by Dan Simmons
Hyperion Chapter 6 Summary
How It All Goes Down
- The pilgrims arrive at Chronos Keep. Picture the creepiest deserted castle you can think of, then up the scary factor by about 100, and you get Chronos Keep.
- They scope the place out, finding it creepy and deserted, but safe.
- Out the window, Father Hoyt spots a figure walking toward the Time Tombs. It's Het Masteen, the missing Templar.
- As they won't be able to catch up to him, no one seems too concerned.
- It's the last night before the six remaining pilgrims approach the Time Tombs, so they get ready for the last story: The Consul's Tale: Remembering Siri.
- No, not that one.
- This one, too, shifts into first-person P.O.V., but the Consul has told us that he's telling another's story, so we have no idea who is talking yet.
- The narrator jogs up a hill to Siri's tomb, leaving his (or her?) son and grandchildren behind.
- At the top of the hill, s/he has a flashback to the first night s/he and Siri came to the top of the hill.
- We learn that the narrator's name is Merin Aspic, he worked on a Hegemony spaceship, and he met Siri five years ago for him, sixty-five years ago for her.
- Traveling faster than the speed of light really messes up time perception.
- The Tale follows Merin and Siri, jumping back and forth between Merin's adventures with his friend Mike, and Merin and Siri on her homeworld of Maui-Covenant.
- Merin only gets to visit Siri once a year or so, but so much more time passes on Maui-Covenant while Merin is in space that Siri ages by decades each time. One visit he'll have children. The next, grandchildren.
- Many people on Maui-Covenant, including Siri, don't want to be integrated into the WorldWeb. They're worried about what that means for the planet, its moving islands, and the dolphins, which came from Old Earth.
- During their First Reunion (i.e., the second time they meet), Siri and Merin swim with dolphins and talk to them with translation disks.
- Unfortunately, tensions are high between members of the Hegemony (like Merin his friend Mike) and the Separatists of Maui-Covenant. The conflict comes to a head when a group of Separatists get into a physical altercation with Mike and kill him. It's like a street fight straight out of Romeo & Juliet, with Mike playing the part of poor Mercutio.
- Merin tries to convince Mike that it's just a flesh wound, but poor Mike is slain.
- We bounce around time more, eventually focusing on Merin and Siri's sixth reunion. Merin's twenty-two, Siri is seventy and has great respect as a leader on Maui-Covenant.
- The two talk about the implications of Maui-Covenant becoming part of the Hegemony—farcasters, tourists, drilling for oil.
- Siri wonders what would happen if the farcaster portal were destroyed. Answer? It would buy about eleven years of time before the Hegemony troops could return and annihilate the Separatists.
- Fast-forward back to the beginning (if that makes sense), and Merin is inside Siri's tomb. It's empty because Siri was cremated, but she left Merin a few gifts, including a digital journal that Merin listens to.
- After he listens to the diary, he emerges from the tomb, just as the new farcaster is to be activated.
- It turns on for just a second—and then explodes because of a bomb Merin put there.
- We return to the pilgrims for a moment as they wonder who the Consul is. Turns out, he's Merin's grandson. Merin died during the rebellion that ensued after the farcaster was destroyed, Siri's Rebellion. Many died during the Rebellion, including all of the dolphins.
- The Consul continues his story, revealing the fate of Maui-Covenant. It wasn't pretty.
- After seeing most of his family die, Donel joined the Hegemony, eventually becoming the Consul. But he was a traitor, working against them from the inside.
- Meina Gladstone, then a mere Senator, sends the Consul to meet with the Ousters and plant the seed that will cause them to invade Hyperion.
- He flies out to meet them, but he tells them he's a spy. Surprisingly, they don't kill him. Instead, they tell him a huge secret: the destruction of Old Earth had been planned by the TechnoCore and the human government.
- The Ousters also give the Consul a device that will open the Time Tombs and free the Shrike.
- When the Consul returns to Meina Gladstone, now CEO, he tells her that his mission succeeded: the Ousters will attack Hyperion.
- She assigns him to Hyperion, where he waits for Ouster scouts to arrive. When they do, they all traipse out to the Time Tombs where the Consul shoots them, then triggers the device to open the Time Tombs.
- So, he pretty much played everyone. Why?
- Here's his answer: "Think of Old Earth dying for no reason, […] thing of the dolphins, their gray flesh drying and rotting in the sun. […] I remember the way it could have been" (6.531, 6.533).
- The story over, the other pilgrims are surprised to learn the Consul is the spy.
- Even though he's a traitor, they decide he couldn't help it. And they don't kill him.
- With his guilty conscience absolved by telling his story, "the Consul set his curled fist against his cheek, closed his eyes, and slept" (6.594). He sleeps well for the first time in years.