In which the Lytaxin Combined Forces gain a new recruit.
Val Con reporting Nelirikk as an example of a “potentially sapient race” is one of my favourite moments in a chapter with many excellent moments.
Incidentally, Val Con’s account of their first meeting confirms that he held the rank of captain before being promoted to commander, though that still seems to me backward from the way I’m used to seeing ranks work. Come to think of it, the same thing is visible this chapter with the mercs — Commander Carmody outranks Captain Robertson — but I don’t think I ever paid that much attention before because I figured a merc unit might use whatever ranks it likes, and it makes sense for Suzuki and Jase to be the Commanders when they’re the ones in command of the unit. For that matter, it’s been mentioned in the past that the individual in command of the Scouts is the Scout Commander, which is presumably different from being a scout with the rank of Commander. At this point, I’m about ready to just throw up my hands and go on to a less confusing subject.
The name of Nelirikk’s “toy”, the Shibjela, calls back (or forward, if one is reading in publication order) to a weapon called a “shib” that Jela carries in Crystal Soldier. The two weapons don’t actually seem very similar beyond being worn, contrary to their names, concealed in the belt; Jela’s shib is described as more like a whip, with a flexible ceramic cutting edge that can slice through bone. Perhaps it was the product of old technology since lost, or perhaps what was lost was a detailed description of what it actually was, and either way the Shibjela is somebody’s best attempt to recontruct it with the knowledge and technology available.
I did wonder briefly if the medic named Chen, who comes to attend to Nelirikk at the end of this chapter, was the same person as “Doc Tien”, who saw to him when he was first brought in, give or take someone’s attempt to pronounce a name from an unfamiliar culture. But Chen is male and Tien was female, so that’s unlikely.
I wonder what it says about the Yxtrang worldview that they have one God of Quartermasters but multiple Gods of Irony.