Mech Zero: The Dominant

Mech Zero: The Dominant by B. V. Larson Page B

Book: Mech Zero: The Dominant by B. V. Larson Read Free Book Online
Authors: B. V. Larson
Tags: Military
by her proximity. Her face was elfin, and her scent, even after a week aloft, was intoxicating. Her family was rich and eccentric. They’d bought their daughter the body and the title she craved. She was much older than she looked, this easily being her second century of life. He knew she was a mech in reality, a mass of polymers sculpted into an entrancing beauty, but he could not help finding her enticing nonetheless.
    Unfortunately, Captain Beezel would never be his. She had made up her mind to end her long life here, in orbit over Tranquility at the tail end of the Faustian Chain. As far as she was concerned, this was to be her finest hour. Theller did not want to spoil that, but he didn’t want to die, either. If he were in command, he would have taken the ship out to the far planets to hide in the ice caves until it was all over. In his mind, fighting the invaders was a waste of a perfectly good spaceship and a perfectly good life—his.
    “But the Nexus has the Fleet…”
    “Ensign Theller,” she said tightly, “I would remind you we have not heard from the Nexus in nearly a decade. Trade ships don’t even come from that way, nor do we receive radio signals. The old Nexus must be presumed dead.”
    Theller’s lips wormed on his face, but he couldn’t think of another good argument. He finally stopped trying. If she was hell-bent on suiciding Redemption on a wall of cruisers, nothing he could say would change her mind. Captain Beezel had been called many things, but no one had ever accused her of being flexible.
    “Everyone will return to their posts,” she ordered. “We will break out the sacrificial wine to quiet our chaotic thoughts. We will speak the words of Offering and bare our souls to the Ether. There isn’t time for a full pre-battle meditation period, but we will have to make do. In eleven hours, we must fly to the System Rim and join our sister ships. The Tranquility system will soon be invaded by the enemy fleet. We will stand resolutely in their path.”
    Ensign Theller took his seat and strapped himself in along with the others. He paused, struggling with a frayed belt that didn’t want to come free of its catches. He looked at the glinting steel buckle. He wondered if he should even bother to fasten it. What was the point if he were going to die pointlessly in a few more hours?
    Theller couldn’t even enjoy the wine, such was his agitation. When the plastic flask came around to his seat, he quietly applied a tiny amount to his lips. They were promptly stained a convincing purple. He then squirted a generous amount down the disposal tube at the base of his seat. Skipping his wine ration was against regulations, but he didn’t want his mind fogged with cheap narcotics now. He needed to take action.
    While the others made their mumbled Offerings, Theller appeared to join in. He bowed his head and muttered with the rest of them. Internally, his mind seethed. He swore to himself that Redemption would not fly up to her final battle when her crew awakened.

 
    Two
     
    Mendelian inheritance was the driving force behind everything the people of Mendelia did. Every mother wanted a child that exceeded her and thus exemplified her. Every father wanted a child that put the rest in their places. As tools to achieve these ends, the people of Mendelia invested their energies in genetic sculpting of their offspring. Their reasoning went something like this: great things could only be achieved by great people, so the first step undeniably involved the creation of better beings.
    Two such men commanded the Mendelian task force. They were both products of generations of genetic weeding and tinkering. Fleet Admiral Goddard sat upon the command chair of the third cruiser in the formation, the venerable Bernard Shaw . He led the task force, and he was physically one of the largest men in the fleet. His parents had designed him for command, and large people tended to be awarded such roles. His head was

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