revised 06-01-2020 CR
"Derai" by E.C. Tubb – Book 2
The following are my chapter-by-chapter notes for the science-fiction novel "Derai" by E. C. Tubb [1919-2010] copyright by the author. This book is the second of thirty-three featuring Earl Dumarest [ED]. Each story can be read independently but the narrative arc of Dumarest searching for his home planet "earth" is a consistent background theme in each book. The copyright dates of the 33 Dumarest novels are for the period 1967-2008. Note page count is from the 2nd edition Ace paperback 89308 published September 1968.
There are no comments or references to the events that took place in Book 1 "The Winds of Gath". Nonetheless if your had read Book 1 the readers familiarity with Earl’s obsession, the cosmos he must operated within and the entities he interact with will be greatly enhanced. In "Derai" Earl Dumarest is persuade, for a fee payable on delivery, to "baby-sit" a young lady on a space voyage to her home planet. The woman in question, Derai, is the heir to one of the ruling houses on the planet Hive. Derai, in addition to being emotionally fragile has very rare telepathic talents that attract the attention of the conspiratorial Cyclan. Dumarest becomes emotionally involved Derai and must contend with her dysfunctional family.
Chapter 1 – 11 pages
·Earl Dumarest (ED) is on the planet Kyle working as a strongman/fighter in a grubby carnival. He has had enough and demands credits earned from the reluctant carnie boss. Heading for the spaceport he drops some coins in a Universal Brotherhood* charity bowl. The monk thanks ED and informs him that a certain Factor* on Kyle wishes to see him immediately on an urgent matter. "A man of influence and power. It would be of your advantage to attend him".
·ED meets Moto Shamaski the Factor. They make small talk seizing each other up avoiding any discussion of why he, ED was requested. Shamaski come to a decision and states: "you are shrews, capable and experienced…young enough to be resourceful and old enough to be discrete." He finally informed ED he wants to hire him to escort a young lady to her home planet. ED accepts after negotiating his fee. He is to take the Lady Derai of the House of Caldor to her home on Hive. ED is surprised when he meets Derai**, she appears child-like, and mentally defective. ED is at first troubled by the mystery of the Lady’s presence on Kyle and the reason why she left Hive in the first place. ED internalized that for the fee offered he will just take the girl home and let the family deal with her problems.
*Universal Brotherhood: Religious Organization of Monks. Obvious similarities with Christian groups but not stated as such. Monks lead lives of poverty, nonjudgmental and with emphasis on forgiveness. The Universal Brotherhood service consists of confession under the benediction light (the light has a mesmerizing effect of peace and comfort) followed by distribution of a wafer thick with concentrated nutrients. The brothers are unconcerned with the motives of their guest. They accept that mankind is fallen and welcome all who seek their ministrations.
The monks support themselves by begging. They soliciting donations among the well to do using their trained abilities to appeal to ones better nature. Missions are located on most inhabited worlds. They at times cooperate with ED and sometimes with Factors to discourage the ambitions of the Cyclan.
**Factors are quasi-political positions on various planets. Wealthy, connected and knowledgeable they usually work behind the scenes solving sensitive problems for wealthy houses among other things. The monks of the Universal Brotherhood maintain clandestine contact with the Factors for mutual benefit, although their interest do not ultimately coincide.
***Derai: Is from Hive a planet managed by a syndicate of Houses and she is a member of one of them – The House of Caldor. She stated that she left Hive out of fear for her life but now she wants to return with an escort. ED shrugs he will collect his fee and escort the girl a simple proposition – he thinks.
Chapter 2 – 11 pages
·Aboard the starship to Hive Dumarest and Derai are traveling High*. ED is troubled by the girl’s comments while observing a cheating gambler at work fleecing the competition. She is able to predict the gamblers moves precisely. She prevails upon ED to loan her credits to join the game**. She proceeds to outsmart the gambler, Sar Eldon, and wins every hand cleaning him out. ED now realizes the girl is not mentally defective as he first thought but is a natural born telepath. She proceeds to tell ED of his quest to find his home planet, professes a deep attachment to ED and finally goes into a troubled sleep. ED returns the credits won to the gambler to preclude retribution. He warns him to find another line of work. ED returns to his room and ponders his predicament.
*Traveling High – Costly but greatly preferred method of travel on star ships. Passengers are injected with a "go fast" drug that greatly speeds their metabolism making lengthy ship travel seem relatively quick. Travelers can interact normally while under the effect of the quick time drugs.
** Although not described a poker like game with cards and wagers.
Chapter 3 – 11 pages
·The whole chapter takes place within The House of Caldor* on Hive before the arrival of ED and Derai. The Caldor family consist of Lord Caldor; elderly and sickly and his two sons Johan, the eldest, and Emil. Emil has a son Ustar. Johan has two children Blaine born out of wedlock so he is not a proper heir and Derai born of a proper marriage and eventual heir to the Caldor House.
·Derai is 7 years younger than her stepbrother Blaine and has a good relationship with him and with her father Johan.
·Ustar is a conniving weasel and only desires to marry Derai in order to make himself heir to the House and it wealth.
·Blaine reflects that if he were born in wedlock his Uncle Emil would probably have taken steps to have him eliminated.
·The resident Cyber, Regor by name, serves as an advisor to the House.
·The librarian Sergal prints out the family bloodlines for Emil. He in turn will give them the Cyber Regor. Blaine takes then from Sergal and hands them to the Cyber.
·A crafty trader Scuto Dakarti proposes a deal to Emil in clear violation of the Pact*. Sell him the highly prized and rare royal jelly** and both could make a handsome, yet illegal, profit. While Emil entertains the deal he suspect a trap; he refuses and shows the trader the door.
* One of the Eleven Houses that rule Hive. There had been Twenty-three but a military and economic agreement called the Pact reduced it to Eleven. Other Houses mentioned: Fenton, Tomblains and Egreths. Caldor is known for its greed.
** The primary export product of Hive is honey-based products: perfumes, wines and the coveted Royal Jelly. Trade in these commodities is strictly enforced by the Pact.
Chapter 4 – 11 pages
·Ustar takes a judges position so he can squeeze the guilty with increased fine, which go to the House of Caldor. He argues with a senior judge that it isn’t justice he is deciding but a means to increase the wealth of Caldor. The judge is appalled by this but there is little he can do since Ustar is his superior being a member of a House.
·Dumarest and Derai arrive at the landing field on Hive. Derai is anxious to get home and keeps urging him to hurry along. ED is taking a good long look around. His traveling experiences informs him that a careful scrutiny of the area around the landing field will give him an intuitive feel for the society. ED is disquieted by what he observes: wealthy individuals exiting the space port, alighting into their flyers and going to their Houses; low travelers, habitually poor, are barred from Hive proper until they pay a "port entrance fee". ED reflects this is nothing more than a scam just to add money to the coffers of the Houses. An employment agent* shills opportunities to earn 5 credits a day – and there all many openings available. A man from the ship tells ED the job is for harvesting Royal Jelly and only one out of two survive due to the deadly attacking bees. Derai has no idea what the problem is. She tells ED to make the problem go away so they can leave. ED gives most of his funds to a Monk from The Universal Brotherhood so that the destitute can enter Hive proper.
·Derai sees her brother Ustar and leaves with him ignoring ED who remains since he has business with the agent. Derai returns to House Caldor and has a pleasant reunion with her father Johan, Ustar hangs around so she cannot talk candidly with him. We eventually find out that Derai was sent away to a Cyber College, which she thought horrid. They only seemed interested in her suitability to bare children. She returns to her room to rest and is soon screaming in her sleep.
·Johan and Blaine visit the Patriarch of House Caldor with the Cyber. He is comatose, barely alive, attended by a round-the-clock nurse and doctor. Injections of Royal Jelly prolong his life.
* A Hausi – Yamay Mbombo, plump, bland, caste marks livid against his ebon skin.
Chapter 5 – 8 pages
·Dumarest engages the agent, one Yamay Mbombo, to provide him a pilot and flyer to take him to a settlement in the wastelands. The reason ED says " to see a man, I understand he is to be found there" no name is given although the Hausi asks. They agree on a fee and Mbombo’s man Faine pilots ED to the small town. During the flight Faine talks about the precarious living in Lausary.
·Meanwhile Derai’s screaming in her sleep draws to whole household to her bedside. Johan and Blaine are genuinely concerned. Ustar and his father Emil express dismay at her condition – Ustar suggest operating on her brain. Eventually the Cyber calms Derai down. During her delirium she mention Dumerest. Afterwards Blaine lectures Ustar about shooting off his big mouth with the stupid ideas about a lobotomy. They scheme about the future: Ustar must marry a fully functional Derai and become the Head of the House. Blaine reminds Ustar that he will be the true power behind the throne making all the decisions. Ustar privately recoils at being his father’s puppet. The mention of Dumerest during Derai’s subconscious outburst concerns Ustar. He fears there was a shipboard romance between the two. He tells his father he will "take care of Dumerest".
Chapter 6 – 12 pages
ED and Faine land at Lausary and find it completely abandoned. Faine suspects slavers but ED is not sure but keeps his own council. ED asks Faine which house is that of Old Caleb* the man he wished to talk too. He finds no references whatsoever about Earth at the house. The only thing he does notice is a hastily scratched Cyclian symbol.
Faine gathers some sweet pulp for their breakfast. Suddenly a swarm of mutant bees attack drawn by the pulp; Faine is severely injured. ED drags him to the flyer in order to travel to another settlement where there may be an antidote to the bee’s venom. Ed is stung while piloting the flyer and loses control and crashes.
* Old Caleb was a stranger to ED but he heard rumors on several planets and 3rd hand comments that he claimed to come from "Earth". Since he was traveling to Hive he decided to look him up.
Chapter 7 – 11 pages
·As a result of the flyer crash Faine is killed and ED is rendered unconscious. The smoke from the wreckage draws the attention of a team of illegal Royal Jelly hunters. They nurse ED back to consciousness recognizing him as the benefactor who paid their port fee. ED is invited by the gambler* he befriended on the ship to join them. After a lengthy inquiry ED reluctantly joins in the venture. He is informed that the port agent and a trader** had teamed up and funded the venture to poach Jelly in the outback. ED in very concerned that this group of inexperienced men have no idea how dangerous an undertaking this is. One man had previous experience harvesting but the rest are greedy cement heads that give no thought to possible dangers. ED is constantly searching the skies for a swarm of angry bees. He modifies the camp stove into a blowtorch as a weapon. When he asks Sar Eldon to watch with him he tells ED no, he wants to see their meal ticket: the Royal Jelly. What a fool ED thinks, rightfully so as it turns out. At chapters end ED sights a swarm heading for the disturbed hive.
·Cyber Regor and Emil are watching the Caldor militia perform a military review. The leads into a philosophical discussion about how best to insure Hive’s Houses prosperity into the future. The Cyber notes that the expense of maintains a militia is useless with the Pack all but ruling out warfare between Houses. Wouldn’t it be better to disband the troops and give these men land and turn Hive in a democracy? Emil privately recoils at this idea. He enjoys the lofty status his position provides him and loathes the idea of having to solicit votes from those who are currently his inferiors. Cyber Regor changes the subject and states that he has completed his audit of the records provided to him. It appears that under the leadership of his now senile father 15% of all House funds were held back in a secret "slush" account. Emil thinks those funds, if found, would allow him to buy weapons and hire soldiers to conquer all of Hive under his rule – he could be King of Caldor!***.
* Sar Eldon, ED had provided fund so that he and others may enter Hive.
** Yamay Mbombo the port agent and Scuto Dakarti the trader who had previously approached Blaine to sell him Royal Jelly on the side.
***Somehow this smells like a trick by the sneaky Cyber; appealing to Emil’s greed and lust power.
Chapter 8 – 12 pages
·Dumarest discusses with port agent Yamay Mbombo how the poaching expedition was a total failure and all the equipment was lost. He goes on to discuss the circumstances of how everyone but himself was killed by the huge mass of swarming bees. ED only made it back by threatening the rescue pilot. ED is convinced that the mutated bees are telepathic so many attacked the plundered hive. They discuss the mysterious abandoned community of Lausary and ED inquired if there are any cybers on Hive. Mbombo tells ED that someone from the House of Caldor is at the Tavern of the Seven Stars and is eager to meet you. ED departs for the Tavern.
·ED meets Blaine at the Tavern. He is drunk and tells ED many things about the Caldor family: his status as a bastard, why his half-sister Derai left him at the spaceport and her love for ED. ED is usually cynical about women and emotional attachments. He ruefully admits he is in love with Derai; is it the strong honey wine speaking or what, but he admitted it to Blaine. ED inquires as to the cyber in Caldor House. This sets Blaine off about his ambition to be a Cyber and how he was rejected – "I’m a failure at everything he proclaims, they said I was too emotional". ED consoled him that he was very fortunate and proceeds to rant on about the cybers getting so steamed up he snaps his wine glass stem. Ustar storms in with a couple of local goons and starts in on Blaine. "Why is he hanging out with the low life Dumarest who defiled his sister?" ED cautions Blaine not to mix it up with Ustar since it is ED he wants to kill. Ustar first move is to attempt to stab ED in the back – sorry Ustar ED won’t fall for that sleazy move! A good old fashion bar fight with knifes and fists takes place but we know whose goanna come out on top! ED holds back from killing Ustar – he whines "don’t kill me" so ED smashed the hilt of his knife into Ustar’s face.
Chapter 9 – 12 pages
·Derai, Cyber Regor, the House physician Trudo, and the two Caldor sons Emil and Johan are at their heavily drugged father’s bedside. They have a plan to obtain knowledge of the secret account the Old Man had sequestered over the years. The physician will inject ever increasing doses of stimulants into the patriarchs brain, the cybor will ask specific questions and Derai using her telepathic talents will "listen’ for responses. The plan works but not the way they intended. Derai informs them that the patriarch will only give up the knowledge it they accept his deal. He wants to travel to the planet Folgone*. Emil at first bemoans the cost of the trip, but eventually decided to pony-up. He proceeds to chartering a ship and pay the fees involved. He recalls the trader’s illegal scheme concerning Royal Jelly. Reading his mind Derai says, "contact Earl Dumarest, Blaine will tell him what it is you want"- the intent is to use ED as a cutout to sell the Royal Jelly – obtain the funds required for the voyage and protect the reputation of House Caldor.
·ED is staying in a dingy room near the spaceport and preparing to leave Hive. Blaine is with him and inveigles ED to accompany them to Folgone, he steadfastly refuses. The agent Mbombo arrives stunned to see a Caldor in the room. He brings ED a gift – spun-metal clothing worn as armor. Blaine appeals to ED, tells of Derai love for him. He details the entire trip to Falgone and how without ED full cooperation the shaky plan, at best, would be worthless. ED listens to the plan and with misgivings relents. He is truly blinded by love for Derai and the monetary entitlements sound good also.
·Off stage Emil convinces the family of the revelation concerning Old Man’s secret funds; the account Cyber Regor found perusing the Caldor financial records. Seems a very naive that everyone would swallow that "thin" tale but they bought it – hook-line and sinker. Greedy bastards – OMG never trust a Cyber!
*Falgone – Provides those few selected entombment in a unique plant pod, which gives subjective worlds of hallucinations – 1000 years worth. It is not easy to win a place on Folgone. Few pods are available and many wealthy hire champions to win them a place.
The Plan was not exactly spelled out in the text so here is my version: ED sells the Caldor horde of Royal Jelly to the trader Scuto Dakarti. The credits obtained cover travel expenses for the Caldor entourage to Falgone, pay for ED’s entrance fee in the trial and provide him a large bonus if he should win. It seems many desire the 1000 years of drug induced hallucinations but there are only so many pods available. The caretakers on Falgone have designed a deadly and expensive "trial" for the candidate’s champion to attempt to win a spot for their backers. ED must have been "intoxicated" when he accepted this fool’s errand – as the proxy for Lord Caldor – somebody give Earl a dope slap!
Chapter 10 – 12 pages.
The entourage arrives on Falgone and is met by their guide Carlin. He details the necessity for the competition due to the limited number of spaces available and the large number of applicants. Some very wealthy people fund more than one champion in order to obtain better odds he further states. Blaine tries to have ED let him take his place – after all he is a member of the House of Caldor Dumarest is not – ED refuses. He states he accepted the employment and the corresponding risks, is being paid very well and has an obligation to Derai. There is a carnival at the visitors settlement and well blow me down if it isn’t the one ED uses to work for – and who does he meet up with but his old gal-pal Nada! She gives ED a big hug and cozies up to him. Derai takes this all in – her true love and his old flame meet up on Falgone – now go figure that!
Nada thinks ED a complete fool for entering the trials – the dope he should stay with her and work the carnival circuit. ED brushes her off but not too harshly. Derai gets dagger eyes from Nada. ED discusses the "trail" with a man who successfully completed it. ED wants to get an edge. The man laughs at ED and tells him the winner is picked after all the entrants enter the arena and the rest are killed to make fertilizer for the plant pods. Chapter ends!
Chapter 11 – 12 pages
·Derai had a nightmare about heads in jars all talking to one another. ED comforts Derai telling her she was thinking about the Cybers. Derai tells ED that "Nada loves him and will give him a real life and sons instead on me a mind reading freak" well that sums it up. ED comforts her "no, it is only you I love".
·Emil finds his father Lord Caldor dead – he sees the whole plan going up in smoke. The Cyber Regor appears and placates Emil by telling him he never had the secret fund so nothing was lost but, perhaps, Derai knows the location. Also ED’s fee for the trial had already been paid (apparently no refunds) and if he wins you can sell the spot and recoup the entrance fee and them some. Oh yes and Emil thinks ED could loose and be killed which takes him out of the picture as far a Derai in concerned. Emil is such a weasel!
·ED wakes up from what seems to be a drug induced sleep in Nada’s bed. Apparently they had been carousing – so much for Derai! Nada admits she put knock out drops in his wine to save him from sure death during the trial and from that freak Derai. While ED is getting he head screwed on straight Blaine shows up and tells him that Derai took his place in the trial and oh yea that gate for participants will close shortly – Blaine is such a font of great news! ED hightails it to the arena gate but the monitors will not let him pass, his place, Caldors, has been taken – serves him right messing with that tramp Nada! ED orders Blaine to find Emil and make him provide funds for another entry fee. While Blaine is getting the money Jocko (what a name!) – knife man in the carnival and friend to Nada – tells ED he’ll toss him a blade in to the arena* to give him an edge so to speak. Blaine shows up with the funds just as the gate is about to close and ED makes it inside – Whew is all I can say.
·What’s Jocko’s motivation is not revealed and in fact it is quite unfathomable. The blade he provides plays a critical role in the resolution of the story. Guess he just had a spare knife. For all his assistance his recompense is death at the hands of the trial trail monitors.
·ED is moping around within the trial arena looking for Derai and over the wall comes Jocko promised blade. ED slips it in his boot – just in case!
·The Cyber, Blaine and Emil meet up. Blaine tells of having held a knife to Emil’s throat forcing him to give up the funds for ED entrance fee. Emil finds a shard of benefit if everyone in the trial his killed! – What a guy! The Cyber informs Blaine his Grandfather is dead and dismisses him. The Cyber can’t feel anger but he is displeased with Emil holding him responsible for Derai entering the trial. It finally dawns on Emil* that the Cyber has been playing him all along by appealing to his lust for power and money. He confronts the Cyber and asks him if there was actually a secret stash of money. The Cyber replies, "it made you leave Hive and take the girl Derai with you". Emil now comprehends the Cyber perverted plan. Under the pretext of advising the family he wanted to spirit away Derai so he could us her to breed telepathic beings. Emil has a brainstorm that he will hold the knowledge of the Cyber’s duplicity and blackmail him; that is until the Cyber kills him with his wicked touch.
*"I’m beginning to understand," mused Emil. "The way you people work, secretly, always hidden, maneuvering others as you would puppets". Too late Emil, way to late.
Chapter 13 – 10 pages
·Dumarest using his "thoughts" of her, which allows Derai to locate him in the arena. After exchanging affectionate greetings ED hoist her on his shoulders, grabs Jocko’s blade and slogs towards the exit gate.
·Yes, ED and Derai make it through but not without help. They meet up with Blaine who says, in effect, "good job but grandfather is dead so we don’t need the places you won any more – and oh yea I found Emil stone dead – he was with the cyber". ED ponders that last part of the statement. Instantaneously Cyber Regor appears for what is the major confrontation of the book. Blaine says angrily: "you killed Emil, do you deny it?’ "No’ replies Regor (a man of few words). He further states he is here for the girl. The cyber tells all those assembled that he ordered his "friends" to allow ED and Derai to pass through the trial otherwise they would of died. He states that the Cyclian must have the telepathic powers Derai possesses and they must "experiment" with her and the inhabitants of Lausray. Blaine asks how will you get away with this "plan". He replies without a trace of emotion "Caldor won two places and you and ED will occupy them while I take the girl". A neat plan but Derai has different ideas. She throws herself forward just as the Cyber take out his laser to kill ED. The beam mortally wounds Derai; while momentarily distracting the Cyber ED hurls Jocko’s knife killing the Regor. Derai had read the Cyber’s mind and deliberately place herself in front of ED sacrificing herself. Derai tells ED with her dying breath she "read" the Cybers mind while at their "college" and the rumors of Earth are true. They exchange intimated words of affection as he places her into one of the 1000 years pods.
·Blaine tries to console ED and offers him adoption into Caldor house and the funds from the completion of the trial. ED respectfully declines both and the book concludes with him saying to himself the Cyclan will pay dearly for robbing him of the women he loved.
End comment and observations
·It seemed obvious that Cyclan had something to do with Earth and is taking extreme measures to keep it location a secret. Derai tells ED with her dying breath she "read" the Cybers mind while at their "college" and the rumors of Earth are true – what ever that means. Nonetheless the issue of his search for his home planet "Earth’ is barely touched upon in this book. It appears that Derai sidetracked his obsession as he became obsessed with her. Well the book ends with ED promising payback for the Cyclan murdering Derai so it’s on to book 3 "Toyman".
Posted by Cadwalader Ringgold on 2020-05-07 22:01:01