Read Forty Thousand in Gehenna Online
Authors: C J Cherryh
Copyright © 1983, by C. J. Cherryh
All Rights Reserved.
Cover art by James Gurney
Maps copyright © 1983, by David A. Cherry
Daw Book Collectors’ Number 593
First Printing, September 1984
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DAW TRADEMARK REGISTERED
PRINTED IN CANADA
COVER PRINTED IN U.S.A.
Communication, Union Ministry of Defense,
in dock at Cyteen Station
ATTN: Mary Engles, capt. US VENTURE
Accept coded packet; navigation instructions contained herein. US CAPABLE and US SWIFT will accompany and convoy. Mission code: WISE. Citizens will board on noncitizen manifest, identifiable by lack of tattoo number. Sort from noncitizens on boarding and assign aboard VENTURE. Tally will be 452 including all uniformed military personnel and dependents. Treat with due courtesy. AZI class personnel will be billeted in special hold preparation, 23000 aboard US VENTURE, remainder apportioned to CAPABLE and SWIFT. Due to sensitive nature of first boardings, urge rapid processing up to number 1500; delays beyond that point will not expose civilian personnel to discomfort and/or breach of cover. No station personnel are to be permitted within operations area once loading has begun. Security will be posted by HQ. Should an emergency arise, call code WISE22. All libertied crew must be recalled before D-0500 to assure smooth functioning of boarding procedures. Mission officer Col. James A. Conn will present credentials and further orders regarding disposition of citizen and noncitizen personnel. Official cover has the convoy routed to mining construction at Endeavor: use this in all inship communications.
Communication: Cyteen HQ, Defense Ministry
docked at Cyteen Station
Col. James A. Conn, governor general
Capt. Ada P. Beaumont, It. governor
Maj. Peter T. Gallin, personnel
M/Sgt. Ilya V. Burdette, Corps of Engineers
Cpl. Antonia M. Cole
Spec. Martin H. Andresson
Spec. Emilie Kontrin
Spec. Danton X. Morris
M/Sgt. Danielle L. Emberton, tactical op.
Spec. Lewiston W. Rogers
Spec. Hamil N. Masu
Spec. Grigori R. Tamilin
M/Sgt. Pavlos D. M. Bilas, maintenance
Spec. Dorothy T. Kyle
Spec. Egan I. Innis
Spec. Lucas M. White
Spec. Eron 678-4578 Miles
Spec. Upton R. Patrick
Spec. Gene T. Troyes
Spec. Tyler W. Hammett
Spec. Kelley N. Matsuo
Spec. Belle M. Rider
Spec. Vela K. James
Spec. Matthew R. Mayes
Spec. Adrian C. Potts
Spec. Vasily C. Orlov
Spec. Rinata W. Quarry
Spec. Kito A. M. Kabir
Spec. Sita Chandrus
M/Sgt. Dinah L. Sigury, communications
Spec. Yung Kim
Spec. Lee P. de Witt
M/Sgt. Thomas W. Oliver, quartermaster
Cpl. Nina N. Ferry
Pfc. Hayes Brandon
Lt. Romy T. Jones, special forces
Sgt. Jan Vandermeer
Spec. Kathryn S. Flanahan
Spec. Charles M. Ogden
M/Sgt. Zell T. Parham, security
Cpl. Quintan R. Witten
Capt. Jessica N. Sedgewick, confessor-advocate
Capt. Bethan M. Dean, surgeon
Capt. Robert T. Hamil, surgeon
Lt. Regan T. Chiles, computer services
Civilian Personnel: list to follow:
Secretarial personnel: 12
Mechanical maintenance: 20
Distribution and warehousing: 20
Computer service: 4
Computer maintenance: 2
Agricultural specialists: 10
Management supervisors: 4
Biocycle engineers: 4
Construction personnel: 150
Food preparation specialists: 6
Industrial specialists: 15
Mining engineers: 2
Energy systems supervisors: 8
TOTAL MILITARY 45
TOTAL CIVILIAN SUPERVISORY 296
TOTAL CITIZEN STAFF 341; TOTAL NONASSIGNED DEPENDENTS: 111; TOTAL ALL CITIZENS: 452
ADDITIONAL NONCITIZEN PERSONNEL:
list to follow:
“A” class: 2890
“B” class: 12389
“M” class: 4566
“P” class: 20788
“V” class: 1278
TOTAL ALL NONCITIZENS: 41911
TOTAL ALL MISSION: 42363
Male/female ratio approx. 55%/45%
DEPENDENTS LIST WILL FOLLOW
NONCITIZEN LIST WILL APPEAR ON MANIFEST
On Cyteen Dock, restricted area
The place was large and cold and somehow the instructions lost themselves in so strange a place. Jin 458-9998 walked where he was told, feeling the chill in his body and most especially on his skull where they had shaved off all his hair. 9998s were darkhaired and handsome and they were A-s, important in the order of things; but the orderliness in his world had been upset. They had taken him into the white building on the farm and given him deepteach that told him the farm was no longer important, that he would be given a new and great purpose when he got where he was going, and that there would be other tapes to tell him so, very soon.
“Yes,” he had said, because that was the appropriate acknowledgement, and the change had not vastly disturbed him at the outset. But then they had taken him, still muzzy with trank, into the med wing, which he never liked, because nothing good ever happened there, and they had taken his clothes and had him lie down on a table, after which they had shaved all the hair off him, every bit but his eyelashes, and shot him full of so many things that they used all of one arm and started on the other. It hurt, but he was used to that. He was only dismayed when he saw himself in the glass going out, and failed to recognize himself—a destruction of all his vanity.
“How do you feel about this?” the supervisor had asked him, the standard question at a change; and he searched his heart as he was supposed to do and came up with a word that covered it.
“Why do you feel that way?”
“I look different.”
“Is that all?”
He thought about it a moment. “I’m leaving the farm.”
“It’s to keep you clean for a while. While you’re being shipped. Everyone has it done. They won’t laugh at you. They won’t notice you. It’ll grow back in a few weeks and you’ll have a new assignment. Tapes will explain it to you. It’s supposed to be very good. They’re taking only very expensive contracts like yours.”
That had cheered him considerably. He stopped minding the shaving and the paperthin white coveralls and the loss of himself. He stood up then and started to leave.
“Goodbye, Jin,” the supervisor said, and a little panic hit him at the thought that he was never again going to see this man who solved all his problems.
“Will someone there help me?” he asked.
“Of course there’ll be someone. Do you want to shake hands, Jin? I think they’re going to pass you a lot higher than you are here. But you have to be patient and take things as they come.”
He came back, feeling strange about taking a born-man’s hand, and very proud in that moment. “I’ll miss you,” he said.
“Yes. But the tapes will make you happy.”
He nodded. That was so. He looked forward to it, because he was not thoroughly happy at the moment, and his ears were cold and his body felt strangely smooth and naked under the cloth. He let go the supervisor’s hand and walked out, where another attendant took him in tow and led him to a building where others as shaven as himself were waiting. The sight hit him with deep shock—that he knew some of them, and had trouble recognizing them at all; and they looked at him the same way. There were four other 9998s and they all looked alike, all like him; and there were three 687s, and seven of the 5567s—and all the small traits by which they knew each other as individuals were obliterated. Panic settled into him afresh.
“Which are you?” one of his own twins asked.
“I’m Jin,” he said softly. “Are we all going to the same place?”
“Jin?” A female voice. “Jin—” It was one of the 687s; it was Pia, making room for him on the bench which ran round the room, among the others. He came and sat down with her, grateful, because Pia was a friend and he wanted something familiar to cling to. Her face was vastly changed. Pia’s hair was dark as his own and it was all gone, her eyes staring out vast and dark from a lightly freckled face. They wound their fingers together for comfort in the space between them. He looked down. The hands were still like Pia’s; the manners were still hers.
But she was back of him in the line somewhere, and they had mixed in a lot of strange azi from elsewhere, types he had never seen before, and the place was cold and miserable. The line stopped and he unfocused his eyes, waiting, which was the best way to pass the time, thinking on pleasanter images such as the tapes gave him when he earned tapetime above his limit. But he could not conjure the same intensity as the tape, and it never quite overcame the cold. No one spoke; it was not a time for speaking, while they were being transferred. They had instructions to listen for. No one moved, because no one wanted to get lost, or to merit bad tape, which seemed very easy to earn in a situation like this, one for which no tape had ever prepared them.