Tag Archives: Scout Commander

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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Neogenesis – Chapter 20 part VI

In which Val Con and Miri offer their solutions.

The distinction Val Con makes between those who count themselves to be Scouts and those who count themselves to be Liaden Scouts is one I was reaching for yesterday but didn’t manage to wrap words around. (And reminds me of Eylot, forcing its pilots to decide whether they were pilots who happened to be Eylotian or Eylotians who happened to be pilots.)

It also, come to think of it, suggests the possibility, if not the certainty, that at some point in the future the Scouts headquartered on Surebleak are going to accept non-Liadens into their ranks. Once you’ve reached the conclusion that being a Scout and being a Liaden are not necessarily linked, it’s an obvious consequence. (There have been hints in that direction already, too, with people mentioning that the Scouts have been providing educational opportunities on Surebleak, usually followed by commenting that Scout teachers always treat their students as prospective Scouts.)
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I Dare – Chapter 57

Day 59
Standard Year 1393

Solcintra
Liad

In which the Council of Clans throws Korval into the briar patch.

The Delm Hedrede who delivers the Council’s judgment here is not the same Delm Hedrede who clashed with Korval thirty years ago in Scout’s Progress – different pronouns – but it does make me wonder if Hedrede has a personal investment in Korval getting booted off the planet.

There’s a neat bit of narrative sleight of hand with the problem of what to do with the dies: the problem is carefully laid out, then just as Val Con is about to suggest a solution, the conversation is interrupted. The reader is left to assume that a solution is found without the authors having to actually come up with one.


Tomorrow and tomorrow: Revisiting old friends and seeing how they’re affected by recent events, in “Misfits” and then the remainder of Saltation.

Breath’s Duty

Delgado
Leafydale Place
Standard Year 1393

In which Scout Reserve Captain Daav yos’Phelium returns a favour.

Speaking of first published appearances, this is Kamele’s, brief as it is, and it gave me entirely the wrong impression of her until Fledgling came out. I blame the translators’ decision to use “mistress” as a substitute for whatever word they use on Delgado, because while it has the advantage of bypassing a lengthy explanation it fails to capture the actual spirit of Kamele’s relationship with Jen Sar. On the other hand, I admit there were also some failings of comprehension on my part, regarding (a) the actual likelihood of Daav getting in the kind of relationship that “mistress” implies, and (b) the fact, which is mentioned right there in the story, that they’ve been together long enough for her daughter to be grown up.

This may also be, even more briefly, the first published mention of timonioum.

One of the purposes of this re-read was to see what new associations would come out of the stories by reading them in a different configuration: what would come out of a story by reading it near another story I maybe hadn’t read it near before? In this case, a new thing that struck me was the first dissonant detail: after a couple of pages of Jen Sar Kiladi getting ready for a fishing trip, just as he always does, he pauses to run through the Rainbow pattern. Reading the story so soon after Carpe Diem, with everything it has to say about the Rainbow and about the Rainbow being a Scout thing, that really jumped out at me as a sign that Professor Kiladi isn’t the groundhugging academic he appears. It says, if one didn’t already know, a great deal about his background in a very few words.

Another association that I don’t think I picked up before this re-read is that Acting Scout Commander sig’Radia has the same surname as Senior Scout Cho sig’Radia, the friend and mentor of Daav’s daughter. Probably a relative, not the same person; “Phoenix” has established that sig’Radia has a history of producing Scouts, and this story says straight up that Daav doesn’t know her. (I wonder, though: I don’t think Kiladi ever actually met Cho sig’Radia other than through written correspondence, and if he did notice the connection Daav wouldn’t make anything of it while he’s keeping the Kiladi connection quiet; conversely, of course, Cho sig’Radia knows Theo’s father only as Kiladi and has no reason to suspect he’s Daav. And one who was a Senior Scout a few years ago might have progressed far enough to become Acting Scout Commander now — especially since the “Acting” suggests that the Department’s recent actions have resulted in some rapid movement in the line of succession.)

I’m pretty sure I got the significance of the Richard A. Davis Portmaster Aid Foundation first time, though.

I seem to recall there being something I wanted to say about the bit where L’il Orbit casts shade on Kiladi’s piloting skills, but the only thing that’s coming to mind now is that it was never Kiladi, in the old days, who was called “schoolteacher”. And that there’s a bit of an irony in Daav yos’Phelium being named as a reliable pilot considering what happened the last time he was seen piloting a spaceship.

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 7

In which Daav and Aelliana take a scenic route out of Solcintra.

Another incident underlining the idea of Mizel’s house as a foreign and dangerous port is Solcintra Port Control welcoming Aelliana home. It makes sense as a greeting, considering that it’s the port she flies out of, and I don’t expect they’re aware that she’s just come from the place that ought to have been home to her, but I reckon she’ll have noticed the irony of it.

Jon’s twitch at the news of Aelliana accepting Korval’s protection is interesting. I suspect it’s because it’s not the offer he’d been expecting Daav to make and Aelliana to accept, after the way they were the last time he saw them together.

Scout’s Progress – Chapter 30

In which there is dinner, dancing, distinction, and a difficult decision.

Aelliana’s speculation about Daav’s ringless finger reminds me that this is a parallel to Local Custom, where Er Thom also spent a significant portion going about without his ring of rank. Or perhaps not so much a parallel as a reflection, because in a way the situation here is a reverse: Er Thom’s lack of ring was a punishment, but Daav’s is more in the way of a much-needed vacation.

And when Aelliana asks him what he has around his neck, and he replies, “A chain”, it’s an obvious dodge into literal-mindedness — but it also works as an honest (perhaps more honest than he intended?) description of how he regards the delm’s ring.

I think I was a bit uncharitable toward Olwen sel’Iprith back in Local Custom. If Frad is any indication, all the members of Daav’s former team are very close, just not the kind of close that, say, Er Thom and Anne are. (Or, as we can confidently say after the happenings of this chapter, Daav and Aelliana.)

And here’s a fun thing I noticed for the first time on this re-read: the authors are ingeniously uninformative as regards the genders of Trilla’s and Frad’s chosen table partners. We learn that Frad’s companion is a redheaded Scout, and Trilla’s companions are both described as dancers, but do we get a single gendered pronoun between the three of them? We do not.

Scout’s Progress – Chapter 24

In which Clonak tells Aelliana a story about Daav, and Korval responds promptly to an insult.

As usual I’m going to duck talking about how this chapter was emotionally affecting, and talk about something else instead, like how this chapter does some clever work of incluing and foreshadowing. For instance, the list at the beginning of the chapter of the people who have been entrusted with Daav’s private number does multiple duty by introducing the reader to Olwen and Frad, so that their names glide smoothly by in Clonak’s story later.

I even caught myself thinking that the last scene of this chapter did a remarkably good job of foreshadowing the end of Mouse and Dragon, considering that this was written so many years before that was, before I remembered that that end had already been established in another book that was in its turn published many years before this one.

Another interesting thing about the list of Daav’s near ones is that it includes, apart from Aelliana, his brother, and his former Scout teammates, one Fer Gun pen’Uldra, Daav’s father. One gets the impression that there are not many Liadens who know their out-Clan parent at all well, let alone remain so close as to include them in such an exclusive list. (The situation with Aelliana’s father illustrated in Chapter 9, where he has had no further contact with Mizel since the conclusion of contract and Aelliana doesn’t even know his name, seems more typical.) Is there a story there? If so, it’s one we haven’t been told yet; Daav’s father is mentioned only rarely, by name even more rarely, and as far as I recall has never made an in-person appearance.

Scout’s Progress – Chapter 20

In which Aelliana is having a much better day than Ran Eld.

Ran Eld is not just personally unpleasant, he’s taking advantage of his status to embezzle money from the clan to fund his lifestyle. When he’s not funding his lifestyle by borrowing money at ruinously high rates of interest, with the result that he now owes to one creditor more money than Aelliana earns in a year. Not only is he a crook, he’s not a very smart crook. (I suppose he might not have needed to be, as long as his mother’s regard tended to shield him from the consequences his actions might otherwise have had.)

Meanwhile, Daav is introducing Aelliana to a Terran dish called ”pecha” (sounds vaguely familiar, but I can’t quite put my finger on why…) and telling her stories about his days in the Scouts. Here we get the story of the planet where he gained his earring, which sounds a lot like the planet Tol Ven yo’Endoth visited in “Sweet Waters”, though the Mun are not one of the tribes he encountered and their traditions are not exactly like the traditions of the Sanilithe.

Scout’s Progress – Chapter 19

In which Ride the Luck and her crew test their capabilities.

Aelliana continues to develop. Daav is pushing her in ways he wouldn’t have when they first met because she wouldn’t have been able to handle them, and she is handling them.

One consequence of this which gives superficial pleasure to the reader, on top of the deeper pleasure at her progress, is that she’s now able to participate in the banter instead of just watching in dismay as it whizzes past.

For my favourite moment in this chapter, I’m torn between “Clonak — Clonak calls you Captain,” she told him, as if this might have someway escaped his notice. and “Thank you, but I — don’t believe I am hungry.” “Yes,” he said placidly, “I know.”