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** "I can't read your mind." Bury's fyunch(click!), continually trying to reassure him... and achieving just the opposite.

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** "I can't read your mind." Bury's fyunch(click!), continually trying to reassure him... and achieving just the opposite. (Especially since the first time it happens, Bury just happened to be worrying if his mind was being read. It was coincidence, but still....)


* MundaneLuxury: The Moties are incredibly envious of human women's access to contrareceptives (or more accurately, of their ability to delay getting pregnant until a convenient time without dying of hormonal imbalances).

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* MundaneLuxury: The Moties are incredibly envious of human women's access to contrareceptives contraceptives (or more accurately, of their ability to delay getting pregnant until a convenient time without dying of hormonal imbalances).

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* DyingRace: According to Whitbread's Motie, the Moties are this, culturally if not biologically. With every Cycle that passes, more of their home system's resources are used up in ways that cannot be easily repaired, and it becomes just that little bit harder for the next group of civilizations to climb their way up from barbarianism. Sooner or later, the damage will become so severe that they won't be able to rebuild civilization at all.


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* HordeOfAlienLocusts: If the Moties get off their homeworld, they would inevitably become this.

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* AliensNeverInventedTheWheel: The Moties never invented the [[DeflectorShields Langston Field]], which in combination with the red star at the other end of the only tramway out of their system has kept them trapped in their own system for millennia.

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* MundaneLuxury: The Moties are incredibly envious of human women's access to contrareceptives (or more accurately, of their ability to delay getting pregnant until a convenient time without dying of hormonal imbalances).


* BizarreAlienPsychology: {{Inverted|Trope}}. Several Motie mediators assigned to human emissaries go mad trying to comprehend their behavior. The Mediator assigned to Captain Blaine is unable to comprehend the chain of command, and understand how one being can both gave and responded to orders, while the mediator assigned to Chief Engineer Sinclair won't stop talking about engineering. The Motie rulers decide to stop assigning mediators to individual human authority figures because it's too hazardous to their mental health.

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* BizarreAlienPsychology: {{Inverted|Trope}}. Several Motie mediators assigned to human emissaries go mad trying to comprehend their behavior. The Mediator assigned to Captain Blaine is unable to comprehend the chain of command, and understand how one being can both gave give and responded to orders, while the mediator assigned to Chief Engineer Sinclair won't stop talking about engineering. The Motie rulers decide to stop assigning mediators to individual human authority figures because it's too hazardous to their mental health.

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* BlatantLies: When Renner replays the recording showing the Motie probe to the Motie ambassadors [[spoiler:it shows members of the Motie warrior caste, which the Moties had previously claimed were fictional demons, being ejected into space and destroyed by the light sail]]. At first Jock claims they must be statues of the Motie castes rather than real beings, but then Renner points out [[spoiler: that one is clearly pregnant]]. Jock then tries to spin a story about the probe crew having been "demon worshipers". None of the humans buy it.


* AllWomenArePrudes: The Motie mediators take advantage of this trope by asking Sally, the only female member of the scientific expedition, about human reproduction. As she is a "proper young lady", they correctly guess that she can be easily deflected from asking vitally important questions about Motie reproduction in return.



** "Come, I will conceal nothing from you". Renner (and Renner's fyunch(click!)) make a point of complete candor... even though, perhaps because it puts other humans off-balance.

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** "Come, I will conceal nothing from you". Renner (and Renner's fyunch(click!)) make a point of complete candor... even though, perhaps because it puts other humans off-balance.



* BizarreAlienBiology: Moties have an asymmetrical anatomy, and their reproductive system differs greatly from most Terran species. [[spoiler: All Moties of all types are born male. After a while, they change sex and become female (except the Keepers). If they don't get pregnant and give birth, they die. If they do get pregnant and give birth, they become male again. This cycle repeats - no one's quite sure how old a Motie can get if they keep with the cycle.]]
* BizarreAlienPsychology: {{Inverted|Trope}}. Motie mediators assigned to human emissaries go mad trying to comprehend how they act. In one example involving a main character, the Mediator assigned to Captain Blaine goes mad, unable to comprehend the chain of command, and how one being both gave and responded to orders.

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* BizarreAlienBiology: Moties have an asymmetrical anatomy, and their reproductive system differs greatly from most Terran species. [[spoiler: All Moties of all types are born male. After a while, they change sex and become female (except the Keepers). sterile Keepers and half-breed mediators). If they don't get pregnant and give birth, they die.die in a matter of weeks from hormonal imbalances. If they do get pregnant and give birth, they become male again. This cycle repeats - no one's quite sure how old a Motie can get if they keep with the cycle.]]
* BizarreAlienPsychology: {{Inverted|Trope}}. Several Motie mediators assigned to human emissaries go mad trying to comprehend how they act. In one example involving a main character, the their behavior. The Mediator assigned to Captain Blaine goes mad, is unable to comprehend the chain of command, and understand how one being can both gave and responded to orders. orders, while the mediator assigned to Chief Engineer Sinclair won't stop talking about engineering. The Motie rulers decide to stop assigning mediators to individual human authority figures because it's too hazardous to their mental health.


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* SexyDiscretionShot: When what had previously been two female miniature Moties begin enthusiastically mating in their holding pen the navy abruptly cuts off the camera feed that had been showing their exploits ship-wide. Sally in frustration leaves her quarters and runs down to the holding room, only to realize with embarrassment [[AllWomenAreLustful what it looks like]] to have a "proper young lady" come running out-of-breath into a room to watch two animals mate.


* ForScience: The apparent motivation of some of the more... enthusiastic... researchers aboard the ''[=MacArthur=]''. Some of the clues to the true nature of Motie civilization are missed as a result of the astronomers on-board being largely uninterested in anything that isn't a natural phenomena.

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* ForScience: The apparent motivation of some of the more... enthusiastic... researchers aboard the ''[=MacArthur=]''. Some of the clues to the true nature of Motie civilization are missed as a result of the astronomers on-board Dr. Buckman being largely completely uninterested in anything that isn't a natural phenomena.


* ForScience: The apparent motivation of some of the more... enthusiastic... researchers aboard the ''[=MacArthur=]''.

to:

* ForScience: The apparent motivation of some of the more... enthusiastic... researchers aboard the ''[=MacArthur=]''. Some of the clues to the true nature of Motie civilization are missed as a result of the astronomers on-board being largely uninterested in anything that isn't a natural phenomena.


* SpeciesLoyalty: Humans join the defense against the Moties for this.

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* SpeciesLoyalty: Humans join Exhibited on both sides. [[spoiler: The Moties quickly stop their current wars and present a (false) united front to humanity when they detect the defense against human ships in their system. The humans unite in the effort to blockade the Mote when they realize the Moties for this.are incapable of controlling their population growth.]]


* HumansAreSpecial: Zig-zagged. In spite of having engineering skills inferior to those of the Motie engineering caste, humanity has developed DeflectorShields while the Moties have not, though several characters note that the discovery was mostly by chance. Just knowing that the Langstrom field exists is enough to let the Moties develop a similar field, and they immediately improve on it by developing a version that can expand to radiate away more energy and therefore last much longer than human-made shields. [[spoiler: What really makes us special from the Motie perspective is that adult humans don't die of hormonal imbalances within a few weeks if we fail to reproduce.]]

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* HumansAreSpecial: Zig-zagged. In spite of having engineering skills inferior to those of the Motie engineering caste, humanity has developed DeflectorShields while the Moties have not, though several characters note that the discovery was mostly by chance. Just knowing that the Langstrom Langston field exists is enough to let the Moties develop a similar field, and they immediately improve on it by developing a version that can expand to radiate away more energy and therefore last much longer than human-made shields. [[spoiler: What really makes us special from the Motie perspective is that adult humans don't die of hormonal imbalances within a few weeks if we fail to reproduce.]]


* FasterThanLightTravel: Alderson Drive, which operates more like a [[OurWormholesAreDifferent wormhole]] system, but not quite.

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* FasterThanLightTravel: Alderson Drive, which operates more like a [[OurWormholesAreDifferent wormhole]] system, but not quite. The fact that the drive only operates along specific "tramlines" between stars is central to the plot (and that of the sequel). Because the only tramline from the Motie system ends within the outer layers of a supergiant star no human has ever tried to travel to their system before, and the Moties have been trapped in their home system for their entire history.


* HumansAreSpecial: Zig-zagged. In spite of having inferior engineering skills, humanity has innovated faster-than-light travel before the Moties, though several characters note that its discovery was mostly by chance.

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* HumansAreSpecial: Zig-zagged. In spite of having inferior engineering skills, skills inferior to those of the Motie engineering caste, humanity has innovated faster-than-light travel before developed DeflectorShields while the Moties, Moties have not, though several characters note that its the discovery was mostly by chance.chance. Just knowing that the Langstrom field exists is enough to let the Moties develop a similar field, and they immediately improve on it by developing a version that can expand to radiate away more energy and therefore last much longer than human-made shields. [[spoiler: What really makes us special from the Motie perspective is that adult humans don't die of hormonal imbalances within a few weeks if we fail to reproduce.]]


* {{Homage}}: The fact that the chief engineer is Scottish is a clear homage to ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries''.

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* {{Homage}}: The fact that the chief engineer is Scottish is a clear homage to ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries''. WordOfGod claims it was largely unintentional. They made the engineer Scottish because they had already worked out that the closest planets to the Mote would be Scottish in culture, they wanted a local to be one of the major characters, and Scots have a reputation for being good engineers. They were clearly aware of the homage, however.

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