Shadow of the Giant
sequel to Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets
This partial manuscript copy is provided as a courtesy. Anyone who wishes a copy may access it from www.hatrack.com; therefore we ask that no copies, physical or electronic, be given or lent. Any offering of this portion of the manuscript for sale is expressly prohibited.
Mandate of Heaven
Re: Free Vacation Offer
Destination of your choice in the known universe. And ... we pick you up!
Han Tzu waited until the armored car was completely out of sight before he
ventured out into the bicycle-and-pedestrian-packed street. Crowds could
make you invisible, but only if you were moving in the same direction, and
that's the thing Han Tzu had never really been able to do, not since he came
home to China from Battle School.
He always seemed to be moving, not upstream, but crossways. As if he had a
completely different map of the world from the one everyone around him was
And here he was again, dodging bikes and forward-pressing people on their ten
thousand errands in order to get from the doorway of his apartment building to
the door of the tiny restaurant across the street.
But it was not as hard as it would have been for most people. Han Tzu had
mastered the art of using only his peripheral vision, so his eyes stared straight
ahead. Without eye contact, the others on the street could not face him down,
could not insist that he yield the right of way. They could only dodge him, as if
he were a boulder in the stream.
He put his hand to the door and hesitated. He did not know why he had not
been arrested and killed or sent for retraining already, but if he was
photographed taking this meeting, then it would be easy to prove that he was a
Then again, his enemies didn't need evidence to convict -- all they needed was
the inclination. So he opened the door, listened to the tinkle of the little bell,
and walked toward the back of the narrow corridor between booths.
He knew he shouldn't expect Graff himself. For the Minister of Colonization to
come to Earth would be news, and Graff avoided news unless it was useful to
him, which this would certainly not be. So whom would Graff send? Someone
from Battle School, undoubtedly. A teacher? Another student? Someone from
Ender's Jeesh? Would this be a reunion?
To his surprise, the man in the last booth sat with his back toward the door, so
all Han Tzu could see was his curly steel-grey hair. Not Chinese. And from the
color of his ears, not European. The pertinent fact, though, was that he was
not facing the door and could not see Han Tzu's approach. However, once Han
Tzu sat down, he would be facing the door, able to observe the whole room.
That was the smart way to do it -- after all, Han Tzu was the one who would
recognize trouble if it came in the door, not this foreigner, this stranger. But
few operatives on a mission this dangerous would have the brass to turn their
backs on the door just because the person they were meeting would be a better
The man did not turn as Han Tzu approached. Was he unobservant, or
"Hello," the man said softly just as Han Tzu came up beside him. "Please sit
Han Tzu slid into the booth opposite him and knew that he knew this old man
but could not name him.
"Please don't say my name," said the man softly.
"Easy," said Han Tzu. "I don't remember it."
"Oh yes you do," said the man. "You just don't remember my face. You
haven't seen me very often. But the leader of the Jeesh spent a lot of time with
Now Han Tzu remembered. Those last weeks in Command School -- on Eros,
when they thought they were in training but were really leading far-off fleets in
the endgame of the war against the hive queens. Ender, their commander, had
been kept separate from them, but they learned afterward that an old half-Maori cargo-ship captain had been working closely with him. Training him.
Goading him. Pretending to be his opponent in simulated games.
Mazer Rackham. The hero who saved the human race from certain destruction
in the Second Invasion. Everyone thought he was dead, but he had been sent
out on a meaningless voyage at near-lightspeed, so that relativistic effects
would keep him alive so he'd be there for the last battles of the war.
He was ancient history twice over. That time on Eros as a part of Ender's
Jeesh seemed like another lifetime. And Mazer Rackham had been the most
famous man in the world for decades before that.
Most famous man in the world, but almost nobody knew his face.
"Everyone knows that you piloted the first colony ship," said Han Tzu.
"We lied," said Mazer Rackham.
Han Tzu accepted that and waited in silence.
"There is a place for you as head of a colony," said Rackham. "A former Hive
world, with mostly Han Chinese colonists and many interesting challenges for a
leader. The ship leaves as soon as you board it."
That was the offer. The dream. To be out of the turmoil of Earth, the
devastation of China. Instead of waiting to be executed by the angry and feeble
Chinese government, instead of watching the Chinese people writhe under the
heel of the Muslim conquerors, he could board a beautiful clean starship and
let them fling him out into space, to a world where human feet had never
stepped, to be the founding leader of a colony that would hold his name in
reverence forever. He would marry, have children, and, in all likelihood, be
"How long do I have to decide?" asked Han Tzu.
Rackham glanced at his watch, then looked back at him without answering.
"Not a very long window of opportunity," said Han Tzu.
Rackham shook his head.
"It's a very attractive offer," said Han Tzu.
"But I wasn't born for such happiness," said Han Tzu. "The present
government of China has lost the mandate of heaven. If I live through the
transition, I might be useful to the new government."
"And that's what you were born for?" asked Rackham.
"They tested me," said Han Tzu, "and I'm a child of war."
Rackham nodded. Then he reached inside his jacket and took out a pen and
laid it on the table.
"What's that?" asked Han Tzu.
"The mandate of heaven," said Rackham.
Han Tzu knew then that the pen was a weapon. Because the mandate of
heaven was always bestowed in blood and war.
"The items in the cap are extremely delicate," said Rackham. "Practice with
Then he got up and walked out the back door of the restaurant.
No doubt there was some kind of transport waiting there.
Han Tzu wanted to leap to his feet and run after him so he could be taken out
into space and set free of all that lay ahead.
Instead he put his hand over the pen and slid it across the table, then put it
into the pocket of his trousers. It was a weapon. Which meant Graff and
Rackham expected him to need a personal weapon soon. How soon?
Han Tzu took six toothpicks out of the little dispenser that stood on the table
against the wall, beside the soy sauce. Then he got up and went to the toilet.
He pulled the cap off the pen very carefully, so he didn't spill out the four
feather-ended poison darts bunched in it. Then he unscrewed the top of the
pen. There were four holes there, besides the central shaft that held the tube
of ink. The mechanism was cleverly designed to rotate automatically with each
discharge. A blow-gun revolver.
He loaded four toothpicks into the four slots. They fit loosely. Then he screwed
the pen back together.
The fountain pen writing tip covered the hole where the darts would emerge.
When he held the top of the pen in his mouth, the point of the writing tip
served as the sighting device. Point and shoot.
Point and blow.
The toothpick hit the back wall of the bathroom more or less where he was
aiming, only a foot lower. Definitely a close-range weapon.
He used up the rest of the toothpicks learning how high to aim in order to hit a
target six feet away. The room wasn't large enough for him to practice aiming
at anything farther. Then he gathered up the toothpicks, threw them away,
and carefully loaded the pen with the real darts, handling them only by the
feathered part of the shaft.
Then he flushed the toilet and reentered the restaurant. No one was waiting
for him. So he sat down and ordered and ate methodically. No reason to face
the crisis of his life with an empty stomach and the food here wasn't bad.
He paid and walked out into the street. He would not go home. If he waited
there to be arrested, he would have to deal with any number of low-level thugs
who would not be worth wasting a dart on.
Instead, he flagged down a bicycle taxi and headed for the ministry of defense.
The place was as crowded as ever. Pathetically so, thought Han Tzu. There
was a reason for so many military bureaucrats a few years ago, when China
was conquering Indochina and India, its millions of soldiers spread out to rule
over a billion conquered people.
But now, the government had direct control only over Manchuria and the
northern part of Han China. Persians and Arabs and Indonesians
administered martial law in the great port cities of the south, and large armies
of Turks were poised in Inner Mongolia, ready to slice through Chinese
defenses at a moment's notice. Another large Chinese army was isolated in
Sichuan, forbidden by the government to surrender any portion of their troops,
forcing them to sustain a multi-million-man force from the production of that
single province. In effect, they were under siege, getting weaker -- and more
hated by the civilian population -- all the time.
There had even been a coup, right after the ceasefire -- but it was a sham, a
reshuffling of the politicians. Nothing but an excuse for repudiating the terms
of the ceasefire.
No one in the military bureaucracy had lost his job. It was the military that
had been driving China's new expansionism. It was the military that had
Only Han Tzu had been relieved of his duties and sent home.
They could not forgive him for having named their stupidity for what it was. He
had warned them every step of the way. They had ignored every warning.
Each time he had shown them a way out of their self-induced dilemmas, they
had ignored his offered plans and proceeded to make decisions based on
bravado, face-saving, and delusions of Chinese invincibility.
At his last meeting he had left them with no face at all. He had stood there, a
very young man in the presence of old men of enormous authority, and called
them the fools they were. He laid out exactly why they had failed so miserably.
He even told them that they had lost the mandate of heaven -- the traditional
excuse for a change of dynasty. This was the unforgivable sin, since the
present dynasty claimed not to be a dynasty at all, not to be an empire, but
rather to be a perfect expression of the will of the people.
What they forgot was that the Chinese people still believed in the mandate of
heaven -- and knew when a government no longer had it.
Now, as he showed his expired i.d. at the gate of the complex and was admitted
without hesitation, he realized that there was only one fathomable reason why
they hadn't already arrested him or had him killed:
They didn't dare.
It confirmed that Rackham was right to hand him a four-shot weapon and call
it the mandate of heaven. There were forces at work here within the defense
department that Han Tzu could not see, waiting in his apartment for someone
to decide what to do with him. They had not even cut off his salary. There was
panic and confusion in the military and now Han Tzu knew that he was at the
center of it. That his silence, his waiting, had actually been a pestle constantly
grinding at the mortar of military failure.
He should have known that his j'accuse speech would have more effects than
merely to humiliate and enrage his "superiors." There were aides standing
against the walls listening. And they would know that every word that Han Tzu
said was true.
For all Han Tzu knew, his death or arrest had already been ordered a dozen
times. And the aides who had been given those orders no doubt could prove
that they had passed them along. But they would also have passed along the
story of Han Tzu, the former Battle Schooler who had been part of Ender's
Jeesh. The soldiers ordered to arrest him would have also been told that if Han
Tzu had been heeded, China would not have been defeated by the Muslims and
their strutting boy-Caliph.
The Muslims won because they had the brains to put their member of Ender's
Jeesh, Caliph Alai, in charge of their armies -- in charge of their whole
government, their religion itself.
But the Chinese government had rejected their own Enderman, and now were
giving orders for his arrest.
In these conversations, the phrase "mandate of heaven" would certainly have
And the soldiers, if they left their quarters at all, seemed unable to locate Han
For all these weeks since the war ended, the leadership must already have
come face to face with their own powerlessness. If the soldiers would not follow
them on such a simple matter as arresting the political enemy who had
shamed them, then they were in grave danger.
That's why Han Tzu's i.d. was accepted at the gate. That's why he was allowed
to walk unescorted among the buildings of the defense department complex.
Not completely unescorted. For he saw through his peripheral vision that a
growing number of soldiers and functionaries were shadowing him, moving
among the buildings in paths parallel to his own. For of course the gate guards
would have spread the word at once: He's here.
So when he walked up to the entrance of the highest headquarters, he paused
at the top step and turned around. Several thousand men and women were
already in the space between buildings, and more were coming all the time.
Many of them were soldiers under arms.
Han Tzu looked them over, watching as their numbers grew. No one spoke.
He bowed to them.
They bowed back.
Han Tzu turned and entered the building. The guards inside the doors also
bowed to him. He bowed to each of them and then proceeded to the stairs
leading to the second floor office suites where the highest officers of the military
were certainly waiting for him.
Sure enough, he was met on the second floor by a young woman in uniform
who bowed and said, "Most respectfully, sir, will you come to the office of the
one called Snow Tiger?"
Her voice was devoid of sarcasm, but the name "Snow Tiger" carried its own
irony these days. Han Tzu looked at her gravely. "What is your name,
"Lieutenant White Lotus," she said.
"Lieutenant," said Han Tzu, "If heaven should bestow its mandate upon the
true emperor today, would you serve him?"
"My life will be his," she said.
"And your pistol?"
She bowed deeply.
He bowed to her, then followed her to Snow Tiger's office.
They were all gathered there in the large anteroom -- the men who had been
present weeks ago when Han Tzu had scorned them for having lost the
mandate of heaven. Their eyes were cold now, but he had no friends among
these high officers.
Snow Tiger stood in the doorway of his inner office. It was unheard of for him
to come out to meet anyone except members of the Politburo, none of whom
"Han Tzu," he said.
Han Tzu bowed slightly. Snow Tiger bowed almost invisibly in return.
"I am happy to see you return to duty after your well-earned vacation," said
Han Tzu only stood in the middle of the room, regarding him steadily.
"Please come into my office."
Han Tzu walked slowly toward the open door. He knew that Lieutenant White
Lotus stood at the door, watching to make sure that no one raised a hand to
Through the open door, Han Tzu could see two armed soldiers flanking Snow
Tiger's desk. Han Tzu stopped, regarding each of the soldiers in turn. Their
faces showed nothing; they did not even look back at him. But he knew that
they understood who he was. They had been chosen by Snow Tiger because he
trusted them. But he should not have.
Snow Tiger took Han Tzu's pause as an invitation for him to enter the office
first. Han Tzu did not follow him inside until Snow Tiger was seated at his
Then Han Tzu entered.
"Please close the door," said Snow Tiger.
Han Tzu turned around and pulled the door all the way open.
Snow Tiger took his disobedience without blinking. What could he do or say
without making himself seem pathetic?
Snow Tiger pushed a paper toward Han Tzu. It was an order, giving him
command over the army that was slowly starving in Sichuan province. "You
have proved your great wisdom many times," said Snow Tiger. "We ask you
now to be the salvation of China and lead this great army against our enemy."
Han Tzu did not even bother to answer. A hungry, ill-equipped, demoralized,
surrounded army was not going to accomplish miracles. And Han Tzu had no
intention of accepting this or any other assignment from Snow Tiger.
"Sir, these are excellent orders," said Han Tzu loudly. He glanced at each of
the soldiers standing beside the desk. "Do you see how excellent these orders
Unused to being spoken to directly in such a high-level meeting, one of the
soldiers nodded; the other merely shifted uncomfortably.
"I see only one error," said Han Tzu. His voice was loud enough to be heard in
the anteroom as well.
Snow Tiger grimaced. "There is no error."
"Let me take my pen and show you," said Han Tzu. He took the pen from his
shirt pocket and uncapped it. Then he drew a line through his own name at
the top of the paper.
Turning around to face the open door, Han Tzu said, "There is no one in this
building with the authority to command me."
It was his announcement that he was taking control of the government, and
everyone knew it.
"Shoot him," said Snow Tiger behind him.
Han Tzu turned around, putting the pen to his mouth as he did.
But before he could fire a dart, the soldier who had refused to nod had blown
out Snow Tiger's head, covering the other soldier with a smear of blood and
brains and bone fragments.
The two soldiers bowed deeply to Han Tzu.
Han Tzu turned back around and strode out into the anteroom. Several of the
old generals were heading for the door. But Lieutenant White Lotus had her
pistol out and they all froze in place. "Emperor Han Tzu has not given the
honorable gentlemen his permission to leave," she said.
Han Tzu spoke to the soldiers behind him. "Please assist the lieutenant in
securing this room," he said. "It is my judgment that the officers in this room
need time to contemplate upon the question of how China came into her
current difficult situation. I would like them to remain in here until each of
them has written a complete explanation of how so many mistakes came to be
made, and how they think matters should have been conducted."
As Han Tzu expected, the suck-ups immediately went to work, dragging their
compatriots back to their places against the walls. "Didn't you hear the
emperor's request?" "We will do as you ask, Steward of Heaven." Little good it
would do them. Han Tzu already knew perfectly well which officers he would
trust to lead the Chinese military.
The irony was that the "great men" who were now humiliated and writing
reports on their own mistakes were never the source of those errors. They only
believed they were. And the underlings who had really originated the problems
saw themselves as merely instruments of their commanders' will. But it was in
the nature of underlings to use power recklessly, since blame could always be
passed either upward or downward.
Unlike credit, which, like hot air, always rose.
As it will rise to me from now on.
Han Tzu left the offices of the late Snow Tiger. In the corridor, soldiers stood at
every door. They had heard the single gunshot, and Han Tzu was pleased to
see that they all looked relieved to learn that it was not Han Tzu himself who
had been shot.
He turned to one soldier and said, "Please enter the nearest office and
telephone for medical attention for the honorable Snow Tiger." To three others,
he said, "Please help Lieutenant White Lotus secure the cooperation of the
former generals inside this room who have been asked to write reports for me."
As they rushed to obey, Han Tzu gave assignments to the other soldiers and
bureaucrats. Some of them would later be purged; others would be elevated.
But at this moment, no one even thought of disobeying him. Within only a few
minutes he had given orders to have the perimeter of the defense complex
sealed. Until he was ready, he wanted no warning going to the Politburo.
But his precaution was in vain. For when he went down the stairs and walked
out of the building, he was greeted by a roar from the thousands and
thousands of military people who completely surrounded the headquarters
"Han Tzu!" they chanted. "Chosen of Heaven!"
There was no chance the noise would not be heard outside the complex. So
instead of rounding up the Politburo all at once, he would have to waste time
tracking them down as they fled to the countryside or tried to get to the airport
or onto the river. But of one thing there could be no doubt: With the new
emperor enthusiastically supported by the armed forces, there would be no
resistance to his rule by any Chinese, anywhere.
That's what Mazer Rackham and Hyrum Graff had understood when they gave
him his choice. Their only miscalculation was how completely the story of Han
Tzu's wisdom had swept through the military. He hadn't needed the blowgun
Though if he hadn't had it, would he have had the courage to act as boldly as
One thing Han Tzu did not doubt. If the soldier had not killed Snow Tiger first,
Han Tzu would have done it after -- and would have killed both soldiers if they
had not immediately submitted to his rule.
My hands are clean, but not because I wasn't prepared to bloody them.
As he made his way to the department of Planning and Strategy, where he
would make his temporary headquarters, he could not help but ask himself:
What if I had taken their initial offer, and fled into space? What would have
happened to China then?
And then a more sobering question: What will happen to China now?
Copyright © 2004 Orson Scott Card