[LMB] GJ&RQ - Ch 13 - Past and future images

Karen Hunt huntkc at gmail.com
Sat Oct 29 14:33:02 BST 2016


On Sat, Oct 29, 2016 at 8:39 AM, Gwynne Powell <gwynnepowell at hotmail.com>
wrote:

> And this chapter tears apart things that we knew from the very beginning of
> the whole saga.
>

[snip]


> During the tour, as parents took care to restrain children, and everyone
> kept
> an eye on Miles, I had a quick flashback to Bothari showing Cordelia around
> the ship (name forgotten, sorry) when she was first taken prisoner.
>

General Vorkraft. We never meet a person by that name...

[snip]


> This leads to Miles dropping another bomb - Gregor is sitting on
> information
> (thank you Ivan) about the Cetagandan defeat and withdrawal. Which, it
> turns
> out, was very very nearly the Cetagandan victory, thanks to bioweapons the
> Ghem stole from the Haut.
>
> They all tacitly acknowledge that the Haut could win anything, wipe out
> anything, they chose at any time. Ghem are fun to fight with, Haut are
> terrifying. But the Haut don't use their power. Yet. Why not? Well, because
> nobody else has anything they want? The weapons control the Ghem, the
> Ghem keep the Haut comfortable while they evolve. Nobody else matters
> at all, the rest of the Nexus is just a playground for the Ghem to keep
> them
> happily occupied and compliant.
>


I have two observations to add:
First is Jole thinking about haut threat:
If his life’s calling had been to defend Barrayar, and he did not think
that notion was wholly self-delusion, had he been in the wrong line of work
for the past thirty years?

I'd say to that that in some ways this reminds me of some religious groups
- they see lots of value in mission and they pour everything into that,
sometimes to the detriment of cultivation and social support system. If you
only value one kind of action, then you miss all the other opportunities.

What's interesting in my mind about this, though, is that it is
double-edged. He wasn't wrong to serve in the military if that's what he
was good at. He wouldn't have been wrong to go into the sciences,
biological or other. He's not wrong to switch to biology now (though if
he's wanting to focus his attention on ways to defend Barrayar, marine
biology seems a bit off-side). And, having put so much of his life into
defending Barrayar, I'd also say he's earned the right to put effort into
valuable activities that don't necessarily have to point straight at that
goal.

And here's one for Gregor et al:
“No wonder Gregor’s been delaying this,” said Cordelia. “It must feel like
brooding a bomb.”
“Yes, he keeps wondering and waiting for the right diplomatic time to let
it hatch. Most useful or least destructive moment, whichever. Given haut
lifespans, all the principals aren’t dead even yet. So is it history, or is
it politics? I keep thinking such secrets should be out on the table, and
then… I think some more.”

I would say that Barrayar really needs to not sit on this all by
themselves. Defense against this threat is going to require more than one
group working on it, and the danger is directed at much more than just
themselves. The Vervani and the Marilacans have a life-and-death interest
in this as well, and the Betans are likely to be able to provide a lot of
help as well.

They do need to be very careful and very quiet in the early stages of their
work, I'd note. The Betans worry me there - they are good at all of this,
and they do understand the need to keep one's edge by holding back the most
important secrets, but knowledge and samples of their military new
super-weapons keep getting out into the Nexus. (Ezar knew ahead of time
about plasma mirrors, Illyan knew about nerve disruptor nets.)

[what to call a snip that cuts a lot of good stuff instead of a little?
maybe "chop" or "snap" to follow the snips?]

Karen Hunt


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