Some idiot — possibly their employers and possibly someone else — had blown both ansibles in this system, and ISC would be crawling all over this place sometime soon. Nobody wanted trouble with ISC.
Much apologies for the delay in this read through of Elizabeth Moon’s wonderful work. I’d written 4,000+ words of blog post yesterday, so my hands were a little too tired to do this!
In this chapter the story shifts a bit. The ship is boarded and Ky does what’s completely unexpected for a hero to do — she complies with all of the demands of the mercenary boarders. I love this! It feels so much more realistic than most books where a protagonist would try to punch their way out of a situation in 100 to 1 odds where it doesn’t make much sense. This scene is pretty short, but is the main development pushing the story forward.
Then we get to emotion and mystery.
It cuts back to Ky’s father, who is worried and trying to use his connections to extricate Ky from the situation or at least hear about what’s going on, but to no avail. They are too cut off and distant to do much but watch at the moment. Knowing Elizabeth Moon’s writing style, I believe some form of help will come from this avenue later in the book, so it’s important to watch and remember what’s going on here and not just gloss over.
Then we get to hear from a corporation who is looking in on the ansible destruction situation. We find out that this is highly unusual behavior, against the rules of war of the time. This is a nice bit of world building where we start to understand the geopoltiical situations of the day across space. On top of that, we learn a mystery: this merc group usually plays by the rules, so someone else went in and took out the ansibles in all likelihood. Intriguing!
Finally, there is a scene which cuts to one of the mercs themselves. Master Sergeant Cally Ray Pitt. This scene reveals that these are mostly good people Ky is up against right now. They are confused because of the Vatta name attached to her, thinking there must be more at play, and doubly spooked by the fact that a Vatta is being so meek and compliant. They believe there is something to get to the bottom of here. What’s interesting is we really get the opportunity to connect with mercenaries, which makes them feel like people doing their jobs we can relate to and not a mustache twirling villain. A nice addition to add to a real feel for this space opera work.