“There's a right thing to do," Holden said.
"You don't have a right thing, friend," Miller said. "You've got a whole plateful of maybe a little less wrong.”
“What kind of half-assed apocalypse are they running down there?” Amos said. “Give ’em a break. It’s their first.”
“Stars are better off without us.”
“Too many dots," Miller said. "Not enough lines.”
“He hadn’t been aware he’d felt wrong until he suddenly felt right again.”
“First off, get your shit together. Panic doesn’t help. It never helps. Deep breaths, figure this out, make the right moves. Fear is the mind-killer. Ha. Geek.”
“The massive radiation exposure had failed to give him superpowers.”
“His parents had raised him to believe that sex was something you did in private not because it was embarrassing, but because it was intimate.”
“It was a real book— onionskin pages bound in what might have been actual leather. Miller had seen pictures of them before; the idea of that much weight for a single megabyte of data struck him as decadent.”
“Liquor doesn’t make you feel better. Just makes you not so worried about feeling bad.”
“Miller was staring at him like an entomologist trying to figure out exactly where the pin went.”
“A hundred and fifty years before, when the parochial disagreements between Earth and Mars had been on the verge of war, the Belt had been a far horizon of tremendous mineral wealth beyond viable economic reach, and the outer planets had been beyond even the most unrealistic corporate dream. Then Solomon Epstein had built his little modified fusion drive, popped it on the back of his three-man yacht, and turned it on. With a good scope, you could still see his ship going at a marginal percentage of the speed of light, heading out into the big empty. The best, longest funeral in the history of mankind. Fortunately, he’d left the plans on his home computer. The Epstein Drive hadn’t given humanity the stars, but it had delivered the planets.”
“Posthuman. It was a word that came up in the media every five or six years, and it meant different things every time. Neural regrowth hormone? Posthuman. Sex robots with inbuilt pseudo intelligence? Posthuman. Self-optimizing network routing? Posthuman. It was a word from advertising copy, breathless and empty, and all he’d ever thought it really meant was that the people using it had a limited imagination about what exactly humans were capable of.”
“Everyone too busy trying to survive to spend any time creating something new.”
“People always whispered when they were hiding. Wrapped in a space suit and surrounded by vacuum, Gomez could have been lighting fireworks inside his armor and no one would have heard it, but he whispered.”
“I know it's none of my business, but I really wouldn't let her put you off. So you don't understand sex and love and women. Just means you were born with a cock. And this girl? Naomi? She seems like she's worth putting a little effort into it. You know?"
"Yeah," Holden said. Then: "Can we never talk about that again?"
“GOODY. MY SPLEEN IS COLLAPSING. HURRY UP.”
“I don’t believe war ever does. It’s a madness that’s in our nature. Sometimes it recurs; sometimes it subsides.” “Sounds like a disease.” “The herpes simplex of the species?”
“Stupid. Shortsighted. A man born with a sense for raw opportunity where his soul should have been. Miller’s”
“The pachinko machines lit them blue and green and shrieked in artificial delight.”
“The abyss above him shone with unflickering stars. One of the dots of light was Earth. He didn’t know which one.”
“Fish and company start to smell after three days.”
“Tachi’s galley had a full kitchen and a table with room for twelve. It also had a full-size coffeepot that could brew forty cups of coffee in less than five minutes whether the ship was in zero g or under a five-g burn. Holden said a silent prayer of thanks for bloated military budgets and pressed the brew button. He had to restrain himself from stroking the stainless steel cover while it made gentle percolating noises.”
“He’d seen unequivocally that the chaos he’d dedicated his life to holding at bay was stronger and wider and more powerful than he would ever be. No compromise he could make would be enough. His death-self was unfolding in him, and the dark blooming took no effort. It was a relief, a relaxation, a long, slow exhale after decades of holding it in.
He was in ruins, but it was okay, because he was dying.”
“Anyone can kill a planet from orbit,” Holden replied. “You don’t even need bombs. Just push anvils out the airlock. That thing out there could kill… Shit. Anything.”
“There were two sides fighting—that was true enough—but they weren’t the inner planets versus the Belters. They were the people who thought it was a good idea to kill people who looked or acted differently against the people who didn’t.”
“Say what you will about organized crime, at least it’s organized.”
“Holden had once dated a Buddhist who said that death was merely a different state of being, and people only feared the unknown that lay behind that transition. Death without warning was preferable, as it removed all fear.
He felt he now had the counterargument.”
“Living on the surface of a planet, mass sucking at every bone and muscle, and nothing but gravity to keep your air close, seemed like a fast path to crazy.”
“Rebecca Byers, the comm officer on duty, could have been bred from a shark and a hatchet. Black eyes, sharp features, lips so thin they might as well not have existed. The story on board was that she’d taken the job to escape prosecution for killing an ex-husband. Holden liked her.”
“And overpowered by memory
Both men gave way to grief. Priam wept freely
For man - killing Hector, throbbing, crouching
Before Achilles' feet as Achilles wept himself,
Now for his father, now for Patroclus once again
And their sobbing rose and fell throughout the house.”
“The worst thing in life is not losing the one you love, it’s losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much.”
“Ignorance is the parent of fear.”
“passage to a limit should always be the last operation, not the first.”
“That day must come when men will understand that freedom and daily bread enough to satisfy all are unthinkable and can never be had together, as men will never be able to fairly divide the two among themselves. And they will also learn that they can never be free, for they are weak, vicious, miserable nonentities born wicked and rebellious.”
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