knows about Theo being reassigned to the Parole Class, although since they’re now being held incommunicado she has no way of knowing that Theo hasn’t gone. And that makes me wonder: since they are being held incommunicado, there’s no way of using Theo’s situation to exert pressure on Kamele, which makes it look like nothing more productive than spite at Kamele standing up to her about continuing the research.

Fledgling – Chapter 34

Efraim Agricultural Zone

In which Jen Sar and Theo each enter unexplored territory.

The folk-tale, and Theo’s response to it, shows a lot about the differences between Delgado and Melchiza. The moral ascribed to it is revealing about how Melchiza comes to be the way it is. The difference between Delgadan and Melchizan ideas of appropriate emergencies for childrens’ television perhaps says more about Delgado than Melchiza, or at least shows Delgado as standing further than Melchiza from present-day America on this subject.

The dance around Theo’s class assignment suggests that Melchiza’s Security apparatus, though omnipresent, is not directed always to the same goal. The order for Theo to be moved into the Parole Class must have come from some branch of Security — one suspects the branch which contains that helpful lady with the blue buttonhole who was so eager to help the research team avoid doing any research, or perhaps, if it’s a distinction with a difference, whoever might have been on the other end of Hafley’s mumu before she was made to turn it off — but Pilot-Instructor Arman seems to be of the opinion that whatever they’re up to is not worth endangering the health of a pilot.

Fledgling – Chapter 33

City of Treasures

In which the first full day on Melchiza brings some surprises.

What with their native guide suddenly called away, and all the difficulties attendant on studying things at the House of Treasures, and this offer that they all go and have a holiday somewhere nice while the House’s own staff look things up for them, one might almost get the impression that somebody doesn’t want the research team getting near the Beltaire Collection…

Even if one wasn’t getting that impression, though, Kamele’s response is the only correct one. The whole point of coming was to see for themselves; if they left the job to others now, be they never so trustworthy, they might as well not have come.

I don’t think Hafley was specifically targetting Crowley with the comment about muddling the files; I think that was a general remark that Crowley deliberately chose to take personally as a rhetorical trick to put her off-balance. (But the kind of personal he chose to take it as is another reminder of how gender roles are seen on Delgado.)

Fledgling – Chapter 24

Gallaria Level
Passenger Lounge

In which Cho has words with Win Ton.

I have occasionally wondered, since I first read this, whether Cho sig’Radia knew in this chapter who Jen Sar Kiladi is, especially since Mouse and Dragon told us that there’s one person we haven’t met, unidentified but probably a Scout, who knows his secret. But no, she says plainly that she doesn’t think she’s met him — so I think that instead her interest is because she knows where he borrowed the name of Kiladi from, and thus knows who he isn’t. She says that the name caught her ear, and that it’s “quite an old name”, which Theo takes to mean that it’s a name with a long history, but which I suspect means that it’s a name whose history has come to an end, and that there is nobody now who can rightly lay claim to it. That she goes on to mention that some Liadens find the regard of their Clan a burden might indicate that she suspects Jen Sar of having attempted to put aside that burden and his right name along with it. (If so, it’s an attempt that one might expect a Scout to have some sympathy with, and I notice she chooses not to pursue the matter.)