This is my narrative and relevant references from the Books where an Outpost is mentioned.
I make no pronouncements on these matters, but report them as I find them.
Arrive at your own conclusions.
I wish you well,
I was asked a question regarding outposts.
Here is the question, asked by Cassie:
"who can be the leader of an outpost? Do they have to be of the high castes and what title do they go by?"
The first time the word outpost appears is in Book 4. It is when the Tuchuks are occupying Turia.
In this case, I'm not quite sure anyone is "in charge" of the outpost. It sounds like the orders are coming from Kamchak.
The next time is not until Book 6 where outposts of Port Kar are described as being occupied by slave hunters. Again, not really a command structure in place.
However, when it comes to Ar's Station, which is described in Book 15 as an outpost of Ar, we find a specific command structure. In Book 23 Tarl says:
As the events of Book 23 unfold, (page 194) Aemilianus is addressed as Captain.
Of course, the command structure in Ar's Station does not mean this command structure applies to all outposts.
But as far as Ar's Station goes, Aemilianus, being a Captain, is undoubtedly of the Caste of Warriors, which is one of the five High Castes.
Following now are all instances where the word outpost appears in the series.
One may read all of these in context to gain a better understanding.
"You are unworthy of being sold in Ar," he said. "Perhaps you might be sold at a smaller town, a village, or a border outpost."
Surely, in but a few days, word that Aretai tribesmen had destroyed, or attempted to destroy, a well at Two Scimitars would spread like fire across the desert, inflaming and outraging men from Tor to the Turian outpost merchant fort, and trading station, of Turmas.
"The oasis of the Battle of Red Rock," said Hassan to me, "is one of the few outpost oases maintained by the Aretai. To its west and south is mostly Kavar country."
Caravans with goods tend to travel the western, or distant eastern edge of the Tahari; caravans do, it might be mentioned, occasionally travel from Tor or Kasra to Turmas, a Turian outpost and kasbah, in the southeastern edge of the Tahari, but even these commonly avoid the dune country, either moving south, then east, or east, then south, skirting the sands. Few men, without good reason, enter the dune country.
The march of Hassan had as its object not Red Rock, northwest of Klima, but Four Palms, a Kavar outpost known, to him, which lay far to the south of Red Rock.
The camp, however, situated as it was, did not seem an outpost or guard camp; it did not command terrain; it was not fortified; it was too small for a training camp or a wintering camp; too, because of its size, so small, it did not seem a likely war camp; sixteen men quartered here, with two girls as slaves; here there were no armies, no divisions or regiments.
In the distance, even from the pool, I could see the white, looming walls of the merchant keep, Stones of Turmus, a Turian outpost, licensed for the storage of goods within the realm of Ar. Such outposts are not uncommon on Gor. They are useful in maintaining the security of trade. Their function is not military but commercial. Turia is one of the great trading centers of Gor. It lies far to the south, in the middle latitudes of her southern hemisphere.
The Kur that I had seen outside the village, which had escaped with the slain snow sleen, had been white-pelted. I was confident, however, that it had been a ship Kur, and not a common ice beast. On the other hand, I was confident, too, that it must have come from the northern sea or the northern ice. Thus, presumably, it would have penetrated and passed through the territory in which Karjuk maintained his lonely outpost. That it had appeared this near the village suggested that it had either slipped by Karjuk or that it had found him, of all those Kurii which may have hunted him, and killed him.
Ar's Station, incidentally, did not exist at the time of the massing of the horde of Pa-Kur. It was established four years afterward, as an outpost and trading station, on the south bank of the Vosk. It also commands, in effect, the northern terminus of one of the great roads, the Viktel Aria, or Ar's Triumph, leading toward Ar.
"Ar's Station is, in effect, an outpost of Ar," said Tasdron. "It is unlike Port Cos, which is a colony, and whose ties with Cos are largely historical and cultural."
"The next town northward is Fort Haskins," I said. This lay at the foot of the Boswell Pass. Originally it had been a trading post, maintained by the Haskins Company, a company of Merchants, primarily at Thentis. A military outpost, flying the banners of Thentis, garrisoned by mercenaries, was later established at the same point. The military and strategic importance of controlling the eastern termination of the Boswell Pass was clear. It was at this time that the place came to be known as Fort Haskins. A fort remains at this point but the name, generally, is now given to the town which grew up in the vicinity of the fort, primarily to the west and south. The fort itself, incidentally, was twice burned, once by soldiers from Port Olni, before that town joined the Salerian Confederation, and once by marauding Dust Legs, a tribe of red savages, from the interior of the Barrens. The military significance of the fort has declined with the growth of population in the area and the development of tarn cavalries in Thentis. The fort now serves primarily as a trading post, maintained by the caste of Merchants, from Thentis, an interesting recollection of the origins of the area.
Kurii, then, I suspected, must control Brundisium, or be influential there. It might be an outpost for them or a base of operations for them, perhaps, as, I gathered, Corcyrus had been, in the recent past.
Letters of safety, aside from the difficulties they might involve me in with Cosian sentries or outposts, which might be considerable, would presumably not be needed by everyone entering Ar.
Such inns can serve as keeps or strongholds, but they seldom do so. For example, one can simply come to them, and buy entrance and lodging. In that sense they are open, though it is not unusual for them to be closed at night. They can, however, as I have suggested, serve as keeps. More than once such inns have served rural areas as a place of refuge from foragers or marauders. They have been seized, too, upon occasion by the remnants of defeated forces, as places in which to make desperate, perhaps last, stands. Too, such places, particularly in remote, restless or barbarous districts, may be used as outposts, strongholds from which a countryside may be pacified. Within the palisade there would be room for several wagons. In this place I did not know how many.
No longer did Torcadino stand in the way of the march to Ar, unless it be as a matter of principle. This, of course, would not serve to extricate Dietrich from his post at Torcadino. Ar, I was sure, would not come to his relief, any more than they had come to the relief of their own colonial outpost on the Vosk, Ar's Station, now in ashes.
As far as these men knew, of course, at least on the whole, the circulating rumors were correct, namely, that Ar's Station had betrayed Ar, that it was still intact and that it was now a Cosian outpost. Such things they had been told in their winter camp, near Holmesk, south of the Vosk.
Perhaps there is then a role for the lonely fellows on the wall, for the border guards, for the garrisons of far-flung outposts, for the guardsmen in the city treading their lonely rounds.
The location of the city is supposedly a secret, known only to its citizens. Only they can come and go unhooded. Naturally, too, there are numerous outposts of the city in the mountains, at which tarnsmen are always on the alert. It is the mission of these men to keep the secret of the city. Such outposts constitute the nodes of an extensive system of reconnaissance and surveillance. From them frequent, randomized patrols are mounted. From them companies of tarn cavalry may be launched to intercept and destroy intruders. Unauthorized strangers risk their lives by even approaching such places. Cleared entrants, usually cleared in their own cities, flying under appropriate passage banners, report to them, for hooding and transport. Few, incidentally, except in the armed parties, traverse the mountains on foot. It is difficult and dangerous to do so. They are not only rugged and precipitous, but are apparently alive with animals, such as rock panthers and sleen. It is said that none may pass unauthorized the lines of interdiction, and that, of those who do, none are to return.
The concerns, or tentacles, of whatever combine or conglomerate, or organization, was involved seemed to have far-reaching ramifications, ramifications affecting worlds. Surely it had its representatives, or outposts, or offices, on her former world as well as on this, her new world.
The men clasped hands, and embraced, and then Bosk of Port Kar, Port Kar a port on the Tamber Gulf, rumored to be a den of cutthroats and pirates, and Marcus, of Ar's Station, once an outpost of Ar on the distant Vosk, took their leave.
Cabot was on watch, at one of the forward outposts. He had a power weapon at this place, but it was not assigned to him but to the post itself.
The girl herself had been picked up shortly after her escape by a Kur outpost, and remanded to the palace.
"Foresters," I said, "normally cluster their huts, in small palisaded enclaves, but I saw no other huts here, nor a palisade."
Constantina cast a swift glance at me, and Pertinax looked down.
"The village is elsewhere," he said. "This is an outpost hut, near the coast, where we may watch for round ships."
"You have a Home Stone here somewhere?" I said to Pertinax. Usually the Home Stone is displayed in a place of honor. I did not, however, detect its presence. In his own hut, if it has a Home Stone, it is said that even a beggar is a Ubar.
"This is an outpost hut," said Pertinax, "a temporary place, a mere domicile of convenience. I have no Home Stone here."
I, once a spear of Cos, even a first spear, leader of nine men, with hundreds of others, after the trouble in Ar, scattered, separated from our commands and units, withdrew to Torcadino, and thence, bribing and spending, and then by recourse to brigandage and banditry, made our way by long marches to the sea, to the small coastal outposts and trading stations maintained by Tabor and Teletus, south of Brundisium, from which, with our last bit of silver, even to the surrender of accouterments and weapons, dispirited, hungry, and ruined, we obtained passage, mostly on fishing craft, little more than refugees, some to Tyros, most to Cos.
Had the encampment been one of an infantry, an isolated outpost, this exploitation of the element of surprise, and the precision of the ensuing encirclement, might have resulted, for most practical purposes, in a victory merging on wholesale extermination.
"How could there have been so little warning?" asked Lord Okimoto. "How could the camp have been so effectively surprised?"
"I do not know," I said.
"Pickets, patrols, guards, outposts, must have been recalled," said Lord Okimoto.
The pickets, outpost guards, sentries, and such, had been withdrawn, allegedly on the orders of Lord Temmu, which orders, apparently, had been fabricated, but had appeared authentic, given appropriate seals, and a knowledge of passwords, of signals and countersignals.
"That information must reach the north," I said.
"There are many patrols," he said. "Runners might be noted. It is days to the holding of Lord Temmu, if that is the destination you have in mind."
"That first," I said.
"Even the path of the thousand arrows is impractical," he said.
"True," I said. The distances involved would exceed the utility of this device, which is often used to transmit messages between certain outposts or even between separated units, as in coordinating junctions or pincer movements.
The rence islands, of woven rence, too, could be moved about, so a village located one afternoon might be gone by the next morning. In this way a rence community, a homeland or capital, a depot, camp, or outpost, so to speak, is not a fixed target.