In the back-story to C. J. Cherryh’s Merchanter’s Luck, the merchanter ship Le Cygne was captured by one of the Earth Company’s fleet of warships and almost the entire Kreja family was killed.

Later in the book, Capt. Signy Mallory of Norway indicates she’s heard of the incident and knows which Fleet ship it was—but do we, the audience, ever learn which?

3 Answers 3


It's not made clear in the book, or any of the subsequent sequels.

There's a few passing comment in "'Finity's End" to suggests that some (or indeed pretty much all) of Mazian's fleet of fifteen 'jump ships' were engaged in acts of piracy against remote stations and passing ships and another reference in Regenesis confirming the same. By the time of 'Merchanter’s Luck' this fleet has been reduced to "nine captains", largely by the actions of the Fleet Ship Norway and various other pirate-hunters.

Given that they're on deeply opposed sides it seems highly unlikely that Signy Mallory's intelligence reports would indicate which of the Mazianni ships were directly involved in that specific encounter.

What seem more likely is that she was simply indicating that she has is aware that the ship was involved in a pirate attack (either first-hand or from conversations with Talley) and offering some slight commiserations.

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    Pretty sure Le Cygne was taken before the events in Downbelow Station, while Mallory and Norway were still fighting alongside the rest of the Fleet. I suspect I'll have to ask Herself to weigh in with a canonical answer. Mar 10, 2014 at 23:23
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    @J.C.Salomon - I've only done the most cursory analysis and keyword search of the books. Given the lack of further canon references to the Kreja family, Lucy and lack of ship names for the Mazian fleet, I suspect this is as good as you'll get.
    – Valorum
    Mar 10, 2014 at 23:33

It's never made clear; however, since by the time Merchanter's Luck takes place Sandor Kreja has been alone for some time and was living in reduced circumstances for a time before that, it is quite possible that the attack occurred when Signy Mallory and Norway were still part of the fleet, i.e. before events of Downbelow Station.

So Signy might well know, but she ain't talking.

Since throughout Downbelow Station and at several times in other books it is made abundantly clear that irrespective to any piddling peccadillos Mallory and Norway are a breed apart and have not stooped to piracy and generally frown on bad behaviour, I think that we may take it on faith that Norway was not the offender.

Somehow she managed to run a tight, well-disciplined and ethical ship under conditions under which doing so was not all that easy, and my hat is off to her.

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    “Ethical” is an overstatement. Pretty sure she herself raped “Joshua Talley”, and her crew definitely abused him in other ways. Dec 15, 2021 at 1:42

In Rimrunners, Bet reminisces of an unnamed young man who was dragged out of an unfortunate merchant vessel and impressed into the crew of the Mazianni pirate ship, Africa. This may be a passing reference to one of Sandor's relatives, whom he reminisces being dragged by fleet soldiers in a similar fashion.

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    Hi, welcome to the site. You could improve this answer by editing it to include any relevant quotes from the book you cited. Mar 22 at 7:58

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