December 05, 2003

Lain -- Tinker 2 -- Spoilers!

I'm trying to figure out plot details of Tinker 2. One of the main one revolves around the lost colonist/who is Tinker's mother. I'm trying to figure out how to make it work that Lain knows that her sister (half sister?) harvested an egg, left it with Tinker's grandpa to fertilize and went off to be lost in space.

The reason why I'm making the colonist mother, lost in space, be Lain's sister is because of the following:

1. Instead of strangers being lost, where the only source of information on them is books, it's Lain sister -- so any stories we get of her will be at a personal detail.

2. Tinker has a dual reason to save the colonist -- to meet her mother and to make Lain happy.

3. It explains a little detail of why Grandpa waited 10 years after Leo died to have Tinker born.

4. It gives an important "seer" link between Tinker, Lain, and her mom all being able to dream of the future.

5. At the end of the novel, if Tinker succeeds, instead of having these strangers go "thanks -- whoever you are" I can have the mother emotionally react to both Lain and Tinker (who she knows she left under Lain's watchful eye.)

This all hinges on, though, why didn't Lain ever tell Tinker about their blood connection?

So what do we know of Lain?

Lain is a xenobiologist, trained for missions off-world, crippled in an explosion, and now living in Pittsburgh.

She gardens.

She bugs Tinker to go to college, but when Grandpa had died, she didn't take Tinker and Oilcan in.

Other than that, Lain is a blank slate.


Lain obviously feels affection for Tinker, but on the other hand hasn't tried to be foster mom. Or has she? Maybe she has been rebuked by Tinker, Grandpa, Oilcan, and Tooloo. There's a lot of old history between the characters that wasn't discussed in book one.

Also, what is Lain's family like? They're not mentioned. On the other hand, Tinker infers that Lain NEVER leaves Elfhome to visit Earth. That 18 years of never going back for family reunions. Okay, so yes, an entire month's vacation with no possibility of checking back home would be much for many people. This is serious avoidance.

Usually someone that avoids family that hard usually has a problem family.

Perhaps the reason Lain could know about the relationship and not mention it is because she wants to keep it a strict secret. Tinker is only 18 -- Lain might not have trust her to be mature enough to keep the secret. Also with Tinker and Oilcan being so close, it would be unlikely/unfair to expect Tinker to keep the information from Oilcan -- and perhaps it's Oilcan that Lain doesn't fully trust to keep the secret.

What is Lain's family -- who raised two daughters to be astronauts -- are narrow mind, emotionally distance, petty, and ambitious? If they discovered they had a genius granddaughter living on Elfhome as an orphan, Lain knows they would have swooped in, grabbed Tinker and left Oilcan behind.

With the plot twisting around Lain's missing sister, I have an excuse to discuss Lain's family, but what would drive it home is to have one of them to have finally made the effort to track down Lain -- or perhaps Tinker -- and be stranded when the gate falls. That seems like too much though. Pittsburgh's extreme isolation, however, makes it difficult to stress the family's obsessiveness without someone being there.

It occurs to me if the family is of the space version of the Kennedy family, that it would explain by the mom went through the fuss of leaving behind the possibility of a child, and yet, because of the family, chose to do it in a manner that her family wouldn't be able to interfere with the child, except for her "sane" sister.

Oilcan was on Earth when Tinker was born in Pittsburgh. Tinker only knows what Grandpa told her -- that her birth mother wasn't her real mother. That Grandpa paid her to have the baby and she left immediately afterwards. Certainly if Tinker's real mom was training to leave for space, she wouldn't have nine months to take off and have the kid, nor would it be likely that her family would be completely clueless that she had a kid -- so I'll probably have to stick to Grandpa's story being true.

We don't know when Lain was crippled. Was it before Pittsburgh first moved to Elfhome -- and Elfhome was a cure for a depressed Lain? I think so -- so this would make it six years before Tinker was born.

I suppose six years would have gotten her "over" the accident. I was thinking that an easy excuse would be that Lain was so tied up in her own problems, that she ignored the baby that her sister arranged to leave and later was too ashamed to mention the relationship. That doesn't ring true.

Hmm, back to an earlier point. I wonder if the birth mother could have promised not to mention the whole thing until the baby turned 18 and be a legal adult. She's just recently spilled the beans to Lain's family, who showed up to collect Tinker. ....think, think, think.... No, Lain would have said SOMETHING during their one conversation prior to the Oni kidnapping Tinker.

(On a totally different note, I have to decide if the NSA agents and Oilcan's possible girlfriend left during that last shutdown or not. While the NSA had a so-so reason to stay on Elfhome, I don't see the girl, having planned to stay only one month, would have stayed. I could see her planning to come back the next one, and now that opportunity is lost.)

What will interesting is that Tinker grew up knowing her quietly obscure inventor family. With learning that her mother's family is this news-making famous family would provide her food for thought.

Posted by wen at December 5, 2003 02:30 PM