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For the Culture Mind, see Bora Horza Gobuchul (Mind).

Bora Horza Gobuchul was a male Changer.



Horza discovered a conspiracy on Heibohre to take the asteroid out of Idiran-controlled space and helped foil it by killing two of the conspirators. In the aftermath he was exiled by the court of the Academy of Military Arts to join the Changer caretaker party on Schar's World for several years. This was a compromise sentence as popular sentiment desired to remain under Idiran influence but still demanded punishment for the death of the other Changers.[1]

By this time his parents were dead and his clan defunct save for him. Horza had no influential relatives or friends.[1]

While on Schar's World he became romantically involved with Kierachell. He spent less than a year as a caretaker before leaving.[1] Prior to the Idiran-Culture War he became an Idiran agent no later than 1325 CE.[2]

Idiran Agent[]

By 1331 CE, Horza was part of the intelligence section of the First Marine Dominate under the Querl Xoralundra. Horza considered the Idiran a moderate, a friend, and a kind and humane officer.[3] He refused to impersonate or kill other Changers.[4]

That same year Horza was undercover on Sorpen. He was exposed by the Culture Special Circumstances agent Balveda and captured by the Gerontocracy of Sorpen while masquerading as Egratin, a Gerontocracy outworld minister.[5]. He was marked for execution despite Balvada's pleas he be spared because of the Changer's diminutive numbers.[6] His venom teeth were removed during captivity.[7]

Main article: Raid on Sorpen

Horza was rescued by the Idiran warship The Hand of God 137 where he was given a new mission by Xoralundra. He would return to Schar's World and capture a Culture Mind hiding there. An Idiran raiding party had already been sent to attempt the capture but were no longer in contact after being shot down by the planet's Dra'Azon overseer. As payment the Changer wanted to leave Idiran service and the war altogether. Horza hoped Kierachell was still on Schar's World and would agree to leave with him. Xoralundra promised to raise the issue with his superiors.[4]

The original plan was for the Changer to transfer to a fast picket after The Hand of God 137 rejoined the 93rd Fleet. The picket would drop Horza off at the Quiet Barrier on a shuttle with mission equipment, where he would proceed alone. However, as The Hand of God 137 withdrew from Sorpen it was attacked by GCU Nervous Energy. Horza was forced to abandon the ship in a Rairch suit and a warp unit.[4]

Kraiklyn's Free Company[]

While awaiting recovery by the 93rd Fleet, Horza was discovered by Kraiklyn's Free Company aboard Clear Air Turbulence. The Company disabled the Changer and his suit by effector and brought him aboard.[7]

To the Company's surprise Horza survived and the Changer awoke to find his suit confiscated for Kraiklyn's use. At first Kraiklyn ordered Horza disposed of. Horza desperately claimed to be of service to the Company but his appearance as Egratin and the effects of his imprisonment on Sorpen undermined this.[7]

Kraiklyn offered to allow Horza to live and join the Company if the Changer could defeat and kill another member of the Company, Zallin, in single combat. Horza reluctantly killed Zallin and took the youth's place. The Changer inherited an ill-maintained suit and projectile gun from Zallin.[7]

When questioned by Kraiklyn, Horza claimed to be a marine captain from Sladden slated to be executed by the Idirans for resisting after the planet's surrender 50 days earlier. In return for his life he agreed to carry out a covert mission to Sorpen for the Idirans. The Changer explained his appearance as the result of an ageing drug.[7]

Main article: Raid on the Temple of Light

Horza participated in raid on the Temple of Light on Marjoin. He discovered the temple's laser-reflecting properties only too late to prevent the raid from turning into a disaster. During the raid he witnessed Gow suicide after discovering the death of kee-Alsorofus.[5]

Horza and Yalson developed an intimate relationship after the raid.[5]

Vavatch Orbital[]

The Company arrived at Vavatch Orbital to steal the bow lasers from the derelict Megaship Olmedreca. When the group split up Kraiklyn ordered Horza to go with Lamm. The thick fog obscured the radar and everybody was surprised when the ship collided with an enormous iceberg. Mipp rescued Horza with the Clear Air Turbulence' shuttle but was unable to do the same with Lamm. Furious with being abandoned Lamm shot at the air, damaging the shuttle and wounding Mipp, before detonating his small nuclear warhead.[1]

The shuttle eventually crash landed on an island. Mipp was killed but Horza survived to be captured by the Eaters, a recently formed religious group who had taken up residence there. The group's leader, the Prophet Fwi-Song, sought to eat Horza but the Changer poisoned and killed the Prophet and escaped aboard Tsealsir, a Culture shuttle.[8]

Tsealsir had been sent to evacuate the Eaters but the group refused to board out of their beliefs. Horza destroyed the shuttle's brain by feigning a fire and commandeered it to Evanauth where he hoped to kill and replace Kraiklyn, who was there participating in a Damage game. The Changer sold the shuttle in the city for five Tenths.[9]

Replacing Kraiklyn[]

Without an entry pass, Horza bribed his way into the game auditorium. During his stay he was frequently and coincidentally near Sarble, the famous freelance reporter, and from this later deduced the reporter's true identity. Horza stayed until Kraiklyn was forced out of the game. The Changer was apprehended by a security guard but disabled the guard with a non-lethal toxin and made good his escape.[9]

Outside Horza met Sarble and revealed his knowledge of the reporter's identity. The Changer then forced the reporter and her entourage to carry him in their vehicle to chase after Kraiklyn's ground car. Horza disembarked at the Sub-base access 54 shaft entrance to continue the pursuit on foot. the Changer followed his prey over a suspension bridge. As Horza came down the bridge's spiral steps he was ambushed from behind by Kraiklyn. Kraiklyn uncovered his shadower and was surprised to see his own face. The two fought and went over the edge into the shallow water.[9]

Kraiklyn ran but was caught by Horza. Eventually they found themselves on a concrete apron under an air-cushion passenger ship. Kraiklyn was beat senseless before having his neck snapped by the Changer. Horza took the identity ring Kraiklyn used to control the Clear Air Turbulence.[9]

Horza made his way to The Ends of Invention, a former Culture GSV docked under Evanauth, where Clear Air Turbulence was just finishing repairs in Smallbay 27492. Unknown to him a Culture team consisting of Balveda, a male agent, and a drone, were staking out the locale waiting for him to appear. A Culture microdrone genetically identified him as he entered the bay and alerted the male agent and drone outside the bay. Horza entered the ship and was surprised to see Balveda, under the name Gravant, aboard as a member of Kraiklyn's Free Company.[2]

Horza, masquerading as Kraiklyn, revoked Balveda's enlistment. He claimed Horza was still alive and would be rejoining the Company shortly. Yalson was in favour of retaining Balveda as the Company was understrength but was vetoed by Horza. Horza was alerted about the other Culture agents by Wubslin and this prompted the Changer to order the Company to prepare for an immediate departure. These other agents disrupted the normal undocking procedure in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent Horza from escaping. Clear Air Turbulence made a spectacular powered exit in lieu of being towed.[2]

Horza's Company[]

Horza gave the Company new orders once the pursuers were evaded. He announced they were going to Schar's World, but did not reveal the reasons why. Balveda revealed the Changer's true identity and motives when she awoke. Horza admitted to murdering Kraiklyn but found the Company ambivalent to the death of their former manager. The Company agreed to accompany Horza, who promised to transfer control of the Clear Air Turbulence and Idiran compensation once his mission was completed.[2]

During the trip to Schar's World Horza gave briefings in the mess hall. These discussed the planet, the Command System, and the war in general. Balveda was confined to quarters during these times to avoid the possibility of turning the talks into debates.[10]

The Changer wanted to rendezvous with the Idiran 93rd Fleet near Schar's World, transfer custody of Balveda, and allow the Company to take the Clear Air Turbulence and part ways. He would pick up the equipment promised by Xoralundra and proceed to the Planet of the Dead, and Kierachell, alone.[10]

The Culture anticipated Horza's intentions and acted to prevent the rendezvous. A mock battle staged by the ROUs Revisionist and Trade Surplus convinced the Changer non-existent enemy forces were between Clear Air Turbulence and the 93rd Fleet. Horza decided to proceed to Schar's World directly.[10]

The Command System[]

Main article: Raid on the Command System

Once the ship landed Horza went alone to the caretakers' base inside the Command System's entrance. He discovered survivors of the Idiran raiding party had ransacked the base and killed the four Changer caretakers, including Kierachell, before descending into the System proper.[10] The Changer ordered Kraiklyn's Free Company into the tunnels with him for a number of reasons. He needed insurance against the Idirans if they proved hostile, and he did not believe they could effectively guard Balveda. Mainly they could help him find the Mind; he was not confident the under-equipped Idirans, without a mass sensor, could complete the mission. The Changer also brought another advantage in that he was familiar with the System and could turn on the power.[3]

Horza intended to return the caretakers' bodies to Heibohre; the bodies were moved to the System's entrance where they would be preserved by the cold until the Company returned from below ground. With nobody left aboard the ship he programmed Clear Air Turbulence's lasers to dissuade and then attack approaching persons whose suit did not identify them as part of the Company. The reprogramming also allowed anybody with just Kraiklyn's identity ring to assume control of the ship, instead of requiring audio identification as well. This meant if Horza was killed the Company could still escape the planet.[3]

Horza helped dispatch a medjel runner returning to the surface.[3] Once in the tunnels he opted to follow the Idiran raiding party's tracks, rather than split the group up. The power could not be activated in station four and the Changer ordered Unaha-Closp to carry Balveda as well. In station six Horza was shot and hit by the surviving Idirans, Quayanorl and Xoxarle, before being able to request a parley. The helmet of his Rairch-built suit took the plasma hit and was destroyed. The suit was heavily damaged and lost most of its functions; only a few sensors and a near useless mass sensor remained on backup power. The Changer was dragged out of the line of fire by Yalson and temporarily passed out but was otherwise unharmed.[11]

Kraiklyn's Free Company prevailed with casualties and took Xoxarle prisoner. Horza could not persuade the Idiran they were on the same side. The Changer refused to be goaded into killing the Section Leader; Horza hoped to return with Xoxarle so the latter could be punished for not only failing to capture the Mind but also for the unnecessary deaths of the caretakers.[11]

Before moving out to station seven, Yalson cautiously told the Changer she was pregnant. Her inherited Culture genofixing made this possible and she was unsure how the Horza would react. Horza was pleased and allayed Yalson's fears, but realized he was under more pressure to ensure a successful outcome of the battle.[11]

The Company's progress was critically interrupted by Quayanorl; the dying Idiran caused a train collision at station seven. The Mind was hiding in one of the parked trains and revealed itself to escape the collision. Xoxarle also escaped in the chaos and killed members of the Company, including Yalson. Xoxarle took Balveda hostage, but then broke her arm and abandoned her. The pain caused her to scream; this drew Horza and Unaha-Closp who had been pursuing the Idiran independently. Horza found Balveda first; she was unable to convince Horza to abandon the chase, and directed him into a tunnel after Xoxarle. When the Changer moved on, she deployed a memoryform plasma gun disguised as a tooth.[12]

Horza followed the Idiran's trail of drips and foam down the tunnel, and noticed the sudden end of the trail only too late. Xoxarle attacked from a doorway, and used superior strength to stun the Changer and steal his laser gun. Unaha-Closp arrived in time to prevent the Idiran from shooting Horza; the drone rammed Xoxarle from behind, who accidentally broke the gun upon falling. The Idiran swat at and seriously damaged the drone. Horza lunged at the Idiran but was struck in the head by the Idiran's fist and dazed. Xoxarle grabbed a returning Unaha-Closp to physically beat Horza. Both Changer and drone were helpless and gravely wounded. They were saved by Balveda, who killed Xoxarle with the memoryform plasma gun.[12]

Balveda placed Horza on a crude stretcher fashioned from Unaha-Closp and plastic debris. They, and the damaged Culture Mind, were the only survivors. Immediate medical care was impossible since all the medkits were lost in the train crash. Balveda took Horza back to the Clear Air Turbulence, but the Changer was dead upon arrival.[13]

The rescued Mind later took Horza's name.[14]


Horza regarded the Culture's machine-based and led society as unnecessarily deterministic. He expected this would eventually make the Culture uncompetitive and irrelevant. The Changer strongly opposed the Culture's interventionist good works; he saw these as spreading the Culture's deluded philosophy and threatening the long term viability of other cultures.[4]

It was this anti-Culture view that helped Horza to accept Idiran employment. The Changer did not agree with his employers' religious zeal, military expansionism, and more extreme methods. However, that the Idirans opposed the Culture was enough.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Consider Phlebas, chapter 5
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Consider Phlebas, chapter 8
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Consider Phlebas, chapter 10
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Consider Phlebas, chapter 2
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Consider Phlebas, chapter 4
  6. Consider Phlebas, chapter 1
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Consider Phlebas, chapter 3
  8. Consider Phlebas, chapter 6
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Consider Phlebas, chapter 7
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Consider Phlebas, chapter 9
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Consider Phlebas, chapter 11
  12. 12.0 12.1 Consider Phlebas, chapter 13
  13. Consider Phlebas, chapter 14
  14. Consider Phlebas, epilogue