(From the original of “The Solar Wind III”.)
The world has changed; a sinister organization called “The Unicate” has taken over Planet Earth and wrought havoc, eliminating the Universal Bill of Human Rights and ruling Earth and its citizens with remorseless terror.
Radomir Lascek, Pirate Captain, floats his ship around the oceans of 2116, subverting everyone and rescuing political fugitives. This is a meeting between him and his “inner circle” of ship officers (speak pirates):
Jon Marsden, his First Mate; Sherman Dougherty, a veteran who is over 100 years old; Doc Judith, who clones illegal GMO’s, and Federi, a Romanian Free Gypsy who has spent a few too many years living in the seductively sweet anarchy of “Southern Free”. Conspiracy? Oh yes, there’s a conspiracy – Lascek is it!
Note: Solar Wind fans will find with glee that this prologue has been reinserted in its rightful place, at the beginning of the book, with a few little tweaks to shorten and sweeten it.
Captain Radomir Lascek paced before his gathered few, studying their faces. His inner circle; his most trusted officers were gathered here before him, in the secret lounge of the more secret Southern Deep Base, in the glow of a synthetic fire that kept away the chill of the Antarctic night.
His assassins had reported back half an hour ago; Marsden, Ailyss, Federi and little Paean. His gypsy had looked ill at ease throughout the report-back, his black eyes flitting from Marsden to Ailyss, and his forehead creased in worry. There were significant gaps in his report too; however, these 餐飲顧問 probably had nothing much to do with the mission. Radomir Lascek was not going to grill him on these. Wild birds!
Ailyss and Paean had been sent off to prepare food – or keep themselves busy in any other way; and the Inner Circle had been called in. Here they were gathered: Federi, Jon Marsden, Doc Judith, Sherman Dougherty, Rushka – Donegal, he had to remind himself acridly, and Ronan. The young man was an officer-in-training, so he might as well learn of his Captain’s plans. He had shown himself capable of keeping confidences before.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” announced Radomir Lascek, studying his most trusted few with satisfaction, “phase one is achieved. Thanks to Jon and Federi, twenty-one Unicate leaders have been removed. The organization will need leadership! We instate Admiral Drake as military leader. As for the Rebellion, they have received enough of a blow to understand that if they try any resistance, they shall be totally, utterly, completely annihilated!”
His officers stared at him in shock. Their Captain turning into a warlord! He grinned. He rather liked the effect.
“Quinlan,” said Federi from his corner, where he sat cross-legged on his chair carving at something.
Ah, of course. Gypsies had never been properly impressed by warlords.
“Valid point,” said Lascek. “The Samoa Group hasn’t received any blow. But we hold Quinlan’s children. And Ailyss, take note, has come over to our side completely. A trump, my friends.”
Federi nodded. She was a trump. She had brought Jon back home in one piece.
“So the balance of power is established,” said Lascek. “We set up peace negotiations between all these warring parties. Bring them under a single banner. As for the Unicate: We place the entire machinery into the hands of the Admir