So, who watched Farscape, back in the day? The new Battlestar Galactica? I can’t deny a certain influence from them on this new development, with Aera manifesting in Tarn’s brain, while remaining invisible to everyone else.
This was a twist which has been planned for a long time, but originally wasn’t going to drop until about mid-way through Arc 7. While writing this chapter it became evident that introducing it here would make a lot more sense and give me more time to explore what it means. It brings in a new complication and potential threat as we head into the climax of the story, raising the stakes and weaving in a new layer of unpredictability. The last thing I want is for the final chapters of TMC to be predictable: all the pieces arranged and doing what they need to do. Having Aera poking about in Tarn’s head introduces a chaotic element which will keep things nice and fresh.
This is also our first time with Tarn since the battle of Bruckin and since he went off the deep end with his powers. Here we have him not coping particularly well with the fallout, and feeling the absence of Fenris. There’s the distinct sense that he would have been able to talk to Fenris about what happened very readily, but has been keeping it more to himself since Fenris’ demise. Examining his behaviour with Kirya would be uncomfortable, even if he wouldn’t be able to vocalise exactly why.
It’s a quiet, very small chapter to open Arc 7. I thought that was probably needed after the bombast of the battle of Bruckin and the nasty Arc 6 finale with Pienya and Kraisa. This chapter gives us something of a breather.