The Dance of Time-ARC
Table of Contents
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The Iron Triangle
Autumn, 533 A.D.
Belisarius watched Eusebius and his crew as they carefully slipped the mine off the deck of theVictrix ,
using a ramp they'd set up in the stern for the purpose. Because of its design, it had been relatively easy
to adapt the fireship to the task of becoming a mine-layer. Doing so with theJustinian would have
required a major reconstruction of the armored gunship.
The sun still hadn't come up, but there was enough light from the approaching dawn for Belisarius to see.
Quietly, almost soundlessly, the mine slid below the surface of the water. Eusebius measured off the
depth of the mine's placement using the prepared lines, squinting at the marks nearsightedly.
A trio of ducks flew past swiftly, just above the level of the reeds. Their quacking sounded like the slap
of bamboo canes.
You are fortunate to see them, said Aide, the crystalline being which rested in Belisarius' neck pouch.
Those are pink-headed ducks, very rare here in theIndusBasin . Indeed, they're not common
even in Brahmaputra .
When we've defeated the Malwa, Belisarius replied silently to the voice in his mind,perhaps I'll retire to
a monastery and write a treatise on natural history based on my travels. Of course, first we have
to defeat the Malwa.
We will, said Aide firmly; andthat was not a joke.
Aide had come—been sent—to Belisarius from the far future; from