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Post Re: Page: 118
Holding the entire Loroi species responsible for the actions of a single commander, and in particular holding a grudge against those Loroi who are obviously trying to help you, seems to me to be worse than wrong-headed.


Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:57 pm
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Post Re: Page: 118
Fireblade wrote:
Holding the entire Loroi species responsible for the actions of a single commander, and in particular holding a grudge against those Loroi who are obviously trying to help you, seems to me to be worse than wrong-headed.


No second chance to make a good first impression.

While much of how he had been treated at first may be accounted to the usual wartime paranoia, it looks like only Beryl is willing to make amends for it... and as said, that could easily be a ploy in itself. Tempo does say that humanity is actually important to the Loroi and still she doesn't elaborate why. So, while we as a reader may be able to see that Alex's 'inner circle' may be intent on helping him, Alex himself could still be a bit suspicious of their intentions.

But both sides taking a 'wait and see' stance would have taken Alex nowhere, and neither us as well, story wise. So yes, someone had to move.


Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:31 pm
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Post Re: Page: 118
Overkill Engine wrote:
And especially unexploited. The Umiak may or may not have another means to bypassing Farseers, but a species with that trait inherent and in a position of military weakness is ripe for enslavement and mass cloning.

And it is known how nicely the Umiak treat their allies/subjects/slaves.


And how would the Umiak know?


Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:39 pm
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Post Re: Page: 118
Walter wrote:
Feels like presuming empathy is a big ask. Play to their enlightened self interest instead, bonus points if they decide to feel guilty It's in the Loroi's best interest to get humanity on their side, ditto the Umiak. It is in ALEX's best interest that we end up with the Loroi. He should be as cooperative as possible, try desperately to tie humanity to the Loroi at the hip, maybe they'll protect us like they do the Barsam/their other client races.


enlightened self interest is a good way to get yourself stabbed in the back long term.

honestly its a far weather strategist at best as self interests change all the time. case in point here the short term self interest of the loroi is to keep the humans out of umiak ... pincers. but long term humans pose a threat to the loroi on many fronts which could best be dealt with with force. Empathy on the other hand is the driving force behind all social animals outside of the insects super specie approach where they treat members of the group like replaceable part of one larger animal.

enlightened self interest may help open the door but the long term partnership between the two species can't be based on that.


Tue Jun 13, 2017 2:06 pm
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Post Re: Page: 118
To be fair, he never revealed it's exact location either, so the Loroi would have to actually find the right star, and couldn't use farsensing to find it. It would be a big hassle to travel into the wastelands to exterminate a barely FTL capable civilization, even if you weren't on the verge of being exterminated (which of course they are).


Tue Jun 13, 2017 4:25 pm
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Post Re: Page: 118
Alex is definitely making the right call in being cooperative and forthcoming. Being non-cooperative and not forthcoming in his situation would be a quick way to ensure that he and likely humanity would be treated with even more suspicion at best, and as hostile at worst. As Stillstorm demonstrated, Loroi already have reason to be suspicious of him and humanity, and giving them more reason to be so would put both him and humanity as whole in an even more precarious situation.

As others (including, in-story, Alex's own superiors) have observed, the massive technological disparity and the nature of the conflict mean that trying to remain hidden and effectively neutral isn't an option. While yes, humanity might be able to remain hidden until the war is concluded one way or another, it's just as likely that humanity would be stumbled upon by one combatant or the other in the same way that human space was stumbled upon by the Orgus. If the Umiak were to stumble across humanity's home space, a swift and very one-sided conquest would be the only result, and if the war were still ongoing, humanity would almost certainly be pressed into service as anti-Loroi shock troops as soon as humanity's highly psychic resistant nature became apparent. If the Loroi were to stumble across humanity, conquest would also be a likely outcome, particularly if the war were still raging, and humanity's fate would be very uncertain. Given that in such a scenario, we would likely appear to be a sophisticated artifice of the Umiak tailor-made to inflict maximum damage on the Loroi empire, right down to our location on a vulnerable flank.

As for the whole "Alex just doomed humanity to being exterminated by the blue Nazi space elves" thing, that's based on some shaky assumptions, and completely discards the tangible benefits and intangible factors that humanity can offer the Loroi, many or even most of which are contingent on us being alive.

The tangible factors: On the most basic level, the simple geographic location of human space gives the Loroi the opportunity to launch flanking attacks on the Umiak empire, and eventually open up a second front entirely. That this strategic location already comes with some basic infrastructure to support a fairly quick build up is a nice bonus. In addition, the Loroi are very clearly losing the numbers game, and this pre-existing infrastructure comes with a workforce to maintain and expand on it, a clear benefit that would be lost if the Loroi were to just roll in and exterminate the monkeys, plus said extermination would likely entail a level of force commitment that the Loroi might not really be able to afford right now. Even better, humanity's morphological similarity to the Loroi means that our value as an auxiliary workforce or even military force is greatly enhanced because human equipment and assets could be fairly easily adapted to suit Loroi and vice-versa. Everything from small arms and uniforms to spacecraft would be either fully compatible or easily adapted to either species, and retrofitting human manufacturing and maintenance facilities to Loroi standards would be much easier than it would be to do the same for a morphologically different species.

Of course, the intangibles aren't really the most pressing in the current situation, but it would be disingenuous to discount them completely. Culture and curiosity are important factors here. In addition to bookish and/or xenophillic Loroi like Beryl being fascinated by humanity, average joe types like Talon seem intrigued by Alex and humanity, even Stillstorm seemed to raise a proverbial eyebrow in response to some of Alex's statements on the bridge of the Tempest, notably his "Oath of Vengeance" bit, which is a non-zero factor in their disposition to us. On a more broad level, humanity represents the possibility for something that the Loroi might not be too concerned with now, but will definitely be interested in when/if they win the war: Answers. Why are humans and Loroi so similar yet so different? What's the real story there? Who are they, really? Who are humanity, really? These are the kind of questions they'll never have an answer to if they just wipe humanity out or allow humanity to be wiped out, and if what little we've seen of their culture is representative of the whole, then those are questions they'll likely want answers to, at least at some point.

Wow, that was a really long, rambling post, especially for my first on this forum.


Tue Jun 13, 2017 5:06 pm
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Post Re: Page: 118
hi hi

If the Loroi don't have the fleet strength to wipe out humanity, then they certainly don't have the fleet strength to defend humanity from the Umiak. Even a tiny Umiak expeditionary force could almost certainly wipe out all of the TCA warships, assuming they tried to put up a fight instead of immediately surrendering.

I don't know if Alex already thinks that the Umiak destroyed the Bellarmine, based on the limited evidence available, but it's kind of looking like siding with the Loroi is a losing proposition. Even if we assume that the Umiak's boasting was a lie, Tempo herself confirmed that they've been at a stalemate, and that their critical farsensing ability is now becoming obsolete.


Tue Jun 13, 2017 5:23 pm
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Post Re: Page: 118
I think any help the Loroi would be giving to humanity would come in the form of technology, probably in exchange for raw materials carried from human space by human cargo vessels. The idea being to bring humanity to a point where it can defend itself, and presumably start sending warships of its own into the fight. It would be a long term project with many difficulties, but I don't really see an alternative.

Just having Loroi inertial compensators would allow human vessels to be more effective in battle, as I remember Arioch explaining that acceleration is currently limited by what human inertial compensators are capable of, not what thrust their engines can put out.

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Tue Jun 13, 2017 5:37 pm
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Post Re: Page: 118
Alex isn't exactly in a position to make the Umiak an offer, is he? Likewise, actually defending Humanity against the Umiak isn't a factor because the Umiak don't know where humanity is, and aren't likely to know until one of three things happen:

1: Humanity aligns with the Loroi and the Loroi start operating out of human space, at which point human space will not only become strategically important enough that the Loroi can't afford to cede it to the Umiak, and the Loroi will have a significant enough military presence in human space to make a simple smash-and-grab by the Umiak a costly proposition.

2: One of the other scout ships runs into the Umiak and leads them to humanity, in which case it won't matter because the tide of the war will have turned so far in the Umiak's favor that the Loroi are done for, and humanity's only concern is resigning ourselves to being enslaved by the Umiak for the forseeable future.

3: The Umiak stumble upon humanity on their own, in which case they quickly conquer humanity and use human space as a springboard to open a second front against the Loroi, after which see #2.

Besides this, the Loroi conquering humanity and defending humanity against the Umiak are two very different propositions.

If the Loroi are as hard pressed as they seem, they can't afford to just send the size of force they'd need to quickly conquer or exterminate humanity a significant distance away from their core worlds and the battlefront on what may well be a wild goose chase anyway. However, establishing relations with and securing the allegiance of humanity is a much lower cost proposition in the short and medium term, as humanity's location is (as far as we know) unknown to the Umiak, and it would just be a matter of sending a small force to conduct recon and lay the groundwork for human space to become a base for further operations. Even with the absolute minimum investment of just a few ships, advisors, and science-nerds, the Loroi could raise a raiding force in human space (Human built ships crewed by humans and retrofitted with enough Loroi technology to make them useful) and start hitting targets of opportunity in Umiak space on a reasonable timetable, provided they can survive the current Umiak assault on the Loroi empire. Once this raiding force is raised and put into action, the Umiak have to reposition forces to counter these raiders and try to chase them down, giving the bulk of the Loroi fleets the opportunity to launch a counter offensive and start pushing back.

If the Loroi aren't as hard-pressed as they seem, then it's still more cost-effective in the short, medium, and longer term for them to dedicate a relatively modest amount of resources into making humanity useful than it would be to dedicate resources to either conquering or exterminating humanity. In this scenario, the Loroi could follow much the same tack as in the other, but they'd be able to wring even more advantage out of their new erstwhile allies than before by being able to more effectively take advantage of humanity's strategic position.

Again, conquering or exterminating humanity represents a modest to significant investment of resources, which depending on the Loroi's situation, they may not be able to afford. On the other hand, integrating humanity into the Loroi Union represents a much smaller initial outlay of resources with significant dividends later on. Attacking humanity now could cost them the war, depending on how dire their situation is. Letting humanity fall into the claws of the Umiak would certainly cost them the war. Winning humanity over and bringing them into the war on the Union's side could turn the war around. Option one represents the greatest cost and the second greatest risk. Option two costs the Loroi nothing but represents the greatest risk. Option three carries a relatively low cost and the lowest risk, not to mention the chance for a significant payoff.


Tue Jun 13, 2017 5:53 pm
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Post Re: Page: 118
Humanity is screwed, one way or another.

Either it would be the Umiak with their direct approach, or the Loroi who I wouldn't put it past that they could wipe out humanity just as a preemptive measure or because they pose an inherent danger to the stability of the Union. Or maybe wipe out humans later if it becomes evident that Earth or its colonies would inevitably fall into Umiak hands, providing them with undetectable troops as same as if they did side with the Umiak from the very start.

Yes, Loroi may be curious about humans in general. But if they have to decide between satisfying their curiosity and gaining a much needed advantage in the war - or withholding the Umiak one - what would they choose? Remember, Loroi are a practical people, too, and definitely embittered by how the war progressed.

I'll admit. Siding with the Umiak means certain doom, siding with the Loroi means a high probability that humans will be doomed, staying silent and trying to keep out of it would only delay the inevitable.

So yes. The Loroi would be the best of all bets, which is saying lttle, since all of them are pretty rotten from the start.


Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:18 pm
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Post Re: Page: 118
Despite having been treated as a prisoner.
What would Alex have expected otherwise?
He's from an unknown species with unknown behaviour and unknown desires and unknown needs.
He's an unkown agent from an unknown power.
Which is admittedly weak, and lacking ressources to be a power which could challenge Umiak or Loroi in any form.
Rescued in space from a dead ship.
Rescued by a military war ship in the middle of a combat mission.

I'm sure NO Human military would let an unknown emissary run around free on such a military ship. Not just for fear of him nosing our secrets. For his own safety, as a war ship is not a place full of locked doors and access control and safety mechanisms. It is a dangerous place to be, not just because it will be a target for munition, but also because the machinery and weapons it needs for its own functions.

Please tell me how the Loroi could've treated Alex "better".
They kept him safe, and are bringing him via courier shuttle to the sector capital, which is about as fast "Bring me to your leader" as you can expect in the situtation.

I'm sure Alex and the other Bellarmine crew members have been trained to think "What does the other side expect/can do/would like?".

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Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:17 am
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Post Re: Page: 118
GabrielGABFonseca wrote:
were I in Alex's comfortable, [loroi]-made green shoes


Point of order. Alex was given Teidar boots, which are yellow. ;)

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Post Re: Page: 118
Krulle wrote:
Please tell me how the Loroi could've treated Alex "better".

They could have not left him in solitary confinement for the duration of time between the skirmish at Naam and his departure aboard the shuttle, especially because they had at that point recognized him as an "ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary" as well as military attaché and by their rights a captain. If he was safe enough to keep around the bridge of their command ship during battle, they probably could have had Beryl start on the information gathering at the very least.

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Wed Jun 14, 2017 4:11 am
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Post Re: Page: 118
We know Alex got sent out before the big battle, before it was just a skirmish.
The Loroi let him observe, but sent him off once his business (commemorating his colleagues "M-I-C-K-E-Y") was over.

And what did Alex learn? Not much, besides that any of the small battle participating ships could defeat the whole Human space navy alone, and not break out a droplet of oil. For the rest he could not have observed anything, and he had two security guards direct by his side (for a Loroi uncomfortably close, especially with his "manspreading" (page 72).
They kept a very tight control on him on the bridge.
And they sent him immediately off, once they thought his business was over. And the way Beryl insists that he leaves RIGHT NOW implies unspoken orders in the direction of Fireblade (page 90).
On page 91 you can even see Fireblade touching Alex to help him off the bridge RIGHT NOW.


Instead of solitary confinement, you propose interrogation instead?

Solitary interrogation can be seen as a problem by itself. Under certain circumstances that is a warcrime.
Also, the Loroi do not know human psyche. They might not now how much information a human that is lonely will spill.
Especially a lonely male in presence of women with an alure of the kind the Loroi radiate.
If they knew, they would make sure to keep Alex busy, so that he can brag with all his knowledge...

I find the Loroi very courteous towards Alex, considering the circumstances.

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Wed Jun 14, 2017 4:44 am
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Post Re: Page: 118
Krulle wrote:
Also, the Loroi do not know human psyche. They might not now how much information a human that is lonely will spill.
Especially a lonely male in presence of women with an alure of the kind the Loroi radiate.
If they knew, they would make sure to keep Alex busy, so that he can brag with all his knowledge...

I find the Loroi very courteous towards Alex, considering the circumstances.

That Beryl and Tempo were apologetic at his solitary confinement, says that it was not intended as a courtesy or sign of respect. Courtesy would have been to inquire as to how he would prefer to be treated, and then to make some effort to accommodate that preference as deemed acceptable.

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Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:14 am
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Post Re: Page: 118
hi hi

As long as we're assuming that the Loroi diplomatic rules and customs are anything like humanity's, I think it is worth noting that solitary confinement is forbidden under the Geneva Conventions. A lot of people tend to be dismissive of that, thinking "I'm by myself plenty of times, what are they complaining about?" But all empirical evidence shows that solitary confinement does indeed mess people up.


Wed Jun 14, 2017 7:12 am
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Post Re: Page: 118
Yeah. I mean there's a huge and important psychological difference between, "Let me escort you to some quarters. They may be a bit spartan, but we can try to get you at least a desk, chair, and a cot. We'll check in from time to time, but we'll need to keep you under protection until we get to safer coordinates. There's an intercom for emergency calls." and "Come with us now." [shove - clang] and you sleeping on the floor for a week with dubious nutrition shoved in at you.

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Wed Jun 14, 2017 7:21 am
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Post Re: Page: 118
There is a difference, but still.
It is a war ship they're on.
They are in a mission in disputed territories.
As a war ship they do not have much spare room.
you are an alien to them, and they do not know what kind of foods you need.
They do not talk to each other, they use telepathy. You are blind to telepathy.

There are plenty reasons.
And we do not know what else happened outside the ship. Did the ship later take up more survivors of the battle, from the sister ships?
Was the crew busy doing repairs so that the ship (and Alex on it) survives?
How active have they been pursuited while Alex was in a cell?
How large is his cell compared to the rooms the Loroi share?
How much time did really pass? (a subjective week, several hyperjumps (url=http://well-of-souls.com/outsider/outsider098.html]page 98[/url]) - apparently they are in a hurry)
What other tasks does Beryl have, which may have prevented her from giving Alex the attention you feel he should've deserved?
(Maybe she was cataloguing the devices recuperated from Bellarmine, and trying to find a context between that stuff and whatever Alexander said so far. - Same for the Mizol on board.)

We have not sufficient data to be able to evaluate their behaviour.

And the Loroi are ignorant of anything of Human requirements and psyche.


As far as I can currently evaluate, I tend to vote in favour of the Loroi and them having given Alexander what they could spare.
Companionship on a war ship is a tight ressource.

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Wed Jun 14, 2017 7:59 am
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Post Re: Page: 118
It is a warship, I admit, and Task Force 51 is not a diplomatic outfit.

Yet,
  • They still have a Mizol onboard, someone who is trained for diplomatic endeavours (her other specialization notwithstanding).
  • Alex himself noticed (and Arioch as the author confirmed it), that space and comfort are not as much of an issue on Loroi ships. So they could have afforded to offer him some more creature comforts than a rather hard looking mattress on the floor, and seemingly little else... I assume there had been a privy in his cell, but even that hasn't been explicitely shown or even alluded to.
  • Same would go for the food. The extent the Loroi may have done would be to hand him something different if he puked out the current food item rather than having a closer look at what he might be able to digest and what not.
  • For all we know, he was interrogated, confined in his cell, pulled out of it for a dog and pony show, and then dumped back into his cell again, only to be ferried off to some destination unknown.

Operating under the assumption that Tempo and Beryl are genuine in their chagrin about the treatment Alex received, Loroi seem to usually have higher standards of hospitality.

Alex might not know, but we as the readers know that Loroi females have an innate need to ensure the wellbeing of their males. That could mean that this doesn't extend to human males, too, given the treatment he was subjected to.

And that could also mean, sorry guys, Loroi females might not consider human men dmating material at all as well. :D


Wed Jun 14, 2017 8:45 am
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Post Re: Page: 118
A simpler explanation is that Stillstorm wanted the alien isolated and out of sight, in part to give them time to determine beyond a shadow of doubt that he wasn't a Shell trick, and partly to have some very terse conversations with her subordinates about exactly who runs her ship and what will happen if that kind of shit ever happens again.

Rest assured that certain involved parties were stuck on latrine duty.

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Wed Jun 14, 2017 8:54 am
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Post Re: Page: 118
Razor One wrote:
A simpler explanation is that Stillstorm wanted the alien isolated and out of sight, in part to give them time to determine beyond a shadow of doubt that he wasn't a Shell trick, and partly to have some very terse conversations with her subordinates about exactly who runs her ship and what will happen if that kind of shit ever happens again.

Rest assured that certain involved parties were stuck on latrine duty.


This.
Stillstorm was hostile towards Alex from their first encounter onwards. I'm pretty sure due to the circumstances her strike group was in, her command overrides any diplomatic necessities Tempo could bring up.

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Wed Jun 14, 2017 11:27 am
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Post Re: Page: 118
I view the Loroi's treatment of Alex to be one of pragmatism over all else, which falls in line with what little we know of Stillstorm, who was presumably calling the shots.

Keeping an unknown entity on lockdown, though a bit harsh, was probably the most prudent course of action she could have taken. To my mind, even if there were "guest quarters" on a warship, they would likely be located near other quarters on the ship, and they probably would not be as secure as a brig.

There are a number of reasons why Stillstorm would want to keep Alex isolated. One, he's an unknown quantity, as I said previously, and potentially an Umiak trick. You wouldn't want a potential threat in a position where he could do harm to your crew. Two, anyone who's served on a ship will tell you that the rumor mill runs rampant. An alien like Alex is going to spark speculation, especially if the topic about a potential Loroi template race comes up. Stillstorm would want to keep as much of a lid on that as possible, and keeping Alex isolated limits the rumors to whatever the bridge crew and the few who passed him in the corridors saw. Finally, though unlikely based on what Arioch has said about Loroi discipline and libido, there is the potential that Stillstorm is simply keeping an obviously Loroi-like male separated from an entirely female crew that hasn't seen a Loroi male in who knows how long.

Regarding the food... it seems from the list Alex wrote out on the Chapter 2 cover page that the Loroi have provided him with a wide variety of food and are actively attempting to find something that he can eat. There are eight entries visible, and who knows how many more outside the view of the page. I don't think we can pin that unpleasantness on them.


Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:11 pm
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Post Re: Page: 118
I agree with RazorOne and Orion1836's line of reasoning, and would like to add, that was a pretty hostile stare exchanged between Tempo and Stillstorm right before Jardin was escorted away. I think they probably had an argument over what to do with him, and the compromise was "Throw him in isolation until we can get him off the ship. And Tempo, you're going with him."

Tempo's phrasing was also a little odd when they boarded the transport ship, "I would like to again express my sincere regrets for the political and military difficulties that lead to your being held in isolation. I can say only that is was necessary for your own safety. Despite this difficult beginning, I assure you that there are none now aboard this shuttle except for whom your well being is of the highest priority."

To me it sounds like, someone on board wanted to just airlock the pink alien and be done with it.


Fri Jun 16, 2017 12:06 am
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Post Re: Page: 118
A war ship captain usually does not want unknown agents on board, especially during a mission.

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Fri Jun 16, 2017 12:59 am
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Post Re: Page: 118
Diodri wrote:
I agree with RazorOne and Orion1836's line of reasoning, and would like to add, that was a pretty hostile stare exchanged between Tempo and Stillstorm right before Jardin was escorted away. I think they probably had an argument over what to do with him, and the compromise was "Throw him in isolation until we can get him off the ship. And Tempo, you're going with him."

Tempo's phrasing was also a little odd when they boarded the transport ship, "I would like to again express my sincere regrets for the political and military difficulties that lead to your being held in isolation. I can say only that is was necessary for your own safety. Despite this difficult beginning, I assure you that there are none now aboard this shuttle except for whom your well being is of the highest priority."

To me it sounds like, someone on board wanted to just airlock the pink alien and be done with it.


The line about safety is what lead me to believe that a very Loroi-like alien male could not be trusted in the hands of the rank-and-file.


Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:33 pm
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