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In the long-anticipated sequel to the Hugo Award-winning Cyteen, Ariane Emory PR, the genetic clone of scientist Ariane Emory, launches a personal investigation into the murder of her progenitor, searching for a killer against the backdrop of a turbulent interstellar society in which she struggles to avoid the same fate as the original Ariane.
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C. J. Cherryh planned to write since the age of ten. When she was older, she learned to use a type writer while triple-majoring in Classics, Latin and Greek. At 33, she signed over her first three books to DAW and has worked with DAW ever since. She can be found at cherryh.com.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
HISTORY OF UNION: The Post-War Period
Union came out of the Company Wars with both territory and political integrity, not beholden to Earth or Alliance for either. The Treaty of Pell, which ended active hostilities between Union and Alliance, left Earth independent, though militarily reliant on Pell’s Star. The Company Fleet had defied Earth’s authority, rejected the Treaty of Pell, and continued acts of piracy, as apt to prey on Earth’s ships as on Union’s, and now lacking a safe port.
The Treaty incidentally left the merchanter Council of Captains with more power than Pell’s Star Station held in the affairs of the Alliance.
And the same Treaty ceded the greater expanse of human-explored space to the authority of Union . . . but placed merchant trade exclusively in the hands of the Alliance Council of Captains.
It was an agreement equally unpopular on all sides—which spoke a great deal to its fairness—and it was immediately followed by a period in which all former combatants maneuvered for advantage, everyone dreading a resumption of hostilities, but most convinced that war would break out again, probably within a lifetime.
The Hinder Stars, that bridge of closely lying, generally barren stars between Earth and Pell, became a zone of renewed interest for the Alliance, which governed that region. The Council of Captains, whose livelihood was their ships and their trade, looked to revitalize the mothballed stations on that route—stations that had collapsed economically with the advent of faster-than-light engines. Alliance thus moved to set itself as middleman between Earth and Union, and to profit from that trade . . . if it could re-establish viable populations to consume the goods it wanted to trade along the way.
Union enjoyed the manufacture, mining, and prosperity of its own widely scattered stations, from Mariner and Viking to outlying Fargone, and it had the colonized world of Cyteen, with its major exports: the rejuv drug, embryos, genetically enhanced biologicals, azi workers, and concentrated foodstuffs.
In the viewpoint of the merchanter captains of the Alliance, that was a somewhat reasonable model for what the Alliance could create around Pell’s World—Downbelow—by repopulating the abandoned starstations of the Hinder Stars, and revivifying trade with, not one, but two living worlds within their reach—Downbelow and Earth itself.
It was a reasonable model in all save one respect: the Alliance plan for the Hinder Stars relied on recruitment of station citizens and the natural human birth rate to provide population. This meant luring the poorer of the residents of Pell and Earth to live in frontier conditions at outmoded, pre-FTL stations.
The natural human birth rate is slow: that was one flaw in the plan; and, the second, the poorer residents of Pell Station, who had suffered most in the war years, were not generally optimists about government promises. Spacers would never give up their ships and family connections to settle permanently on stations. Earth residents were barred by laws restricting emigration of its educated and essential. So a consumer population, particularly of educated and prosperous classes, was very hard to obtain in the Hinder Stars. Subsidies began to drain Pell’s economy and raise taxes on Pell Station itself, a source of great discontent.
There was also a basic conflict between station interests and spacer interests: stationers were not anxious to see their power further diminished by spacer exploitation of the planet beneath their feet. On the one hand there was no great enthusiasm among stationers to visit their sole Earthlike planet—it had its hazards, and intelligent inhabitants. And secondly, there had begun to be a strong green party. That party, combined with those stationers fearing the Council of Captains would dominate the station itself, passed legislation making Pell’s World a protectorate unavailable for colonization. That cut one leg from under the merchanter captains’ plan.
Contrast this situation with Union, which exited the Company Wars with an abundance of thriving stations, two stations at Cyteen’s own home star, besides Mariner and Viking, which posed a convenient bridge to the Alliance trade. The terms of the Treaty of Pell demanded Alliance merchanters serve those routes, as a condition of Union not building merchanters of their own. And this, of course, provided sorely needed markets for Alliance, but not as profitable markets, counting Union tariffs, as they would be if Alliance owned the cargos and the stations.
And, while Alliance merchanter ships plied Union space, serving chains of Union starstations down various strands of stars, it was universally Union industry which benefitted from the transport. From Pan-Paris, on one route, to Fargone, on the other, with Cyteen itself at the center, Union had come out of the Company Wars with the kind of trade network and consumer base that the Alliance only dreamed of building.
Union stations numbered populations in the multiple hundreds of thousands, though Union was far younger than Pell. Cyteen itself, which did allow humans onworld, counted population in the millions . . . but the largest population center in Alliance space numbered, officially, counting both the remote and the near station at Pell, around half a million. Counting the merchanters on ships and miners at various outposts, the whole population of the Alliance numbered probably a quarter of a million more. So the bulk of human population in the universe might still be still centered at Sol, with its billions, but the population of Union now had to be counted as a major alternate center. The exponential increase challenged the economic power that Alliance had once considered unassailable: If that rate of growth continued, one day there would be more humans in Union than presently lived on Earth itself.
Union did not rely on natural human birth rate, or on emigration. Union used birthlabs. Union could create a station and, within twenty years, raise up thousands of highly motivated, trained inhabitants—inhabitants ready to meet the difficulties of station-building, perfectly content with barracks conditions at the outset, and ready to teach their naturally born children their values of hard work, adequate leisure, participation in the group, and, in due proportion, independent analytical thinking.
More, Union had rejuv, a product of Cyteen’s biology, which doubled and tripled the productive years of its workers and thinkers. Natural reproduction might stop at forty, when a person went on rejuv, but work and economic production went on . . . and the birthlabs could enable individuals to reproduce into their next century.
Alliance efforts to revive the Hinder Stars, even starting with prebuilt residencies and mothballed businesses, were slow and subject to supply and personnel shortages. They failed to meet immigrant expectations of quick riches and reasonable living conditions. Only the smallest, marginal traders were willing to ply those routes, while the richer Alliance ships engaged in the far more lucrative trade within Union space. Factor in the occasional appearance of Mazianni pirates—former Earth Company Fleet—at these lonely, largely undefended stations of the Hinder Stars, and the reluctance of Alliance stationers to undertake the risk of living there was understandable.
Union, seeing that the Mazianni were deriving supply and new personnel from those stations, offered to assist the Alliance in patrols there, but old suspicions died hard. Alliance rebuffed Union offers, convinced that Union was seeking to control all these stations, which represented their route to Earth.
Besides, the Alliance was engaged in another, secret project: it had long known of an Earth-class world within its grasp, and it mounted an expedition which the Alliance captains saw as finally giving the Alliance the exploitable world they so greatly wanted.
The expedition arrived at that planet, and found it already occupied by a human colony . . . a Union colony.
The timing of the revelation could not have been worse for Alliance-Union relations. During the negotiations for the Treaty, Pell had strongly insisted on acquiring adjacent territory . . . knowing that world was there.
But a secret Union operation at the close of the War had landed not a military occupation, but a colony. The CIT supervisors of the colony, largely military, had perished early. The azi workers, however, had survived, multiplied, and scattered into the outback, incidentally commingling Terran-origin biologicals and highly engineered microbes with the native fauna . . . and ultimately making accommodation with the native life.
The revelation of the Union colony on that world—which came to be known as Gehenna—came close to shipwrecking the Treaty of Pell. Alliance held that the Union signers of the Treaty had kept Gehenna a secret, and that the Treaty had thus not been negotiated in good faith. Union responded that its negotiators had not known about the colony, and that, within the framework of Union government, all knowledge of the settlement had been sequestered within two of the branches of government, Science and Defense. Thus the Bureau of State, which had negotiated and maintained the Treaty, had had absolutely no knowledge there was a problem.
Further, Union argued, the administrations of Science and Defense, under Emory of Science and Adm. Azov of Defense, had profoundly changed personnel since the War, and with the present Council of Nine pressing strongly for peace, it made no sense even to the most hawkish of the Alliance political parties to lead humanity back to a state of war. Union formally apologized for the situation and offered amends. The situation was so volatile that Union accepted the Treaty of Gehenna, presented by Pell, virtually without amendment—to wit, that there would be no future manned landing on a biologically complex world except by joint participation of Alliance and Union on the mission, and there would be no landing on a world with a native intelligence until that intelligence could meet humans in space and speak for itself.
By the same treaty, Union offered access to certain restricted technology in a joint Alliance-Union mission to be settled in orbit about Gehenna . . . a watchdog mission designed to preclude any biohazard getting off the planet. Regulations for any persons in contact with Gehenna became the standard for any future exploratory missions.
Though the Treaty of Gehenna was accepted by both sides, the matter of Union assistance at the Hinder Stars was quietly tabled “pending future study,” and, as the third component of the treaty, certain trade concessions and tariff reductions were given to the Alliance Council of Captains, as a confidence-building measure.
Scholars tend to mark the Treaty of Pell as the beginning of the post-war cooling-off period, and the Treaty of Gehenna as its close, as if the era could be summed up within those parentheses. But between those two events, the death of a single human woman, Ariane Emory, and her rebirth in a Parental Replicate, could ultimately prove of greater import in human history. As the rumor reached Pell and Earth that the Architect of Union—and of Gehenna—had died, there had been reaction clear to the ends of human space.
The war years, in which stations and whole planets had become logical targets, had threatened the existence of humankind, from the motherworld to the most remote colony of Union space. That state of affairs had remained true for much of the first Ariane Emory’s tenure in various offices. She had been a genius in genetics and psychology, served as Director of Reseune for a number of years, was the principle theorist behind Union’s strong population push during the War . . . and she had served as Councillor of Science during a critical period of the post-War era, including the Gehenna operation. Her political views were pro-Expansionist. She had been instrumental in the push of human population and commerce to the farthest reaches of explored space. She had founded the genetic Arks, in which genetic records of every available Earth species were preserved. She had steered the development of the planet of Cyteen from a largely vacant wilderness to a continent-spanning network of towns and research centers, and the establishment of ecological studies on the second continent. She had begun her career in full accord with Union’s early intentions to terraform the world of Cyteen into a new Earth, but her opinion had evolved over time into a determination to preserve its native fauna.
The Centrist party of her day, which had crystallized around Emory’s change of opinion about terraforming, continued to press for terraforming Cyteen and basing Union around a strong central authority. Emory and the Expansionists contrarily argued against further alterations to Cyteen, and in favor of further colonization, with a strong emphasis on local autonomy of governments thus formed, a de facto decentralization of power.
And Emory prevailed.
Then, as a war-weary universe foresaw Emory’s life winding down to a natural close, and as powers jockeyed to position themselves for a quieter post-Emory era of consolidation, Emory advanced a process called psychogenesis, the cloning of a psychologically and intellectually identical offspring. It was a procedure that had conspicuously failed before.
When Emory was assassinated, many in Alliance and even in Union assumed that her final project had been aborted, incomplete, or that if ever attempted, it would fail—that, in effect, it had been the last, forlorn hope of a dying woman.
Within two years, a child named Ariane Emory was born at Cyteen.
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