In the second book, Sten and troops are Trapped Behind Enemy Lines and his Bhor friend Otho wants to mount a rescue mission. Cue a Bhor council to decide whether to go or not. This is old-style participatory democracy, and one elderly Bhor gets off-topic, rambling about his glory days. Finally, Otho interrupts — interrupting is really bad manners, but his friends are dying — by cutting off his beard (a sign this is Serious Business) and kneeling to demand a decision now. He's almost sure they'll vote against him, and then he'll be executed, but he had to do something. And then the old guy he rudely interrupted cuts off his own beard and kneels beside Otho to support him. Dead silence. They fly the rescue mission, of course.