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Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 08:41:09 -0800
From: Michael Andre-Driussi 
Subject: (urth) TBOTLS: the long parking orbit of the Whorl

Roy C. Lackey quoted Charles Reed and wrote:
>>At the time Silk was enlightened, the whorl had been in orbit around the
>>"short sun" for about thirty years, and therefore could not have been
>>going faster than light at any time during Silk's life which, at the
>>beginning of NIGHTSIDE, was 23 years long.
>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. This
>raises two questions I don't recall having been addressed.

Maybe it will help things to expand the timeframe a bit.  As Roy has
mentioned not too long ago, the end of Pas's planned time came 100 years
prior to events in TBOTLS (hc II, 235).  FWIW this is also the period when
hydromancy was discontinued (II, 172).  Scylla last appeared in a sacred
window 50 years ago (I don't have the citation for this one, alas).

This 50 year period (from 100 to 50 years ago) would seem to be the point
where the Whorl arrives and the rebellion in Mainframe begins.  Yet it
seems unlikely that the Plan would run out before the colonists had been
sent out -- indeed, with this in mind, "100 years ago" (or mission year
232) might be the latest point for the Whorl to arrive.

Roy wrote:
>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.

Issues related to time are greatly eased if the Whorl arrived in system at
least 100 years prior to TBOTLS.  Beyond that, in addition to the
"doppleganger" ideas that Roy listed above, it becomes the game of beating
the big, bloated, bureaucratic system: forgery ("I got an A in P.E."),
transfers from distant regions, etc.

>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. 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.

IIRC this was covered somewhere in TBOTSS, but I couldn't say where (could
it be in that "explaining Quetzel" part?): there were exploratory landers
sent, with colonists.  Long ago.  How the information may or may not have
influenced the rebellion remains completely unknown, and since the
rebellion happened on Urth, too, it seems likely that it springs from the
same family-dynamic source (rather than being a product of external


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