Interview with Cat Dalrish

My name is Blue River Frond and I am from Charikian. We are people watchers and we are scribes. Every being in all time and space has a place and a purpose and to that end we record the words they speak, for posterity … and for insight into the past. Please call me Blue and read my dialogues:

Catalina Dalrish

(I met with Cat in the bar at the Launchpad of Xen III’s largest spaceport)

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Blue: Hello, Cat, please to meet you. Why do people call you ‘Cat’?

Cat: It’s short for Catalina. I like it better anyway.

Blue: I believe you are of the Dalrish family.

Cat: I am, but I prefer not to talk about my family. Nothing good comes of discussing the Dalrish.

Blue: Even your brother Matt?

Cat: Matt is the only good thing in this family.

Blue: I sense your reluctance. Shall we then talk about your talents as a navigator?

Cat: Anytime!

Blue: I hear you studied at Xen’s Navigational School.

Cat: One thing you must say about Xen – it has the ability to instil knowledge and the Navigational School is considered one of the best in the universe.

Blue: Would you say your charts are up to date?

Cat: Absolutely. In fact we discovered some old charts from pre-dome days that have helped our understanding tremendously … but I’m not really allowed to talk about it. We also have the latest duplicates from Beacon’s exploration ships.

Blue: Exploration ships is a bit of a misnomer, wouldn’t you say?

Cat: Yeah. Beacon isn’t known for its benevolence, more exploitation than exploration, in my opinion. Maybe you shouldn’t print that.

Blue: Your brother is a pilot, not so?

Cat: The best. Can fly anything.

Blue: Is it chance that both of you chose careers that take you away from Xen?

Cat: Did we decide together to study in a field that enables it? No. But it isn’t chance either. I think both of us simply understood that was the only way to experience freedom.

Blue: Freedom from what?

Cat: Family, of course, but mostly the domes on this diseased world. If you want to know what real sunlight feels like, you have to leave. Or to feel rain, breathe fresh air. None of that here.

Blue: And yet you return after every journey. Why not simply slip away?

Cat: It comes down to family.

Blue: What do you mean?

Cat: Families always place a sense of duty on your outlook. Sorry, that’s as much as I’m going to say.

Blue: Your next trip is to Valaris, I hear? You and Matt are flying together this time.

Cat: We often fly together, but, yes, we’re on our way to Valaris in two days.

Blue: Have you been there before?

Cat: A few times now, a beautiful world, loads of fresh air and sunshine.

Blue: Easy to slip away there.

Cat: Maybe, but I wouldn’t do it without Matt.

Blue: He wouldn’t want to stay?

Cat: He’d stay in a heartbeat, but has too great a sense of duty to family to simply leave.

Blue: What’s on Valaris that takes the Blue Domian Nine there so often? Nice name, by the way.

Cat: We call our ship the Blue Dom, and it’s produce mostly. We swap solar gear for fresh food … and there’s the tourist aspect, of course. Many pay huge amounts for a few days in clean air.

Blue: Ah, yes. Matt’s actual name is Le Matt, isn’t it? Most Dalrish have a ‘Le’ something – do you?

Cat: The Dalrish women don’t get it.

Blue: Your uncle …

Cat: I’m not discussing my uncle.

Blue: Fine. After Valaris, what’s next for Cat Dalrish?

Cat: Another journey, another chart, who knows?

Blue: If someone were to offer you change, would you take it?

Cat: What kind of change?

Blue: Employment on Beacon, for instance?

Cat: Ah, I don’t rightly like Beaconites, but yes, I’d take it for the cleaner way of life, if Matt did so also.

Blue: Would you do it for Valaris?

Cat: Without thinking twice.

Blue: Have you met any Valleur on Valaris?

Cat: One. His name’s Krikian. He teaches me magic and I teach him science. A great guy!

Blue: Magic?

Cat: Oh, nothing like the big stuff the Valleur can do, just tricks really to entertain the crew on long journeys. Blue, I must go …

 

An alarm sounds and Cat is on her feet and running.

(Next I hear of Cat, she and Matt are both employed by the Valleur on Valaris. One wonders what a techno-poor world wants with a navigator and a pilot able to fly anything, doesn’t one?)

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“I have no more to give.”

Outside, the bright globe of the moon rode the skies high, and celebrations erupted.

Inside, the might of two armies fought the three who dared challenge the Darak Or, and attempted to swipe the irksome bird from the ceiling.

The darklings hissed, for the constraints of space frustrated them, although not as much as their inability to deal with a woman, a man obviously not made for battle, and one who was, but who was also exhausted. The soltakin made not a sound, but their amber eyes fixated in expectation.

All knew it was a matter of time.

Phet tried to find a way through the water hole, dodging swords with much squawking, and returned nearly drowned.

Too small, he sent, even for me.

“Our goose is cooked, my friends,” Lanto said.

All three were bloodied blue and red, their swords slippery.

“Lanto?” Saska murmured.

“Nice knowing you, truly an honour,” Lanto said, and tossed his sword into the air. It passed through an astonished soltakin before lodging in a particularly nasty darkling slashing at Phet. “Yes!” Lanto crowed, and sank onto his haunches amid dead and dying darklings, laughing hysterically.

Saska reached down with one hand to drag him up.

He shook her off. “I have no more to give.” His head lowered.

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The Drowned Throne