Clarence O'Berin, Boss, Pilot, XO

Birth & KinEdit

  • Born on planet Strabane, [1] a Terran colony, one of many seeded by the Gaelic Union; considerably less respectable than New Dublin. [2]
  • Born "within three Standards" of Daav yos'Phelium (doesn't say in which direction)[3]
  • In The Beggar King, a younger Daav thinks Clarence is roughly his own age[4]
  • Was married once (to a man), so maybe never had kids [5]
  • At the time of joining Bechimo he had no living kin.[6]

physical descriptionsEdit

Has an Irish accent, does the laddie, and a roguish charm, with a sense of humor, but he’s nobody’s fool.

  • As young new Juntavas Boss on Liad: "Copper hair slightly shorter than current fashion and brushed severely back from a pale, round face, eyes very blue, moving with pilot's grace, the clothes he uneasily wore were those of a prosperous merchant of no discernible clan."[4]
  • About 7 years later, when Aelliana meets him: “A wiry, compact, red-haired Terran with an Irish accent.”[7]
  • About 25-30 years later: "in that chair sat a very blade of a man. That his hair was more grey than red, and he was clearly old enough to have stood as Win Ton’s father — those things were immaterial. His body was hard, the stern face watching the screens as if daring the weird space outside to produce anything but peace denoted a man both used to making hard decisions, and enforcing them."[8]
  • wears a kilt when dressing up for a date. [9]

Juntavas CareerEdit

  • As a second-class pilot, Clarence did a favor for a Juntavas agent — Lela Toonapple — in return for the buy-in for his first class piloting license. That's how he came to be a Juntavas courier pilot for Toonapple. (This was before Toonapple became boss on Liad)[5]
  • Clarence was the Juntavas Boss on Low Port Solcintra for decades, which is how he and Daav grew aquainted without being social: "I cannot by policy assume Clarence to be trustworthy, nor may I consider that he holds Korval's best interest first in his heart."[10] It's also how Clarence came to have general passwords for Jelaza Kazone, given by Daav in case of emergency. [11], [4] See The Beggar King.
  • "Pilot O'Berin ran Solcintra Low Port for twenty Standards or more."[8]
  • More like 30 years, according to Clarence: "The Juntavas Boss of Liad got to know a few names after a Standard or thirty on the job.”[12]
    • Yes, he came to the position while Chi was Delm Korval (The Beggar King), stayed through Daav's delmship, and through Er Thom's, as he told Daav in Ghost Ship. He "gave notice well before Korval was banned from the homeworld"[13]
  • During his term on Liad, he kept a clean slate: "I have retired. I was not arrested for my activities while I was in the employ of the Juntavas, and, if you care to check the stats, crime in Solcintra’s Low Port went down -- significantly -- during my tenure.” (speaking to yos’Thadi) [14]

On SurebleakEdit

  • After he retired from the Juntavas, he decided to be an honest courier pilot again, but he couldn’t get a job on Liad. "Too old to be honest." Too long behind a desk. His pilot license expired. Rusty.[13]
  • So when Val Con blew a hole in the planet, he decided to follow Korval to Surebleak, "looking for opportunity, and those so needful of a pilot that they're willing to squint at the credentials."[13]
  • He warned Daav that someone (The Department of the Interior) "was offering contract and good, hard cantra for a hit on Ride the Luck....Happens the prospective client was someone the Juntavas don’t deal with, now that they’re known,” Clarence continued, “so they went away."[13]
  • Partly based on Daav's recommendation, he got a job repairing tractors and such for Andy Mack, which involved some piloting on old Bleak Lady.[15]
  • He warned the authorities when he sighted two ships he recognized from his Boss days on Liad. Not long afterwards, Sanella Thring nearly killed him for ratting:
    • “No dream that you went into the Watch office last evening and laid witness against Thresher and Beauty,” Thring snapped." (He shot her, in self-defense.)[16]
  • Then Daav strongly cautioned Theo she needed a co-pilot for back-up because 1) The Department of the Interior sent hunter ships after Bechimo in Tokeo space. [17] 2) The Luck runs around her, which demands back-up. [18] He recommended Clarence and Theo hired him. [19]

On BechimoEdit

  • First Class Pilot[1]
  • Co-Pilot reporting to Theo Waitley on Bechimo the Ghost Ship[20]
    • Less Pilot, in Bechimo’s words
  • Promoted to Executive Officer eventually, because he'd proven to have a calm but strong demeanor and a good head for business and people — and at some ports "Admin won't deal with just a pilot, they'll want the Exec" [21]
  • Calls Bechimo "Chimmy" — his swirling face in Screen Six brought to mind a friend from his homeworld — but Bechimo doesn’t accept that designation[22]
  • Helps mentor Bechimo (and Theo) in social skills and Liaden modes and languages[20]
    • basically tells Bechimo it's insulting to call Arin's Toss a "mere ship" — and why it annoys Theo[23]
    • explains how Bechimo’s disregard for the booby traps someone planted on Arin’s Toss put pilot yo’Valla’s life in danger, and potentially impugned Theo’s reputation as an honest pilot[23]
    • reminds Theo that people get grumpy when woken up at o'dark:30[24]

Stray StuffEdit

  • "First Class Pilot Clarence O’Berin, born Strabane and all that stuff including the proper pilot ID number, was on the seventy-ninth day of local year seven hundred and twelve named as an active antagonist, thief, scoundrel, and an agent of the Juntavas. This was sworn to by Hiramson O’Nandy O’dell, citizen of Strabane…” [1]
  • He likes fresh cookies and breads, and looks for good recipes and ingredients at the various ports they visit.[25]
  • Daav’s tentative trust in Clarence
    • "Korval and the Juntavas," Daav continued, "have long ago agreed to a policy of . . . avoidance. Which means that, value him as I might, yet I cannot by policy assume Clarence to be trustworthy, nor may I consider that he holds Korval's best interest first in his heart."[10]
  • His divorce from some nameless guy:

Daav laughed. "It sounds as if you've been married."

"Happens I was," Clarence said, soberly. "We were too young for it, o'course. I had my second class, doing in-system work, but still, a lot of lonely nights for him, and me not there. We worked at it, but then — it was a hard world, and money wasn't easy, even with both of us working like we did. The fees on a pilot's labor—"

He glanced down at his glass. Daav lifted the bottle and poured, adding some more to his own glass.

"Thank you. In any case, I'd flown my hours and was burning for first class, but we'd never afford the buy-in. Come a woman to port offering to pay it all, and hire me when I had my ticket, if I agreed to do her a favor, if you understand me."

He shook his head. "He wouldn't stand with that, not at all. It was terrible, that fight, but in the end I chose the ticket, and the doin' of that favor." He drank, deeply. "And that's how I come to work for Herself as a courier pilot, before she come here to be Boss...”

"Oh, he left me, and right he was to do it. The doin' of favors, well. Look where it's got me." He shook his head and offered Daav a half-feral grin. "The choices we make, those're what shapes us."[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Dragon Ship chapter 16
  2. Mouse & Dragon, chapter 34
  3. Dragon Ship, ch 17
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 The Beggar King, in A Liaden Universe Constellation volume 2, and in Necessary Evils: Adventures in the Liaden Universe Book 11
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Mouse and Dragon, ch 29
  6. Ghost Ship, ch 40
  7. Mouse and Dragon, chapter 18
  8. 8.0 8.1 Dragon Ship
  9. Dragon Ship, chap. 15
  10. 10.0 10.1 Mouse and Dragon chapter 19
  11. Ghost Ship, chapter 12
  12. Ghost Ship, chapter 29
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Ghost Ship, chapter 13
  14. Neogenesis, Surebleak
  15. Ghost Ship, chapter 14
  16. Ghost Ship chapter 30
  17. Ghost Ships chapter 18
  18. Dragon Ship chapter 9
  19. Ghost Ship, chapter 35
  20. 20.0 20.1 Ghost Ship
  21. Dragon Ship, ch 4
  22. Dragon Ship, chapter 1
  23. 23.0 23.1 Ghost Ship chapter 38
  24. Neogenesis
  25. Dragon Ship and Gathering Edge