(urth) Travelin' Jahlee

thalassocrat at nym.hush.com thalassocrat at nym.hush.com
Fri Aug 12 05:31:19 PDT 2005

On Thu, 11 Aug 2005 23:29:17 -0700 "Roy C. Lackey" 
<rclackey at stic.net> wrote:

>Yes, the Neighbors took inhumi to the _Whorl_. But I don't think 
>studied humans for a "long time". Just for the time (beginning
>thirty-something years before the exodus?) the _Whorl_ was in 
>orbit around
>the Short Sun. Vadsig asked, "To greet us it was?" Silkhorn 
>answered, "You
>might put it so, though they were sensible enough to find out a 
>good deal
>about us -- and infect us with inhumi -- Before they ventured to 
>greet even
>a few of us." He goes on to say of the Neighbor's, "the 
>civilization they
>had built had failed them".
>That's what I meant about the "point of contamination". I think 
>that point
>was reached when the _Whorl_ first reached the Short Sun system 
>and sent
>down exploratory landers. The Neighbors were effectively extinct 
>on Green
>(as on Blue), therefore there were no sentient inhumi there then. 
>The few
>Neighbors remaining on Green (as on Blue) were little more than 
>caretakers. Their technology, like their cities, was in ruins. 
>Maybe they
>had some magical (to humans) means of transporting themselves and 
>cargo from one place to another, but I don't recall any evidence 
>of it. I'm
>suggesting that they made use of the earliest landers to move 
>inhumi (and
>perhaps themselves) between Green and the _Whorl_. That's how 
>Quetzal got

Damn - I was sure some explicit mention was made somewhere of the 
Neighbors having spacecraft, but now I can't find anything. I do 
have the Neighbor testifying at Silkhorn's trial: "I was one of 
those who boarded your Whorl when it neared our sun." So Neighbors, 
and probably inhumi, went to the Whorl before it reached orbit.

Now obviously that doesn't necessarily mean that he had his own 
space-craft: scouting landers could have been sent out from the 
Whorl before it went into orbit - but is that very likely? Or the 
Neighbor could have astral-travelled there. But we don't know (do 
we?) of any other occasion when anybody gets to astral travel to a 
place they or a companion haven't visited previously. Perhaps the 
Neighbors can do it; I don't know.

But if they can't, when they went to their new home (the "Neighbor 
Whorl" or whatever it's called), they must have gone physically - 
in space-craft. 

At the end of IGJ, Silkhorn says to some Neighbors: "Will the 
inhumi really drive us away as they did you?" One replies: "Back to 
your ship, you mean?" Silkhorn says: "that isn't possible ... There 
are very few landers in working order ..." And the Neighbor 
responds: "Then they cannot drive you away as they did us."

Again, nothing definitive, but to me it suggests that the Neighbors 
did indeed leave in spacecraft. Obviously, they can return in 
astral form, but the going was physical.

Now as to the Neighbors transporting inhumi to the Whorl: all of 
the above aside, the Neighbors might have some magic matter 
transfer way of doing this, but there's nothing in the text to 
suggest it. Any astral type of travelling would not have delivered 
blood-drinking inhumi, unless it was totally different from any of 
the astral travelling in the text. So I get left with 
transportation via space-craft, probably Neighborly, not human 
landers, because it probably happened before the Whorl went into 
orbit, and it seems unlikely that any kind of human scouting of the 
system would have happened that early.

The final issue is whether any of these putative Neighbor space-
craft might be present in the Short Sun system. I think the answer 
is probably yes. Silkhorn tells Vadsig in the relevant passage that 
the Neighbors took inhumi with them as "mirrors". But they can only 
function as mirrors (I believe) if they are allowed to breed. As 
far as we know, that can only happen on Green, and only when they 
are present on Green in their physical form. 

So there must be some way of transporting them physically to Green, 
as part of a continuing process. Which leads me back to the bird-
gaited figure and the squat dome on top of the cliff tower, the 
place where apparently the Neighbors had their last permanent 
presence, and a natural candidate for a place to drop off blooded 
inhumi and collect their offspring.  

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