Liaden Wiki

Who & Where is The Uncle?[]

The Uncle is a mystery. His race is unknown. He is addressed as "Yuri" by Dulsey in Dragon Ship[1] and Neogenesis[2] and as "Uncle Yuri" by Grig Tomas in Balance of Trade.[3] In The Gathering Edge, Bechimo states that the Uncle used the name "Yuri Tomas" when he was involved in Bechimo's creation.[4] If the Uncle that Cantra meets in Crystal Soldier has any name other than "the Uncle" it's not mentioned. He is also addressed as Yuri by Tassi (Seignur Veeoni), his “sister” in Neogenesis.

Inkirani Ro and Tocohl Lorlin speculate about Uncle: “Nor would it surprise me at all, were I to learn that an instance of the Uncle is the motivating personality for at least one Free Ship.” [5] But Tolly Jones says this is probably impossible.


Edmonton Beacon, in Neogenesis

Uncle may be at The Greybar

Uncle keeps his location hidden. In Crystal Soldier, he lived in an asteroid field, on Rockhaven, located beyond the Rim, in the Little Empty. [6] More recently, he is often seen aboard Vivulonj Prosperu but he does have at least one residence somewhere[7]

Uncle’s research centers are scattered across space and well hidden, but he worries that members of his secret network, if captured and interrogated, might reveal a clue to his coordinates, and his accumulation of Old Tech.[1]

He keeps a research station in Tinsori Space, an outpost standing off from Tinsori Light

“He’ll have seeded the area with ’bots and guard ships, not to mention that the research station itself’ll be booby-trapped, top to bottom and side to side.”[8]

Uncle may have an office or research lab at Greybar Station off Edmonton Beacon, where —according to Inkirani Ro— he and his associates are sometimes seen. [9]

Uncle’s ships[]

  • Vivulonj Prosperu - The Uncle and Dulsey live on this ship; it also contains his healing unit and some blanks for cloning [speculation: riff on "Live Long And Prosper."]
  • Arin's Toss - a courier ship - the Uncle engaged Theo Waitley as courier pilot for The Toss
  • Cortz Lattice — piloted by EmTraven, it conveyed Seignur Veeoni, Tassi, the Uncle’s sister, to Surebleak[10] and to Tinsori Light[11]
  • His ship in the Great Migration from Old Solcintra orbit:
What's that thing beside you, Rinder? Only got four beacons I can scan.”
"Uncle, that's my guess."
"Right. Well Rinder, you're safe on that side. . . But low on company!"
Laughter from a bunch of ships . . . [12]

Uncle's Age[]

  • The Uncle is more than 1000 years old. He predates the Great Migration and Clan Korval. "A double-hand of Common years" before Dulsey met the Uncle, he saved Cantra yos'Phelium from painful death by line edit.[13]
  • During the Great Migration, Uncle's ship transitioned with Cantra's Quick Passage fleet, so he’s at least that old[12]"
  • Uncle stores his consciousness and downloads himself into young bodies, via the Remastering Unit.
    • "He had himself been reborn more times than he could enumerate, absent a check of the records. And, of course, in order to be reborn, one must first die."[14]
  • He might, thought Uncle, gazing down at the pods on Dulsey’s palm, be the only left who remembered the name of the great race of trees. Ssussdriad.[15]
  • "a lifetime counted in tens of hundreds of Standard Years" -- so...2000 years old, at least??[16]

Goals & Methods[]

Uncle's ultimate goals are unclear, but it always seems to involve technical brilliance, like working with Old Tech and designing new Independent Logics. His goals in the old Universe might well have changed somewhat, once they left the Sheriekas behind. His personality, character -- and ambitions -- seems to evolve somewhat. (affected by rebirth?)

Uncle sees himself as a Revolutionary:

"It was not my plan nor my intent to set up a hospice for wounded Scouts." She Dulsey laughed softly, "A return to your origins." He stared at her, then allowed himself a chuckle. "I had considered myself a revolutionary!"[15] (his origins? a doctor?) "A revolutionary who gathered to him those in need of repair before they could be put to work for his cause." [15]

A millennium after the fact, Uncle reveals WHY he saved Cantra from line-edit: [13] Because he is a revolutionary, and he thought she had the potential to confound his enemies.[15] but see the Fratellanzia section. [17] [18]

Cantra, about Uncle:

"The Uncle wants to control all, and there's no one to control him...And spend lives for it, he surely does."[19]
"Uncle ain't collecting sherieka tech. He's using. Figures he can beat the Enemy by mastering their machines and turning them against their makers." [20]

Win Ton yo'Vala reflects:

"He had seen the high security records indicating that this man -- or his mind, or his personally experienced knowledge -- pre-dated the advent of Liadens into this particular universe and into these particular galaxy clusters. The Uncle had long been involved with the nefarious doings of those who chose to collect items which might also pre-date that arrival, items which might have precipitated and fomented the very wars of crystallization."[21]

Yuri himself reveals some of his methods and philosophies, in Saltation, ch 40.

"I have been accumulating news, which is information in action, and I have been long in the habit of making things happen, rather than waiting for them to occur."[22]

Uncle’s Enemies[]

Uncle developed a tiered network of operatives to confound his enemies, including The Department of the Interior, who had its eye on Arin’s Toss and Bechimo. Agents hunt the Uncle himself, for his forbidden devices, finding him “as elusive and difficult to find as Old Tech itself."[23]

"various items of what the Scout's termed "Old Tech" or "Befores" had come into the keeping of those who were both ambitious and ignorant....This Department of the Interior, they wished to have the galaxy under their control, and they saw in the works of the oldest enemy the means to bring their ambition to fruition."[1]

Lyre Institute - The directors want Tinsori Light. Agents seek info on the Catalinc Project. “The Lyre Institute was capable of wonders, as they had found previously and to their sorrow. Would they have heard?” [24]

Sheriekas / Iloheen from the old universe — but they are everyone’s Great Enemy.

Catalinc Project[]

Tassi / Seignur Veeoni is a sister-clone of the Uncle, with all his memories.She is essential to this project. She was “born” and equipped and educated specifically for this work.

“Seignur Veeoni’s work was vital to the success of the Catalinc Project.” [25]
“Seignur Veeoni was valuable as none of the others of Yuri’s siblings had been valuable. Without Seignur Veeoni and her particular expertise, the Catalinc Project would—fail.” . . .So had Seignur Veeoni been surrounded by security from the moment of her birth. She had been tutored by Yuri himself, which was very nearly unprecedented. She was given smartstrands; she became an expert -perhaps the only such in this, the new universe -on the systems, philosophies, and works of the Great Enemy.[24]

The Project: to prevent an apocalypse related to Tinsori Light and the Sheriekas

”The Catalinc Project… Should the Catalinc Project fail…whole star systems would vanish, galaxies would unravel, the universe… Perhaps the universe would not be…wholly…unmade.” [24]

Lyre Institute agents are snooping around,[1] and got into Tassi’s residence.[25] They stole Tassi’s fractin research related to Tinsori Light, but Tassi outwitted them with deliberately flawed tile sets[26]

The Fratellanzia[]

When Jela and Cantra ferried Dulsey to Uncle’s organization at Rockhaven, he offered to keep Jela — an M series —for his gene pool, and to keep Cantra, too. His people boarded Spiral Dance, snooping around, until The Tree’s clever actions. But Cantra nearly died and Jela killed /wounded a dozen, to rescue her. Then the frat brats fired on Spiral Dance, to no avail.[17]

Afterwards, Uncle immediately pinbeamed Spiral Dance, saying that he didn’t authorize the attack. At Vanehald, months later, Arin suggests that a secret fraternity Uncle hadn't known about acted without his knowledge or approval:

“Uncle has spoken to me of these pilots [indicating Jela and Cantra] and their role in bringing the Fratellanzia to his attention.”[18]

Use of Forbidden Tech[]

  • Uncle buys (and sells?) contraband fractins, books, tech, under the cover business "Crystal Energy Consultants"[27]
  • In the 12th Century: Midcentral Crystal Logistics[28]
  • Cloning: Uncle to Theo: "Fashion. It is a matter of fashion to make these rules. Cloning has been legal and it has been illegal. Good people have died a final death because they might not be cloned -- my relatives among them."[22]
  • Uncle to Theo: "The dissidents. The Department of the Interior. Fools who have collected good and bad old tech and use it without understanding."[22]
  • "It is not a mere med unit like the best ships and hospital have. It is a med unit of the type the Scouts have long abjured and fought against, in that it uses forbidden, even secret technology."[22]
  • "If I had been permitted to work with, and collect this technology several hundreds of years ago when I wished to, we might [be able to heal Win Ton as he is]."[22]

Genetic Archives[]

As a resurrectionist making clones, the Uncle also maintains an extensive genetic archive. [29]

  • Cantra’s DNA: The Uncle tells Daav, "Korval material has long been among my options. I had the sample from Cantra herself, when her foster mother brought her to me, to be cured of the edit that had taken all the rest of her Line." - "You may find it reassuring that, though I have had free access to this material for such an amount of time, I have chosen not to use it." [30]
  • In his archive he has M-strain soldiers from the old universe - he got them before his meeting with Cantra and Jela (in Crystal Soldier).
  • From time to time he produces some M-soldiers as guards for his projects. [31]
  • Miri offers him the Yxtrang gene samples: "You already hold a big collection of similar material, all of which makes you the best choice to receive and care for these ...rare and precious samples."... "Those cases contain viable samples, with documentation, of the K, M, X, and Y strains developed by the military. There are also samples and notes for various specialist strains." [32]
  • Miri explains why she chose him: "I did some research while I was considering this situation, and I found out that, in all the years you've been running roughshod over the universe and pretty much getting your way on everything, you never once fielded an army.” [32]


The Uncle has no known kin in the Old Universe.

In the new universe, he has an unknown number of "younger brothers" and "younger sisters" who have been derived from his own DNA with their traits tweaked to make them more suited to various purposes.

Uncle, of Tassi: ‘She was not, as she had now asserted twice, his exact duplicate, but she wore the strands — he could see the hint of them, even beneath the sweater and jacket required by Surebleak’s weather. She was her own unique person, as all of his brothers and sisters were entirely themselves. But one attribute that made her unique was the fact that she…remembered more of his young memories than even he did, here and now.’ [34]
  • The Tomas family:
    • Arin Tomas was one of the Uncle's "younger brothers".
    • Jethri is Arin's "younger brother" in the same way, though he was raised as (and thinks of himself as) Arin's son. Jethri's traits were tweaked to give him an affinity with fractins.
    • Raisy Tomas and Grig Tomas address the Uncle as "Uncle Yuri" and are referred to as Arin's cousins, which suggests that though they count as kin they're not part of the direct line. However, Grig is Raisy's "younger brother" in the same way that Arin is Yuri's.
  • Inkirani Yo tells Tocohl Lorlin that Kasagaria Mikelsyn, "an information broker and an expert in Old Technology...the foremost expert, second only to the Uncle himself" is rumored to be another of the Uncle's younger brothers.[35] It remains unclear whether this is true.
  • The Bedel There is a hint in Neogenesis that Uncle May be related to the Bedel in some distant way. Tassi says to Uncle “My first plan had been to take shelter with your people. There is a Kompani here, in this city.”


  • Dulsey - (f) A close associate of The Uncle, she's been with him the longest, since pre-exodus days. Goes by the name Dulsey Omron in 12th Century, according to Dorricky DeNobli:
“Dulsey Omron’s the pilot who companions Uncle—I reckon he’s got as good a name as any of the rest of us somewhere about, but that’s what everybody calls him, just Uncle. None of us have kin-claim on him; just, he’s been around forever—and her, too—always busy, always open to helping; scheming and hatching, like traders do.[28]
  • Randoling, who had dropped to Gondola with a certain very particular something bound for the inventory of Mildred Bilinoda
  • Smalltrader Mildred Bilinoda - (f) In Ghost Ship, she deals in exotic / illegal items. "Shiny and hard as river stones, those eyes, black and narrow" [36] Mildred was apparently captured(?) or killed by The Department of the Interior
  • Andreth - (m) involved in the Uncle's project at Catalinc[1]
  • Kalib and Indira: security ops: “The signatory is Ops,” Yuri said expressionlessly. Dulsey shivered. “Kalib?” she asked, after a moment. “I had thought of Indira...”[37]
  • M. Traven (sometimes called "Emtraven Kvar") - female pilot and guard for Tassi[31]
  • M. Benkley[31]
  • M. Nator[31]
  • M. Ratu[31]
  • M. Varia[31]
  • DeNobli family (Doricky, Freza, etc.) and the Carresens, joint construction of the Tradedesk Space Station, when he operated under the business name Mid-central Crystal Logics, in the 12th Century [28]

Clan Korval[]

The Uncle occasionally has contact with Clan Korval, but only tenuously, reluctantly, and by necessity. Uncle prefers to avoid Korval’s damn luck, if at all possible. see The Luck

"There is a long history between Korval and the Uncle -- and it is Val Con's duty to be suspicious on behalf of kin and clan."[38]
"There is a protocol whereby the Uncle may be contacted by Korval. It is not unknown for his interests to coincide with ours."[21]
“Well, here’s a conceit, Dulsey. With Korval claiming the Light, and Seignur Veeoni establishing her residence there, it would appear that we and the Dragon are partnered.”[39]

Free Ship Associates[]

In the 12th Century, Uncle and Dulsey associated with the DeNobli and the Carresens in the building of Tradedesk Station, the celebration of its new Trade Center,[28] and the design of unique Ships -- partnered with the Carresens and DeNobli trading families [40]

“The oddities that the Uncle collects are often. . . dangerous. He has long been interested in the construction and preservation of independent self-aware logics. The Free Ships regard him with affection well mixed with wariness. He is very old and very learned. Often, his projects serve the common good, but that is not why he takes them up.
It is the opinion of the Free Ships, and others of our kind, that, in this instance, the Uncle is tampering with something that. . . may be beyond him.”
“He needs Tolly Jones to mentor the Old One,” Hazenthull said, “and bring him into accord with the universe.”
There was a small pause, as if she had surprised Disian, then a small click — like the audible nod of an invisible head. “You understand what the Free Ships understand, but which the Uncle has failed to grasp: It is imperative that Tolly Jones has access to the Old One before it is fully wakened.”[42]

Inkirani Ro and Tocohl Lorlin speculate:

“Nor would it surprise me at all, were I to learn that an instance of the Uncle is the motivating personality for at least one Free Ship.” [43]

Bechimo & Uncle[]

  • Uncle, of Bechimo: "She's engineered of old tech and new, and it's not just the Scouts who want her dead, or taken."[44]
  • "I believe in Bechimo, because I stood on her deck." [22] (Bechimo now prefers the masculine pronoun)[45]
  • Uncle helped design Bechimo: Bechimo says, “The Uncle himself designed and oversaw installation of many of the masking systems. It is my estimation that what should not be found or seen by others will not be.”[21]
  • The Uncle was one of Bechimo's Founders[4][46]
  • Uncle was eventually banned from Bechimo: "The Uncle is on the disallowed list" ... "Who made up this list?"..."The Builders." [41]
  • Jermone Joyita to Bechimo, back when Bechimo was completed: "It is meet that I should not know all the secrets the Uncle has told to you"[47]

Associates Pre-Exodus[]

  • Arin - (m) linguist and librarian, young, tall and lean, gray eyes.[18]
  • Dulsey — (f) The original Dulsey had pale skin, pale hair, gray eyes, and a stocky figure. A former "batcher" clone, she trained as an engineer and learned to pilot on Spiral Dance with Jela and Cantra. [48] Continues into current Liaden Universe
  • Fern - (f) pilot and archeologist [18]
  • Jakoby - (f) weapons specialist, small and fair "a pale port"[18]

Uncle's Description by Book[]

Crystal Soldier[]

  • a young man, tall and lean, his long dark hair swept into a knot at the back of his head and fixed with two porcelain sticks. He was dressed in a crimson robe heavy with embroidery, with here and there a wink of gold - smartstrands.
  • His voice was deep and musical, the hands stretched out in greeting a-glitter with rings inset with strange stones. His eyes were a cool and calculating gray
  • the intent, we're-all-believers-here stare, which had been a feature of the former Uncle, too, and even more unsettling on the face of a young man.

[As food for thought, compare this description of Arin, from the following book: "tall and lean and tough, with gray eyes set deep under strong black brows".]

Crystal Dragon[]

  • He was wearing a layer of Solcintra port dust over a dark cloak, and his hair was in a simple, unadorned braid. No tile showing, no strands, neither. Even his rings were gone.
  • Beneath, he was wearing dark shirt and pale vest, looking like any respectable person of reasonable wealth and consequence, excepting the smartstrands woven into the shirt

Balance of Trade[]

  • long, craggy and lean. His hair was hullplate gray, short, but not buzzed; his eyes dark and deep.


  • a man with carefully trimmed hair and a sketch of a beard (chapter 39)
  • he was neither old nor young, and he was dressed simply [...] in something that looked like it might be dance class clothes.
  • Trim as it was, Uncle fiddled with his dark hair, as if he missed something he was used to at his ear or on his head, perhaps a turban, or an earring.

Ghost Ship[]

  • His beard was more definite, and carefully groomed; his dark hair was lacquered red at the tips, and a single gold ring pierced his right ear. Her wore a plain dark sweater, a leather vest, and leather pants.

Alliance of Equals[]

  • a dark-haired man entered. He was taller than Daav, black hair tipped with red, and a closely trimmed dark beard, despite the testimony of which, he did not seem…quite Terran. He was dressed as they were, in simple sweater and pants. His feet were bare.
  • his voice bearing a slight accent that was neither Liaden nor Terran


  • "The man himself was pretty compact, younger looking than Miri had expected, dressed to swagger in a well-used jacket with a vaguely military cut and a faded smear of color on one shoulder, like maybe it had once been a hash mark. His hair was short in front, longer than the collar of his jacket in back, dark brown with the last inch or so lacquered bright red. Gold ring in the right ear and a short dark beard that did nothing to soften a strong stubborn jaw. So far as his face and his body language went, excusing the beard, he might have been Liaden born, neutral as you like and then some."

[and, for comparison, his sister: "tall, thin and awkward; dark brown hair, short and serviceable; milk-pale skin; dark eyes set wide; lean cheeks and stubborn jaw"]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Dragon Ship, ch 30
  2. Neogenesis, ch 7
  3. Balance of Trade, ch 32
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Gathering Edge, ch 26
  5. Neogenesis Ahab-Asais
  6. Crystal Soldier, ch 24
  7. Dragon in Exile, interlude nine
  8. Neogenesis, Tarigan
  9. Neogenesis, ch 5 Ahab-Asais, part iv
  10. Neogenesis prologue
  11. Neogenesis
  12. 12.0 12.1 Crystal Dragon, ch 34
  13. 13.0 13.1 Crystal Soldier, ch 16
  14. Dragon Ship, ch 19
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Dragon Ship, ch 11
  16. Dragon Ship, chapter 13
  17. 17.0 17.1 Crystal Soldier, ch 25
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 Crystal Dragon, ch 19
  19. Crystal Soldier, ch 19
  20. Crystal Soldier, ch 28
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Dragon Ship
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5 Saltation, ch 40
  23. Ghost Ship, ch 10
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Neogenesis, ch 14, Vivulonj Prosperu
  25. 25.0 25.1 Neogenesis, ch 7, Vivulonj Prosperu
  26. Neogenesis, ch 20, Surebleak part iii
  27. Ghost Ship, ch 35
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 Trade Secret, ch 18
  29. Neogenesis, ch 20
  30. Alliance of Equals, ch 19
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 31.4 31.5 Neogenesis, ch 20 iii
  32. 32.0 32.1 Neogenesis, ch 20 vi
  33. Neogenesis
  34. Neogenesis: Surebleak
  35. Neogenesis ch 9 "Ahab-Esais", part I
  36. Ghost Ship, ch 11
  37. Neogenesis: Vivulonj Prosperu
  38. Ghost Ship, ch 5
  39. Neogenesis, Vivulonj Prosperu
  40. Trade Secret
  41. 41.0 41.1 Ghost Ship, ch 21
  42. Neogenesis, Admiral Bunter
  43. Neogenesis Ahab-Asais
  44. Ghost Ship, ch 3
  45. Ghost Ship
  46. The Gathering Edge, ch 27
  47. Dragon Ship, ch 28
  48. Crystal Soldier