Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Time War Intelligence II

Poul Anderson, The Corridors Of Time (London, 1968).

Lockridge can truthfully tell Brann:

the geographical location of the Wardens' new time corridor into the Ranger heartland;
that Brann himself will lead a counterattack down the corridor, killing all the Wardens in it except Storm whom he will capture with Lockridge in Avildaro in 1827 BC;
that he, Lockridge, escaped from Avildaro.

However, Lockridge must also lie. Exploiting Brann's ignorance of the people of Avildaro, he claims that Storm led them in ceremonial cannibalism, thus beginning Lockridge's disenchantment with her. He also claims that, by working as a deckhand on an Iberian trading ship, he traveled to Crete from where the Wardens sent him "' this year.'" (p. 149) Further disillusioned with the Wardens in their home era, he has made his way to Brann.

He must add:

"'After my story...I wonder why the Wardens didn't go back a few months and warn her.'" (p. 150)

Brann explains that they can't. They did not warn Storm before her departure to the twentieth century, therefore they must not attempt to. Has she been gone a few months? That has been long enough for Brann to learn of her disappearance. However, the uncertainty factor of about two months could prevent her from returning promptly, even if she had wanted to, and could also create difficulties for anyone attempting to warn her, although they know better than to try.

Could the Wardens, alerted by Lockridge, attempt an assault on Brann in the twentieth century just after his victory in the corridor? Brann explains that the Koriachs, Warden leaders like Storm, have absolute authority and are accountable to no one else:

"'For fear of spies, this one probably told no one except the few technicians she took along. Time enough to do that when the corridor was ready.'" (ibid.)

The result of this is that the current Wardens, now hearing of the twentieth century operation for the very first time and already preoccupied with many known activities in other periods, have no capacity "' organize a substantial force...'" (p. 151) for an extra intervention. If anyone was sent, then they would have been baffled by the uncertainty factor, but possibly no one was because: "'She has rivals who would not be sorry to lose her.'" (ibid.)

The secrecy necessary for the time war really works against its practitioners. And the Wardens work against each other. Can we compare Wardens and Rangers to cats and wolves?

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