The Quillian Sector

The Cyclan is having trouble predicting Dumarest’s movements through The Rift, but have correctly deduced he is currently in The Rift’s most dangerous and unpredictable corner, The Quillian Sector.  Considering that Dumarest’s survival instinct has saved him from seemingly certain capture on more than one occasion when their predictive abilities were working at full efficiency and random factors were at an apparent minimum, this doesn’t bode well for their chances of finding him now.  Cyber Yoka decides to try a different strategy and hires Leo Bochner, a famous hunter of beasts and infamous assassin of men.  Bochner is eager to test his skill against the ultimate quarry: a man who has somehow thwarted the best efforts of the Cyclan.  The requirement to capture Duamrest alive makes the job even more challenging (and therefore stimulating) than simply killing him, but Bochner quickly proves that he understands Dumarest far better than the Cyclan does as he is accompanied by Cyber Caradoc (a young Cyber recently promoted from acolyte status) on the pursuit.

Meanwhile, Dumarest has secured a working passage as handler on the Entil, a free trader plying The Rift.  Dilys, the engineer, has fallen in love with Dumarest after he saved her life on the violent world Vult, and has broken off her relationship with Jumoke, the navigator, to be with Earl.  “Ship-marriages” are usually temporary and always non-binding, lasting only as long as both parties agree to maintain them, and at first Jumoke seems fine with the new arrangement.  However, by the time Bochner tracks Dumarest down and boards the Entil on Kumetat with his recent traveling companion (and part of his cover story) Gale Andrel, Jumoke has realized he is still in love with Dilys and snaps.  He sabotages the ship, killing himself in the process, and the crew barely manages a crash landing in an ocean on Hyrcanus.  Dumarest, Dilys and Captain Egulus survive the crash, as do Bochner, Gale and fellow passengers Shan Threnond and Charl Zeda.

Zeda is killed by aquatic predators while abandoning the Entil and boarding the makeshift raft Duamrest and Bochner have quickly built.  Starving and near death after many days at sea, Gale goes overboard and is killed by the same creatures.  Dumarest is nearly killed trying to save her but Bochner saves his life.  Dumarest finds it slightly odd that Bochner refused to risk his life to save Gale, but took a bigger risk to save him. He eventually chalks it up to the cynical (but accurate) realization that Dumarest is an asset while Gale was a liability.  Fortunately, Gale’s gory death lures the elusive predators into spearing range, and her sacrifice enables them to survive until they reach land.

The party has a long, grueling trek ahead to reach a peak from which their emergency transmitter (which has thus far been ineffective) has the best chance of contacting help.   Dilys and Egulus, both career spacers, are pretty much useless “on dirt”, but Dumarest grows to admire Bochner for having competence and determination rivaling his own. However, most of Dumarest’s other positive traits (like loyalty and compassion) are utterly absent in Bochner, so Dumarest grows wary of him at the same time.  Along the way Threnond is killed by arboreal predators, and Bochner saves Duamrest’s life again during the attack.  Upon reaching the peak and using the transmitter, an aircraft soon appears to rescue the survivors.

Unfortunately, the raft is manned by Caradoc and his acolyte, disguised as locals.  Of course, it only takes a few minutes for Dumarest to realize they are Cyclan and respond the way you’d expect.  In the firefight, Dumarest kills the acolyte and the acolyte accidentally wounds Caradoc.  Although Bochner does a pretty good job of acting innocent (and shocked at the appearance of the Cyclan), he is betrayed by his own callous nature.  Dumarest realizes the only reason the self-centered Bochner would have risked his own life to save Dumarest’s (on no less than two occasions), was if Bochner expected a large reward for keeping him alive or a terrible punishment for letting him die.  Dumarest subdues Bochner, but feels enough gratitude to Bochner for saving his life (despite the selfish motive) that he doesn’t kill him.  He also neglects to finish off Caradoc, and while Dilys speculates that it’s because of gratitude for the rescue vehicle and emergency supplies that the Cyber brought, I personally think it’s because Dumarest realizes the Cyclan’s intolerance for failure ensures Caradoc will soon suffer a less pleasant death than any which Dumarest could provide him. 

Dumarest leaves Bochner and Caradoc in the wilderness with some survival gear (knowing that Bochner, at least, has a pretty good chance of survival), and flies with Dilys and Egulus to the planet’s only spaceport, a thousand miles away.  They part ways, with the spacers mulling the possibility of hiring on to the crew of another ship owned by one of Egulus’ friends, and Dumarest seeking passage on a different ship heading deeper into The Rift.

Clues of Earth

The Cyclan
Dumarest kills an acolyte, causes injury to Cyber Caradoc and escapes again.

The Journey
Dumarest begins Book 19, The Quillian Sector, on Ealius and travels to Vult, Ellge, Vhenga, Cheen, Varge, Kumetat and Hyrcanus, where he ends the novel awaiting the departure of the Zloth, bound for Egremond.

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