Tag Archives: pilot’s choice

A Visit to the Galaxy Ballroom

In which Lina yo’Bingim does not wish to be part of the problem.

I’m fairly sure the merc who says “Efning” to Lina is attempting to wish her a good evening, but in the first moment I always think he’s offering his name.
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The Gathering Edge – Chapter 32

Minot Station
Transient Crew Cabins

In which Rig Tranza receives a letter from Theo.

That’s a nicely worded description from Win Ton of how he ended up on the crew. I particularly like “the universe placed me on the deck of the ship she commands now”, which sounds unexceptional if you don’t know the backstory.
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Dragon in Exile – Interlude 3

Vivulonj Prosperu
In Transit

In which the Uncle is informed of Daav and Aelliana’s decision.

In light of the earlier interlude, I don’t think the Uncle’s attribution of the decision to Daav is quite accurate, though it makes sense that he would think of Daav as the primary decision-maker when Daav is the most visible half of the partnership. It’s more a case of Aelliana, once again, acting to protect the vulnerable and preserve the clan’s resources.

More re-establishing of the situation from previous novels, with a nice seasoning of new details. We’re getting answers here to questions about the Uncle that have been lurking in the background of the series for a long time.

The reference to the Uncle having “guided captured intelligences, long accustomed to the bodiless state, into warm and waiting flesh” is intriguing. We haven’t seen anybody do that since the Enemy’s pet dramliz, way back in Crystal Dragon. (And then, it was generally bad news for the intelligence in question.) It raises so many questions: When did the Uncle do this? With which intelligences? With what aim in mind? (And is the mention of it now just adding richness to the backstory, or is it setting up a future plot development?)

Vivulonj Prosperu is presumably the name of the Uncle’s ship, which hasn’t been named up to now. It looks like it might be derived by some indirect method from the phrase “live long and prosper”, which is entirely appropriate, since that’s pretty much the Uncle’s goal.

Ghost Ship – Chapter 5

Arin’s Toss
Solcintra Port

In which Theo’s father tells her the truth.

Theo’s conversation with her father is one of those things that’s obviously significant but I don’t know how to talk about. (I do wonder if it helps Theo to learn that Val Con’s mother was a respected scholar. It seems like it might make the whole preposterous situation feel slightly more familiar.)

Either Theo’s taxi ride from the Port or her nap, or both, must have consumed a considerable amount of time, since it is now the day set for Korval’s departure and Theo left the Port at dawn the previous day. (Local calendar, explicitly stated, so it’s not one of those things where the Standard Day changes halfway through the local day.) No, excuse me: Theo went to call a taxi at dawn; maybe the city’s in such a commotion at the moment that it took most of the day to turn up.

The detail about Trealla Fantrol is interesting; they couldn’t take it with them, but they weren’t going to let it fall into anyone else’s hands. In which light, I wonder what it says that they didn’t mind letting Liad keep the formal gardens.

Tomorrow: “Moon on the Hills”, then back to Chapter 6.

Saltation – Chapter 40


In which Theo gets a better offer.

Though he mentions it casually, the Uncle’s account of Theo’s forefathers is a reminder that he Knows Things. Given Delgado’s emphasis on the maternal line, there aren’t many people who even know that Jen Sar Kiladi is Theo’s father, and the number of people who have accurate knowledge of Jen Sar’s ancestors is smaller yet. It raises questions about how the Uncle found out, and how long he’s known, and for that matter what led him to think it was a thing worth finding out about.

The ship Theo’s being offered, which possesses “both monetary and sentimental value”, is called Arin’s Toss, and was “built on an old Terran commissioner’s ship plan”. One recalls that Jethri’s father Arin was a Terran trade commissioner, and suspects a depth of history that’s not being elaborated on.

And the Uncle has a fractin in his money pouch. It’s been a while since we’ve seen one of those, long enough that it took me a couple of times reading those paragraphs to recognise what it was.

Saltation – Chapter 38

Conference Room Able
Pilots Guildhall

In which the bad news keeps on coming.

Caratunk is a planet we’ve heard of before: it’s where Jethri’s father met Iza Gobelyn.

And we heard about that in the same chapter which first informed us that “there are secrets in all families”, a phrase that’s associated with a particular family, and a particular person who is likely to be the same person Win Ton is on his way to meet. It amuses me that he’s implicitly included in Win Ton’s reference last chapter to unspecified people “even less reputable” than Scouts or Juntavas.

The fact that Win Ton was at Nev’lorn when the fighting broke out is interesting, and offers an additional reason for the Department to have decided the time was right for overt action. (And prompts one to wonder what might have happened if he and Daav had encountered each other there.)

And now the bad news from home has caught up with Theo, having been somewhat delayed by Kamele’s lack of familiarity with the options for sending an urgent message long-distance to a person in motion. There’s an irony here: Theo does know where to find her father – or would, if she had the means to link together several things she’s learned recently – but, lacking those means, she doesn’t know that she knows.

Saltation – Chapter 29

Anlingdin Piloting Academy

In which Theo goes for a walk.

It’s approaching the long break, and the prospect of working at Hugglelans again, so it’s a whole year since chapter 20. A school year, that is, which is not a great deal of help for fixing the timeline without an idea of how the Anlingdin year lines up to the Standard Year.

I’m not convinced Theo’s solution to the problem of next year would have answered the case: moving out of the main quad into the DCCT dorm would have removed her from the immediate vicinity of the parochial and suspicious, but it would have only made things worse in the long run by making her seem to align herself with Them against Us. I suppose, had things been otherwise, it might have served to delay matters enough for her to finish her schooling. Might have. And the attack on DCCT makes it pretty clear that things are not that kind of otherwise.

Healer el’Kemin’s little exposition on the uses of vya expands our knowledge of it somewhat. We had known that it was used to stimulate passion, but previously we had only seen it used to stimulate passions of one particular kind. (And, come to think of it, the information that it has more varied applications offers a new angle on Aito-who-always-wears-too-much-vya.)

Saltation – Chapter 24

Diverse Cultures Celebration Team
Anlingdin Piloting Academy

In which Theo and Kara discuss custom.

The healer Theo met before puts in another appearance, with the moment when he settles Yberna confirming both that he’s a Healer and that Theo doesn’t know enough about Healers to recognise one at work. His name is el’Kemin, a name which is not unfamiliar; there was a Syntebra el’Kemin in Local Custom, who through no fault of her own was briefly affianced to a pilot who wanted her no more than she wanted him. She was made uneasy, not to say terrified, in the company of pilots, an affliction it would seem is not shared by all her kin.

The Young Pilots of Eylot sound like trouble, and not just for the Culture Club. History has a bad record with patriotic organisations called the Young Whatever; that’s almost as bad a sign as “Democratic People’s Republic”.

Saltation – Chapter 20

Piloting Praxis
Anlingdin Piloting Academy

In which Theo is not going home for the holidays.

There is a saying: If you can’t be a good example, perhaps you can be a horrible warning. The price of fame is that Theo’s teachers seem inclined to use her as one or the other.

Being of a mind to look for connections with other stories, I idly wonder if any of the master-adjudicated piloting errors the students are set to study is the one that was at the centre of “Changeling”. The odds are not necessarily good, though, even if the timing does work out right (which at this point I’m not sure it does); in the wide universe, there are surely more than enough piloting errors to choose from.

Fledgling – Chapter 22

EdRec Level

In which Theo is introduced to menfri’at and bowli ball.

Theo is picking up the pilot’s way of moving from Win Ton, and along with it the mental toolkit needed to avoid the kind of maladapted interactions with other people that got her labelled clumsy back on Delgado.

The bit where Theo gets mistaken for a Liaden is a fairly strong indication that Jen Sar is her father in fact and not just by courtesy and by virtue of having a hand in her upbringing. Whether you find this interesting might depend on whether you were already, notwithstanding the indications that it’s not usual practice on Delgado, taking Theo’s parentage as read.

It would appear that Win Ton hasn’t read Tan Sim’s Ugly Day.

With the benefit of hindsight, at least one of the things Chair Hafley says in this chapter is very, very ironic.