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Page 152 of Caliban's War (Expanse 2)

And here it was. After all the fighting, with human civilization left in chaos just from its presence, the protomolecule had finished the job it came billions of years before to do. Would humanity survive it? Would the protomolecule even notice them, now that it had finished its grand work?

It wasn’t the ending of one thing that left Holden terrified. It was the prospect of something beginning that was utterly outside the human experience. Whatever happened next, no one could be prepared for it.

It scared the hell out of him.

Behind him, a man cleared his throat.

Holden turned reluctantly away from the image on the screen. The man stood next to the galley refrigerator as if he’d always been there, rumpled gray suit and dented porkpie hat. A bright blue firefly flew off his cheek, then hung in the air beside him. He waved it away like it was a gnat. His expression was one of discomfort and apology.

“Hey,” Detective Miller said. “We gotta talk.”

Acknowledgments

The process of making a book is never as solitary as it seems. This book and this series wouldn’t exist without the hard work of Shawna McCarthy and Danny Baror and the support and dedication of DongWon Song, Anne Clarke, Alex Lencicki, the inimitable Jack Womack, and the brilliant crew at Orbit. Also gratitude goes to Carrie, Kat, and Jayné for feedback and support, and also to the whole Sakeriver gang. Much of the cool in the book belongs to them. The errors and infelicities and egregious fudging was all us.

About the author

James S. A. Corey is the pen name of fantasy author Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, George R. R. Martin’s assistant. They both live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Find out more about this series at www.the-expanse.com

Find out more about James S. A. Corey and other Orbit authors by registering for the free monthly newsletter at www.orbitbooks.net

BY JAMES S. A. COREY

The Expanse

Leviathan Wakes

Caliban’s War

Copyright

Published by Hachette Digital

ISBN: 978-0-74812-297-4

All characters and events in this publication, other than those clearly in the public domain, are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright © 2012 by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of the publisher.

Hachette Digital

Little, Brown Book Group

100 Victoria Embankment

London, EC4Y 0DY

www.hachette.co.uk

Contents

By James S.A.Corey

Copyright

Prologue: Mei

Chapter One: Bobbie

Chapter Two: Holden

Chapter Three: Prax

Chapter Four: Bobbie

Chapter Five: Avasarala

Chapter Six: Holden

Chapter Seven: Prax

Chapter Eight: Bobbie

Chapter Nine: Avasarala

Chapter Ten: Prax

Chapter Eleven: Holden

Chapter Twelve: Avasarala

Chapter Thirteen: Holden

Chapter Fourteen: Prax

Chapter Fifteen: Bobbie

Chapter Sixteen: Holden

Chapter Seventeen: Prax

Chapter Eighteen: Avasarala

Chapter Nineteen: Holden

Chapter Twenty: Bobbie

Chapter Twenty-One: Prax

Chapter Twenty-Two: Holden

Chapter Twenty-Three: Avasarala

Chapter Twenty-Four: Prax

Chapter Twenty-Five: Bobbie

Chapter Twenty-Six: Holden

Chapter Twenty-Seven: Prax

Chapter Twenty-Eight: Avasarala

Chapter Twenty-Nine: Holden

Chapter Thirty: Bobbie

Chapter Thirty-One: Prax

Chapter Thirty-Two: Holden

Chapter Thirty-Three: Prax

Chapter Thirty-Four: Holden

Chapter Thirty-Five: Avasarala

Chapter Thirty-Six: Prax

Chapter Thirty-Seven: Avasarala

Chapter Thirty-Eight: Bobbie

Chapter Thirty-Nine: Holden

Chapter Forty: Prax

Chapter Forty-One: Avasarala

Chapter Forty-Two: Holden

Chapter Forty-Three: Bobbie

Chapter Forty-Four: Holden

Chapter Forty-Five: Avasarala

Chapter Forty-Six: Bobbie

Chapter Forty-Seven: Holden

Chapter Forty-Eight: Avasarala

Chapter Forty-Nine: Holden

Chapter Fifty: Bobbie

Chapter Fifty-One: Prax

Chapter Fifty-Two: Avasarala

Chapter Fifty-Three: Holden

Chapter Fifty-Four: Prax

Epilogue: Holden

Acknowledgments

About the Author

Prologue: Mei

Mei?” Miss Carrie said. “Please put your painting work away now. Your mother is here.”

It took her a few seconds to understand what the teacher was saying, not because Mei didn’t know the words—she was four now, and not a toddler anymore—but because they didn’t fit with the world as she knew it. Her mother couldn’t come get her. Mommy had left Ganymede and gone to live on Ceres Station, because, as her daddy put it, she needed some mommy-alone-time. Then, her heart starting to race, Mei thought, She came back.

“Mommy?”

From where Mei sat at her scaled-down easel, Miss Carrie’s knee blocked her view of the coatroom door. Mei’s hands were sticky with finger paints, red and blue and green swirling on her palms. She shifted forward and grabbed for Miss Carrie’s leg as much to move it as to help her stand up.

“Mei!” Miss Carrie shouted.

Mei looked at the smear of paint on Miss Carrie’s pants and the controlled anger on the woman’s broad, dark face.

“I’m sorry, Miss Carrie.”

“It’s okay,” the teacher said in a tight voice that meant it wasn’t, really, but Mei wasn’t going to be punished. “Please go wash your hands and then come put away your painting work. I’ll get this down and you can give it to your mother. It is a doggie?”

“It’s a space monster.”

“It’s a very nice space monster. Now go wash your hands, please, sweetheart.”

Mei nodded, turned, and ran for the bathroom, her smock flapping around her like a rag caught in an air duct.

“And don’t touch the wall!”

“I’m sorry, Miss Carrie.”

“It’s okay. Just clean it off after you’ve washed your hands.”

She turned the water on full blast, the colors and swirls rushing off her skin. She went through the motions of drying her hands without caring whether she was dripping water or not. It felt like gravity had shifted, pulling her toward the doorway and the anteroom instead of down toward the ground. The other children watched, excited because she was excited, as Mei scrubbed the finger marks mostly off the wall and slammed the paint pots back into their box and the box onto its shelf. She pulled the smock up over her head rather than wait for Miss Carrie to help her, and stuffed it into the recycling bin.

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