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SABOTAGE

 

The Guildsman pulled out a chair and settled into it; his full sleeves fell upon the tabletop as he leaned forward, his posture stiff with tension. "One hundred and ninety E-days ago, a Guild outpilot was badly injured while returning to safespace. Analysis of his personal log shows there was a malfunction in his brainware at the moment of transition. It lasted only seconds, but that was long enough. In that instant he believed himself to be an alien creature, surrounded by beings whose brains didn't function like his own. He believed that these beings had fed programs into his brainware which would make it impossible for him to think clearly, and that they had surgically implanted a mechanism in his arm which would feed drugs into his bloodstream, altering the very essence of his identity. With only seconds in which to act, he did what he could to disable the perceived mechanism, and then attempted to smash his skull open so that he could tear out his wiring. Fortunately for him, the latter effort failed."

 

"Since his basic assumptions were correct,"Masadasaid evenly, "I find it hard to comprehend your objection to them."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Novels from

 

C. S. FRIEDMAN

 

Available from DAW Books

 

In Conquest Born

 

The Madness Season

 

ThisAlienShore

 

 

 

TheColdfire Trilogy:

 

Black Sun Rising

 

When True Night Falls

 

Crown of Shadows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE CRITICS RAVE ABOUT

 

THI5ALIENSHORE

 

"C. S. Friedman borrows some big ideas from writers like Cordwainer Smith, Frank Herbert and Samuel R. Delaney, and runs with them. Instead of stumbling under the burden, she succeeds in making the ... material her own ... Friedman has created a potent metaphor for the toleration of diversity—an ever-evolving society where "the genes of wild genius" are acknowledged as necessary for survival."

 

—The New York Times

 

"A wide-ranging, action packed space opera.This Alien Shore is guaranteed to entertain those who like to be swept up in an adventure with lots of characters, dangers, and revelations."

 

—Science Fiction Chronicle

 

"Friedman keeps her tale moving at a vigorous pace that's boosted through an abundance of well-chosen details ... it is likely to hold readers' interest tenaciously. The ending neither requires nor precludes a sequel, so readers are left with some hope of again encountering Jamisia and the duel between the Guild and Earth that backdrops her adventures."

 

—Publishers Weekly

 

"Once again Ms. Friedman offers us great richness in both concept and detail, ingeniously weaving together two strong plotlines and piquant characters into a superior reading experience."

 

—Romantic Times

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

C. S. FRIEDMAN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAW BOOKS, INC.

 

DONALD A. WOLLHEIM, FOUNDER

 

375 Hudson Street,New York,NY10014

 

ELIZABETH R. WOLLHEIM

 

SHEILA E. GILBERT

 

PUBLISHERS

 

http://www.dawbooks.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 1998 by C. S. Friedman.

 

All Rights Reserved.

 

Cover art by Michael Whelan.

 

For color prints of Michael Whelan's paintings, please contact:

 

Glass Onion Graphics

 

RO.Box88

 

Brookfield,CT06804

 

DAW Book Collectors No. 1096.

 

DAW Books are distributed by Penguin Putnam Inc.

 

Book designed by Stanley S. Drate/Folio Graphics Co., Inc.

 

All characters and events in this book are fictitious.

 

Any resemblance to persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.

 

If you purchase this book without a cover you should be aware

 

that this book may have been stolen property and reported as

 

"unsold and destroyed" to the publisher. In such case neither

 

the author nor the publisher has received any payment

 

for this "stripped book."

 

First paperback printing, July 1999

 

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HECHO ENU.S.A.

 

PRINTED IN THEU.S.A.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

 

To have a concept for a great book is a truly exciting experience, and one every author dreams of. To have a concept for B great book that requires a lot of knowledge you don't have is a pretty overwhelming experience, and one every author dreads. To have a concept for a great book that requires a lot of knowledge you don't have, and then to locate people who notonly have that knowledge, but can communicate it in plain English . . . and who don't mind spending endless hours with you discussing 28th century hacking, or Inuit linguistics, or whatever else can be fitted in between courses of Chinese food or rounds of e-mail . . . well, that is what authors live for.

 

So thanks first and foremost to Paul Suchinder Dhillon, without whom this book simply would not exist. (Well, it might exist, but all the computer passages would be really had, so no one would enjoy it.) Thanks for the hours of technical talk and devious plot twists and the virtual tours of hacker trails . . . couldn't have done it without you.

 

Thanks also to Anthony C. Woodbury of theUniversityofTexas, whose outstanding knowledge of arctic languages finally enabled me to find those few words I needed to really make this book come to life. (Readers please note that the versions used here reflect many centuries of linguistic cor-ruption; if the spelling is wrong or the meaning has been modified, that is artistic license on my part and not an error onhis!)

 

Thanks also to Cordwainer Smith for a few precious sparks of inspiration which fans will no doubt recognize. He is one of the most remarkable writers of the 20th century, and one of its most bizarre imaginative artists. Yes, there is science fiction stranger than mine. Go read it. And to Oliver Sachs andTempleGrandinand all those other writers who struggle to reveal the alien landscapes inside the human brain. If my fiction is ever half so gripping as their daily truths, I will have accomplished something great.

 

Thanks to all those folks who kept me sane while this book was being written (or as close to sane as I ever come), most especially Paul Hoeffer, whose wonderful fan page kept my spirits up when things were darkest. And to Senji and Lisa and Tina and Fonda and Joan and Larry and Adam and most especially Chuck, whose generosity of spirit and energetic labor helped me through those last terrible weeks. There's nothing quite like trying to finish a book and pack up a seven room house full of stuff at the same time to make one truly crazed.

 

And thanks to Yann and Matt andPetra. They know why.

 

Thanks to Cheryl and Stan, for really knocking themselves out to get this book printed on time. It's much appreciated, guys.

 

Most of all, thanks to Betsy Wollheim, for being the awesome editor-goddess she is. Not only because she is brilliant and wise and infinitely insightful, but because she didn't yell at me evenonce when this was late. Nowthat is true greatness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DEDICATION

 

This book is for my mother, Nancy Friedman, who died while it was being written.

 

Sometimes the most impressive acts of courage are not dramatic ones, such as we like to read about, but quieter, almost imperceptible ones. Sometimes they are not even recognized as such until their time has passed. My mother was a woman of such courage, and her spirit affected all who knew her.

 

At age 20 her heart was damaged by disease, and she was told she would not live past 30. She could have given up then and refused to live, as many do, but instead she chose to go on as though she had no deadline, as though Death did not dog her every step. Most of those who knew her never knew that anything was wrong. She would have considered it weakness to tell them.

 

My father was forbidden to marry her because of her illness. They married anyway.

 

She was told that if she tried to have a child it would kill her. She wanted a child, and so took the chance and had me. She lived. Later she risked it again, and had my brother.

 

Those of you who have read my other dedications know that she went with me toHawaiito see the volcanoes. What you do not know is that everywhere there were signs warning people away from various places if they had heart problems, or respiratory distress. She had both, and at that point was dying of them. Still she ignored the signs. No mere heart disease was going to keep her from doing what she had come halfway across the world to do.

 

She beat the odds and lived to age 67, always refusing to give up, despite the fact that Death was only one step behind her. Even at the end she told me that one of her greatest regrets was that her illness had delayed my manuscript, because I had come toNew Yorkto take care of her. Death might threaten her, but it had no right to disrupt the lives of those she loved.

 

I wish she could share this book with me. I wish she could see that it came out all right.

 

Fiction pales before such a life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a world where data is coin of the realm, and transmissions are guarded by no better sentinels than man-made codes and corruptible devices, there is no such thing as a secret.

 

DR. KIO MASADA,

 

"The Enemy Among Us": Keynote addresstothe 121stOutworld Security Conference (holocast from Guera)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EARTH ORBIT

 

SHIDO HABITAT

 

The VOICES woke her up.

 

For a moment Jamisia just lay in the darkness, neither dreaming nor fully awake yet, listening. Whispers of sound tickled through her brain, coalescing into words for an instant or two, then breaking up again. Frightening words.

 

Danger.

 

Betrayal.

 

And one was almost a scream:Run!

 

Shaken, she sat up in bed. Her room in the Shido Habitat was reassuringly familiar, filled with all the familiar relics of her teenage years. Tickets from a concert over at Mitsui Habitat. Flowers—real flowers!—from her coming out at Microtech's Grand Pavilion. Homework chips piled up on one corner of the dresser, along with the headset that would feed their contents into her brain. All of it—her things, her life—familiar, comforting. It wasn't always that way. Sometimes she awoke to find things on her dresser that didn't (couldn't!) belong to her. Sometimes there were pieces of jewelry in her slideaway that she knew she had never bought, so alien to her taste that she could hardly imagine herself wearing them. Sometimes there were worse things, frightening things, and she threwthose in the trash chute with shaking hands, wondering who had left them there in the middle of the night, in the room she locked so carefully before she went to bed. She kept waiting for the rightful owners to say something about their stuff, to yell at her for having chuted it without asking them . . . some kind of reaction,anything. But no one ever yelled. No one ever said a word, and her tentative queries to the habitat database yielded no explanation for the strange offerings, or any hint of their purpose.

 

It wasn't like that today; at least today everything in the room was really hers, and that should have been comforting. Only it wasn't. The voices were still clamoring inside her head, even though the act of waking up for good should have banished them. She couldn't make out most of what they were saying, but the few words she did understand—and the tone in which they were voiced—were terrifying.

 

Danger!

 

Betrayed!

 

Run, Jamisia!

 

Her heart began to pound, triggering her wellseeker program; bright words scrolled across the corner of her visual field, assessing her emotional state in purely biological terms. ADRENALINE SURGE, it informed her. PULSE RACING, B-PRESSURE ENTERING RED ZONE, PHASE ONE MUSCULAR CONTRACTIONS NOTED. ACTION?

 

Before she could answer it the door slid open, as quickly and silently as if she had never locked it. A man moved into the room, and she opened her mouth to scream—and then realized who it was and drew in a deep, shaky breath instead.

 

"Grab some clothes," her tutor commanded, in a tone as unlike his usual fatherly warmth as this night was unlike any other. "Take anything you value, and do it fast." He looked back toward the door as if to see if anyone was following him. By the nightlight's glow she could see there was blood on his face. "We don't have much time."

 

"What's going on?" She could hear her own voice shaking as she asked the question. But he only shook his head sharply, his expression grim.

 

"Later." He wiped a hand across his forehead, smearing the blood, then saw that she wasn't moving yet. "Do it!"

 

Trembling, she forced herself out of the bed and began to move to the slideaway. The message in her visual field defaulted for lack of response and blanked out, which was just as well; she couldn't think clearly enough right now to give it instructions.

 

"What's happening?" she begged, as she gathered up handfuls of clothing. Hi-G, lo-G, no-G: he hadn't said where they were going, so she grabbed a few garments from each section of the slideaway and stuffed them into her traveling bag. "Where are we going?"

 

...

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