Coyote Horizon (Coyote Chronicles)

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9780441018406: Coyote Horizon (Coyote Chronicles)

View our feature on Allen Steele’s Coyote Horizon.The colonial world of Coyote has become the last, best hope of humankind. But Hawk Thompson has learned something about the aliens who also call Coyote home-and his knowledge will change human history.

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About the Author:

Allen Steele was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and received his B.A. in Communications from New England College and a Masters Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri. Before turning to science fiction, he worked as a staff writer for newspapers in Tennessee, Missouri, and Massachusetts, as well as Washington, D.C. His previous novels include Orbital Decay; Lunar Descent; Clarke County, Space; Labyrinth of Night; Jericho Iteration; The Tranquility Alternative; Oceanspace, and Chronospace (all available from Ace). He is a two-time winner of the Hugo Award in the novella category. He lives with his wife, Linda, in Whately, Massachusetts.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Foreword

 

Book 1 - Knowledge of God

Part 1 - A MAN OF CONSTANT SORROW

Part 2 - WALKING STAR

Part 3 - TRUE RELIGION

Part 4 - THE ORDER OF THE EYE

 

Book 2 - Two Journeys

Part 5 - BEYOND THE MERIDIAN SEA

Part 6 - CARLOS’S PIZZA

Part 7 - THE NEW BRIGHTON STORY

Part 8 - APOTHEOSIS

 

TIMELINE: COYOTE HISTORY

Acknowledgements

Novels by Allen M. Steele

 

NEAR-SPACE SERIES

ORBITAL DECAY
CLARKE COUNTY, SPACE
LUNAR DESCENT
LABYRINTH OF NIGHT
A KING OF INFINITE SPACE

 

THE JERICHO ITERATION
THE TRANQUILLITY ALTERNATIVE
OCEANSPACE
CHRONOSPACE

 

COYOTE TRILOGY

COYOTE
COYOTE RISING
COYOTE FRONTIER

 

COYOTE CHRONICLES

COYOTE HORIZON

 

COYOTE UNIVERSE

SPINDRIFT
GALAXY BLUES

 

Collections by Allen M. Steele

 

RUDE ASTRONAUTS
ALL-AMERICAN ALIEN BOY
SEX AND VIOLENCE IN ZERO-G: THE COMPLETE “NEAR SPACE” STORIES
AMERICAN BEAUTY
THE LAST SCIENCE FICTION WRITER

 

Nonfiction by Allen M. Steele

 

PRIMARY IGNITION: ESSAYS 1997-2001

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

 

This is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

 

Copyright © 2009 by Allen M. Steele.

“Part Two: Walking Star” was originally published, in slightly different form, in Forbidden Planets,
edited by Marvin Kaye, Science Fiction Book Club, May 2006.
Map illustrations by Ron Miller and Allen Steele.
Calendar illustration by Allen Steele.

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions. ACE and the “A” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

 

 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

 

Steele, Allen M.

eISBN : 978-1-101-01956-6

1. Space colonies—Fiction. 2. Life on other planets—Fiction. 3. Outer space—Exploration—
Fiction. 4. Interplanetary voyages—Fiction. I. Title.

 

PS3569.T338425C693 2009
813’.54—dc22
2008049491

 

 

FOREWORD

When I began writing Coyote in early 2000, I believed that the tale I wanted to tell—the story of the first starship from Earth and the first interstellar colony—could be done in one volume. I’d been researching and developing this particular novel through most of the previous decade; after a couple of false starts, the time had finally come to put it down on paper.

As things turned out, though, the story was too big for one novel, so I decided to write a sequel, Coyote Rising, which would tie up the threads left hanging at the end of the first book. Yet that wasn’t enough, either; by the time I finished the second book, I’d come to realize that I still hadn’t answered a lot of questions I myself had put forward. As a result, a third book became necessary, and thus I wrote Coyote Frontier.

Once the Coyote trilogy was finished, I turned my attention to other matters, including a couple of independent novels—Spindrift and Galaxy Blues—set in the same universe. Then something happened that I didn’t expect.

When reviews of Coyote Frontier started coming in, quite a few critics expressed the opinion that, while it was obvious that I’d wrapped up the story line, there was more about Coyote that remained to be told. Then I began receiving fan mail from readers, with the majority asking me to write more. One reader used the maps Ron Miller and I had created to build a globe of Coyote; it now rests on my desk as a reference tool. Another took my description of the Coyote Federation flag to make one for me; it’s taped to my notebook. Yet another went so far as to create an entire fan website that included interactive maps and lists of all the major characters, events, starships, and locales mentioned in the books (you can visit it at www.coyoteseries.com). Not long after that, Coyote entered the curriculum of university science-fiction courses, with one student emailing me to ask questions for a dissertation she was writing about the trilogy.

Motivated by the attention, I decided to write some short fiction about Coyote. The first story, “Walking Star,” occurred after the events of Coyote Frontier; a slightly different version appears in this novel as Part Two. A second novella, “The River Horses,” filled in the gap between Coyote and Coyote Rising. And a short story, “The War of Dogs and Boids,” related an incident that didn’t make its way into Coyote. I thought these stories would satisfy everyone, but they only added fuel to the fire. Readers continued to insist that I write more about the world I had created, and after a while I came to realize that, although the original story arc was complete, I wasn’t finished with this place yet.

It should be pointed out that Coyote Horizon isn’t the “fourth book of the trilogy” but rather the first volume of a duology; the second volume, Coyote Destiny, will conclude the story arc. Although astute readers of this series may notice that the events of Coyote Horizon are roughly concurrent with those depicted in Galaxy Blues, it isn’t necessary to read the other book first in order to understand this novel.

This novel is dedicated to everyone who asked for more. Thank you for your support, and for demanding that I return to Coyote.

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

Montero Family

Carlos Montero—former president and diplomatic attaché, Coyote Federation

Wendy Gunther—former president, Coyote Federation

Susan Montero—naturalist, Colonial University

Jonathan Parson—captain, CFS Ted LeMare

Jorge Montero II—Susan and Jon’s son

 

Hawk Thompson—customs inspector

Melissa Sanchez—prostitute

Sawyer Lee—wilderness guide

Joseph Walking Star Cassidy—equerry

Morgan Goldstein—CEO, Janus Ltd.

Mike Kennedy—Goldstein’s bodyguard

Grey Rice—Dominionist missionary

Alberto Consenza—Dominionist deacon

Joe Bains—parole officer

Lynn Hu—journalist

Barry Dreyfus—pilot and first mate, CFS Ted LeMare

David Laird—member, Living Earth

“Hurricane Dave” Peck—bartender

Charlie Banks—gyro pilot

Owen McKay—innkeeper

Bess Cole—barmaid

Yuri Scklovskii—drover

Anastasia Tereshkova—commodore, Coyote Federation Navy

Russell Heflin—chief petty officer, CFSS Robert E. Lee

Tomas Conseco—aide to Wendy Gunther

Dieter Vogel—ambassador, European Alliance

Mahamatasja Jas Sa-Fhadda—hjadd Prime Emissary

Jasahajahd Taf Sa-Fhadda—hjadd Cultural Ambassador

PROLOGUE

BRIDGETON, NEW FLORIDA—ASMODEL 22, C.Y. 16

Traveler’s Rest, the home of two former presidents of the Coyote Federation, was located on top of the Eastern Divide, the granite wall that separated the savannas of New Florida from the broad expanse of the East Channel. Built of sturdy blackwood imported from Great Dakota, with a slate roof cantilevered at a forty-five-degree angle, the manor overlooked the channel and the port town of Bridgeton and, on the other side of the Divide, the grassy flatlands that lay southwest of Liberty. The residence had its own wind turbine, a slender pylon on which three blades slowly rotated in the early-spring breeze, as well as a satellite dish perched on a corner of the roof. Although visible for many miles, the house could only be reached by a narrow dirt road that wound its way up the ridge.

President Gunther’s personal aide had recommended that she come ahead of time, so Lynn Hu made sure that she arrived at Traveler’s Rest an hour before her scheduled appointment. It wasn’t until the cab she’d hired in Liberty came to a halt at the front gate at the bottom of the ridge, though, that she knew why. An iron-barred arch eight feet tall, the gate was the sole point of entry through the chain-link fence surrounding the estate. Although the bluff was steep enough to challenge even the most dedicated of climbers, the fence extended all up the side of the Divide, prohibiting anyone from climbing over. If that weren’t enough, solar-powered floodlights and surveillance cameras were positioned on posts within the fence.

To be sure, the couple who lived here had good reason to guard their privacy. Yet in the three weeks that she’d been on Coyote, Lynn hadn’t seen this measure of protection since going through customs at the New Brighton spaceport. Even Government House was remarkably accessible; all she’d had to do to arrange a meeting with the current president was present her credentials and have a brief chat with a couple of bureaucrats before she was escorted upstairs to his office.

Despite his colorful past—an uncle who’d been a hero of the Revolution, teenage years spent as a member of the Rigil Kent Brigade, being elected mayor of Clarksburg despite having a notorious brother who was murdered by his own son—Garth Thompson had given her a boring interview, with little worth quoting save as background material. Yet in the end, he’d come through with what Lynn really wanted: a satphone call to Traveler’s Rest, setting up an appointment for her to see the very person whom she’d traveled forty-six light-years to meet.

And so here she was. Lynn paid the driver C10, adding a couple of colonials as a tip. He pocketed the money without so much as a word, then reached up to shut the gullwing door; the coupe rose on its skirts and turned around to glide back down Swamp Road toward town. Stepping closer to the gate, Lynn noticed a small metal box on a post next to the gate. Raising its hinged cover, she found an intercom.

She pressed its button, bent closer. “Hello?”

“Yes?” The voice from the speaker was male, with the Hispanic accent of someone born in the Western Hemisphere Union back on Earth. “Who’s calling, please?”

“Lynn Hu . . . Pan News Service. I have an appointment with . . .”

“Of course, senorita. We’ve been expecting you.” A brief buzz, then the right half of the gate slowly swung open. “Please come up.”

“Thank you.” Lynn started to step through the gate, then stopped as something occurred to her. “Umm . . . come up, you said?”

“Yes.”

She stared at the dirt road leading up the ridge and swallowed. No signs that any vehicles had recently come this way. Nothing that looked like a tram. She heard the chitter of small birds—grasshoarders, she’d learned they were called—within the high grass on either side of the road; a skeeter buzzed past her face, and she swatted it away.

“Walk, you mean,” she added.

No response from the intercom, yet as she strolled through the gate, it silently closed behind her, locking with a definitive click. Realizing that argument was pointless, she took a deep breath, then set out to climb the rest of the way to Traveler’s Rest.

The ascent was less difficult than it appeared. The house was only about three hundred yards from the bottom of the bluffs, with the road cut in a series of switchbacks that afforded an easy grade. Yet, although someone born and raised on Coyote probably would have considered it little more than morning exercise, Lynn had only recently become acclimated to the thin atmosphere; when she’d left the inn in Liberty, she hadn’t expected to go hiking. So her linen business suit was drenched with sweat and her sandals filled with sand by the time she arrived, out of breath and gasping, at the top of the ridge.

Traveler’s Rest was magnificent. Tall cathedral windows looked out upon carefully cultivated gardens, their beds planted with flowers both native to Coyote and imported from Earth, lending color to a place where it was least expected. Wooden stairs led her up a low retaining wall to a semicircular veranda upon which Adirondack chairs and potted shrubs had been set out; she noticed a small refractor telescope on a tripod, its capped lens pointed toward the sky. As she came closer, Lynn was startled to hear a horse whinny; looking around, she spotted a chestnut mare peering at her from the half door of a shed beneath the wind turbine. Horses were still scarce on this world, and most were working animals, yet this one was obviously a pet, something a rich person would ride every now and then.

She was about to walk over to the shed when a carved blackwood door opened on the veranda. A young man, not much older than herself and wearing a homespun tunic and trousers, stepped out. “Ms. Hu? I’m Tomas Conseco, the president’s personal aide. Would you follow me, please?”

The foyer was cool after the unseasonal warmth of the morning, the lighting subdued. “You may leave your shoes there,” Tomas said, motioning to a row of boots and moccasins carefully arranged on the tile floor beside the door. As Lynn gratefully slipped off her sandals, he offered her a hempcloth towel. “It’s a long walk here,” he added. “If you’d like to freshen up a bit, the guest bath is just over here.”

“No, thank you. This will be fine.” She ran the towel across her face and neck, mopping her sweat. Suddenly, her business suit felt too warm. “Is there any place where I may . . . ?” She plucked a...

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