Kevin's Watch Forum Index
 HomeHome   MemberlistMemberlist   RegisterRegister   SearchSearch   ProfileProfile   FAQFAQ   StatisticsStatistics  SudokuSudoku   Phoogle MapPhoogle Map 
 AlbumAlbum StoresStores   StoresItems Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

The Gap Into Vision: Forbidden Knowledge 24 - Chapter 16

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Kevin's Watch Forum Index -> Group Readings -> Ancillary Documentation
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Avatar
Immanentizing The Eschaton


Joined: 02 Aug 2004
Posts: 56624

Thanks: 72
Thanked 167 Times in 163 Posts

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
24854 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Pantheon Veteran


PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:55 am    Post subject: The Gap Into Vision: Forbidden Knowledge 24 - Chapter 16 Reply with quote

When last we saw Morn, she was well in control of the situation, or so it appeared. Poised over the self-destruct command she'd set up on Captain's Fancy, and faced with the imminent risk of heavy g and a gap crossing using effectively un-testable Amnion components, she orders the hostage crew to flee Amnion space and hit the gap, taking with her Morn and the new-born 16 year old son who shared her terrible memories.

As soon as they did so, Captain's Fancy begins to disintegrate. The "experimental" Amnion components cause the gap drive to fail, and what should have happened was that the ship, and everybody in her, should have become trapped in the gap forever.

Instead though, what happened was that Vector panicked. Already suspicious as hell about the new components due to his inability to perform certain tests on them, he engaged the gap drive, and then immediately disengaged it.

It shouldn't have worked. Nobody who had survived the gap had ever done it before. They should never have been able to resume tard. But the same characteristics that made the Amnion components unstable had left the supposedly enclosed gap field open ended. And Captain's Fancy burst back into normal space, travelling so fast that none of her equipment could interpret the signals it was receiving.

Quote:
She came out of the gap like blast from a matter cannon; hit normal space with a dopplering howl, as if all the stars around her wailed.


When at last the computers were able to compensate for their speed, they reported that Captain's Fancy was travelling at nearly 270,000km per second. A speed that nobody, ever, had been able to reach. And they were doing it without consequences. No G force, no structural stress. They were drifting at 90% of light speed, and for an hour, they had no idea where they were or what was around them.

And Morn, locked unconscious by her zone implant in preparation for heavy g, was easily disabled by Mikka and awakens disoriented and powerless again in her cabin under the eye of Vector, who tells her that while they are still in Amnion space, they have covered most of the distance to Thanatos Minor.

Terrified that Nick will now make good on his deal with the Amnion for Davies, Morn is reassured by Vector, who tells her that since the Amnion cheated, Nick was unlikely to be willing to uphold his end of the deal either.

Offering what comfort he can, he explains the dilemma that the Amnion are facing, between their deliberate attempt to kill them with the faulty gap drive components, and the importance of appearing always to deal in good faith with those humans prepared to work with or for them. But his comfort is tainted with his own guilt and fear When Morn asks him why he is helping her cope, given her threats (and actions) against them, he replies:

Quote:
When he replied, he sounds bleak and arthritic. Speaking damaged him like heavy g. "I'm keeping you sane. So he can hurt you more.


No matter what she does, where she is, it seems she is doomed to be in the power of those who delight in causing her pain.

By the time Nick comes to her cabin, she has sealed herself off again. Determined to be invulnerable to the rage and punishment she expects. Nick now knows she has a zone implant. He knows that her previous responsiveness to him has been a lie. A survival tactic. He has done things for her he would never have imagined, and it has all turned out to have been for a lie.

He violently takes the zone implant control from her, and with threats of suffering and death he orders her to him. She refuses.

Even as he grabs her, she spits her only hope at him. The self-destruct she had programmed into the ship and the looming threat of both the Amnion and Thanatos Minor, and she could see as his rage transformed into the need to protect his ship and himself.

Using his own vanity against him, she offers him a way out that makes it look as though it was his plan all along. To preserve his myth of the dashing Nick Succorso who never loses.

And with a final promise to kill her, to control her and to break her, he accedes to her plan and leaves, locking the door behind him.
_________________
It's easy to judge. It's more difficult to understand.

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Phoogle Map
Cord Hurn
Servant Of The Band

MaleRanyhyn
Joined: 28 Oct 2013
Posts: 5315

Thanks: 999
Thanked 52 Times in 49 Posts

Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
5530 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Plains of Ra1 Furls Fire1 Andelain


PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2019 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the chapter dissection, Avatar!

Quote:
When Captain's Fancy hit the gap, she began to come apart.

According to her chronometers, the emergency was brief, so brief that its extremity became almost incomprehensible. As soon as she gained the velocity he wanted, Nick engaged her gap drive, and she went into tach, dimensional physics started undoing her atom by atom, pulling her to nothingness like smoke in a slow wind.

For a few seconds she drifted along the rim of nonexistence.

The gap field generator had failed at exactly the wrong instant.

The crisis was too quick for logic. Only imagination and intuition were fast enough to save Nick's people.

Specifically Vector Shaheed saved them: not because he was a wizard at his job, but because he panicked. Inspired by imagination or intuition, he panicked in the right way.

He was already afraid. The new Amnion equipment had passed most of his tests perfectly--and had come up blank on others. Those few tests had simply refused to run. And that scared him.

Alone in the drive space, with Captain's Fancy's survival riding on him--with Morn Hyland's finger pressed to the ship's self-destruct, and equipment he couldn't trust in his gap field generator--calm, phlegmatic Vector Shaheed lost his nerve.

When Nick ordered tach, Vector's hands leaped like intuitions at his control board. Milliseconds after the gap field was engaged, he hit his overrides, trying to cancel the ship's translation from Amnion to human space.

In theory, that was the wrong thing to do. It had never been done before: no one who survived the gap had ever tried it. Captain's Fancy should have winked away; should have become a phantom, a ghost ship sailing uncharitable dimensional seas.

However, in this case the theory itself was wrong. The gap field generated by the Amnion equipment was anomalous: open-ended in a way no sane gap field was ever intended to be. Instead of hastening Captain's Fancy's extinction, Vector's overrides snatched her back into normal space. They also burned out all the control circuits and several components of the drive. Captain's Fancyresumed tard with her gap drive slagged.



Vector becomes a hero and saves the ship by giving in to his reticence and fears. His cowardice enables a heroic act. For me, it's yet another enjoyable paradox from the mind of Stephen R. Donaldson.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Phoogle Map
Cord Hurn
Servant Of The Band

MaleRanyhyn
Joined: 28 Oct 2013
Posts: 5315

Thanks: 999
Thanked 52 Times in 49 Posts

Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
5530 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Plains of Ra1 Furls Fire1 Andelain


PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vector's conspiracy theory about the UMCP being corrupt has been shown to have some merit. However, some of his other speculations sound like they will prove baseless. The Amnion seem to me to still want Davies to further their mutagenic research, considering that it's well known that that's how they plan to prevail over humanity. And they seem too relentless to just assume that Nick's crew is dead or lost in the gap.

Quote:
"If I were you," Vector said softly, "I wouldn't give up."

That surprised her. She hadn't expected him--or any of Nick's people--to know or care how many hopes she lost. In fact, she didn't understand why he was here at all: keeping her company, answering her questions; comforting her.

In a small voice, like a damaged child, she asked, "What do you mean?"

What can I do to save him? What's left?

The engineer shrugged distantly. "Nick is--well, in the absence of full psychoanalysis, let's just say he's relatively heartless. Under normal circumstances, trading away your son wouldn't cause him any sleepless nights. But under any circumstances, trading away your son and getting cheated would make him livid. And the Amnion cheated us. That's pretty obvious."

Cheated? Obvious?

Morn stared at Vector and waited for him to go on.

"Nick probably hates you right to the bone. If he weren't so busy, he'd be hunting for ways to hurt you. Your son is his best chance. But no matter how much he hates, you, he isn't going to keep his end of that bargain when he knows he's been cheated."

Still Morn waited.

"Actually," Vector mused as if he were digressing, "he should have seen this coming. I guess he hates you too much to think straight. Nobody who was thinking straight would have talked the way he did in front of that 'emissary.' He made it too obvious that he wanted to get rid of your son. So why didn't Vestabule try to dicker? Why did he accept Nick's terms?

"I think it's because they don't really want your son. He was just an excuse for another deal. What they really wanted was to give us those gap components.

"Those components weren't flawed. They weren't imperfectly compatible. They weren't designed to fail when we went into tach. The Amnion sold them to us to get rid of us--to erase us."

Ignoring the twisting of her vision and the pain as keen as splinters of bone inside her skull, Morn propped herself on her elbow in an effort to face Vector more directly.

"Are you telling me you think they believe we're already dead, so they won't come after us?"

Vector nodded.

The idea was too seductive to accept.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Phoogle Map
Cord Hurn
Servant Of The Band

MaleRanyhyn
Joined: 28 Oct 2013
Posts: 5315

Thanks: 999
Thanked 52 Times in 49 Posts

Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
5530 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Plains of Ra1 Furls Fire1 Andelain


PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even when she is outnumbered on an illegal ship, with her zone implant secret out and trapped in her cabin with a vindictive Nick, Morn still manages to think circles around Nick. I find it an amazing thing to behold.

Quote:
Ablaze with pain, she was helpless to react when he pressed one of the buttons.

It did nothing to her.

"There," he rasped as he buried her zone implant control in his own pocket. "Now it's off.

"Get up."

She couldn't. She heard the command in his voice; she understood her peril. But she was too weak to obey, too badly hurt. Without artificial help, she was only human--a woman who was already exhausted, already beaten.

"I said, get up."

Somehow she levered her arms under her, pried herself into a sitting position. Confused and drained by the clangor of suns, that was as far as she could rise.

"You're mine now, you bitch," he snarled. "You've diddled me and lied to me for the last time.

"For a while there, I thought you'd turned Vector against me. I even had doubts about Mikka. But you couldn't manage that. You have limits, don't you. I'm going to make sure you keep them." He slapped his pocket. "I'm going to make you suffer--I'm going to make you bleed and die like an ordinary human being, instead of some goddamn superwoman.

"This is your last chance. Get up!"

"Why?" Despite the pain, her core of ice held solid. "So you can hit me again? I'm done with that. I'm done acting like one of your toys. If you want to make me 'bleed and die,' you'll have to come get me. I won't stop you.

"And I'll make you pay for it. I swear I'll make you pay for it."

Somehow.

Like the lash of a solar flare, he caught hold of her, snatched her to him. Almost spitting into her face, he demanded, "How do you think you're going to do that?"

She glared back at him, ice against his fire.

"You can't dismantle that self-destruct. Your primary codes are still useless." That was a guess, but a safe one; he hadn't had time to solve the problems she'd left him. "Your ship is a bomb waiting to explode. And you don't know how I've programmed it. Maybe I set it up to blow up if I don't input to it every couple of hours.

"You can probably figure out what I did to your codes. Or you can use my control to make me tell you. But you might not be able to do it in time. Thanatos Minor works for the Amnion. You illegals always think you work for yourselves, but you serve them. As soon as we're in scan range, that shipyard will tell them we're still alive. Then you'll have warships after you.

"If you aren't quick enough, you'll have to face them with a live self-destruct and no priority codes."

She could see that he heard her. His rage didn't diminish, but it changed character. His instinct to fight for his ship and his own survival took precedence over his need to hurt her.

"That's temporary," she went on. "You can solve all those problems without me. But until they're taken care of, you'll have to keep me alive--you'll have to keep my brain intact. Maybe that'll give you time to realize there's a better reason why you don't want to hurt me. Or Davies."

He heard her. He couldn't help himself. She was talking about issues he couldn't ignore. And she still had one advantage over him, even without her zone implant: she knew him better than he knew her. He was the one who'd been blinded by their masque of passion. It had revealed him--and concealed her.


That last part is telling, and explains how she knows to push Nick's buttons, to continue to convince him to hold back his revenge. She clearly has one other advantage over him: her police academy training has given her an ability to effectively utilize the ship's computer system in ways that Nick and his crew of illegals cannot match. Sure, she and Davies remain in considerable danger, but she keeps finding ways to postpone the moment when she and Davies get punished.

Avatar wrote:
Using his own vanity against him, she offers him a way out that makes it look as though it was his plan all along. To preserve his myth of the dashing Nick Succorso who never loses.


Nick's legendary status becomes his greatest vulnerability, his Achilles heal.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Phoogle Map
Cord Hurn
Servant Of The Band

MaleRanyhyn
Joined: 28 Oct 2013
Posts: 5315

Thanks: 999
Thanked 52 Times in 49 Posts

Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
5530 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Plains of Ra1 Furls Fire1 Andelain


PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

An aside: I would like to point out that Avatar is the only Watcher to have contributed chapter dissection leading posts for both The Real Story and Forbidden Knowledge. Avatar's leading chapter dissection post for TRS can be read by clicking on the following:

The Gap Into Conflict: The Real Story - Chapter 14
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Phoogle Map
Cord Hurn
Servant Of The Band

MaleRanyhyn
Joined: 28 Oct 2013
Posts: 5315

Thanks: 999
Thanked 52 Times in 49 Posts

Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
5530 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Plains of Ra1 Furls Fire1 Andelain


PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:
Using his own vanity against him, she offers him a way out that makes it look as though it was his plan all along. To preserve his myth of the dashing Nick Succorso who never loses.


What Morn proposes, that Nick act as if he and she have been working together in a planned effort to cheat the Amnion, would seem too far-fetched for Nick to accept, but for her prefacing her proposal with a fairly convincing assessment of how events have already severely damaged his reputation. She then effectively makes her case that Nick can only appear to have been cleverly in control if he will submit to her spin of events. And he can't think of any counter-argument to her proposal, at all.

Quote:
Rage turned his skin the color of his scars; the cords of his neck knotted. But he didn't hit her. Through his teeth, he grated, "What reason?"

"Because," she articulated distinctly, as if she didn't care that he was angry enough to extinguish her, "you're Captain Nick Succorso, and you never lose."

He glowered at her like the muzzle of a gun. His fists didn't release her.

"You want people to believe that. You want every illegal or cop who's ever heard of you to believe it. But it's bigger than that. You need your crew to believe it. They don't love you for your charm. Even your women don't. They love you for your reputation. They love the Nick Succorso who never loses.

"So how do you think you look right now? How do you think your reputation looks? For the sake of a woman who was 'diddling' you, a woman you couldn't figure out because she had a zone implant, you risked your life and your ship in forbidden space--and the result was a disaster. You got yourself in so much trouble that you had to let the Amnion cheat you. In fact, you got yourself in so much trouble that you had to sell them a human being just so they would have the chance to cheat you. And then the mother of that human being took over your ship. She put her finger on the self-destruct and forced you and the Amnion to do what she wanted.

"For a man who never loses, that was a real triumph."

As she spoke, Nick's face set like concrete, hardened to blankness. His scars faded; the fury in his eyes receded. In that way, she knew her threat was potent. She'd driven him to regain his self-mastery.

His rage had been something she understood. But now she couldn't read him. He was dangerous in a new way, as if the peril in him had become absolute.

She was absolute herself, on the edge of her resources--and her doom. She didn't falter.

"What do you think you'll accomplish by torturing or killing me--or my son? Is that going to restore your reputation? You know better. You'll still be the Nick Succorso who lost, but now everybody will know that when you lose you punish helpless women and children for it.

"That story will spread, just like all the others. People aren't going to talk about you as the hero in a war against corrupt cops." Her voice rose, hinting at bloodshed. "They're going to talk about you as if you're Angus Thermopyle."

That was the first time she'd said Angus' name aboard this ship It was only the second time she'd ever said it aloud.

"Or what?" Nick countered with an impersonal snarl, leaving his rage in the background. "You wouldn't have brought this up if you weren't going to offer me an alternative."

Like Captain's Fancy in the gap, Morn rode the rim of nonexistence and fought to save herself.

"Or," she told Nick, "you can change the story."

"How?" His face was concrete; but his quickness betrayed the intensity of his attention.

"You can accept me," she replied without hesitation, "welcome me, put me back on duty. You can smile and look like a hero. You can even act like we've been fucking each other's brains out for hours."

He started to sneer a retort, but she overrode him.

"You can give your people a chance to think that we did it together--that we planned this to get Davies and Captain's Fancy away from the Amnion without ruining your credibility, and without being blasted. How could you have done it otherwise? You don't have anything except my son to sell for those gap drive components. But if you sold him, you couldn't get him back without breaking your bargain. You only hope was to run a scam--to use me against the Amnion.

"They won't believe it at first. But they'll start to wonder. They can't be sure you would have killed me if Liete hadn't stopped you. And I'll back you up. Eventually they'll have to believe it. As long as you treat me like we did it together. And you don't hurt Davies. You don't have to pretend you like him--or want him around. He isn't your son. Just leave him alone.

"Think about that story for a minute," she urged, steaming like dry ice. "Is there anyone in human space who's ever had the nerve to run a scam like that on the Amnion?"

As far as she was concerned, all the glamorous tales about Nick Succorso were lies anyway. Why should this be any different?


Morn is so empowered with passion to argue for the purpose of preserving Davies that it enables her to say Angus' name. Morn's suspicion that all the stories about Nick being the unbeatable pirate probably is correct in that none of the stories are completely accurate. But this story about Nick and Morn working together all along to cheat the Amnion IS different, isn't it? It's 100% fictional, not just a mixture of truth and lies. And it's different in that for once a story being concocted to serve Nick's legend serves Morn's purposes rather than Nick's. He certainly realizes that, too, even if he can't find a way to argue with her.

So Morn gains temporary safety for her son. At this point, it seems the best that she can hope for.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Phoogle Map
Cord Hurn
Servant Of The Band

MaleRanyhyn
Joined: 28 Oct 2013
Posts: 5315

Thanks: 999
Thanked 52 Times in 49 Posts

Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
5530 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Plains of Ra1 Furls Fire1 Andelain


PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:01 pm    Post subject: Forbidden Knowledge 24 - Chapter 16 Reply with quote

Nick is forced to acknowledge the strength of Morn's reasoning, but it's a bitter pill for him to swallow, so he tries to disguise his surrender with a threat.

Quote:
Abruptly he let go of her and pushed her away. Her legs failed; she fell back on the berth. Standing over her, he breathed so heavily that he seemed to be shuddering. The lines of his face were remorseless.

After a moment he whispered, "I'll kill you for this."

She met him squarely. "I know."

"But I'll pick a better time. Unless you don't back me up. Then I won't have any reason to wait." He took another hard breath, let it out slowly. "Tell me how to restore my codes."

Morn held his glare. "I want to see Davies. He needs me."

"No chance," Nick growled at once. "He's the only hold I've got on you. I don't trust this." He slapped his pocket again [which contains the black box which is Morn's zone implant control]. "For all I know, it's a dummy, and you've got a half dozen others hidden around the ship."

She shook her head. She didn't care what he believed about her black box: she was suddenly afraid for her son.

"Nick, listen," she said as steadily as she could, "He'll go crazy by himself. Maybe he's crazy already. He's got my mind--he thinks he's me." For the second time, she pleaded, "At least let me talk to him."

"No," Nick retorted harshly. "You've been lying to me. You've been lying from the moment I first saw you with Captain fucking Thermo-pile. And I believed you. I thought you really gave yourself. But you were just using me. Like all the others." He'd become as cold as she was--and as unreachable. "Tell me how to restore my codes."

In hope and despair, she told him.

He nodded once, acknowledging the effectiveness of her gambit. Then he turned to the door.


In my view, it really wouldn't hurt Nick at all to let Morn talk to Davies and keep Davies sane. I do not see how letting Morn do so would put the security of Nick's ship at risk. Consider that not only is Davies imprisoned, but even if he is moved from his cabin, he can be heavily guarded at any time on Nick's orders. It's all about Nick's ego, in that he wasn't idolized by Morn as he thought, so she must pay for her deception in any way possible. Such ego-driven people tend to have a tenuous grasp on sanity, and then that grasp loosens up and is gone.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Phoogle Map
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Kevin's Watch Forum Index -> Group Readings -> Ancillary Documentation All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by Earthpower © Kevin's Watch