Thursday, January 01, 2009

This is How the Heroes Die

I cannot wait until May to read about my fate, so when Baen Books offered the eARC (electronic Advanced Reading Copy) of David Drake's In the Stormy Red Sky, I snapped it up. So...where do I come in?

"Sir?" said Midshipman Barrett. "What if the other captains, the real captains, object when they learn what happened? I, well...Commander Kiesche of the Arcona is bound to feel insulted when he learns that I was pretending to be him."

Adele's lip curled. Barrett's comment was based on a number of unstated assumptions, not least being that he and Commander Kiesche would survive the coming action. The reality of a space battle was that lives could vanish as quickly and utterly as the specks of light which indicated ships on a Plot-Position Indicator.

"The answer to your question, Midshipman..." Daniel said. He didn't raise his voice, and his tone was mild. "Is that Commander Kiesche is an RCN officer who accepts and obeys the orders of his superiors. You've raised a more serious question, however."

And further down...

"Sir...?" said Barrett. His forehead gleamed with sweat, but he kept his voice steady. "I notice you show the Arcona failing to arrive off Cacique. With the computer from the Lykewake and Commander Kiesche as Astrogator, her extractions have been within thirty seconds of the Milton's and within two thousand miles at both legs of this voyage. Sir."

"I stand corrected, Barrett," Daniel said. By the end of the short sentence, his slight smile had spread much wider. "I'd been thinking of the cruiser's problems under Alliance command, but you're quite right: Fred Kiesche doesn't need a naval grade computer to thread a ship through the Matrix. My Uncle Stacy trained him, you know."

I can't wait to find out how "I" die. Gloriously, no doubt!


Misternizz said...

I am so envious. I wish to die a glorious death in fiction somewhere.

Fred Kiesche said...

Alas, I haven't shown up again in the two subsequent novels. Whether I survived the action or not that happens at the climax of the unknown!