Haze by L. E. Modesitt Jr. | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Haze
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Haze

3.5 44
by L. E. Modesitt Jr.
     
 

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What lies beneath the fog of the millions of orbiting nanotech satellites that shroud the world called Haze?

Major Keir Roget's mission is to make planetfall in secret, find out, and report back to his superiors in the Federation, the Chinese-dominated government that rules Earth and the colonized planets.

Now, scouting Haze, he finds a culture both

Overview

What lies beneath the fog of the millions of orbiting nanotech satellites that shroud the world called Haze?

Major Keir Roget's mission is to make planetfall in secret, find out, and report back to his superiors in the Federation, the Chinese-dominated government that rules Earth and the colonized planets.

Now, scouting Haze, he finds a culture both seemingly familiar, yet frighteningly alien, with hints of a technology far superior to that of the Federation. Yet he is not quite certain how much of what he sees is real–or how to convey a danger he cannot even prove to his superiors, if he can escape the planet...

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Sent by the Chinese-dominated Federation that rules Earth and its colony planets to infiltrate the satellite-shrouded planet Haze, Maj. Keir Roget discovers a culture both familiar and disturbingly alien, stirring up memories of a mission that nearly cost him his sanity. This psychological sf thriller by the prolific author of the multivolume "Recluce" fantasy series incorporates carefully delineated characters with believable far-future scenarios. Modesitt's fans as well as readers of hard sf should appreciate this story of imminent interstellar war.


—Jackie Cassada
Kirkus Reviews
Independent science-fiction consciousness-raiser, from the versatile and dependable Modesitt (Imager, 2009, etc.). Major Keir Roget is a security agent for the Federation, a repressive, Chinese-dominated military empire that has ruled Earth and its colonized planets for more than a thousand years. His new assignment is to penetrate the veiling clouds of planet Haze, because his superiors suspect the presence of a dangerously subversive Thomist (skeptic) culture outside the Federation's control. Battered by orbiting concentric spheres of defensive nanotech satellites, Roget's boat barely survives the drop into a remote section of Haze. After hiking for two days, he's met by Lyvia Rholyn, who tells him she'll be his guide to Dubiety, as the locals call it. If what Roget sees and learns can be believed, the planet is a utopia that stresses ecological harmony, education and truth, and its science includes techniques that resemble time travel and teleportation. Lyvia hints that Thomists have colonized more than one world; moreover, this isn't the first time the Federation has threatened Haze/Dubiety. Roget has good reason to distrust his Federation superiors. Alternating chapters relate an earlier mission to root out subversives in the dusty, energy-deprived Saint culture of Utah, during which time he not only discovered that the Saints were neither as primitive nor as innocuous as he had been told, but received a reminder of the values the Federation despises. The Saint sections engage, but clever, coolly rational Haze/Dubiety lacks drama.
From the Publisher
"This psychological sf thriller...incorporates carefully delineated characters with believable far-future scenarios." —Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780765362902
Publisher:
Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
04/27/2010
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
724,515
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

3 MARIS 1811 p. d. [6749 f. e.]

The man in the drab pale blue Federation shipsuit sat inside the oblong cubicle just large enough for the chair and hood that provided direct sensory- reinforced information—useful for everything from maintenance data to in- depth intelligence briefings. After thirty standard minutes, he removed the hood, rose to his feet, pushed back the screen as he stepped out onto the dark blue of the third deck. The bulkheads were an eye- resting blue, close to the shade of his shipsuit, and devoid of any decoration or projections. That was true of all bulkheads on the WuDing, and of all Federation deep- space vessels. He eyed the three datastations for a moment, now all empty, then shook his head.

He stood 193 centimeters and massed 104.4 kilograms, and under the ship’s single grav, mass and weight matched. His hair was nondescript brown. His eyes were silver gray.

He frowned for a moment, still trying to ignore the residual odor of burning hair that remained trapped in his nostrils. The odor was a side effect of the suspension cradles in which he and much of the Wu -Ding’s crew had spent the transit out from Fronera, and it would pass. It certainly had on his missions to Khriastos and Marduk. He just wished the odor had already departed. He remained motionless, trying to organize the mass of information he had been men11 tally force- fed.

ITEM: The planet was too close to the K7 orange- tinted sun to be habitable under normal conditions, although the system was older by at least a billion years than the Sol system.

ITEM: The planet had a mass of 1.07 T-norm, with an upper atmosphere that suggested optimal habitability.

ITEM:: The planet itself was impenetrable to all forms of Federation scanning and detection technology.

ITEM: The planet presented an image of featureless silver gray haze to normal human vision and remained equally feature less to all forms of observation technology.

ITEM: It had no moons or objects of significant individual mass in orbit.

ITEM: Identical objects massing approximately .11 kilograms orbited the planet in at least three differing levels. The number of such objects in each orbital sphere could not be quantified, but estimates suggested more than two million per sphere.

ITEM:The planet radiated nothing along any known spectrum. No electromagnetic radiation, no gravitonic waves, no nothing . . . except a certain amount of evenly dispersed heat and radiation consisting of energy reflected from the planet’s sun.

ITEM: He had to find out what lay below that silver gray haze.

He nodded slowly, then stretched. He disliked info- feed briefings. He always had. He turned and began to walk toward the WuDing’s Operations Control. His shipboots were silent on the plastiform deck.

Major Roget, to OpCon.

Stet. On my way.

There was no response. The colonel disliked unnecessary communications, particularly on the shipnet, and particularly when he had to deal with an FSA agent transferred into his command at the rank of major. The other four FSA agents accompanying Roget were lieutenants and captains, though he’d known none of them before boarding the WuDing.

An Ops monitor tech, also in a pale blue shipsuit, hurried in Roget’s direction. As she neared him, her eyes took in his collar insignia, and she averted her eyes, just enough to display the proper respect.

Roget inclined his head fractionally in response and continued to the first ladder, which he ascended. Two levels up, he headed aft.

The hatch to Colonel Tian’s office irised open at Roget’s approach and closed behind him. Roget took two steps into a space four times the size of the briefing cubicle and halted. The office held two chairs. The colonel sat in one.

"Sir," offered Roget.

"Please be seated, Major." The colonel gestured for Roget to take the other chair. The thin operations console was folded flush against the aft bulkhead. Hard- connected systems worked far better in battle than broadband links, although no Federation warship had been in a pitched space battle in centuries.

Roget sat down and waited.

The colonel steepled his fingers, his eyes looking not at Roget, but through the major. He was a good half a head shorter than Roget, but slender, almost willowy despite his age, and his black eyes were youthfully ancient. Finally, he spoke. "According to the report forwarded by FSA, you are most capable, Major, especially when acting alone. Your accomplishments on Marduk and on system station Khriastos appear particularly noteworthy." Tian paused. "In de pen dent action, in par tic u lar, may be needed on this assignment, and that is why the FIS requested assistance from FSA."

"Yes, sir."

"What do you think lies behind that haze- shield, Major?"

"An alien culture. Probably Thomist, but that would be speculation, sir."

"You consider the Thomists as aliens?" The colonel’s tone suggested raised eyebrows, but his face remained serene.

"Alien to the goals and aims of the Federation, certainly."

"How would you define alien?"

"Not aligned and unfathomable," replied Roget easily. He’d reported to more than enough hard- eyed and unnamed FSA colonels over the years that an FIS colonel was hardly anything to worry about.

"Unfathomable?"

"Theoretically intellectually understandable, but not emotionally comprehensible."

The colonel offered the slightest nod. "Analytics calculate the probability at 73 percent for the likelihood of a Thomist world."

Again, Roget waited. Even for a Federation Interstellar Ser vice security officer, the colonel was being casual, if not blasé, about the discovery of a human splinter culture or an alien world. Unlike Roget, he had to have known of the world long before Roget’s briefing.

"Do you have any questions?"

"How long have we known about this world?" Roget asked the question because it was expected, not because he anticipated a meaningful answer.

"If it’s Thomist, we’ve known about the possibility for quite a time."

"How long might that be, sir?"

"Long enough. We’re not absolutely certain it is a Thomist world. That’s your task. You will, of course, wear a pressure suit until you confirm that the world is not environmentally hostile, and your dropboat is configured with some additional survival features to deal with that eventuality, although the scientists believe such is unlikely."

The colonel’s response confirmed Roget’s feelings. The senior officer wasn’t about to answer the questions Roget would have liked to ask, and the ones he would answer had already been addressed by the console briefing. The issue of a hostile environment had also been touched upon and dismissed, as if the colonel knew far more than he was revealing.

"Any other questions?"

"No, sir."

"Your outward complacency exemplifies your inner arrogance, Major."

"Yes, sir."

"Inscrutability behind an emotional facade. The heritage of failed Noram supremacy." Tian’s short laugh was humorless.

"As opposed to inscrutability behind inscrutability, sir?"

"There is a difference between inscrutability and deception, Major. It’s called honesty, I believe."

"Yes, sir."

"If you’re successful, Major, you’ll doubtless end up in a position

Meet the Author

L. E. Modesitt, Jr., is the bestselling author of the fantasy series The Saga of Recluce, Corean Chronicles, and the Imager Portfolio. His science fiction includes Adiamante, the Ecolitan novels, the Forever Hero Trilogy, and Archform: Beauty. Besides a writer, Modesitt has been a U.S. Navy pilot, a director of research for a political campaign, legislative assistant and staff director for a U.S. Congressman, Director of Legislation and Congressional Relations for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a consultant on environmental, regulatory, and communications issues, and a college lecturer. He lives in Cedar City, Utah.

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