Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 09:23:30 -0600 From: "Charles Reed"
Subject: Re: (urth) Quetzal in orbit Roy, I always like your posts because you always ask interesting, meaty questions. Let me see how well I can address them. >Good point. I, too, recall that the ship had been in orbit for several >decades, but can't remember where in the text that information is found. In >any event, we are given that Quetzal had been Prolocutor for 33 years. > Before I really get started, here are some quotes related to time on board the Whorl, the first of which has already been cited in Roy's previous post: From LAKE OF THE LONG SUN, Chapter 11 (Some Summations): Scylla-in-Chenille speaking: "'[Pas is] dead now, though. We wiped him out of core thirty years ago.'" From CALDE OF THE LONG SUN (Gods, Persons, and Animals Mentioned in the Text): "Patera QUETZAL, the ranking augur in Viron and for thirty-three years the head of its chapter." From CALDE, Chapter 1 (The Slaves of Scylla): "For some while he [Quetzal] remained before the window, motionless, cosmetics streaming from his face in rivulets of pink and buff, while he contemplated the tamarind he had caused to be planted there twenty years previously. It was taller already than many buildings called lofty; its glossy, rain-washed leaves brushed the windowframe and now even, by the width of a child's hand, sidled into his bedchamber like so many timid sibyls, confident of welcome yet habitually shy. Their parent tree, nourished by his own efforts, was of more than sufficient size now, and a fount of joy to him: a sheltering presence, a memorial of home, the highroad to freedom." From CALDE, Chapter 4 (The Plan of Pas): Silk speaking with Quetzal " 'You've been Prolocutor for many years, Your Cognizance. Since long before I was born. You were Prolocutor in the days of the last calde.' Quetzal nodded. 'I knew him well. I intend to know you better, Patera Calde.'" ... Quetzal speaking "'...Before Kypris manifested here on Scylsday, the Windows of our city had been empty for decades. I can't take credit for that, it wasn't my doing. But I've done everything in my power to prevent theophanies. It hasn't been much, but I've done what I could. I proscribed human sacrifice, and got it made law, for one thing. I admit I'm proud of that.'" ... Quetzal speaking "'...I'm mocking you, Patera Calde, of course I am. But not idly. My question's perfectly serious. Echidna told you Pas is dead, and you can't help believing her. I've known it for thirty years, since shortly after his death, in fact." Note that we have from two independent sources that Pas has been dead for 30 years -- from Scylla herself, and from Patera Quetzal. >This raises two questions I don't recall having been addressed. > >1) How could an inhumi have attained that position? From comments Quetzal >made to Gulo, it seems that high positions in the Chapter were more a matter >of politics than merit. It's hard to imagine an inhumi rising through the >ranks as an ordinary augur. Six years in the schola for augurs would present >too many opportunities for discovery (athletics, showers, dormitories). It's >easier to imagine an inhumu assuming the human guise of an older man, >perhaps even the identity of the heir apparent to the position, on the eve >of his replacement. The convenient death of the sitting Prolocutor would >present no difficulty for an inhumi. After that, the inhumu could use the >power of his office to limit access by the public, minimizing chances of >exposure. The second question follows close on the first. > I think these speculations are on the mark, and that Quetzal probably assumed the identity of an already-existing or soon-to-be confirmed Prolocutor. Further, I think Quetzal the inhumi has held the office for at least twenty years, if not the full thirty-three (see the quote above about planting the tamarind tree). >2) Who was Quetzal's mama? That is, where and how did an inhuma get the >human blood needed to pass human intelligence to her offspring? From >information in the SS books, it seems that the mother would have to have >spawned her offspring on Green. > That's true. Not only does it need to be warm enough (and there might well have been places in the Whorl that were warm enough for them to spawn, especially since the Whorl has been getting hotter and hotter over the last few decades), but there also need to be the right kind of microorganisms in the water. > Did she get the blood from a human on Green >or a human on the _Whorl_? If the former, who was he and what was he doing >there? If the latter, how did she get aboard, then go back to Green, then >get her child back to the ship? An inhumi can't just fly through the hull of >the ship like the atmosphere of Blue. > No, they can't fly through the hull, but remember what the Neighbor told Horn in RETURN TO THE WHORL (my apologies for not being able to quote the passage directly, but I don't have my copy of RttW with me). Horn was told that the Neighbors had infected the Whorl with inhumi to act as a kind of mirror, so that the human race could be judged as to their worthiness of "inheriting" Blue. That is, the Neighbors are the ones responsible for the inhumi in the Whorl. Either the Neighbors made it possible for the inhumi to get aboard a lander that had found its way to Green, or made the journey possible by some other means that is not specified in the text. My guess would be that when the Whorl entered the Blue/Green system some 33+ years ago, the Plan of Pas began to be carried out in at least a few cities, though clearly not in Viron since there would be people who remembered such an event and we have no indication of such people. That is, landers were boarded in some other city, made the trip to Blue and Green, which got the Neighbors' attention. In order to check out humanity, they somehow got a whole bunch of inhumi into one or more of the landers before they re-launched back to the Whorl, sat back and watched the results. As to who the human was that served as the "model" upon which Quetzal was built, I feel fairly confident that it was some kind of augur or "holy man." See below for an explanation. >Scylla-in-Chenille told Auk that Pas was dead, had been wiped "out of core >thirty years ago" (LS2; ch. 11). If true, this means that Quetzal was on the >ship *at least* three years before Pas' demise in Mainframe. Given that >Mainframe was the hub of intelligence on the ship, and that Pas was the >ruling entity there, it's hard to believe that a lander could have either >launched from or returned to the ship without his knowledge. > It needn't have been without his knowledge. Just the opposite. Pas wanted the landers to be launching and carrying people down to the planet(s). In fact, that's what the "Plan of Pas" was. It was only after the initial launchings (again, in cities other than Viron) that things began to go awry. It's not clear to me if the other gods rebelled against the Plan of Pas on their own, or if they were somehow encouraged to rebel by the infiltrating inhumi. My guess would be the former. > Even if Pas had >somehow been kept in the dark, Mainframe itself should have been aware of >the comings and goings of landers. That seems to be what the Plan of Pas was >all about. > Exactly. >*Someone* in Mainframe had to know what was going on. Who? > Pas. Until he was "killed." >Why was there no announcement to the cities that the voyage was over? > My guess is that Pas actually did have a plan for the orderly evacuation of the Whorl. He had gone to the trouble of separating the cities to ensure they wouldn't destroy one another during the voyage (and perhaps for other reasons as well), so it stands to reason that he wouldn't want all the landers everywhere to be blasting off at the same time. That would just be utter chaos. There probably was an announcement in certain cities that the voyage was over and that the Plan of Pas was now to be fulfilled. In fact, the more I think about it, the more sense it makes for the first landers to be peopled with his own priests -- those who would be responsible for setting up the hardware that would allow him to descend and continue his godhood on the planet. One such lander (in my imagined scenario) landed on Green, and one its occupants served as the "parent" of Quetzal. >Why, for thirty years after Pas was dead, did the ship stay idly in orbit? > Well, because Pas was dead and was no longer able to carry out his plan. Those responsible for killing him didn't want (for some reason) to continue carrying it out. >Was the familial rebellion related to, as either cause or effect, >the _Whorl's_ inactivity? > Yes, I believe so. >-Roy > --