- Blue Shift (story)
"Blue Shift" is the tenth story chronologically to appear in
Stephen Baxter's science fictionanthology novel " Vacuum Diagrams". "Blue Shift" was originally published in " Writers of the Future" volume 5 in 1989.
Set in A.D. 5406, the story begins on an
Earththat has been occupied by the Qax, an amorphouslifeform that profits from information and technology trade, for four centuries. Jim Bolder, a space pilot on the run from creditors, accepts an assignment from the Qax through a human intermediary to determine just what the Xeelee are constructing at the center of the local supercluster. Bolder is provided with a Xeelee nightfighter that can travel faster than light, and when he uses the drive, the stars around him appear blue -- the "blue shift" of the title.
As Bolder in the nightfighter approaches the
Great Attractor, he discovers the Xeelee are constructing a massive ring from its matter, which they intend to use to flee the universe itself. But the Qax will not allow this information to be released, intending to keep it -- and a possible defense against the Xeelee -- for their own profit. Bolder dodges the Qax and launches a "starbreaker" that will gradually cause the Qax homeworld's sun to go nova, requiring them to divert their resources from the occupation of Earth, liberating the planet.
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