Glorious by Gregory Benford, Larry Niven (Bowl of Heaven #3)
English | 2020 | Sci – Fi | ePUB | 28.9 MB
Glorious continues the hard science fiction Bowl of Heaven series from multi-award-winning authors Gregory Benford and Larry Niven…
Audacious astronauts encounter bizarre, sometimes deadly life forms, and strange, exotic, cosmic phenomena, including miniature black holes, dense fields of interstellar plasma, powerful gravity-emitters, and spectacularly massive space-based, alien-built labyrinths. Tasked with exploring this brave, new, highly dangerous world, they must also deal with their own personal triumphs and conflicts.
“Moving fast,” Beth said as the refreshed image showed the luminous dots jumping along in flashes. “Seventeen. Fast! They’re orbiting the brightest of them—which doesn’t seem to move much. Look, one is fast, on an ellipse. The other makes a much smaller arc. A big guy with a swarm of bees around it. As though—good grief, they’ve got to have huge masses.”
SunSeeker’s ever-present Artilect conglomerate mind added on the screen, ONE IS MUCH LARGER THAN AN EARTH MASS … APPROXIMATING ORBITAL PARAMETERS … SMALLER, 0.73 EARTH MASS … LARGEST 5.32 EARTH MASS.
RADIUS OF THESE IS FAR SMALLER THAN THE RESOLUTION OF MY SYSTEMS.
“So they’re less than a few hundred meters across,” Cliff added.
All three looked at one another. “Black holes, then,” Redwing said.
The Artilect added, SO THE OBJECT’S RADIUS IS CENTIMETERS … CANNOT SEE.
“Pretty damn dangerous neighborhood,” Beth said. “If those fast dots are black holes and the masses are right—hell, they’re less than a centimeter across? We’re looking at the plasma around them.” Beth’s mouth twisted into her patented wry slant again. “No wonder the Glorians keep it out here, a thousand AUs from their world.”
Cliff chuckled. “Recall the banner at our sendoff party? The ‘Star-Craving Mad Farewell.’ Well, we’d sure as hell be crazy to get close to that.”
Redwing couldn’t let that go by. With only three of them resurrected so far, and revival going no faster than one a day, he needed coherence in their effort. “It’s part of my orders. We’re to study the grav wave emitter, and there it is. Not that the physicists had any idea of what was going on here—plus study the biosphere of Glory, first priority.”
Cliff didn’t like conflict, so Redwing watched him flip through some images, then—“I went to a broader view and found a good clue. Look—”
A composite image of the whole Excelsius system rippled in the air.
Cliff pointed at the apex of a parabolic arc. “That’s the star’s bow shock. The Excelsius solar wind meets the interstellar plasma there.”
They all knew what this meant. SunSeeker was deliberately using the bow shock paraboloid to augment its magnetic braking. Plasma built up all along that pressure wall. The ship had been taking advantage of it for weeks as it approached the star, flying along its long curve.
“They’ve put their grav wave emitter at the highest plasma density in the outer system,” Beth said. “Why?”
“That’s for us to find out,” Redwing said.
Cliff said slowly, eyes veiled, “Those Earthside orders—you’ll follow them?”
He and Beth were married but they didn’t necessarily agree on tech issues or policy, Redwing knew. He raised his eyebrows at Beth, hoping for support, but she said, “Earth is so far away—hell, decades at lightspeed—we can’t be guided by their mandates.”