Tess is the final person Richard is able to add to his group before he receives some bad news.
Tess Coronado is a resident of a planet named Feldspar. Feldspar has a unique history relative to Alexandria and many of the other worlds that are in or near the Tyberian Empire. Richard succinctly relates:
Feldspar is one of the few republics existing in our part of the galaxy that was not at one point in time under the Thorvus Empire.
While I have touched on the influence of The Thorvus Dominion in other blogs, what makes this significant is both why they were never conquered, and how encompassing the Thorvus Dominion was. As Richard had mentioned earlier, this domain was more vast than the current Tyberian Empire. Thousands of years prior, and with ships, it would reason less capable than what is built in the era of the book.
What else does Richard share about Feldspar? Its main industries:
Feldspar is home to the Key Titanium mines, the largest mines in this quadrant. They pull enough titanium out of there in a day to build fourteen luxury-class ships almost six miles long! That is a lot of titanium!
I could ask if that’s a lot of titanium for a single planet to pull from a mine in a single day. Of course, the dimensions and approximate tonnage of titanium needed for each ship would likely be essential to know, and if anyone would care to put a pencil to the number, you can respond in the comments below. I will say it is unlikely the ship would be built to be ‘lighter’ (i.e., using the lighter titanium to substitute for steel’s strength). I would personally think with this ‘abundance’ titanium could be used more than steel or similar metals would, possibly keeping the vessel at a weight similar to steel, but with other advantages expected (greater strength, possibly larger spaces within, in relation to using steel or aluminum). In a later post, I might guess what the weight of such a ship would be, and give everyone an idea of the amount of titanium I refer to. I’ll also try to get an idea of how much is mined on earth.
Why this is important has to do with Feldspar itself. Tess, while discussing the finances of her world, will share that mining titanium is not the only thing Feldspari do:
“Well, actually, most of it goes to the people of Feldspar, as far as better roads for transportation, better medical centers, better educational centers, and things like that.” She shrugs her shoulders. “Whatever’s left is enough to fund research into better ship designs and alternative uses for the titanium.”
Titanium is central to the economy of Feldspar, it would appear, especially when you have a castle like this:
The ship lands near a massive fortification on the peak of a mountain known as GreiMetel Mountain. The fortification, built two hundred and fifty years earlier, is made entirely of titanium, save a few decorative marble and granite details. The landing site near the edge of the plateau is covered with reinforcing titanium plates.
Even taking into account the amounts of titanium referenced before, the idea of building a castle, likely BLOCKS of titanium, can seem absurd. So, they have a lot of titanium.
What about Tess? Who is she?
Richard invites his cousin. Not because of Ana, since she’s really the only other ‘girl,’ and not just because she’s family. Richard briefly mentions why in this passage:
I have cousins on Feldspar. Tess, the oldest daughter of my aunt, is about my age. And then there are some other ones. But Tess is the only one of import, because she was with me in school.
Like Richard, she also went to school on Earth. So they shared this experience.
Of course, if you’ve read the synopsis of my book, Richard has his plans changed. Can you guess who shares that little nugget of insight? I’ll give you a hint:
“Wow! How did you manage to talk your dad out of this ship? A ship with a light drive, even an old one, is tough to secure.” She brushes back her reddish-blond hair. “But one from the Viking series!”
“Well, I guess I am a capable negotiator,” Richard leans back in his chair, proud of this feat.
“Can I ride with you back home? I want to see your ship!”
Richard leans forward. “Oh, I am not going home in the neartime. I am traversing the galaxy in search of coolness.”
Tess displays a look of surprise, wrinkling her eyebrows. “You’re kidding, right?”
Richard, now mildly confused, thinks for a moment. “That is my plan in any case. Is there something I should be remembering?”
Tess laughs, shaking her head. “I can’t believe you don’t know! You would manage to be the last person informed of the most important event in your life!”
Richard’s confusion begins to multiply exponentially. “I do not understand. What are you referring to? If it was important, I am sure I would have—” He instantly recalls something she’s probably referring to.
“Your wedding! You know it’s been arranged for the past, what, twelve hundred years!” She pauses, still grinning. “I thought you came here to get us!” Tess stops for a moment, noticing the color has left Richard’s face. “Are you well, Richie?”
Tess & Richard
Tess gets to share the ‘news’ with Richard, though it doesn’t look like she knew she would. Of course, Tess, being family, wants to help:
“Richard, it’s not the end of your life. You know, she might be a nice girl, and it might work out in the end.” As she says it, she pauses, dwelling on the words. She releases her smirk starting to frown instead.
“Yeah, it could,” he says, trying to stay optimistic. “But I do not know.” He folds his arms. “This whole wedding is a silly idea, if you ask me.”
“Well,” she says, thinking for a moment, “it’s to benefit both Alexandria and Thorvus-Maxia. By bringing you two together, it will finally unite your planets for the first time in fifteen hundred years.” Tess looks around for more reasons. “I mean, you both have the same background. It’s not as though you’re marrying a total stranger.” Tess stops and bites her bottom lip. “I’m sorry. I meant…”
Richard waves his hand, smiling a little to comfort her. “No, it is of minor concern, I know you are trying to help.” He refolds his arms. “My family has been trying to convince me this is inevitable as distant as I can remember.”
While she does make an effort to comfort him, you’ll have to read to find out how effective her efforts were.
It is also worth noting that since she is Feldspari (Richard’s ‘aunt’ obviously married into another family), and I will reveal that she does indeed join Richard when he assumes his official duties as a captain of a ship, how does this affect her role? I’ve quoted Richard already speaking to the independence of Feldspar from Alexandria. So while Tess is indeed in a command role on a Tyberian ship below Richard, she clarifies that:
“Feldspar recognizes the crown and its prince! We don’t serve them, or him. On this ship, he’s just my cousin,” she snaps.
What would prompt a comment like this? I guess you’ll have to get the book and see for yourself. (Book!) I only briefly touched on Tess, by way of introduction, but if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll get to see more of her, especially when dealing with the threat Richard faces. We’ll revisit her soon.
Next week, we’ll briefly touch on a few other non-Terrans mentioned in The Silent Invader, along with a few locations visited. Until then, please enjoy chapter 3 of The Silent Invader, and Tess’ introduction in the story.
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