The Dread Empire of the Shaa is no more, following the death of the last oppressor. But freedom remains elusive for the myriad sentient races enslaved for ten centuries, as an even greater terror arises. The Naxids a powerful insectoid species themselves subjugated until the recent Shaa demise plan to fill the vacuum with their own bloody domination, and have already won a shattering victory with superior force and unimaginable cruelty.
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February 24, 2004
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Excerpt from The Sundering by Walter Jon Williams
The defeated squadron was locked in its deceleration burn, the blazing fury of its torches directed toward the capital at Zanshaa. Bombardment of Delhi groaned and shuddered under the strain of over three gravities. At times the shaking and shivering was so violent that the woman called Caroline Sula wondered if the damaged cruiser would hold together.
After so many brutal days of deceleration, she didn't much care if it did or not.
Sula was no stranger to the hardships of pulling hard gee. She had been aboard the Dauntless under Captain Lord Richard Li when, a little over two months ago, it had joined the Home Fleet on a furious series of accelerations that eventually flung it through a course of wormhole gates toward the enemy lying in wait at Magaria.
The enemy had been ready for them, and Sula was now the sole survivor of the crew of the Dauntless. Delhi, the heavy cruiser that had pulled Sula's pinnace out of the wreckage of defeat, had been so badly damaged that it was a minor miracle it survived the battle at all.
All six survivors of the squadron were low on ammunition, and would be useless in the event of a fight. They had to decelerate, dock with the ring station at Zanshaa, take on fresh supplies of missiles and antimatter fuel, then commence yet another series of accelerations to give them the velocity necessary to avoid destruction should an enemy arrive.
That meant even more months of standing up under three or four or more gravities, months in which Sula would experience the equivalent of a large, full-grown man sitting on her chest.