They shipped Lindsay into exile in the cheapest kind of drogue. For
two days he was blind and deaf, stunned with drugs, his body packed
n a thick matrix of deceleration paste. Launched from the
Republic's cargo arm, the drogue had drifted with cybernetic
There were ten of these worlds, named for the lunar mares and craters
that had provided their raw materials. They'd been the first
nation-states to break off all relations with Earth. For a century
their lunar alliance had been the nexus of civilization, but since
those glory days, progress in deeper space had eclipsed them, and the
lunar neighborhood had become a backwater. The circumlunars had
fallen from grace.
Ejected from the drogue's docking port, he floated naked in the
free-fall customs chamber of the Mare Tranquillitatis People's
Circumlunar Zaibatsu. The chamber was of dull lunar steel, with strips
of ragged epoxy where paneling had been ripped free. He shared the
"You are Abelard Malcolm Tyler Lindsay? From the Mare Serenitatis
Circumlunar Corporate Republic? You are seeking political asylum? You
your person? You are not carrying explosives or software attack
Zaibatsu standard microbes?"
"Yes, that's correct," Lindsay said, in the camera's own Japanese.
"You will soon be released into an area that has been ideologically
your activities that must be understood. Are you familiar with the
concept of civil rights?"
Lindsay was cautious. "In what context?"
"The Zaibatsu recognizes one civil right: the right to death. You may
claim your right at any time, under any circumstances. All you need do
s request it. Our audio monitors are spread throughout the Zaibatsu.
terminated. Do you understand?"
"I understand," Lindsay said.
"Termination is also enforced for certain other behaviors," the camera
you interfere with our monitoring devices, you will be killed. If you
cross the sterilized zone, you will be killed. You will also be killed
for crimes against humanity."
"Crimes against humanity?" Lindsay said. "How are those defined?"
"These are biological and prosthetic efforts that we declare to be
aberrant. The technical information concerning the limits of our
tolerance must remain classified."
"I see," Lindsay said. This was, he realized, carte blanche to kill
Lindsay doubted that a world full of sundogs could be run any other
(from first chapter of
ISBN 0441003702, with
minor editing for brevity)