Valor’s Child, Final Snippet

Here’s the fourth and final snippet for Valor’s Child.  Valor’s Child comes out on Amazon on 30 June, 2017.  You can find the first snippet here.

 

I stared at the Admiral for a long time, with much the same look one might bestow on a crazy person.  At first I was unable to speak.  The very idea that I would want to join the military — much less go to the absurd Military Academy which the Admiral had the charge of — was ridiculous.  I didn’t want to be in the military, I wanted to work for Champion Enterprises.  I suppose, in the unlikely event that I failed at that, I would be an archeologist, like my mother and father.

The next feeling I had was a spike of almost incoherent rage.  I felt it burn up from somewhere in my chest.  It was the concentration of all my frustrations of the past few days, how my parents had seemed to spit on my dreams and how I hadn’t been allowed to talk to anyone, how they had shipped me off here like some kind of disgrace.  Then before I even realized what had happened, I heard the angry words come from my lips, “If you think for even a second that I would ever want to go to your stupid Academy—”

“You have no choice, girl,” the Admiral said.  “You’ll go… and if you fight me on this I will drag you like the petulant child you seem to want to be.”  She let out a disapproving sniff.

“I could fail out,” I said.  It was a desperate option, I knew.   I’d never failed at anything, but it might be the only option.

“You could… if you can tolerate what others would think of you, feel free,” the Admiral’s voice exuded disapproval.  “For that matter, your Champion Enterprises Internship Program does accredit the Century Military Academy as a respected institution… and they will pull our records before you attend.  I think that would be a case of cutting off your nose to spite your face.  And trust me, failing out is the only way I will allow you to leave before this trimester is up.”  I stared at the old woman for a long time.  She had a look of iron-willed determination on her face.  The set of her shoulders was one that I recognized from my mother, whenever she had made up her mind… yet there was something far more implacable about it.  It was almost as if my mother’s stubbornness were just a minor reflection of the Admiral’s.

“Fine, whatever,” I muttered and looked away.

“James,” her grandmother said to the otherwise empty room.  For a moment, I thought the old woman might have gone insane.  Then I realized it was a communications implant.  If she had that, then it only made sense she probably had a full cranial implant.  The implanted device allowed someone to directly link with computers, to communicate with one another across distances… and to creep out people around them at the thought of a computer nestled in their brain.

A moment later, James stepped up to the door.  He assumed some kind of military brace, “Yes, Ma’am?”

“Jiden will be attending the Preparatory School for the Academy.  Please ensure that she has access to the initial coursework.”  She turned her gaze back to me, “Now, girl, most of your fellow attendees will have been preparing for the past few months.  You’ve a bit of catching up to do.  I would particularly encourage you to focus on your physical scores.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to work.”

I stood there, so stunned that I couldn’t move.

“Oh, one other thing,” the Admiral said.  “Dinner will be at 1800, sharp.  Don’t be late.”

***

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