In the book Protector, Brennan takes Roy on a voyage to intercept the Pak scouts and lead them away from Sol. Throughout the five to ten year voyage Brennan teaches and trains Roy how to handle the ship and the weapons, how to fight Pak vessles, and how to fight a Pak in hand to hand combat. All of these tasks could have been accomplished much more easily had Roy been a protector from the start. Indeed, the training may have been completely unnecessary even.

While Roy might have been too young at the onset of the voyage (I cannot recall his age being mentioned), he was clearly old enough at the end that Brennan infected Roy before he could get to Home.

Why did Brennan wait until just before he died to turn Roy? Was it really just Roy's age that delayed him or was there some other reason?


As I recall, there were a number of things.

  1. Roy was a descendant of Brennan and ultimately Brennan felt compelled to protect his blood line
  2. By allowing Roy to put on muscle mass, observe the Pak fleet and train in fighting Protectors; he was ensuring that there was the required transfer of knowledge in order to destroy the incoming Pak fleets in the event that Brennan didn't make it
  3. By delaying turning Roy until the last minute, he insured that the rescuers from Home would treat him as a "sick human" opposed to an "Outsider", increasing the odds that the Tree of Life virus would infect Home.

    Of course this is all fan conjecture.

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    Ah yea. Point 3 is the most likely, rereading the book. "It was some time before they realized he was sick with something else. By then two of the pilots were down with it." – Xantec Apr 11 '13 at 17:15

It's been a while since I've read the book, but I think Brennan's concern would be that Roy might decide it's better for his descendants to do something different from what Brennan wants. for example, maybe he'd decide to kill Brennan and turn the ship back and try to save earth directly.

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  • This was my first thought. That way Brennan can (1) save his own skin and (2) force Roy to use Brennan's strategic framework because it's too late and too far to try other options. – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Apr 10 '13 at 20:23
  • Yet Roy killed Brennan in the end anyway because he still thought like a breeder, and also ultimately agreed with Brennan's choices once he was turned. – Xantec Apr 10 '13 at 20:24
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    That is, he wasn't thinking like a breeder, of course, but like a human, as opposed to a human-protector. – Xantec Apr 10 '13 at 20:37

In the book, it's fairly clear that two factors are vital in the delay...

  1. Brennan knows Roy showing up as a Pak will result in being treated as an alien, much as Roy treated Brennan, and Brennan treated the elder protector. Humans are, after all, not familiar with the Pak Protector.
  2. Brennan could not be certain that Roy would survive the process.

Several secondary factors may figure in:

  • Roy-as-Protector might not agree with Brennan-as-protector's decisions on how to protect humanity
  • Roy as a protector can not be trusted to remain subordinate to Brennan
  • Roy as human, even buff human, is capable of spending other humans' lives. Brennan is bordering on being unable to do so, having generalized his protection to all humans of Earth
  • Roy-as-human is psychologically capable of willingly accepting instruction, while protectors must be shown the need to take the instruction. Delay thus improves the ability to impart the knowledge without resistance, even if the knowledge is slower to acquire.
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Brennan required the company of his bloodline. He would kidnap them, take them on vacations and then wipe their minds of all memories. In exchange the descendant would get an annuity if they did not search for where their time went.

If Roy Truesdale became a protector with no children of his own, he might stop eating. If Roy dies so does Jack Brennan.

If Jack leaves Roy as a breeder then both will live.

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Roy as protector would probably come to the same conclusions as Brennan. "There is little free will in a protector" is how Niven put it.

Roy would have collaborated with Brennan because he had no descendants nearby. Roy would starve if he did not adopt the entire human race. If he had a better idea or ideas than Brennan he would share those ideas with Brennan to get his cooperation.

If Roy's faith in his cause ever lapsed he would stop eating, then Brennan would stop eating. Roy did not have this handicap as a breeder. Once he arrived at Home Brennan would expose him to the virus in order to gain cooperation from his fellow childless protectors.

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