Who & Where is The Uncle?Edit

  • The Uncle is addressed as "Yuri" by Dulsey in Dragon Ship[1] and Neogenesis[2] and as "Uncle Yuri" by Grig Tomas in Balance of Trade.[3] In The Gathering Edge, Bechimo states that the Uncle used the name "Yuri Tomas" when he was involved in Bechimo's creation.[4] If the Uncle that Cantra meets in Crystal Soldier has any name other than "the Uncle" it's not mentioned.
  • Uncle keeps his identity and location hidden. In Crystal Soldier, he lived in an asteroid field, on Rockhaven, located beyond the Rim, in the Little Empty. [5] More recently, he lives aboard Vivulonj Prosperu (live long and prosper?)[6]
  • The Department of the Interior hunts Uncle; its agent reflects that Uncle is "as elusive and difficult to find as old tech itself."[7]
    • But Uncle worries that members of his secret network, if captured and interrogated, might reveal the location of his base, and his old tech devices.[1]

Uncle’s shipsEdit

  • Vivulonj Prosperu - The Uncle and Dulsey live on this ship; it also contains his healing unit and some blancs for cloning
  • Arins Toss - a courier ship - the Uncle engaged Theo Waitley as courier pilot for The Toss
  • Cortz Lattice — piloted by EmTraven, it conveyed Seignur Veeoni, Tassi, the Uncle’s sister, to Surebleak[8] and to Tinsori Light[9]
  • His ship in the Great Migration from Old Solcintra orbit:

What's that thing beside you, Rinder? Only got four beacons I can scan.”

"Uncle, that's my guess."

"Right. Well Rinder, you're safe on that side. . . But low on company!"

Laughter from a bunch of ships . . . [10]

Uncle's AgeEdit

  • The Uncle is more than 1000 years old. He predates the Great Migration and Clan Korval. "A double-hand of Common years" before Dulsey met the Uncle, he saved Cantra yos'Phelium from painful death by line edit.[11]
  • During the Great Migration, Uncle's ship transitioned with Cantra's Quick Passage fleet, so he’s at least that old[10]"
  • Uncle stores his consciousness and downloads himself into young bodies, via the Remastering Unit.
    • "He had himself been reborn more times than he could enumerate, absent a check of the records. And, of course, in order to be reborn, one must first die."[12]
  • He might, thought Uncle, gazing down at the pods on Dulsey’s palm, be the only left who remembered the name of the great race of trees. Ssussdriad.[13]
  • "a lifetime counted in tens of hundreds of Standard Years" -- so...2000 years old, at least??[14]

Goals & MethodsEdit

  • Uncle's ultimate goals are unclear. This obscurity is confounded by the changing setting. His goals in the old Universe might well have changed somewhat, once they left the Sheriekas behind. His personality, character -- and ambitions -- seems to evolve somewhat. (effected by rebirth?)
  • Uncle sees himself as a Revolutionary:
    • "It was not my plan nor my intent to set up a hospice for wounded Scouts." She Dulsey laughed softly, "A return to your origins." He stared at her, then allowed himself a chuckle. "I had considered myself a revolutionary!"[13] (his origins? a doctor?)
    • "A revolutionary who gathered to him those in need of repair before they could be put to work for his cause." (Dulsey, to Uncle)[13]
  • A millennium after the fact, Uncle reveals WHY he saved Cantra from line-edit: [11] Because he is a revolutionary, and he thought she had the potential to confound his enemies.[13]
    • but this conflicts with the terrible events at Rockhaven, when The Tree’s clever actions stopped Uncle in his tracks...until Cantra nearly died at the hands of his supposed Fratellanzia [15] [16]
  • Cantra warned Dulsey about the Uncle: "The Uncle wants to control all, and there's no one to control him...And spend lives for it, he surely does."[17]
  • Cantra told Jela, "Uncle ain't collecting sherieka tech. He's using. Figures he can beat the Enemy by mastering their machines and turning them against their makers." [18]
  • Scout (retired?) Win Ton yo'Vala reflects on The Uncle: "He had seen the high security records indicating that this man -- or his mind, or his personally experienced knowledge -- pre-dated the advent of Liadens into this particular universe and into these particular galaxy clusters. The Uncle had long been involved with the nefarious doings of those who chose to collect items which might also pre-date that arrival, items which might have precipitated and fomented the very wars of crystallization."[19]
  • Uncle himself reveals some of his methods and philosophies, in Saltation, ch 40.
  • He analyzes news from the Galaxy: "I have been accumulating news, which is information in action, and I have been long in the habit of making things happen, rather than waiting for them to occur."[20]
  • Uncle employs a secret network, divided into tiers:
    • "Take and question them all, and someone with fortune and insight might indeed piece together the idea that there was a network, while failing to gather enough hard data to deduce its location, purpose, and members. While some of the third tier had surely made it to at least a kind of safety [since Mildred Bilinoda was interrogated] others had, or would, fall into the net of this newly aggressive foe. Which meant that various items of what the Scout's termed "Old Tech" or "Befores" had come into the keeping of those who were both ambitious and ignorant....This Department of the Interior, they wished to have the galaxy under their control, and they saw in the works of the oldest enemy the means to bring their ambition to fruition."[1]
  • Uncle's Catalinc Project is his most secret work:
    • "Yuri!" Dulsey walked to his desk, and she had used his name, which she did so very seldom...."Andreth found signs of surveillance at Catalinc!" His blood ran cold. "Surveillance?" he asked, forcing his voice into a pleasant and interested tone."[1]
    • Turns out the Lyre Institute sent agents to steal the fractin research related to Tinsori Light, but his sister Tassi outwitted them[21]

The Fratellanzia Edit

  • When Jela and Cantra ferried Dulsey to Uncle’s organization at Rockhaven, he threatened to keep Jela — an M series —for his gene pool, and to keep Cantra, too. His people boarded Spiral Dance, snooping around, until The Tree’s clever actions stopped Uncle in his self-satisfied tracks... so Uncle let them go....until Cantra nearly died at the hands of his people at the docks, and Jela killed /wounded a dozen plus, single-handedly, to rescue her. Then the assassins fired on Spiral Dance.[15]
  • Uncle immediately pinbeamed Spiral Dance, saying that he didn’t authorize the attack.
  • At Vanehald, months later, Arin suggests that a secret fraternity Uncle hadn't known about acted without his knowledge or approval:
    • “Uncle has spoken to me of these pilots [indicating Jela and Cantra] and their role in bringing the Fratellanzia to his attention.”[16]
  • Uncle may not have known about the secret Frat Pack, but he was sinister enough himself that Tree had to act on hydroponics. Uncle acted without conscience to two visitors bearing gifts (Dulsey and fractin tiles).

Use of Forbidden TechEdit

  • Uncle buys (and sells?) contraband fractins, books, tech, under the cover business "Crystal Energy Consultants"[22]
  • In the 12th Century: Midcentral Crystal Logistics[23]
  • Cloning: Uncle to Theo: "Fashion. It is a matter of fashion to make these rules. Cloning has been legal and it has been illegal. Good people have died a final death because they might not be cloned -- my relatives among them."[20]
  • Uncle to Theo: "The dissidents. The Department of the Interior. Fools who have collected good and bad old tech and use it without understanding."[20]
  • "It is not a mere med unit like the best ships and hospital have. It is a med unit of the type the Scouts have long abjured and fought against, in that it uses forbidden, even secret technology."[20]
  • "If I had been permitted to work with, and collect this technology several hundreds years ago when I wished to, we might [be able to heal Win Ton as he is]."[20]

Genetic ArchivesEdit

As a resurrectionist making clones, the Uncle also maintains an extensive genetic archive. [24]

  • Cantra’s DNA: The Uncle tells Daav, "Korval material has long been among my options. I had the sample from Cantra herself, when her foster mother brought her to me, to be cured of the edit that had taken all the rest of her Line." - "You may find it reassuring that, though I have had free access to this material for such an amount of time, I have chosen not to use it." [25]
  • In his archive he has M-strain soldiers from the old universe - he got them before his meeting with Cantra and Jela (in Crystal Soldier).
  • From time to time he produces some M-soldiers as guards for his projects. [26]
  • Miri offers him the Yxtrang gene samples: "You already hold a big collection of similar material, all of which makes you the best choice to receive and care for these ...rare and precious samples."... "Those cases contain viable samples, with documentation, of the K, M, X, and Y strains developed by the military. There are also samples and notes for various specialist strains." [27]
  • Miri explains why she chose him: "I did some research while I was considering this situation, and I found out that, in all the years you've been running roughshod over the universe and pretty much getting your way on everything, you never once fielded an army.” [27]

Kin, Line TomasEdit

Uncle, of Tassi: ‘She was not, as she had now asserted twice, his exact duplicate, but she wore the strands — he could see the hint of them, even beneath the sweater and jacket required by Surebleak’s weather. She was her own unique person, as all of his brothers and sisters were entirely themselves. But one attribute that made her unique was the fact that she…remembered more of his young memories than even he did, here and now.’ [29]

The Tomas family: Arin, Grig, Raisy, Jethri...and Yuri Tomas, the Uncle

  • Arin and Uncle are brothers, so too is Jethri:

"His company’s Midcentral Crystal Logistics -- and what all this has to do with you is that he’s Arin Gobelyn’s for-real brother, and Arin was the spit of him. Which means now I can say I’ve met two somebodies who Uncle was blood-kin to.”[23]

  • The Tomas family goes way back...

Paitor to Khat: “these Tomas brothers and their cousins, they’d been right slick traders and dealers and spaceship types for a lot of years, but never what I’d call family of our likes—us being Gobelyn and Karter and Turnavitch and well, you know the names, because we’ve been loopers for a few hundred years, and so have they.

“The thing is that these Tomas folks been there at the fringes, being a little too ahead of things sometimes, and a little too knowing, and always did have a yen — including when Arin come along — to deal in just about any old-time or Before thing what was come across.”[30]

  • Uncle...always an Uncle...

“One thing Iza’s research did was confirm that however old Arin and Grig are, there’s been an Uncle, someone everybody called Uncle, anyhow, in that line since before records got coordinated. Always an Uncle. Always had his own ship or two. Always.”

Paitor turned and fixed her gaze with his. “Centuries, we’re talking, and not just a couple of them either, looks like. Family resemblance between Arin and the Uncle, I say, and Jethri a twin of his dad.” Paitor nodded at her hand motion, which was a simple confirm. “Oh yes, a twin as much as a son. Iza saw it, finally, and we saw it. Cris knows it. Got to be damn plain, actually!”[31]

  • Arin Tomas / Gobelyn — apparently a continuously regenerated clone from old universe until he died heroically, circa 1108, according to eyewitness Scout ter’Astin: "Your father — he was as a giant. He went back into that building twice, and brought out injured persons”[32] Jethri thought of him as father, but Uncle refers to Jethri as “Arin’s youngest brother”[33] and Grig says they were like twins, but individuals. Wrote "Arin's Envidaria of the Seventeen Worlds" (See his link)
  • Grig / Grigory Tomas — Another brother. He formerly assisted Uncle but quit. He wanted to stop working the old tech, thought Uncle should make new tech. Doesn't trust Old Tech (unlike Raisy, his sister, who advises Uncle).
    • Grig helped Arin work out his Envidaria trading plan and shared it with family DeNobli: "Grig knew the outlines since he helped Arin do some test flying on this idea. Good man, that Grig, comes from a good family.”[34]
  • Jethri (Tomas) Gobelyn ven'Deelin, clan Ixin: Uncle designed him to recognize Old Tech, fractins. He wanted Jethri to continue Arin’s work with fractins, and to find Old Tech caches in Liaden Space.[35] But in the end, Uncle decided Jethri was doing important work building Terran-Liaden trust, because he saw galactic war coming if something wasn't done.[36]
  • Raisy Tomas — Grig’s sister. Uncle’s right hand advisor in Balance of Trade. A pilot. Flew Grig to Irikwae to find Jethri and warn him about Bar Jan chel'Gaiban, clan Rinork.[37]


  • Dulsey - (f) A close associate of The Uncle, she's been with him the longest, since pre-exodus days. Goes by the name Dulsey Ormon in 12th Century, according to Dorricky DeNobli:

“Dulsey Omron’s the pilot who companions Uncle—I reckon he’s got as good a name as any of the rest of us somewhere about, but that’s what everybody calls him, just Uncle. None of us have kin-claim on him; just, he’s been around forever—and her, too—always busy, always open to helping; scheming and hatching, like traders do.[23]
See details about Dulsey

  • Randoling, who had dropped to Gondola with a certain very particular something bound for the inventory of Mildred Bilinoda
  • Smalltrader Mildred Bilinoda - (f) In Ghost Ship, she deals in exotic / illegal items. "Shiny and hard as river stones, those eyes, black and narrow" [38] Mildred was apparently captured(?) or killed by The Department of the Interior
  • Andreth - (m) involved in the Uncle's project at Catalinc[1]
  • Kalib and Indira: security ops: “The signatory is Ops,” Yuri said expressionlessly. Dulsey shivered. “Kalib?” she asked, after a moment. “I had thought of Indira...”[39]
  • EmTraven - pilot and guard for Tassi
  • DeNobli family (Doricky, Freza, etc.) and the Carresens, joint construction of the Tradedesk Space Station, when he operated under the business name Mid-central Crystal Logics, in the 12th Century [23]
  • Clan Korval, but only tenuously, reluctantly, and occasionally."There is a long history between Korval and the Uncle -- and it is Val Con's duty to be suspicious on behalf of kin and clan."[40]
    • "There is a protocol whereby the Uncle may be contacted by Korval. It is not unknown for his interests to coincide with ours."[19]

Free Ship AssociatesEdit

  • In the 12th Century, Uncle and Dulsey associated with the DeNobli and the Carresens in the building of Tradedesk Station, the celebration of its new Trade Center,[23] and the design of unique Ships -- patnered with the Carresens and DeNobli trading families [41]
  • Helped to build Bechimo but is on the disallowed list [42](see Bechimo section)
  • Knows the free ships, or Independent Logics
  • Free-ship Disian — the Wise Child — tells Hazenthull about Uncle and Tinsori Light:

“The oddities that the Uncle collects are often. . . dangerous. He has long been interested in the construction and preservation of independent self-aware logics. The Free Ships regard him with affection well mixed with wariness. He is very old and very learned. Often, his projects serve the common good, but that is not why he takes them up.

It is the opinion of the Free Ships, and others of our kind, that, in this instance, the Uncle is tampering with something that. . . may be beyond him.”

“He needs Tolly Jones to mentor the Old One,” Hazenthull said, “and bring him into accord with the universe.”

There was a small pause, as if she had surprised Disian, then a small click — like the audible nod of an invisible head. “You understand what the Free Ships understand, but which the Uncle has failed to grasp: It is imperative that Tolly Jones has access to the Old One before it is fully wakened.”[43]

Bechimo & UncleEdit

  • Uncle, of Bechimo: "She's engineered of old tech and new, and it's not just the Scouts who want her dead, or taken."[44]
  • "I believe in Bechimo, because I stood on her deck." [20] (Bechimo now prefers the masculine pronoun)[45]
  • Uncle helped design Bechimo: Bechimo says, “The Uncle himself designed and oversaw installation of many of the masking systems. It is my estimation that what should not be found or seen by others will not be.”[19]
  • The Uncle was one of Bechimo's Founders[4][46]
  • Uncle was eventually banned from Bechimo: "The Uncle is on the disallowed list" ... "Who made up this list?"..."The Builders." [42]
  • Jermone Joyita to Bechimo, back when Bechimo was completed: "It is mete that I should not know all the secrets the Uncle has told to you"[47]

Associates Pre-ExodusEdit

  • Arin - (m) linguist and librarian, young, tall and lean, gray eyes.[16] Probably the newer Arin's came from his"pure stock" as Raisy Tomas puts it [48]
  • Dulsey — (f) The original Dulsey had pale skin, pale hair, gray eyes, and a stocky figure. A former "batcher" clone, she trained as an engineer and learned to pilot on Spiral Dance with Jela and Cantra. [49] Continues into current Liaden Universe
  • Fern - (f) pilot and archeologist[16]
  • Jakoby - (f) weapons specialist, small and fair "a pale port"[16]

Uncle's Description by BookEdit

Crystal SoldierEdit

  • a young man, tall and lean, his long dark hair swept into a knot at the back of his head and fixed with two porcelain sticks. He was dressed in a crimson robe heavy with embroidery, with here and there a wink of gold - smartstrands.
  • His voice was deep and musical, the hands stretched out in greeting a-glitter with rings inset with strange stones. His eyes were a cool and calculating gray
  • the intent, we're-all-believers-here stare, which had been a feature of the former Uncle, too, and even more unsettling on the face of a young man.

[As food for thought, compare this description of Arin, from the following book: "tall and lean and tough, with gray eyes set deep under strong black brows".]

Crystal DragonEdit

  • He was wearing a layer of Solcintra port dust over a dark cloak, and his hair was in a simple, unadorned braid. No tile showing, no strands, neither. Even his rings were gone.
  • Beneath, he was wearing dark shirt and pale vest, looking like any respectable person of reasonable wealth and consequence, excepting the smartstrands woven into the shirt

Balance of TradeEdit

  • long, craggy and lean. His hair was hullplate gray, short, but not buzzed; his eyes dark and deep.


  • a man with carefully trimmed hair and a sketch of a beard (chapter 39)
  • he was neither old nor young, and he was dressed simply [...] in something that looked like it might be dance class clothes.
  • Trim as it was, Uncle fiddled with his dark hair, as if he missed something he was used to at his ear or on his head, perahps a turban, or an earring.

Ghost ShipEdit

  • His beard was more definite, and carefully groomed; his dark hair was lacquered red at the tips, and a single gold ring pierced his right ear. Her wore a plain dark sweater, a leather vest, and leather pants.

Alliance of EqualsEdit

  • a dark-haired man entered. He was taller than Daav, black hair tipped with red, and a closely trimmed dark beard, despite the testimony of which, he did not seem…quite Terran. He was dressed as they were, in simple sweater and pants. His feet were bare.
  • his voice bearing a slight accent that was neither Liaden nor Terran


  • "The man himself was pretty compact, younger looking than Miri had expected, dressed to swagger in a well-used jacket with a vaguely military cut and a faded smear of color on one shoulder, like maybe it had once been a hash mark. His hair was short in front, longer than the collar of his jacket in back, dark brown with the last inch or so lacquered bright red. Gold ring in the right ear and a short dark beard that did nothing to soften a strong stubborn jaw. So far as his face and his body language went, excusing the beard, he might have been Liaden born, neutral as you like and then some."


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Dragon Ship, ch 30
  2. Neogenesis, ch 7
  3. Balance of Trade, ch 32
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Gathering Edge
  5. Crystal Soldier, ch 24
  6. Dragon in Exile, interlude nine
  7. Ghost Ship, ch 10
  8. Neogenesis prologue
  9. Neogenesis
  10. 10.0 10.1 Crystal Dragon, ch 34
  11. 11.0 11.1 Crystal Soldier, ch 16
  12. Dragon Ship, ch 19
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Dragon Ship, ch 11
  14. Dragon Ship, chapter 13
  15. 15.0 15.1 Crystal Soldier, ch 25
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 Crystal Dragon chapter 19
  17. Crystal Soldier, ch 19
  18. Crystal Soldier, ch 28
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Dragon Ship
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 Saltation, ch 40
  21. Neogenesis
  22. Ghost Ship, ch 35
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 Trade Secret, ch 18
  24. Neogenesis, ch 20
  25. Alliance of Equals, ch 19
  26. Neogenesis, ch 20 iii
  27. 27.0 27.1 Neogenesis, ch 20 vi
  28. Neogenesis
  29. Neogenesis: Surebleak
  30. Trade Secret chapter 9
  31. Trade Secret chapter 9
  32. Balance of Trade, DAY 66 Standard Year 1118, Kailipso Station At Leave
  33. Balance of Trade, Day 165, SY 1118
  34. Trade Secret, ch 26
  35. Balance of Trade, Day 165, SY 1118
  36. Trade Secret, ch 22
  37. Balance of Trade
  38. Ghost Ship, ch 11
  39. Neogenesis: Vivulonj Prosperu
  40. Ghost Ship, ch 5
  41. Trade Secret
  42. 42.0 42.1 Ghost Ship, ch 21
  43. Neogenesis, Admiral Bunter
  44. Ghost Ship, ch 3
  45. Ghost Ship
  46. The Gathering Edge, ch 27
  47. Dragon Ship, ch 28
  48. Balance of Trade
  49. Crystal Soldier