Kakapo42 wrote:Perhaps, but there is a difference. The main concern O'Sho'Ko'Is appears to have isn't so much the idea of Tau committing suicide, but rather Tau committing suicide for selfish reasons. While the failsafe detonator is a suicide weapon, it's intended as a suicide weapon for selfless purposes - if an enemy force overruns the battlesuit team in close combat, then the battlesuit pilot using the failsafe detonator can hold off the enemy forces and inflict enough damage on them to allow the rest of the team to successfully escape, effectively trading his or her own life for the lives of their team-mates.
There are other instances of Tau performing sacrificing their lives in a similar way (I believe a newer piece of background introduces the term 'broken jade' for it), but the consistent pattern is that it's always done to benefit the rest of a group, either the rest of the Tau's team or the larger Tau force present, or to further a common goal (a bit like the popular image of a soldier throwing themselves onto a hand grenade so that it won't kill or injure the rest of their squad). From how it's described, this instance on the other hand is very different. The Tau Water Caste mentioned appears to be keeping a means to kill herself, but not to further any common goal. On the contrary, it seems to be purely out of fear of being abducted by some secret police institution and a desire to live how she wishes, which is ultimately a self-centred point of view (however common and expected it is in our society), and thus contrary to the popular collectivist society the Tau are described as having.
I'm not bothered by this at all. The water girl's behavior may be erratic, but she is clearly one of the exceptions, not the rule. She has never gone through ta'lissera, she feels driven to pursue activities outside of her caste, doesn't feel satisfied with her place in the Tau'va. In every way she admits that she is an outsider, a loner, not your standard Tau. She's frightened to such an extent precisely Because she realizes how unlike she is to the majority of her fellow Tau. She is, in fact, the exception that Proves the rule.
Really, when you read the book, it's seems that it's only Farsight and this girl that behave abnormally to the rest of the Tau characters. 2 out of dozens does not strike me as violation of Tau canon; to me it shows how Farsight's Enclaves might work, and how some Tau in the Empire might find it inexplicably appealing. Remember, even after Farsight left and Shadowsun burned his statue down there are Tau who still think about him, wondering what life must be like out there. Torchstar came from somewhere. And I really rather like the idea of some version of the Underground Railroad in the Tau Empire, helping Vash'ya Tau fly away to find a place where they might belong.