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Authors: Allen Steele

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Hex

BOOK: Hex
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Table of Contents
 
 
 
 
 
 
Books by Allen Steele
Novels
 
THE JERICHO ITERATION
THE TRANQUILLITY ALTERNATIVE
OCEANSPACE
CHRONOSPACE
 
Near-Space Series
 
ORBITAL DECAY
CLARKE COUNTY, SPACE
LUNAR DESCENT
LABYRINTH OF NIGHT
A KING OF INFINITE SPACE
 
Coyote Trilogy
 
COYOTE
COYOTE RISING
COYOTE FRONTIER
 
Coyote Chronicles
 
COYOTE HORIZON
COYOTE DESTINY
 
Coyote Universe
 
SPINDRIFT
GALAXY BLUES
HEX
 
 
 
Collections
RUDE ASTRONAUTS
ALL-AMERICAN ALIEN BOY
SEX AND VIOLENCE IN ZERO-G: THE COMPLETE “NEAR SPACE” STORIES
AMERICAN BEAUTY
THE LAST SCIENCE FICTION WRITER
 
Nonfiction
PRIMARY IGNITION: ESSAYS 1997–2001
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc. 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)
Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
 
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
 
This is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.
 
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
 
Copyright © 2011 by Allen M. Steele.
 
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights. Purchase only authorized editions. ACE and the “A” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
 
 
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
 
Steele, Allen M.
p. cm.
eISBN : 978-1-101-52890-7
1. Space colonies—Fiction. 2. Life on other planets—Fiction. 3. Space warfare—
Fiction. I. Title.
PS3569.T338425H49 2011
813'.54—dc22
2011008661
 
 

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For mothers everywhere . . . especially my own
It is easy to imagine a highly intelligent society with no particular interest in technology. It is easy to see around us examples of technology without intelligence. When we look into the universe for signs of artificial activities, it is technology and not intelligence that we must search for.
—FREEMAN DYSON,
DISTURBING THE UNIVERSE
PROLOGUE
The following is an extract from a document submitted to the Talus High Council by Saromajah Saj Sa-Fhadda,
hjadd
Prime Emissary to the Coyote Federation. Translation by Dr. William Manofsky and Dr. Larry Manofsky of the School of Astroethnic Studies, University of New Florida. Due to differences in nomenclature and systems of measurement and chronological reckoning, certain names, dates, and distances have been substituted with Anglo approximations. Historical references are annotated by footnotes.
 
To the High Council of the Talus and His Holiness, the
chaaz'braan
: my most respectful greetings and salutations, with hopes that my humble words will be received with patience and understanding.
By now, I trust that the High Council has become acquainted with the race known as human, who have recently become members of the Talus. Although humankind developed starfaring technology in only the [last three centuries], with a large colony established in the [47 Ursae Majoris] system in the last [seventy years, Gregorian calendar], they have already come to be regarded as an ambitious and curious species, eager to make contact with other races and, whenever possible, establish trade or cultural relations. It is the yearning of this colony world—known in their dominant language as Coyote—to become a respected member of the galactic community that compels me to report on their current disposition.
In order to fully understand humans, a brief review of their recent history is necessary. Their homeworld, Earth, is located [forty-six light-years] from Coyote, or [54.4 light-years] from
Talus qua'spah
. Coyote was originally settled by political refugees from Earth, who stole their race's first starship, which had been built by an authoritarian local government.
1
Because this large but rather primitive vessel was powered by a ramjet-augmented nuclear-fusion engine, it was capable of traveling at only [20 percent] of light-speed. As a result, it took [270 years, Gregorian] for this ship to reach the [47 Ursae Majoris] system, where a habitable world, the fourth moon of a gas giant, had been detected by Earth-orbiting telescopes.
Despite the fact that they were confronted by an unfamiliar and often hostile environment, and possessed limited technologic resources, the settlers managed to successfully make a new home for themselves, their population suffering only relatively few fatalities during their [first year, LeMarean calendar] on Coyote. Yet the colony had barely become self-sustaining when it received an unwelcome surprise: the arrival of another starship from Earth, this one much larger and faster than the first. During the long period it took for the first ship to travel to Coyote, scientists and engineers on the human homeworld had managed to invent a warp drive that, while not capable of achieving light-speed, was nonetheless able to make the same journey in a fraction of the original time.
BOOK: Hex
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