“History should not be ancestor worship,” Sarey Rose told them as she brought in the last of the time-viewer components and began to calculate how to form the microgates big enough for past light. Her hair was bound up for work. Whether or not she approved of the target, she was working.
Very late at night, when the buzz of drill dozers has died out, I can hear her breathing. I know that sounds crazy. I don’t care. Tonight, I have to concentrate extra hard because there’s a man lying beside me; he’s snoring with the contented abandon of the well-fucked and all that panting has heavied up the air in my quarters.
Me and Case met when someone slammed his head against my door, so hard I heard it with my earphones in and my Game Boy cranked up loud. Sad music from Mega Man 2 filled my head and then there was this thud like the world stopped spinning for a second. I turned the thing off and flipped it shut, felt its warmth between my hands. Slipped it under my pillow.
1. THERE ARE NO RULES. That’s what your uncle tells you, after he finds you stowing away in his transport ship, the Celeris, which you used to call the Celery when you were growing up, back when you only dreamed of getting off the crappy planet your parents brought you to as a baby.
KV-62 went supernova today. Well, according to the news, it went supernova on March 14, 1592, but we’re just now finding out about it. Other things that happened on this day in history: Eli Whitney got a patent for the cotton gin, Charles I granted a royal charter to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and I was fished out of a trash can in the Union Square subway station.
A man was far ahead of her on the road. Walking and breathing. So far, so good. That he was a man, Nayima was certain. His silhouette against the horizon of the rising roadway showed his masculine height and the shadow of an unkempt beard.
It was an apocalyptic sector. Out of the red-black curtain of the forward sight-barrier, which at this distance from the Frontier shut down a mere twenty metres north, came every sort of meteoric horror: fission and fusion explosions, chemical detonations, a super-hail of projectiles of all sizes and basic velocities, sprays of nerve-paralysants and thalamic dopes.
The spaceman shows up on a hot summer afternoon, not in the dead of night when you’re crouched in the garden peering through a telescope that shows you the endless glories and wonders of the night sky. There’s no spaceship making a bright arc against a star-spangled sky. Just a man in a spacesuit, standing at the edge of your hammock.
The old house had been hit by something sometime during the war and mashed nearly flat. The front was caved in as though crushed by a giant fist: wood pulped and splintered, beams protruding at odd angles like broken fingers, the second floor collapsed onto the remnants of the first. The rubble of a chimney covered everything with a red mortar blanket.
A drink arrived that Culin hadn’t ordered. No one sent drinks to the crowded annex where Culin sat, crammed in with seven other people, all with contagion bands on their sleeves and matching tattoos on their arms. Sending drinks was an affectation Culin didn’t see much in the Dead Engine at all.