Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Peter Nordbo's Heroism

"Inconstant Star" (see previous posts).

How does a single man untrained and unskilled in combat gain control of a kzinti warship? Quite easily. On a pre-FTL interstellar crossing, all but two of the crew are in stasis at any given time. Yiao-Captain, dissatisfied with the company of Gunner, activates his human slave and chess opponent, Peter Nordbo, for company.

Nordbo, having hidden an improvised knife, kills Gunner in a surprise attack, which leaves him only Yiao-Captain to deal with. Ideally, Gunner would have died silently but his bellow brings Yiao-Captain running. However, by flicking a table cloth bull fighter style and keeping the Captain amok, Nordbo manages to inflict enough knife wounds to kill his second kzin so that now the ship is his and the remaining kzinti can be either shot or left in stasis.

Next, Nordbo must endure forty years of solitude on recycled food, water and air: heroism indeed, but this is preferable to continued slavery which had even involved torture supervised by the supposedly friendly Yiao-Captain.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

We should also remember the bleaker, more thankless heroism shown by Peter Nordbo and other Wunderland aristocrats when, by acting as leaders of the conquered humans during the Kzinti occupation, they managed to somewhat moderate the harshness of that occupation. This does not mean I'm denying there were contemptible lickspittles, toadies, and out right traitors from among the humans of Wunderland who willingly served the Kzin, of course!


Paul Shackley said...

Yes, Peter displayed two kinds of heroism and contributed to science.