Aliette de Bodard is a half-French, half-Vietnamese computer and history geek who lives in Paris. In her spare time, she writes speculative fiction. Her short stories have appeared in many venues, including Asimov's, Interzone and the Year's Best Science Fiction. She has a special interest in non-Western civilisations, particularly Ancient Vietnam, Ancient China and Ancient Mesoamerica.
Norlin has one small advantage other ships of the Empire lack: he has a captured alien energy weapon. But even this energy cannon is worthless against the waves of decadence flowing from the Emperor's Court where the magnitude of the threat is ignored.
Rebellion is brewing among the frontier worlds and Norlin finds his sympathies increasingly lie with them although his pledge of honor as an officer is to maintain and defend the Empire against all enemies.
Captain Mond Aton had been proud to serve in such a fleet. But now, falsely convicted of cowardice and dereliction of duty, he had been given the cruellest of sentences: to be sent unprotected into time as a lone messenger between the cruising timeships. After such an inconceivable experience in the endless voids there was only one option left to him.
To be allowed to die.