Book 2 - Starfishers

Lire ebook Book 2 - Starfishers
Auteur: Glen Cook

Book 2 - Starfishers

One: 3048 AD
Operation Dragon,
    In that frenetic, quick-shift, go,
drop-your-friends-possessions-roots-loyalties like throw-away
containers age, heroes, legends, archetypal figures, and values as
well, were disposable. They were as brilliant and ephemeral as the
butterflies of Old Earth. One day someone on the marches of science
might burst the pale and wrest from Nature a golden,
universe-rocking secret. A bold naval officer might shatter the
moment’s enemy. Either could be a hero, a legend for a
fleeting hour. And then he would become one with the dust of Sumer
and Akkad.
    Who remembered on the seventh day?
    Who remembered Jupp von Drachau’s raid in the Hell Stars?
Mention his name. Blank stares would turn your way. Or someone
would say, assuming memory, “He’s too old,”
meaning too long gone. Von Drachau had been relegated to the
historical toy box with the Caesars, Bonapartes, and Hitlers. Half
a year, Confederation standard, had passed. The Now People had
abandoned him. The yesterday people, the Archaicists, would not
pick him up for a hundred years.
    Luckily, benRabi thought, Jupp did not need the adulation.
    The Now People, the down-planet people, who rode the screaming
rockets of technological and social change, bought their values
plastic-packed, to be disposed when their usefulness was done.
BenRabi found no satisfaction in that. He could hold on to nothing
long enough to wear the rough edges off, to make it comfortable
with time, like an old couch after years of use.
    He thought those things as, toolcase in hand, he wandered toward
the gate of Carson’s Blake City spaceport. The name he wore
felt a size too small, yet it could become a burden heavier than
the cross the Christian god had borne.
    He was going to hate this. He loathed pipes and plumbing.
    He wore a union-prescribed commercial spacer Liquids Transfer
Systems Technician’s uniform. It consisted of tight, dull
grey coveralls with green and yellow piping. His sleeves boasted
three red hashmarks where Servicemen wore chevrons. They indicated
that his union rated him a Master.
    He did have the training, though his acquisition of it lay
nearly forgotten amid that of countless exotic skills.
    His teaching-couch days seemed part of another age. Still in his
thirties, he felt the weight of a thousand years. Lifetimes worth
of knowledge had been pressure-injected into his skull. And the
education would never end.
    The Bureau was his surrogate mother, father, and wife. It
insisted he be ready for anything. Just in case.
    The Bureau was a family without love. It left him with
dissatisfactions that could easily grow into hatreds. The things
they did to him . . . 
    They never justified. They never explained.
    But lately he had been dissatisfied with everything. The image
of the gun had become merciless. He had developed a crying socket
of soul-need into which nothing seemed to fit.
    And there were the aches and pains.
    He hurt.
    Within him he bore a

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