Landed Alien

Excerpt, Landed Alien


  • Occurs between the novels Saltation and Dragon Ship
  • The ending is almost concurrent with chapter 20 of Dragon Ship
  • Anlingdin Piloting Academy on Eylot, and Cordrescu Station
    • "Eylot is what is politely termed 'an outworld' by proper Liadens," Father said. "Roughly, there is parity between the Liaden and Terran populations."[1]


  • Kara ven'Arith, Anlingdin Academy student, about to graduate
    • Clan Menlark, outworld Liaden clan of pilots, techs, mechs, and engineers
      • Clan based on Eylot for a century, now she's a "Landed Alien"
  • Loyalty Monitor Peline Graf, Anlingdon Academy, Eylot
  • Master Pilot and Flight Instructor Orn Ald yos’Senchul, Kara's Academic Advisor at Anlingdin Academy
  • Guild Master Peltzer, a master pilot on Cordrescu Station
  • Master mechanic Thelly on Cordrescu
  • Hevelin the elder norbear, "rust colored and thin of fur"


Fills in the gaps on how Kara left her home on Eylot and came to become an apprentice mechanic on Cordrescu Station (eventually to become chief -- and only -- mechanic on Bechimo -- but that's another story).

The last section of the story addresses the growing political tension on Eylot, and how it effects Cordrescu Station. It is almost -- but not quite -- concurrent with Dragon Ship 20, when Theo Waitley and Clarence O'Berin are on Bechimo in the Spwao System, departing orbit from Tradedesk Spacestation. Joyita, the comm officer, picks up an urgent SOS pinbeam "PILOTS IN PERIL!" from Cordrescu Station.


TO: Kara ven’Arith, Candidate Pilot Second Class

FROM: Anlingdin Pilot Certification Office

Candidate pilots are required to attend a re-orientation session immediately following graduation. At the conclusion of this session, those qualifying will see the candidate status removed and their license properly registered by the Eylot Pilots Guild. Please report to Gunter Recreation Area on . . .

Kara squeezed her eyes shut...Her hands were cold and she was shaking, just a little, though that was anger, because they had found a way to hold her license hostage still longer! She had earned her second-class license! Earned it! And now, she was being required to complete some other requirement—a requirement, she was certain was in place only for those who were not truly Eylotian!


“I’m required to warn students who are in danger of expulsion. This has been your warning, ven’Arith. Watch yourself.”

It had been, Kara had admitted to herself, after a long walk, a long shower, and a long, sleepless night, a fair warning, of its kind, and worth taking to heart. She had so much hanging, as the Terran phrase went, in Balance. Very nearly a Liaden meaning to Balance, there. Well. She had seen what had happened to Theo, who had committed the dual crimes of not being Eylotian, and excelling beyond those who were. For those crimes, she had been targeted, trapped, and expelled....

To be expelled so near to the completion of her course and flight-work, even if she could show political malice as the cause? That would scarcely please her mother or her delm. Indeed, it was very likely that she would be roundly scolded for having been so maladroit as to allow her enemies to prevail against her. Clan Menlark had not prospered as pilots and as mechanics on a culturally diverse world known for its effervescent politics because its children were either maladroit or stupid. All that being so, she had watched herself, and also, with a sort of black humor, watched those who watched her.


It was a personal note from Flight Instructor Orn Ald yos’Senchul, her academic adviser, inviting her to take tea with him—in an hour. Kara smiled with real pleasure. Pilot yos’Senchul had been a support and a comfort, subtle as he was. He remained at Anlingdon, so he had told her, in honor of his contract...


Her mother had said that their own small yard was for the moment empty and thus closed, for want of business. Her delm (her mother's other face) had noted that all Menlark pilots were for the present pursuing hire contracts out-world, and that none were expected to return to Eylot in the foreseeable future.


This accident was the fifth among the tech-crew in the last eighteen Station-days; more than the total accidents for the last six Standard months. Not only newbies, either—two old hands had spent a couple work shifts each in the station’s autodoc, getting patched up from injuries from “freak accidents.” Kara finished belting on her kit, and looked ’round.

“Vechi’s wagon’s still down in Mid-Six,” Master Thelly said. “Had to carry her out.”

Kara stared at him. “What happened this time?”

“Wild charge,” Master Thelly said, looking even more worried. “You be careful, hear me?”

“I’m always careful,” Kara told him, picking up her tea bottle.

He grunted. “So’s Vechi.”


  1. Fledgling, chapter 42