I am still absorbing the shock of seeing Jehen again after fifteen years, as long as Martisset yr Astok the Elder served as a starship captain. He retired to pursue clan-politics, which are the politics of Karis and the Inhabited Worlds, and to pursue his scholarly interest in botany. Jehen is only a decade and a half into a lifetime commission or commitment — or sentence.
Martisset the Elder, who’s very old now — old enough to have retired yet again, to scholarly seclusion in his part of the Astok clan-compound on the Great Islands of the Inland Sea — first found that fascination with plant-life not in the bounty of his home-world, but aboard a Ship.
Oh yes, that’s another distinction I should make clear to you: planet-siders, as the Captains and Crew call them, speak of starships. Those aboard them speak of Ships, and the Ship’s-Heart, the ruling intelligence that presides over a council of Artificial Intelligences. A Ship is an ecosystem: parsimonious, elegant, and deeply fragile. Many layers of quarantine separate Planet-Side from Aboard-Ship.
Character interview with the archaeologist and Expedition Chief, Martisset yr Astok, from NaNo 2013, Inside the Jump. Weekend Writing Warriors offers eight-sentence excerpts from a variety of writers; see the other excerpts here.