West of Honor
This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional,
and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental.
Copyright ? 1976, 1978 by Jerry Pournelle
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any
A Baen Books Original Omnibus
Baen Publishing Enterprises
P.O. Box 1403
Riverdale, NY 10471
Cover art by Wayne Barlowe
First Baen printing, August 1987
Distributed by Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
Production by Windhaven Press, Auburn, NHPrinted in the United States of America
To Junior Officers Everywhere
Neil Armstrong sets foot on Earth's Moon.
Series of treaties between U.S. and Soviet Union creates the CoDominium. Military research and
Nationalist movements intensify.
French Foreign Legion forms the basic element of the CoDominium Armed Services.
Alderson drive perfected at Cal Tech.
First Alderson Drive exploratory ships leave the Solar System.
CoDominium Intelligence Services engage in serious effort to suppress all research into
technologies with military applications. They are aided by zero-growth organizations. Most
scientific research ceases.
2010 Inhabitable planets discovered. Commercial exploitation begins. 2020 First interstellar colonies are founded. The CoDominium Space Navy and Marines are created,
absorbing the original CoDominium Armed Services. 2020 Great Exodus period of colonization begins. First colonists are dissidents, malcontents, and
2030 Sergei Lermontov is born in Moscow. 2040 Bureau of Relocations begins mass outsystem shipment of involuntary colonists. 2043 John Christian Falkenberg III is born in Rome, Italy. 2060 Nationalistic revival movements continue. ?
The bright future she sang of was already stiffened in blood, but Kathryn Malcolm didn't knowthat, any more than she knew that the sun was orange-red and too bright, or that the gravitywas too low.
She had lived all of her sixteen standard years on Arrarat, and although her grandfather oftenspoke of Earth, humanity's birthplace was no home to her. Earth was a place of machines andconcrete roads and automobiles and great cities, a place where people crowded together far fromthe land. When she thought of Earth at all, it seemed an ugly place, hardly fit for people tolive on.
Mostly she wondered how Earth would smell. With all those people huddled together—certainly itmust be different from Arrarat. She inhaled deeply, filling her lungs with the pleasing smellof newly turned soil. The land here was good. It felt right beneath her feet. Dark and crumbly,moist enough to take hold of the seeds and nurture them, but not wet and full of clods: goodland, perfect land for the late-season crop she was planting.
She walked steadily behind the plow, using a long whip to guide the oxen. She flicked the whipnear the leaders, but never close enough to touch them. There was no need for that. Horace andStar knew what she wanted. The whip guided them and assured them that she was watching, butthey knew the spiral path as well as she did. The plow turned the soil inward so that thecenter of the field would be higher than the edges. That helped to drain the field and made iteasier to harvest two crops each year.
The early harvest was already gathered into the stone barn. Wheat and corn, genetically adaptedfor Arrarat; and in another part of the barn were Arrarat's native breadfruit melons, full ofsugar and ready to begin fermentation. It had been a good year, with more than enough for thefamily to eat. There would be a surplus to sell in town, and Kathryn's mother had promised tobuy a bolt of printed cloth for a new dress that Kathryn could wear for Emil.
At the moment, though, she wore coveralls and high boots, and she was glad enough that Emilcouldn't see her. He should know that she could plow as straight a furrow as any man, and thatshe could ride as well as her brother—but knowing it and seeing her here on the fields weretwo different things entirely, and she was glad that he couldn't see her just now. She laughedat herself when she thought this, but that didn't stop the thoughts.
She twitched the whip to move the oxen slightly outward, then frowned imperceptibly. The secondpair in the string had never pulled a wagon across the plains, and Kathryn thought that shecould no longer put off their training. Emil would not want to live with Kathryn's grandfather.A man wanted land of his own, even though there were more than a thousand hectares in theMalcolm station.
The land here was taken. If she and Emil were to have land of their own, they would have tomove westward, toward the other sea, where the satellite pictures showed good land. We couldgo, she thought; go so far that the convicts will never find us, and the city will be a placeto see once in a lifetime. It would be exciting, although she would hate to leave this valley.
The field she plowed lay among low hills. A small stream meandered along one edge. Most of thecrops and trees that she could see had come from Earth as seeds, and they had few predators.Most crop-eaters left Earth plants alone, especially if the fields were bordered withspearmints and marigolds to give off odors that even Earth insects detested.
She thought of what she would need if they struck west to found a new settlement. Seeds theywould have; and a mare and stallion, and two pairs of oxen; chickens and swine; her grandfatherwas rich by local standards. There would be her father's blacksmithing tools, which Emil couldlearn to use.
They would need a television. Those were rare. A television, and solar cells, and a generatorfor the windmill; such manufactured goods had to be bought in the city, and that took money.The second crop would be needed this year, and a large one next spring, as well—and they wouldhave to keep all the money they earned. She thrust that thought away, but her hand strayedtoward the big sheath knife she wore on her belt.
We will manage, she thought. We will find the money. Children should not go without education.Television was not for entertainment. The programs relayed by the satellites gave weatherreports and taught farming, ecology, engineering, metalwork—all the skills needed to live onArrarat. They also taught reading and mathematics. Most of Kathryn's neighbors despisedtelevision and wouldn't have it in their houses, but their children had to learn from otherswho watched the screen.
And yet, Kathryn thought, there is cause for concern. First it is television. Then lightindustry. Soon there is more. Mines are opened. Larger factories are built, and around themgrow cities. She thought of Arrarat covered with cities and concrete, the animals replaced bytractors and automobiles, the small villages grown into cities; people packed together the waythey were in Harmony and Garrison; streams dammed and lakes dirty with sewage; and sheshuddered. Not in my time, or my grandchildren's. And perhaps we will be smarter than they wereon Earth, and it will never happen here. We know better now. We know how to live with the land.
Her grandfather had been a volunteer colonist, an engineer with enough money to bring tools andequipment to Arrarat, and he was trying to show others how to live with technology. He had a
windmill for electricity. It furnished power for the television and the radio. He had radiocommunications with Denisburg, forty kilometers away, and although the neighbors said theydespised all technology, they were not too proud to ask Amos Malcolm to send messages for them.
The Malcolm farm had running water and an efficient system for converting sewage to fertilizer.To Amos, technology was something to be used so long as it did not use you, and he tried toteach his neighbors that.
The phone buzzed to interrupt her thoughts, and Kathryn halted the team. The phone was in thecenter of the plowed land, where it was plugged into a portable solar reflector that kept itsbatteries charged. There were very few radio-phones in the valley. They cost a great deal andcould only be bought in Harmony. Even her grandfather Amos couldn't manufacture the phone'smicrocircuits, although he often muttered about buying the proper tools and making somethingthat would be as good. "After all," he was fond of saying, "we do not need the very latest.Only something that will do."
Before she reached the phone, she heard the gunshots. They sounded far away, but they came fromthe direction of her home. She looked toward the hill that hid the ranch from her, and a redtrail streaked skyward. It exploded in a cloud of bright smoke. Amos had sent up a distressrocket. "God, no!" Kathryn screamed. She ran for the phone, but she dropped it in her haste.She scrabbled it up from the freshly plowed dirt and shouted into it. "Yes!"
"Go straight to the village, child," her grandfather's voice told her. He sounded very old andtired. "Do not come home. Go quickly."
"Do as I say! The neighbors will come, and you cannot help."
"Kathryn." He spoke urgently, but there were centuries in the voice. "They are here. Many ofthem."
"Who?" she demanded.
"Convicts. They claim to be sheriffs, executing a writ for collection of taxes. I will not pay.My house is strong, Kathryn, and the neighbors will come. The convicts will not get in, and ifthey kill me now it is no great matter—"
"And mother!" Kathryn shouted.
"They will not take her alive," Amos Malcolm said. "We have talked of this, and you know what Iwill do. Please. Do not make my whole life meaningless by letting them get you as well. Go tothe village, and God go with you. I must fight now."
There were more sounds of firing in the distance. The phone was silent. Then there were rifleshots, plus the harsh stammer of a machine gun. Amos had good defenses for his stone ranchhouse.
Kathryn heard grenades, sharp explosions, but not loud, and she prayed that she would not hearthe final explosion that meant Amos had set off the dynamite under his house. He had oftensworn that before he would let anyone take his home, he would blow it and them to hell.
Kathryn ran back to unhitch the oxen. They would be safe enough. The sounds of firing wouldkeep them from going home until the next day, and here on the plains there were no animalslarge enough to be a threat to healthy oxen. None except men.
She left the team standing beside the plow, their eyes puzzled because the sun was high and thefield was not yet plowed, and she ran to the shade trees by the creek. A horse and dog waitedpatiently there. The dog jumped up playfully, but he sank onto the ground and cringed as hesensed her mood.
Kathryn hurled the saddle onto the horse and fumbled with the leather straps. Her hands weremoving so quickly that even familiar motions were difficult, and she was clumsy in her haste.She tied the phone and solar reflector in place behind the saddle and mounted. There was arifle in the saddle scabbard, and she took it out and fingered it longingly.
Then she hesitated. The guns were still firing. She still heard her grandfather's machine gun
she thought. and more grenades, and that meant that Amos was alive. I should help, I should
Emil will be there. He was to plow the field next to our boundary, and he will have heard. Hewill be there. She turned the horse toward the ranch.
One rider can do no good, she realized. But though she knew that, she knew she must go to herhome before it was too late. They would have a good chance, Emil and her grandfather. The housewas strong, made of good stone, low to the ground, much of it buried in the earth, sod roofabove waterproof plastic. It would withstand raiders. It had before, many times, but there werevery many rifles firing now and she could not remember that large a raid before. Not here, andnot anywhere.
The phone buzzed again. "Yes!" she shouted. "What is happening?"
"Ride, girl! Ride! Do not disobey my last command. You are all I have—" The voice broke offbefore Amos said more, and Kathryn held the silent phone and stared at it.
"All I have," Amos had said. Her mother and her brother were dead, then.
She screamed words of hatred and rode toward the sound of the guns. As she crossed over thecreek she heard mortars firing, then louder explosions.
* * *
Two hundred riders converged on the Malcolm ranch. They rode hard, their horses drenched insweat, and they came by families, some with their women, all with their oldest boys. Brown dogsran ahead of them. Their panting tongues hung out between bared fangs as the dogs sensed theanger their masters projected. As the families of riders saw each other, they waved and kickedtheir horses into an even faster pace.
The riders approached the final rise before the Malcolm ranch and slowed to a trot. There wereno sounds from over the hill. Shouted commands sent the dogs ahead. When the loping brown formswent over the hill without halting, the riders kicked their horses back to the gallop and rodeon.
"He didn't use the dynamite," George Woodrow said. "I heard explosions, but not Amos'smagazines." His neighbors didn't answer. They rode down the hill toward the ranch house.
There was the smell of explosives in the air, mixed with the bright copper smell of freshblood. The dogs loped among dead men who lay around the stone house. The big front door stoodopen, and more dead lay in front of that. A girl in bloodstained coveralls and muddy boots satin the dirt by the open door. She cradled a boy's head in her arms. She rocked gently, notaware of the motion, and her eyes were dry and bright.
"My God!" George Woodrow shouted. He dismounted and knelt beside her. His hand reached outtoward the boy, but he couldn't touch him. "Kathryn—"
"They're all dead," Kathryn said. "Grandfather, mother, my brother, and Emil. They're alldead." She spoke calmly, telling George Woodrow of his son's death as she might tell him thatthere would be a dance at the church next Saturday.
George looked at his dead son and the girl who would have borne his grandchildren. Then hestood and leaned his face against his saddle. He remained that way for a long time. Graduallyhe became aware that others were talking.
"—caught them all outside except Amos," Harry Seeton said. He kept his voice low, hoping thatKathryn and George Woodrow wouldn't hear. "I think Amos shot Jeanine after they'd grabbed her.How in hell did anyone sneak up on old Amos?"
"Found a dog with an arrow in him back there," Wan Loo said. "A crossbow bolt. Perhaps that ishow."
"I still don't understand it," Seeton insisted.
"Go after them!" Kathryn stood beside her dead fiancé. "Ride!"
"We will ride," Wan Loo said. "When it is time."
"Ride now!" Kathryn demanded.
"No." Harry Seeton shook his head sadly. "Do you think this was the only place raided today? Adozen more. Most did not even fight. There are hundreds more raiders, and they will have joinedtogether by now. We cannot ride until there are more of us."
"And then what?" George Woodrow asked. His voice was bitter. "By the time there are enough ofus, they will be in the hills again." He looked helplessly at the line of high foothills justat the horizon. "God! Why?"
"Do not blaspheme." The voice was strident. Roger Dornan wore dark clothing, and his face waslean and narrow. He looks like an undertaker, Kathryn thought. "The ways of the Lord are not
to be questioned," Dornan intoned.
"We don't need that talk, Brother Dornan," Kathryn said. "We need revenge! I thought we had men here! George, will you ride with me to hunt your son's murderer?"
"Put your trust in the Lord," Dornan said. "Lay this burden on His shoulders."
"I cannot allow you to ride," Wan Loo said. "You and George would be killed, and for what? Yougain no revenge by throwing yourself at their guns." He motioned, and two of his sons went tohold Kathryn's horse. Another took George Woodrow's mount and led it away. "We need all ourfarmers," Wan Loo said. "And what would become of George's other children? And his wife withthe unborn child? You cannot go."
"Got a live one," a rider called. Two men lifted a still figure from the ground. They carriedhim over to where the others had gathered around Kathryn and George Woodrow, then dropped himinto the dirt. Wan Loo knelt and felt for the pulse. Then he seized the raider's hair andlifted the head. Methodically he slapped the face. His fingers left vivid red marks on the too-white flesh. Smack, smack! Forehand, backhand, methodically, and the raider's head rocked witheach blow.
"He's about gone," Harry Seeton said.
"All the more reason he should be awakened," Wan Loo said. He ignored the spreading bloodstainson the raider's leather jacket, and turned him face down into the dirt. He seized an arm and
twisted violently. The raider grunted.
The raider was no older than twenty. He had a short scraggly beard, not well developed. He woredark trousers and a leather jacket and soft leather boots much like Kathryn's. There were markson his fingers, discolorations where rings had been, and his left earlobe was torn.
"They stripped their own dead and wounded," Woodrow grunted. "What all did they get?"
"The windmill generator," Harry Seeton reported. "And all the livestock, and some of theelectronics. The phone's gone, too. Wonder why Amos didn't blow the place?"
"Shaped charge penetrated the wall," one of the riders said. "Killed Amos at his gun."
"Leggo. Stop." The young raider moaned. "That hurts."
"He is coming awake," Wan Loo told them. "But he will not last long."
"Pity," George Woodrow said. He bent down and slapped the boy's face. "Wake up, damn you! Iwant you to feel the rope around your neck! Harry, get a rope."
"You must not," Brother Dornan said. "Vengeance is the Lord's—"
"We'll just help the Lord out a bit," Woodrow said. "Get a rope!"
"Yeah," Seeton said. "I guess. Kathryn?"
"Get it. Give it to me. I want to put it around his neck." She looked down at the raider."Why?" she demanded. "Why?"
For a moment the boy's eyes met hers. "Why not?"
* * *
Three men dug graves on the knoll above the valley. Kathryn came up the hill silently, and theydid not see her at first. When they did they stopped working, but she said nothing, and after awhile they dug again. Their shovels bit into the rich soil.
"You're digging too many graves," Kathryn said. "Fill one in."
"My grandfather will not be buried here," Kathryn said.
The men stopped digging. They looked at the girl and her bloodstained coveralls, then glancedout at the horizon where the rest of the commandos had gone. There was dust out there. Theriders were coming home. They wouldn't have caught the raiders before they went into the hills.
One of the gravediggers made a silent decision. Next spring he would take his family and findnew lands. It would be better than this. But he wondered if the convicts would not followwherever he went. When men work the earth, others will come to kill and steal.
"Where?" he asked finally.
"Bury Amos in his doorway," Kathryn said.
"That is a terrible thing, to bury a man in his own door. He will not rest—"
"I don't want him to rest," Kathryn said. "I want him to walk! I want him to walk and remind usall of what Earth has done to us!"
"Hear this. All hands brace for reentry. Hear this."
"Seat straps, Lieutenant," Sergeant Cernan said.
"Right." I pulled the shoulder straps down into place and latched them, then looked out atArrarat.
The planet had a bleak look, not like Earth. There were few clouds, and lots of desert. Therewere also heavy jungle forests near the equator. The only cultivated lands I could see were ona narrow strip at the northern edge of a nearly landlocked sea. South of the sea was anothercontinent. It looked dry and dusty, desert land where men had left no mark in passing—ifanyone had ever been there at all.
Northward and westward from the cultivated strip were hills and forests, high desert plateaus,high mountains, and ragged canyons. There were streaks through the forests and across thehills, narrow roads not much more than tracks. When the troopship got lower I could seevillages and towns, and every one of them had walls or a stockade and ditch. They looked liketiny fortresses.
The ship circled until it had lost enough speed to make a landing approach. Then it raneastward, and we could see the city. My briefing folio said it was the only city on Arrarat. Itstood on a high bluff above the sea, and it seemed huddled in on itself. It looked like amedieval walled town, but it was made of modern concrete, and adobe with plastic waterproofing,and other materials medieval craftsmen probably wouldn't have used if they'd had them.
As the ship passed over the city at two thousand meters, it became obvious that there werereally two cities run together, with only a wall between them. Neither was very large. Theoldest part of the city, Harmony, showed little evidence of planning: there were little narrowstreets running at all angles, and the public squares were randomly placed. The northern part,Garrison, was smaller, but it had streets at precise right angles, and a big public plaza stoodopposite the square fort at the northern edge.
All the buildings were low, with only a couple more than two stories high. The roofs were redtile, and the walls were whitewashed. Harmony reminded me of towns I'd seen in Mexico. Brightsun shone off the bay below the city bluff. Garrison was a harsher place, all right angles,neat and orderly, but everything strictly functional. There was a square fortress at itsnorthern edge. My new home.
I was a very junior lieutenant of CoDominium Marines, only three months out of the Academy andgreen as grass. It was Academy practice to commission the top thirty graduates in each class.The rest went out as cadets and midshipmen for more training. I was proud of the bars on myepaulets, but I was also a bit scared. I'd never been with troops before, and I'd never had anyfriends from the working classes, so I didn't know much about the kind of people who enlist inthe Line Marines. I knew plenty of stories, of course. Men join to get away from their wives,or because some judge gives them a chance to enlist before passing sentence. Others arerecruited out of Bureau of Relocation ships. Most come from Citizen classes, and my family'salways been taxpayer.
It was just as well for me that my father was a taxpayer. I grew up in the American Southwest,where things haven't changed so much since the CoDominium. We still think we're free men. Whenmy father died, Mom and I tried to run the ranch the way he had, as if it still belonged to us.It did, on paper, but we didn't have his contacts in the bureaucracy. We didn't understand allthe regulations and labor restrictions, and we didn't know who to bribe when we broke the