The Islanders Week 7: Meequa/Tremm
- This entry consists of another short story called 'The Drone'.
- Our main character is LORNA MENNERLIN, a cartographer who works in the observatory at the MCI (Meequa Cartographic Institute). Her contract is over, but she stayed on - partly because of unresolved issues around her lover.
- The MCI is civilian, but Meequa and both civilian and military sections.
- The neighboring island, Tremm, is entirely occupied by one of the military nations and is off-limits without specific permission - though this goes against the neutrality agreement.
- Lorna's love interest is TOMAK. He left for Tremm nearly two years ago under cover to darkness and has not been heard from since. His work and even presence on Tremm is classified. He specified no return date.
- Drones fly out at on algorithmic flight paths to photograph islands, and return several days later. Lorna likes to watch them fly in over the water at night.
- The drones are owned by the military, but the MCI has access to their data.
- Maps are made by piecing these snapshots together like a puzzle. This information is compared to old sailor's charts and other bits of data to make maps. Lorna's particular interest is in an island group known as The Swirl.
- Satellite images are unreliable due to temporal distortions at altitude.
- Lorna had a brief affair with BRADD ISKILIP, another person working at the MCI. One night, Bradd meets Lorna at the shore where she watches Tremm at night. He says he can take her over on his sailboat. He secretly sends her restricted a map of Tremm. She considers the offer despite a mistrust of Bradd's motives.
- We learn that there are tunnels on Tremm created by JORDENN YO during what she called her 'apprenticeship' phase. She had leased the island before the military.
- One night, TOMAK visits her in her room. He tells her he knows of her plan to approach the island, and warns her not to. He knows a lot about her. He tells her their relationship is over and she should move on. He has been injured on his head.
- Despite the warning - maybe because of it - Bradd and Lorna set out one night in the boat. They spot a silent motor launch in the water and decided only to approach Tremm waters, but do not cross. From this border, they watch drones fly over the water and over the island in the dark. There are explosions, seemingly around the Yo tunnels, which are also marked on the map Bradd obtained.
- After a time, the motor launch approaches as speed; Lorna and Bradd flee in their sailboat.
- The launch side-swipes the sailboat twice, swamping it, before finally veering off. This despite the fact Lorna and Bradd are within their rights to be in international waters.
- They manage to right their boat and return to Meequa Town.
- Later, we see that Bradd's & Lorna's relationship is stronger after the shared incident.
- A drone now circles the island, seeming one of those 'captured' drones that gets stuck doing figure 8-patterns in certain places.
QUESTIONS / DISCUSSION
- Priest seems to be offering some new facts about certain aspects of the world, such as mapping, tunneling, the military. Did we learn anything meaningful about The Dream Archipelago?
- A more loving portrait of tunneling is presented here than in the previous set of chapters. Comments?
- Did you find the end of the story to be satisfactory? Why did it end where it did? Let's assume that Priest is a deft enough writer to accomplish a short story and is telling us exactly what he wants to tell us with this one. What do you think he's telling us?
- Are the drones a metaphor? For what? What's the significance of the explosions? What's the significance of the circling drone at the end?
- Is there any significance to the injury on Tomak's head?