Table of Contents
A NEAR-INVISIBLE CLOUD OF UNIFORM DENSITY SPREAD OUT IN AN ARC.
That cloud was, in effect, Adam. It was dormant, a body waiting for the arrival of its consciousness—a cloud of nanomachines vast enough to saturate the surface of Bakunin.
They were going to destroy it.
Data scrolled by, showing Mallory’s ghost fleet of empty, near-derelict tach-ships signaling back their status. Their computers were all synced, their drives hot, the damping coils on their drives disabled. Toni II shuddered just thinking of so many ships taching simultaneously. She glanced at the status of the
’ drives. They were still cold, inert to the surge these ships would generate . . .
The meters monitoring tachyon radiation spiked.
The ships were underway. She looked back up at the holo of the cloud. Right now, nearly seven hundred ships were taching into a dangerously small volume in the center of it. Unfortunately, the light from their arrival would take nearly an hour to reach them.
“Fourteen seconds,” her sister said from the captain’s chair. She leaned back and said, “It’s over now, one way or the other.”
“Do you think it worked?” Karl asked.
Toni II could see the comm channels all lit up by chatter, and she could see why. The tachyon radiation meters had slammed the upper limits of their resolution across the board. If the
hadn’t shut down their tach-drive completely, a good part of their engine would have burned out even with the damping coils.
Mallory’s voice came over the general comm channel, telling the fleet to render what aid was possible to the damaged ships in range.
Please, after all this, let us have destroyed it.
DAW science fiction and fantasy from S. ANDREW SWANN
THE APOTHEOSIS TRILOGY:
THE HOSTILE TAKEOVER TRILOGY:
THE MOREAU NOVELS:
MOREAU OMNIBUS (#1-3)
FEARFUL SYMMETRIES (#4)
DRAGONS AND DWARVES OMNIBUS
(Novels of the Cleveland Portal)
Copyright © 2011 by Steven Swiniarski.
All Rights Reserved.
DAW Book Collectors No. 1538.
DAW Books are distributed by Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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First Printing February 2011
eISBN : 978-1-101-47709-0
DAW TRADEMARK REGISTERED
U.S. PAT. AND TM. OFF. AND FOREIGN COUNTRIES
HECHO EN U.S.A.
To John and Adam
in the morning.
Father James Mallory
—Roman Catholic Priest and veteran of the Occisis Marines.
—Former leader of the Salmagundi government.
—Former lieutenant in the Styx Security Forces under Styx System Security Command (3SEC)
Toni II Valentine
—Ghost of Toni Valentine.
—Former captain of the Centauri trading vessel Daedalus.
—Karl Stavros’ son.
—Exiled scion of the House of Rajasthan. Descendant of genetically engineered tigers.
—Mercenary pilot from Rubai
—Mercenary from Dakota. Descendant of genetically engineered humans. Former member of Dakota Planetary Security (DPS)
Dr. Sharon Dörner
—Xenobiologist from Acheron.
Dr. Samson Brody
—Cultural anthropologist from Bulawayo.
—Former forestry surveyor from Salmagundi.
—Leader of the Dolbrian cult on Bakunin. Descendant of genetically engineered canines.
General Alexi Lubikov
—Commander of the Western Division of the Proudhon Security Corporation.
The Prophet’s Voice
—Former data analyst from Jokul, in the service of Adam.
—Agent of Proteus.
—Recorded personality of the pirate who recovered the AI that became Adam.
The Sacred and the Profane
“Know what is evil, no matter how worshiped it may be.”
—BALTASAR GRACIÁN (1601-1658)