Starts off with a quote from Sagan's Cosmos. If you've read enough of this stupid blog, or if you know me well enough in real life, you know that's a easy strong way to make me happy.
The chapter itself follows Nopileos and Sissandras. They're egg-brothers (sisters in the album). They're climbing through some wreckage of a Boron space station. Let me gush a bit: The Borons build the coolest ships, usually named after marine animals and sporting hydrodynamic-looking hulls. Getting to walk around inside a Boron ship through the Nopileos' eyes is pretty rad.
The alien races in X are pretty one-dimensional. The Teladi (the saurians) are interested in money and profit. Sissandras makes it clear that this station is unprofitable. Interesting plot point-- its coordinates were provided to Nopileos by an ancient Boron whose soul condition was that Nopileos "never forget your Boron friends and allies."
The next paragraph then takes a spin into the one part of sci-fi that I absolutely hate. Made-up units. Dalek seconds are called "rels", and I'm OK with that, but a little annoyed that the TARDIS wouldn't just goddamn translate that to "seconds". Likewise, Edgar Rice Burroughs has a made-up time for things on Mars in his Barsoom series. For a second, you arrogant writers, pretend that I'm not going to be one of your fanboys and give me something I can understand. This book treats me to "jazuras" for years(?), "mizuras" for hours or minutes-- unclear so far, "tazuras" --not sure on that one-- and "suns"... which are presumably days, but are also used like years... Come on, guys. Spell it out.
"His scale crest flexed upward happily..." that makes me happy, though. Look at it! Aliens expressing emotions physiologically.
Nopileos is identified from his brother through a quick squabble. Sissandras is full on the profit-wagon of the Teladi Corporation. I mean, it's so clear that they call their population a "corporation" ruled by a CEO, for crap's sake. Nopileos, though, calls his brother "brother" (which he hates preferring "colleague"), and harkens not-profit-related-thoughts... which are apparently a nuisance. I like it. It's something I could imagine alien profit-mongering siblings doing.
Some other cool things are learned, too. Nopileos ("Isemados Sibasomos Nopileos IV") was the grandchild of a CEO.
The rest of the chapter is dedicated to introducing us to the Teladi. They hiss a bit when they speak, and make every reference possible to eggs. Egg-brothers, egg-elders, egg-comrades... eggs all the way down.
Oh goodness! We meet Kyle William Brennan and Elena Kho in the same sweep. It's a gorgeous day complete with myriad birds, and Brennan's walking with some spring in his step, and it's probably the greatest thing ever. They even have nicknames in the book-- Billy and Lin. It makes me want to retch.
Story takes place in Australia. Billy and Lin are acting like some high school sweethearts. My retch-want is still palpable. The research facility is called SPAARF, which rhymes with barf, which is how I feel.
For plot: Lin gives Billy (they use these names only once, but damn it's fun) a present... a pretty cool-sounding mophin' sphere that looks like planets and feels really spiffy in your hands. It was constructed by Gisbert, who is, of course, known by Elena for being the love of Ayse McCallum (may she rest in peace).
Gisbert is, of course, dead by the time they receive the gift. It comes with a message which is just about verbatim from "Heliopause" on the Voxager album.
Then the chapter ends with that. Another short, enjoyable affair.
'Til next time, folks.