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Syrinx

Captain of Oenone. A strong-willed, beautiful and intelligent Edenist. She displays a special talent for being a captain of a voidhawk and is a natural born leader, always in charge of everything in her life from her position as captain to her relationships with her lovers and other people.

During her volunteer period with the Confederation Navy, she follows the Lady MacBeth after it leaves Idria. She is frustrated with Joshua’s apparent incompetence in making ZTT jumps. It takes him six days to make just 53 light years. His maneuvering is sloppy. Of course, unbeknownst to her, he is doing this intentionally, as a decoy for an illegal antimatter transport mission by the Dechal. She decides to move in. board the ship, and seize the alleged antimatter technology it carries. Joshua welcomes her and her crew aboard, plays innocent, and admires Syrinx’s body. This infuriates her even more. But, when the cargo pods are opened, no antimatter tech is found. She, Oenone, and the others have been had. To make matters worse, Oenone seems to take a liking to Joshua, who the voidhawk describes as “Young and carefree, roaming the universe. Very romantic.” Syrinx is indignant with her ship.

After completing her military tour, she and the crew of Oenone decide to try their hand and merchant trading. Her first stop is the Atlantis to take on a load of its renowned seafood for shipment to Norfolk, where she plans to trade for Norfolk Tears. She negotiates a deal with Eysk to bring 10% of the Tears back to Atlantis in exchange for preferential treatment in selecting her oceanic delicacies. The sell of the remaining load of Tears will reap a tremendous amount of cash for Oenone’s crew. Her profit margin will be strengthen even more by the fact that voidhawk operational costs are much lower than those of Adamist starships.

Syrinx runs into Joshua on Norfolk during the two-week trading season of Norfolk Tears. She is cold toward him, believing that he made her into a fool when Oenone intercepted the Lady MacBeth for allegedly carrying antimatter technology and then found nothing. Her theory, she tells him, is that Joshua was carrying illegal confinement coils. At some point outsystem, he dropped the coils off into empty space and then made a ZTT jump. Oenone could not detect the small coil containers and quickly followed the Lady Mac. Afterwards, the second ship picked up the coils and raced them to their destination while Joshua continued to make jump after jump leading Syrinx and her crew astray. Joshua bluffs that it is all impossible because he is not an “ace astrogrator.” Syrinx, however, doesn’t believe him.

She is immensely successful in selling Norfolk Tears on many stops throughout the Confederation. The Oenone went so far as Auckland, some 400 lyrs away from Norfolk. At that distance, the price of Tears was astronomical (it goes up in direct proportion to distance transported). The crew returns to Pernik to honor her deal with Eysk’s family for ten percent of the cargo acquired. Syrinx arrives just as the reality dysfunction is unleashed upon Pernik. The habitat is being possessed, as are most of the people she knows, including her brief lover Mosul. She ends up being captured and tortured horribly, her legs mangled by a torturer for the pleasure of the possessed. She is close to unconsciousness from the sheer pain when Laton (who has taken over the Pernik personality habitat) intervenes on her behalf, rescuing her as a final act before obliterating his neural stratum.

Oenone flies her immediately back to the Sol System. Ruben talks the voidhawk out of taking Syrinx home, to the Romulus habitat around Saturn. Instead, he directs the ship to Jupiter and the Kristata habitat, which has more advanced medical facilities and, being at Jupiter, afforded the ability to inform the Edenist Consensus of Syrinx's torture.

Syrinx’s therapy is a manipulation of memory and mind that takes her back to Eden, the original Edenist habitat. There she meets Wing-Tsit Chong, the long-dead person who invented the affinity. He takes on the role of a wise old Zen master and guides her through the puzzle of the mental anguish she is has experienced as a result of her torture. She appears before him as a younger girl, her adult memories being temporarily blocked from the pain they contain. She learns from Chong that she has been traumatized by some outside influence. There is an owl overlooking this exchange, Chong motions to it and asks Syrinx to call out its name. “Oenone!” she says immediately and her deep intimacy with the voidhawk calls her back to the present, including all the profoundly horrible memories of her torture. But, her love for Oenone overwhelms all that.

Then Wing-Tsit Chong says something quite interesting, given what is happening in the rest of the galaxy at this time. He compliments himself on creating the affinity band because it allows people to see each other completely. “To allow people to see the love and the sourness which lives in all of us. Only then can we come to terms with what we are.” At which point Syrinx opens her eyes to find herself wrapped in medical nanonics, her mother crying by her side as Syrinx speaks in recognition of her.

She "visits" Wing-Tsit Chong a total of eight times. Sometimes she sees him with her therapists or with Athene or Sinon or Ruben. She remains caged by her fears. Chong makes it clear that the solution to Syrinx’s personal traumas is inexorably linked to the greater solution of the reality dysfunction itself. After all, the dysfunction created the situation in which her torture occurred. Chong believes Syrinx should go to the Kiint homeworld to seek out the Kiint understanding of the problems the dysfunction presents to humanity. It will be “good therapy” he tells her. She agrees to go. Oenone is elated at the prospect of returning to space after such a long time.

She arrives at Jobis and meets with a Kiint named Malva, hoping to glean some hint from the xenoc of how humanity can deal with the Reality Dysfuncton. The discussion is cautious but cordial and inevitably leads to a philosophical area. Malva believes the “breakthrough” of the beyond into space is probably an accident. Syrinx suggests that it wasn’t suppose to happen. “The universe in not that ordered,” Malva replies. “What happens, happens.” Malva goes on to say that “triumph” over the Dysfunction is not the “object of the encounter”, implying that learning and having faith in humanity itself are keys. In the end, the dialog is mostly a riddle with Malva saying that humanity should not look for a “quick-fix” to this dilemma but rather look for its “destiny.”

After her meeting with Malva, she returns to Athene’s house. There she decides that she has to do something to keep busy. “Work is always a great anodyne,” she says. Thinking that piloting Oenone in the defense force would be too confrontational at her present stage of recovery, she opts for courier work.

She and her mother discuss the fundamental ramifications of the reality dysfunction on Edenist society. The entire basis of Edenist society rests in their assurance that they can transfer their memories into habitats when they die. But, with the coming to possession, Edenists have come to know that all humans are ultimately destined to the beyond. This shakes Edenism to the core. Except for the fact…the hope…that Laton offered as he began “the great journey” (whatever that is). Laton proclaimed that “we don’t have to worry about being trapped in the beyond.”

In running courier duty in Oenone, Syrinx is able to visit two or three stellar systems a day. Soon, she pieces together a rather depressing picture of what is happening throughout the Confederation. The Edenist habitats are holding their own, honoring the quarantine, but the Adamists are undertaking all sorts of illegal starship flights, political and economic maneuvering that leads to the slow, but steady progress of possession. While dispatching to Golomo, Oenone picks up a message broadcast from Erick Thakrar prior to his departure from Ethenthia announcing that he has vital information for the Confederation and that he is ZTT jumping to the Ngeuni system. Syrinx immediately heads to that stellar system in search of Thakrar.

She locates Erick Thakrar’s escape pod and safely brings him aboard Oenone. He refuses to disclose his secret information about the Capone organization unless Syrinx agrees to place him zero-tau in order to avoid possession, which Erick feels is the inevitable result of the crisis for all Adamists. Syrinx reluctantly agrees but adds that “Edenism is founded upon hope, hope for the future, the belief that life ca get better. If you have faith in our culture to preserve you for eternity, you must believe in that.” “You are a very strange Edenist,” Erick offers, but he agrees to allow her to bring him out of zero-tau if the possession crisis is favorably resolved.

After safely delivering Thakrar in zero-tau and his information about the Capone organization’s planned offensive at Toi-Hoi to the Confederation base at Trafalgar, Admiral Aleksandrovich orders her to courier a message to the Cadiz government. It is an official request that Meredith Saldana’s squadron be relieved of defensive duties at Cadiz and sent to Tranquillity to rendezvous with the rest of Admiral Kolhammer’s task force as it prepares to attack Capone’s fleet at Toi-Hoi.

Surinx relays her assigned message and brings Admiral Meredith Saldana to Tranquillity at his request to speak personally with his cousin, Ione. The Admiral obtains Ione’s permission to use Tranquillity for a staging area for his task force in preparation for the Toi-Hoi strike against the Capone organization.