Authors: Thomas Harlan
Tags: #Fiction, #Science Fiction
Sixty-two minutes later, as the
completed her course correction, an alarm sounded from the Navigation station.
the navigator said sharply, looking up from his console. “Unknown signature on the plot! We have an intruder in our patrol box.”
“Report,” Susan said, her voice calm and controlled. Her own displays were already adjusting, with threat analysis panes opening up. “Size—heading—something pertinent,
, about sixty meters long. It’s piggybacking in the
’s wake. Signature is intermittent—” Holloway swallowed a curse, as the icon suddenly vanished from the threatwell.
“Project location from the data we’ve already captured,
. Lock heading as soon as we’ve caught sight of her again.” Kosh
looked to Pucatli, who was sitting in at comm for the usual first-watch officer. “Signal battle stations to all hands,
. Immediate intercept. Unauthorized ship of unknown flag. Guns live. This is not a drill. Load missile racks one and two. Direct
Juarez to ready two teams for board and seizure.”
Then she sat back, feeling a cold shiver of adrenaline course through her limbs as the Klaxon sounded, and her bad mood vanished like the morning frost from the eaves.
she thought, watching the bridge crew in action.
Mitsuharu would be pleased to see their progress.
Oc Chac looked up from his own console, his chiseled face gleaming as the overheads flashed three times. “Battlecast needs an update on our course correction. Should I—”
She shook her head,
. “Let’s see what we’ve beaten from cover, first,
. Then I’ll report to the various admirals.”
For Keith Laumer, K. H. Scheer, and Walter Ernsting: That was some good reading!
Tremendous thanks are owed to my able, witty, and good-looking advisors in matters scientific, mythological, and military: Martin, Annita, Cap’n Paul, Chris W., Chris C., and the “O.W.”
A NOTE CONCERNING MEASUREMENTS
Though her later victories rendered the full terms of the Lisbon Accords moot, the Méxica Empire abides by the common set of weights and measures set forth by the Accord in
1724. As a result, distances are in kilometers, weights in kilograms, and so on.
A NOTE ABOUT IMPERIAL MÉXICA NAVY SHIP NAMES
Capital ships—dreadnaughts, heavy carriers, and battleships—tend to have Méxica names, usually of gods, monsters, or famous generals from the Conquest.
Midrange ships—strike and escort carriers and heavy cruisers—usually have Nisei, Mixtec, or Skawtish names. Very recently, some
-class battle cruisers have come into service bearing city names.
Smaller ships—light cruisers, destroyers, transports, and fleet tenders—come in a wide variety of classes and naming schemes, usually assigned as a sop to some organization or group outside of the Four Hundred families.
A wealth of detail about the universe of the Sixth Sun can be found at:
FROM THE ANNALS OF CUAUHTITLAN
In the beginning was the First Sun,
4-Water was its sign;
It was called the Sun of Water,
For water covered the world,
Leaving nothing but the dragonflies above
And the fishy men below.
The Second Sun was born,
4-Jaguar was its sign;
This was called the Sun of the Jaguars.
In this Sun the heavens collapsed,
So that the Sun could not move in its course.
The world darkened, and when all was dark
Then the people were devoured.
The Giants perished, giving life to the Third Sun.
4-Rain was its sign;
It was called the Sun of Rain,
For this Sun rained fire from bleeding eyes
And the people were consumed.
From the torrent of burning stones,
The Fourth Sun was born.
4-Wind was its sign, and it was called the Sun of Wind.
In this Sun, all which stood on the earth was carried
Away by terrible winds.
The people were turned into monkeys,
and scattered from their cities into the forest.
Now, by sacrifice of the divine liquid, the Fifth Sun was born.
Its sign was 4-Motion.
As the Sun moved, following a course,
The ancients called it the Sun of Motion.
In the time of this Sun, there were
Great earthquakes and famine,
No maize grew, and the gods of the field
Turned their eyes from the people,
And all the people grew thin, and perished.
The Lord of Heaven cut the heart from his living son,
And so was born the Sixth Sun, which sustains
The universe with infinite light.
Its sign was 4-Flint.
Those who watch the sky say this Sun
Will end in annihilation, when the flint-knife
Severs the birthcord of the Sun, plunging all
Into darkness, where the people will
Be cut to pieces and scattered.
This is the time of the Sixth Sun.…