Best Military Science Fiction of the 20th Century   by Harry Turtledove, Martin H. Greenberg

By Harry Turtledove, Martin H. Greenberg

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Thank you, your lordship,” he said tonelessly. “I hope you will have time to talk with me in some detail. ” Rusch’s right eyebrow tilted up, so that the archaic monocle he affected beneath it seemed in danger of falling out. He was a big man, stiffly and solidly built, yellow hair cropped to a wiry brush around the long skull, a scar puckering his left cheek. He wore Army uniform, the gray high-collared tunic and old-fashioned breeches and shiny boots of his planet; the trident and suns of a primary general; a sidearm, its handle worn smooth from much use.

Perhaps. ” Rebellion rode in her voice. ” “No. But you could work toward it,” she said. “I think you’re wrong in despising the common man, Hans…when was he ever given a chance, in this kingdom? ” he laughed. ” Her shoulders, slim behind the burning-red cloak, slumped. “Kolresh turned a hundred hopeful towns into radioactive craters and left the gnawed bones of children in the fields. Kolresh killed my husband, like a score of kings before him. ” The Margrave took out his pipe and began filling it.

Nor culturally—yet. But it shrieked at him, from every insolent movement and twist of words, that Rusch had made a political deal. ” said the Margrave. Unduma cleared his throat, desperately, and leaned forward. “Your lordship,” he said, “my embassy cannot help taking notice of certain public statements, as well as certain military preparations and other matters of common knowledge—” “And items your spies have dug up,” drawled Rusch. Unduma started. ” “My good ambassador,” grinned Rusch, “it was you who suggested a straightforward talk.

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