John Ringo: Vorpal Blade

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John Ringo Vorpal Blade
  • Название:
    Vorpal Blade
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    Baen Books
  • Жанр:
    Боевая фантастика / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2007
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • ISBN:
    978-1-4165-2129-7
  • Рейтинг книги:
    5 / 5
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Vorpal Blade: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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The sequel to . William Weaver, PhD. and SEAL Chief Adams are back and Bill got himself a ship! The former SSBN has been converted, using mostly garage mechanics and baling wire, into a warp ship ready to go “out there.” But as everyone knows, the people who really are going to bear the brunt are the poor Security guys, Force Recon Marines who are kept in the dark and fed manure all day. That is until they land on an alien planet, get partially wiped out and then load back up again. Ranging in topics from the best gun to kill armored space monsters to particle physics to cosmology to health and beauty tips, is a return to the “good old days” of SF when the science problems were intractable and the beasts were ugly. The monkeys are out in the space lanes and ready to rock. As soon as they get another roll of duct tape.

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Vorpal Blade

John Ringo and Travis S. Taylor

DEDICATION

To Bob Heinlein, Andre Norton, Doc Smith, Isaac Asimov, A. E. van Vogt and all the rest of the greats who sparked a young man’s imagination.

And to Jim Baen, for giving us both the chance to pay it forward.


Last As Always:

For Captain Tamara Long, USAF

Born: 12 May 1979

Died: 23 March 2003, Afghanistan

You fly with the angels now.

1

A Plate of XXXX@ vhysw a7msyulhkreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrku with a Side of Muons. Please.

“You think I should hit the order again?” Bill said, looking over at the kitchen. Service in Adar restaurants was proverbially slow, but this was ridiculous. He and Sal had sent in their orders over thirty minutes ago and still they didn’t even have their drinks.

Lieutenant Commander William “Doc” Weaver, RN, Ph.D., wasn’t really happy about the lunch anyway. He’d known Sal Weinstein back when they both worked for Columbia Defense so when Sal called and asked if he was doing anything for lunch, he’d thought it was just a social call. He should have guessed that Sal, whom he hadn’t spoken to in two years, wasn’t going to drive down to Norfolk to chat.

“Won’t work,” Sal said, shrugging. “But go ahead if it makes you happy. Now, about the server…”

Bill flipped open the menu and hit the entry for glangi with extra melaegl sauce. The thing didn’t even flash. He’d already ordered with this menu. One menu, one order. No tickee, no laundry.

“It’s a damned Microsoft Vavala server with some code thrown on top,” Bill replied, hitting the entry again. The restaurant wasn’t particularly crowded and now he knew why. Some of the Adar had started to catch on that humans didn’t take four hours for lunch. Clearly the family unit running this place were right out of the Glass.

“We’ve got top Adar working on it,” Sal argued. “Top Adar.”

“You’ve got Fazglim and Dulaul,” Bill said, not looking up. “Who are the only Adar I’ve ever met who fall into the description of credit-whores. And neither one of them knows diddly maulk about server tech. Fazglim’s a natural processes philo and Dulaul is a micro-actions philo. So you’re telling me you’ve got the best server on the market because you happen to have a tame biologist and quantum physicist who are willing to sign off on it. It’s an MS Vav, which is one of the buggiest servers in the world, with code from Col-Gomo programming thrown on top. And that makes it buggier. Come on, Sal, don’t try to snow me. I know Adar tech. I work with it every damned day.”

The problem was, since the opening of the Looking Glasses, the whole world, and especially Wall Street, had gone nuts over Adar. Adar tech was light years ahead of human, but it wasn’t magic. And a lot of stuff that was sold as being “Adar technology” was anything but. The Adar had been a philosophical race when they encountered humans. Which meant they were about as resistant to marketing as Native Americans to disease. So more and more of them were emigrating to Earth where “everything was prettier.” And, by and large, they could command immense salaries because if a company had an Adar, even if the male, female or transfer-neuter was the training equivalent of a janitor, they could say they had an Adar working on their technology.

Bill had fallen for that scam exactly once, an “Adar-tech” shampoo substitute. Basically, it was a comb you were supposed to use in the shower to wash your hair. Guaranteed to do miraculous things for your entire head region.

He was still trying to grow the hair back.

He had to admit that there was some great stuff out there that was derived from real Adar technology. Forget brushing your teeth, all you had to do was pop a Nanobrush™ capsule, crunch it in your teeth and not only did your teeth turn lily-white but you didn’t have to worry about halitosis for twelve hours. Then there was the entire electronic tech revolution…

“Wait, got a call,” Sal said, holding up his hand to the back of his head. “Yeah, Joe, Sal… That’s great, man…”

Implants, though… Jeeze. Back when they were the “killer app,” Doc had thought BlackBerry was a pain in the ass. The only way you could tell the difference between a raving street-guy and a raving corporate attorney was the quality of clothing and that one had a flashing blue thing in his ear. But since implants had hit the market, people really did hear voices. Now you couldn’t tell the difference at all.

Of course, he was wearing a VeriNthal ear piece, which gave him pretty much the same look as an implant wearer. But you could at least see the damned earring.

He hit the menu again and was amazed to see an Adar exit the door to the restaurant’s kitchens, bearing a massive platter.

That was the other thing about Adar cooking. The Adar approached their two daily meals with religious reverence. The most undertrained neuter home-cook had more passion for cuisine than a cordon bleu chef. Each meal had to be both satisfying and a work of art. They were worse than the Japanese about it.

So while Bill would have been perfectly satisfied with a platter of glangi noodles, what he got instead was a half a dozen dishes. Condiments, sides, little crunchy things, none of it was particularly identifiable. He’d been to dinners at the White House that were less elaborate.

Methmar,” Weaver said, nodding to the trans-neut waiter. The transfer-neuters were only semi-sentient and did most of the mundane tasks of the Adar. Far smaller than the males, much less the females, the trans-neut was about six feet tall with mottled brown skin and three eyes set over a wide, flat face that was mostly a mouth with wide, grinding molars.

Clashing with the standard Adar look, though, was its clothes. The Adar, when Weaver first met them, tended to wear something not much more complex than a loincloth. However, they had never dealt with marketing departments. While Adar tech had become the rage on Earth, human styles and fads had hit the Adar like hard liquor at a redneck party.

The Adar was wearing an electric purple skirt and a “blouse” that was basically transparent. Under it was a tank top of electric pink. It was sporting huge rhinestone-encrusted sunglasses with giant wings on either side that made it look like an Elvis Valkyrie.

It was also wearing an iPod. Given that it was assuredly implanted and the iPod was at best superfluous, it had to be a fashion device.

“Welcome, welcome, welcome,” the trans-neut squeaked, a terribly high falsetto from something six feet tall and weighing in at damned near three hundred pounds. “Worship! Enjoy! Taking Care of Business! Nothing But Hound Dog!”

So it meant to be an Elvis Valkyrie.

“Thanks,” Bill said as the being shimmied back to the kitchen. He sighed and picked up his tongs, scooping up some of the noodles.

Bill Weaver had been a peaceful little scientist working for Columbia Defense, coming up with solutions to problems U.S. national defense didn’t even realize it had, when he got dragged over to the White House one rainy Saturday night to explain quantum physics to the National Security Council. A physics experiment gone awry had not only created a massive — on the order of sixty kilotons — explosion at the University of Central Florida, but it had left a strange anomaly behind. He’d just happened to be the nearest physicist the secretary of defense could lay his hand on who had a Top Secret clearance.

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