Tuesday, 27 September 2016
On the Imperial planet of Irumclaw, Rax, sole representative of his species, runs a spy ring that reports to a Merseian base on the planet Talwin. Dominic Flandry clandestinely enters the Merseian Roidhunate and finds a suitable terrestroid planet that becomes an advanced base of the Terran Navy.
Here we have three spies, Erannath, Rax and Flandry, who ply their trade simply because large volumes of known space are divided between two rival empires, a scenario familiar from Terrestrial history.
Keith Denison, Time Patrol Specialist, East Indo-European Protohistory, traces the migrations of Aryan clans by starting at a point when the history is known, then working backward. He and Everard, posing as passing hunters, accompanied a wagon train over the Hindu Kush (and see here) for a few weeks. Denison and an assistant accompanied the Bakhri as they went to winter in the lowlands. John Sandoval, another ethnic Specialist, traces Athabascan migrations. Everard and Floris followed the trail of the pagan prophetess, Veleda, back through time. Another Patrol agent joins the Knights Templar. Guion investigates events within the Patrol.
These agents seek to learn the course of events so that the Patrol can protect those events from:
accidental alterations by time travelers;
deliberate interventions by time travelers;
random fluctuations in space-time-energy.
Thus, in this case, there is no rival empire but there are criminals requiring the attention of a police force and:
"'...the Exaltationists, a major disruptive force...could be related to something larger...Not a larger organization or conspiracy, no. We have no reason to suspect that. But chaos itself has a basic coherence.'" (The Shield Of Time, pp. 135-136)
The ultimate enemy is chaos and, if that does not frighten a time traveler, then the time traveler is not paying attention.