by Tony Pi
read by John Chu
First published in The Dragon and the Stars, a DAW anthology that appeared in 2010.
Unlike the other wheel-ships in the fleet, which had been rigged with trebuchets, this squat vessel held on deck only a windowless cabin with a door slightly ajar. I gathered my courage and entered.
Two men stood in heated argument in the lantern-lit chamber. I recognized the wispy-bearded man in his early fifties as Admiral Zhang, bedecked in his imposing lamellar armor. A veteran of the war against the Jin, Zhang had been given the command of our river fleet by the Spirit General himself.
The other, a balding man in his thirties, bore a deep diagonal scar crossing both lips. His uniform marked him as a Yongdui, a platoon commander.
Dr. Tony Pi is a writer based in Toronto, Canada, with a Ph.D. in linguistics. Originally from Taiwan, he was nominated previously for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and is a double nominee in the 2015 Aurora Awards for Best English Short Fiction and Best English Poem/Song.
He has a story in The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk from Running Press. It’s called “Cosmobotica” and was co-written with Costi Gurgu.
You can follow Tony’s adventures at tonypi.com.
John Chu is a microprocessor architect by day, a writer, translator and podcast narrator by night. His work has been published or is forthcoming in Uncanny, Lightspeed and Tor.com. He is the winner of the 2014 Hugo for Best Short Story, for “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere.”