Born in Rutland, England, in 1960, science fiction writer Peter F. Hamilton wasn’t interested in writing in high school, and didn’t attend university. Lucky for us, he got his chops, and sold his first short story to Fear magazine in 1988. He has also been published in Interzone and the In Dreams and New Worlds anthologies, and several small press publications. Hamilton’s first three novels featured psychic detective Greg Mandel and a controversial image of British government. But it was the massive Night’s Dawn Trilogy that really broke ground for Hamilton, earning him a place among the field’s most imaginative and bestselling authors. Today, he lives near Rutland Water with his wife, Kate, daughter, Sophie and son, Felix.
The starship had no name; it didn’t have a serial number, nor even a marque. Only one of its kind had ever been built. As no more would ever be required, no designation was needed, it was simply the ship.
It streaked through the substructure of spacetime at fifty-nine lightyears an hour, the fastest anything built by humans had ever travelled. Navigation at that awesome velocity was by quantum interstice similarity interpretation, which determined the relative location of mass in the real universe beyond. This alleviated the use of crude hysradar, or any other sensor that might possibly be detected. The extremely sophisticated ultradrive which powered it along might have reached even greater speeds if a considerable fraction of its phenomenal energy wasn’t used for fluctuation suppression. That meant there was no tell-tail distortion amid the quantum fields to betray its position to other starships which might wish to hunt it.
As well as its formidable stealth ability the ship was big; a fat ovoid over six hundred metres long, and two hundred metres across at the centre. But its real advantage came from its armaments; there were weapons on board which could knock out a half a dozen Commonwealth Navy Capital-class ship whilst barely stirring out of standby mode. Weapons which had only been verified once. The ship had flown over ten thousand lightyears from the Greater Commonwealth to test them so as to avoid detection. For millennia to come, primitive alien civilizations in that section of the galaxy would worship as gods the colourful nebulas expanding across the interstellar wastes.
Even now, sitting in the ship’s clean hemispherical cabin with the flight path imagery playing quietly in her exovision, Neskia remembered the stars splitting asunder with a little shiver of excitement, and apprehension. It had been one thing to run the clandestine fabrication station for the Accelerator Faction, dispatching ships and equipment to various agents and representatives. That was easy, cold machinery that functioned with a precision she could take pride in. But seeing the weapons active was slightly different. She’d felt a level of perturbation she hadn’t known in over two centuries, ever since she became Higher and began her inward migration. Not that she questioned her belief in the Accelerators, it was just the sheer potency of the weapons which struck her at some primitive level that could never be fully exorcised from the human psyche. She was awed by the power of what she alone commanded.
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