The Legacy of Earth (Mandate Book 2)

The Legacy of Earth (Mandate Book 2) by J.S. Harbour

Book: The Legacy of Earth (Mandate Book 2) by J.S. Harbour Read Free Book Online
Authors: J.S. Harbour
nonetheless.
    “Chase, dear, nice day for a drink over the pond,” a cheerful woman said a moment later. “What’ll you have? I’ll bring you another, Jack.”
    “Fine, thanks, Bev,” Jack said without looking up.
    “Hi, Beverly. It is a lovely day. How’s Ward doing?”
    “Ward is fine, dear; working the blunt edge again.”
    “I’ll have a dry martini,” Chase said, still amazed that he could order such a drink. They had been limited to plain water, tea, and coffee for so many years. “The blunt edge, you say? Which side?”
    “South side, he said. I haven’t been over in a while,” Beverly said. “Be right back, gents.”
    “Know what I miss the most from Earth?” Jack asked.
    “What’s that?” Chase said.
    “Movies. Books. Music.”
    “Huh? We have the entire library—”
    “I know,” Jack interrupted quickly, “I’m talking about new works of art. I miss that.”
    Chase looked thoughtful. “The media library is so large from the past century that no one could go through all of it. But I know what you mean.”
    “I used to go to the movie theater often, back on Earth,” he said, jerking a thumb as if Earth was behind him. “Before they all closed down.” Then, eyes bright, he suddenly turned to Chase, “We should build one! A real theater with a huge screen and seating, and even popcorn!”
    Chase laughed. “That’s not a bad idea. Everyone just uses tablets now.”
    “I know, and it doesn’t begin to compare to the big-screen experience. I don’t know how you can enjoy a show on a tablet.”
    “I’ll mention it at the next council meeting. They’re always in favor of team-building activities or anything that might improve morale. Which hasn’t been so great lately, in case you haven’t noticed.”
    “I like this place,” Jack said, ignoring the last remark. “It’s the closest thing we’ve got to a real beach. Wonder if we could fill in a smaller crater out there with water? Make a real lake. Get some fish next time we’re back at Earth.”
    Chase looked out at the pond and frowned. “Speaking of which . . . Jack, we need to talk. The council has been discussing our future.”
    Jack grunted but didn’t look up. Instead, he finished off his drink. “Okay, talk.”
    “Uh, okay, the—”
    “Here you go, boys,” Beverly said while setting their drinks on the table. She quickly left, sensing their need for private conversation.
    “. . . the council wants to go public, create a legitimate colony government. They’re concerned about you , Jack. But also about ourselves . We can’t treat this like a . . . a claim or small town. Not forever. They want a constitutional convention to draft something up.”
    “Oh? That’s good. Wise decision. Should’ve been done long ago.”
    “Good, I’ll tell them,” Chase said.
    Jack turned, sat up in his chair, and looked right at him. “You’re not asking for my approval , are you?”
    Chase stammered, “As a matter of fact, yes; we are. You built—”
    “ Nonsense! ” Jack boomed, slamming a fist onto the table, rattling the glasses. “You were all partners the day we launched from Earth. I gave up all my shares, remember? At that moment, every person on the ship became an equal partner.”
    “Y—yes, we know that, but—”
    “My god, you know I hate being treated like the boss. I can’t shake it no matter how angry it makes me?”
    “Sir, you are loved and respected. This is your doing. We helped. But you made it happen.”
    “Bah! Someone to blame if it all goes to hell,” Jack yelled, then downed the second glass in one gulp. “I’ve been thinking a lot lately,” he said with a sudden change of pace, “about Decatur.”
    “As have I,” Chase said.
    “I’d like to know what happened to it—or him , I suppose, though I have a hard time thinking of a robot as a man.”
    “Decatur explained it one time, how choosing a gender was deemed helpful when talking with humans—and I quote—‘to help

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