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Bone Silence by Alastair Reynolds Read Online (FREE)

Bone Silence by Alastair Reynolds Read Online

Read Bone Silence (Revenger, #3) by Alastair Reynolds full novel online for free here.

1

It had begun as a distant glimmering dot; now it was unmistakably a world.

At the front of the rocket launch, from her control position behind the forward windows, Fura Ness tried to fly exactly like any other prospective visitor. Too confident in her approach, and she would draw attention to herself. Too cautious, and she would look as if she had something to hide.

Which – of course – she did.

The sweep was bouncing range-location pings against the outer shell of Mulgracen. A dial showed their closing speed, now down to just six thousand spans per second.

‘That will do nicely,’ Lagganvor said, as he leant over her shoulder to study the instrument board.

Fura took her time answering. She flipped a switch or two, worked a lever, tapped her nail against a sticky gauge.

‘This ain’t my first approach, Lag.’

Lagganvor’s reflection smiled back from the burnished metal of the console.

‘Nor mine.’

Fura applied a little more counterthrust, dropping them to five thousand five hundred spans per second. They were threading through the orbits of other ships gathered around Mulgracen that ranged from little runabouts like their own to fully-rigged sailing vessels, albeit all close-hauled so near to the gravity well of a swallower.

‘All this way for a pile of bones,’ Prozor said, in a familiar complaining tone.

‘Bones we happen to need,’ Fura answered.

Prozor rubbed the dent in her head where a metal plate had been put in. ‘You need ’em, girlie. The rest of us is quite satisfied never goin’ near those horse-faced horrors.’

‘I share your reservations,’ Lagganvor said, directing a confiding smile at Prozor. ‘But I also appreciate the need for up-to-date intelligence. Without a viable skull, we’re operating blind.’

‘And this intelligence,’ Prozor said. ‘It wouldn’t have anything to do with gov’m’nt men turnin’ over every rock in the Congregation to look for us, would it? Gov’m’nt coves with ships and guns and undercover agents and plenty of intelligence of their own?’

Lagganvor scratched at his chin. ‘It might.’

‘Then why in all the worlds is we . . . goin’ anywhere near a world?’

‘We’ve been over this,’ Adrana Ness said, turning to face Prozor from the seat immediately behind her sister’s control position. ‘It’s all very well keeping to the margins, picking off other ships for essential supplies – that’s served us well enough since The Miser. But it’s not sustainable. We’ve only adopted piracy as a temporary measure, not a business for life.’

Prozor nodded at the forward windows, where Mulgracen was now large enough for surface details to be visible. ‘And offerin’ our necks on the choppin’ board by voluntarily going to a world – that’s meant to be an improvement?’

‘It has to be done,’ Fura said, sighing hard. ‘None of the skulls we’ve found on other ships were worth a spit by the time we got our hands on them. So we’ve no choice but to shop. But I ain’t taking silly risks. Mulgracen’s a long way out and there’s no likelihood that anyone will be expecting us. It won’t be like Wheel Strizzardy . . .’