(urth) Travelin' Jahlee

thalassocrat at nym.hush.com thalassocrat at nym.hush.com
Sat Aug 13 09:01:45 PDT 2005

On Fri, 12 Aug 2005 23:46:36 -0700 "Roy C. Lackey" 
<rclackey at stic.net> wrote:
<Snipped for brevity.>

Horn thinks about how Quetzal might have come to the Whorl, in OBW 
(pp182-3): "As with so many other riddles, it is easy to speculate 
but impossible to know which speculation is correct - if any are." 
That seems to sum up the situation pretty well :)

Anyway, Horn gives three possibilities: the Whorl's orbit brings it 
into conjunction with Green from time to time, allowing inhumi to 
fly there; landers left the Whorl "much earlier" than Auk's, 
unknown to the Crew, and perhaps even to Pas; inhumi built their 
own lander and sailed it to the Whorl. 

Mulling over the first possibility, he tries to work out what the 
period of Whorl/Green conjunctions might be. His baseline is his 
sure knowledge that Quetzal was prolocutor for 33 years. 

Now, in COTLS, Quetzal tells Silk he has known about Pas' supposed 
death for "thirty years, since shortly after his death, in fact" 
(p130 in Epiphany). So presumably Quetzal was already prolocutor a 
couple of years before Pas' death. 

Horn speculates that it would have taken Quetzal at least 15 years 
to work his way up the hierarchy & attain the prolocutorship. I 
don't know how good that estimate is, but assume it's roughly 
correct. Then if Quetzal did arrive on the Whorl on a lander, the 
Whorl must have been in orbit for more than 15 years before Pas' 

During that time, he didn't trigger the "Plan" and order everybody 
out; why not? A sensible seculation might be that he was studying 
Blue & Green, sending down scouting parties etc etc, before making 
the decision - presumably if the planers didn't check out he could 
set the Whorl on course for another star. This would fit well with 
the Quetzal-on-lander speculation. 

But then wouldn't the Crew be aware of the scouting? Why would Pas 
hide it from them? Silkhorn makes it clear in the Abanja passage in 
IGJ that he believes the Crew were not deliberately lying about 
Auk's lander being the first. And wouldn't Pas know then that Green 
wasn't a good destination, even if he didn't recognize the threat 
of the inhumi? But when the landers go, the passengers get not the 
slightest hint of what's down there - no maps, no nothing. If Pas 
had been spending time studying the planets, it certainly doesn't 

When he comes back to life, he orders everybody out almost 
immediately. I don't think he was alive whe the Whorl entered 
orbit. I think if he had been, he would have started chucking 
people out right away. Most likely, his family killed him as the 
Whorl approached the Short Sun system, to stop him from doing this. 

But if that's true, it puts Quetzal on the Whorl before it went 
into orbit, perhaps at around the same time as the Neighbors first 
"boarded" it, as it neared the Short Sun. 

Just quickly on Neighborly astral travelling: it might be different 
from what Silkhorn does, but I don't know of any reason to suppose 
so. The Neighbors Silkhorn encounters seem generally to be present 
in astral form - eg his first encounter, in OBW. Their sleeping 
bodies are presumably on "the Neighbor Whorl". The Neighbor who 
names it thus gazes towards the "Western stars" when he does so, 
which makes me think it is a "real" place, located amongst them. 

And on stealth Neighbor spacecraft: the Quetzal-on-lander 
hypothesis seems to require the Crew to be similarly ignorant of 
the pre-Exodus lander traffic the hypothesis requires.  

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