Cauldron of Ghosts – Snippet 26
“Personally,” Catherine Montaigne said, “I’ve come to the conclusion that one reason the bastards have been so busy propping Manpower up has a lot to do with setting up an obvious stalking horse. Web DuHavel and I have argued for years over why Mesa‘s stood so foursquare behind genetic slavery for so long given the economics of the institution and the potential social powder keg all those seccies and slaves create on Mesa itself. Now that we know about this Alignment, it makes a lot more sense. Just thinking about the hooks it can get into people by involving them in the filth of the slave trade puts an entirely new perspective on it, but when you add in the façade it sets up — the way it colors all of our thinking where Mesa as a whole is concerned — it makes even more sense.”
Cauldron of Ghosts – Snippet 25
“I think you’re all insane, of course,” Honor Alexander-Harrington said with one of her crooked smiles as she sat back in her chair with her wineglass and looked at her mostly rather-less-than-reputable dinner guests. Neither of her spouses had been able to join them, and the nature of those guests — and their plans — had restricted her potential invitation list in rather draconian fashion. The table before them bore the remnants of a generous meal, and James MacGuiness made the circuit refreshing coffee cups for the coffee drinkers who had not yet transitioned to something stronger. Those coffee drinkers included Victor Cachat (not surprisingly for those who knew him) and Yana Tretiakovna, who claimed to prefer a caffeine buzz to alcohol.
Cauldron of Ghosts – Snippet 24
The big problem with this upcoming discussion, from Yuri’s point of view, was that he knew damn good and well that within five minutes he’d be out of his pay grade; within fifteen minutes, he’d be way out of his pay grade; and within half an hour his pay grade would be an invisible microbe whimpering in the dust somewhere far, far below.
Cauldron of Ghosts – Snippet 23
Well, what have we here? Yuri thought to himself, as he and Sharon were ushered into a suite on one of the top floors of the Suds Emporium. The room they entered was probably listed in the hotel’s data bank as the living room of a suite; if so, proving yet again that the Erewhonese had a wry sense of humor. A fabled despot of the ancient Orient would have turned green with envy if he’d seen the place. All that was lacking were scantily clad slaves fanning the inhabitants with palm leaves.
Cauldron of Ghosts – Snippet 22
“All the more reason for a quick and decisive intervention,” said Victor. “And, to come back to where we started, all the more reason for an occupying army that can’t be bamboozled by the local authorities. Most of the troops will have to be provided by others, since Torch’s army doesn’t begin to be large enough. But if Torch provides… what should we call them?”
Cauldron of Ghosts – Snippet 21
After the delegation from Torch had all entered the suite assigned to them in Mount Royal Palace, Berry turned to Thandi.
“But…” Her voice was very small. “If you go too, what’ll … I mean…”
Cauldron of Ghosts – Snippet 20
Jacques looked puzzled. “I’m not sure — Oh.” His face cleared up. “I see what you’re getting at. Even if Mesa doesn’t have your DNA records — as individuals, that is — they do know your personal history. Enough of it, anyway.”
Cauldron of Ghosts – Snippet 19
“Some introductions are in order,” said Empress Elizabeth, after the delegation from Torch had taken seats at the table. “The young lady sitting at the far end of the table from me is Queen Berry, Anton Zilwicki’s daughter. You all know Prime Minister DuHavel, who is sitting next to her — and my niece Ruth, of course. On the Queen’s other side is the commander of Torch’s armed forces, General Thandi Palane.”
Cauldron of Ghosts – Snippet 18
“That they’ve created what amounts to an intelligence bolthole,” said Anton. “They’ve known for some time that they couldn’t be sure someone wouldn’t attack and overrun Mesa. It’s only a one-planet star system and it doesn’t have much of a real naval force. So they made sure that, if worse came to worst, they could obliterate any evidence of their own existence.”