Dreams of Books
Pandora's Star by
Peter F. Hamilton
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Ozzie Fernandez Isaac
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Genuine scientific progress is a slow climb, which requires a stable society to support thinkers and theorists over many generations.
In a white blouse, prim office suit, and sensible black shoes she fitted perfectly into the bustling compartmentalized work environment. She was slightly short by today’s standards when eighty percent of the population had some kind of genetic modification. Not that she lacked physical stature; she obviously stuck determinedly to an exercise routine that kept her fitness level an order of magnitude above anything the metropolitan police required from their officers. Her thick raven hair had been brushed straight so that it hung well below her shoulder blades. The Human Structure Foundation on Huxley’s Haven that had so carefully developed her genome had selected a mix of Filipino and European genes as a baseline, giving her a natural beauty that was utterly beguiling. A rejuvenation five years previously made it look as if she were now in her early twenties.
In his casual lime-green shirt and creased ochre climbing trousers he looked hugely out of place around that table of masterclass power brokers.
His thick fair hair was already starting to curl mischievously as it sprouted vigorously from the short crew cut he’d come out of the tank with. But the sheer number and complexity of his OCtattoos meant that they had merged together and now completely covered his face, giving him 24 karat golden skin like the sarcophagus mask of an ancient Egyptian king.
Mellanie wasn’t quite the most beautiful girl he’d ever bedded, her chin was slightly too long, her nose too blunt, to be awarded that title. But with that lanky, broad-shouldered body of hers trained to the peak of gymnastic fitness, she was certainly one of the most physically satisfying.
It wasn’t bark he’d exposed, more like a rough layer of dark purple crystal, almost like amethyst. Another, heavier swipe broke a big chunk of the amethyst crust away. The hole exposed more crystal inside, a column of what he took for near-pure quartz that made up the interior of the tree. Lush pink sunlight shone into it, revealing a vertical lattice of capillaries with what looked like dark viscous fluid moving through them extremely slowly. “Son of a bitch,” Ozzie grunted. “A fucking jewelry tree.”
Huge dark metal shapes were rising out of the debris on vivid columns of violet flame. They looked like armored rectangular dinosaurs, with blunt wedge-shaped heads. Thick cannon barrels jutted out from where their eyes should have been, while smaller guns protruded from the front of the head, like lethal mandibles. Three stumpy legs were folded back against each side of their flanks as they went airborne. The air shimmered around them as force fields came on.
The Alamo Avengers stormed over the highway at barely a hundred meters altitude. When they were a kilometer from the force field, they opened fire with their particle lances. It was as if sheet lightning was bridging the gap between them and the dome. The entire sky transformed into a blinding white maelstrom as the air disintegrated from the tremendous energy discharge.
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