Administrative Hearing Room Three
Anlingdin Piloting Academy
In which certain facts are found.
Theo’s inner calm — as she says, the calm a pilot needs to act not only quickly but well — is, I think, at least partly thanks to the ministrations of the Healer. Wilsmyth does not seem to have attained a similar degree of calm, so apparently he either wasn’t offered the same service or didn’t take to it.
The amount of interplay going on at his table during the hearing suggests to me that he’s inclined to push for more and his advisors are inclined to believe that doing so would not be in his best interests. I note particularly the urgent whispering when the question of victimhood is raised; I can well believe that someone with Wilsmyth’s attitude would consider himself the injured party, but his advisors must be aware that if he tries to push that interpretation of events it’s likely to go against him.
(I’m reminded of something that occurs in passing in Scout’s Progress: a dispute between two Liaden clans which might have been settled in arbitration if one of the disputants had not, as the character describing it says, “taken up the melant’i of victim” and insisted on a formal hearing. Which proceeded to decide resoundingly against the self-assigned victim. But I digress.)
Theo completely fails to take the hint about wanting to speak outside the range of official ears, and has to have it spelled out, but she is young and relatively guileless, and particularly she was raised in a world where “outside the range of official ears” was not a concept to be considered, let alone a situation to be sought out.
Part of her advisors’ plan for balancing Wilsmyth’s attack on her flight time involves her getting to fly a Star King Mark VI, which has the effect of making Wilsmyth seem even pettier in retrospect. Even had Theo been the type to be tempted by the prospect of being upgraded to a newer and shinier aircraft, an upgrade from a Mark II to almost-a-Mark-III doesn’t seem like a bribe worth very much.
Theo being set straight by Instructor yos’Senchul reminds me of an incident when I was about her age and one of my teachers had to set me straight in similarly uncompromising fashion after I did something thoughtless. I don’t want to dwell on what it was I did, which was so spectacularly ill-considered that the me of today can’t imagine doing it, but it seems appropriate to acknowledge that moments like these, uncomfortable as they can be at the time, are important: I’m the person I am today, who would never do something like that, at least in part because of having that experience when I was the person I was then. And if we’re lucky, we get that kind of thoughtlessness out of the way in a relatively safe place where a vehement set-down from a teacher is the worst that results and we can take the lesson without coming to any lasting harm.