By David Drake, William C. Dietz
Their most interesting hour, or their ultimate days...
The first Empire has entered what could be its final main issue: the Emperor is useless by means of assassination and has left an little one inheritor. Worse, the imperial mystique is yet a fading reminiscence: not anyone believes in empire anymore. certainly not anyone believes in a lot of whatever past the limits of self. There are exceptions, in fact, and to these few falls the self-appointed responsibility of holding a military-civil order that's corrupt, despotic - and infinitely finest to the barbarous chaos that might accompany its fall.
One such is Command Anson Merikur.
This is his tale
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Additional resources for Cluster Command (Crisis of Empire, Book 2)
Part of her just wanted to curl up and go back to sleep, but she had to see him and make sure he was all right. She flung back the quilt and got up, pulling on the clothes from last night that lay all crumpled on the floor, still smelling of furnaces. Outside her bedroom door a hallway sloped gently downward, roundroofed, curling about on itself like the inside of an ammonite. She hurried down it, pausing to pay her respects before the statue of Clio, goddess of History, who stood in a niche outside the door to the dining room.
I'm sorry. " Tom felt a big, gentle hand on his shoulder and then -he was never sure quite how it happened - a twist, a shove, and he was pitching over the 30 handrail and falling, just as Hester Shaw had fallen, flailing wildly for a hold on the smooth metal at the brim of the waste chute. He pushed me! he thought, and it was more amazement that he felt than fear as the black throat swallowed him down into the dark. 31 4 THE OUT-COUNTRY Silence. Silence. He couldn't understand it. Even when London wasn't moving there was usually some sort of noise in the dormitory; the whirr of ventilators, the hum and rattle of distant elevator shafts, the snores of other apprentices in the neighbouring bunks.
But long after dark, as they huddled in a hollow of the mud to escape the chill night wind, she suddenly started telling him her story. "I was born on the bare earth," she said, "but it wasn't like this. I lived on Oak Island, in the far west. It used to be a part of the Hunting Ground once, but the earthquakes drowned all the land around and made an island of it, too far off-shore for any hungry city to attack, and too rocky for the amphibious towns to get at. " Tom shuddered. Every Londoner knew that only savages lived on the bare earth.