Soldier for the Empire by William C. Dietz

Soldier for the Empire by William C. Dietz

Author:William C. Dietz [Dietz, William C.]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Published: 2011-04-04T23:00:00+00:00

Whether due to luck, the connivance of a Rebel sympathizer, or a more generous budget than Kyle would have supposed, Jan's cabin was slightly larger than his. However, the fact that she shared the space with a chrome plated translator droid more than compensated for that particular advantage. The machine came to life as Jan spoke its name. "A-Cee. I want to introduce someone."

The droid's head came up and servos whirred as he looked in Kyle's direction. What happened next took both humans by surprise. A-Cee stiffened, backed even further into the corner, and spoke in a hard unyielding voice: "I am a bomb.

Unauthorized access, manipulation, or interference with me or my programming, data storage modules, or other systems will result in the detonation of four point two kilos of plitex nine explosive. I have identified a class three threat, and, in accordance with my programming, am taking appropriate action. Detonation sequence activated. Countdown initiated.

Ten - nine - eight . . . "

Kyle took a step towards the hatch and looked at Jan. She ran the words together in her eagerness to get them out. "Override code alpha, bravo, zeta, one-niner-six. Execute."

A-Cee paused, broke the countdown sequence, and seemed to relax.

"Override authenticated. Detonation sequence terminated."

Jan looked at Kyle and grinned weakly. "Sorry about that. It was the uniform, combined with the fact that he's something of an orphan. The reason will become apparent in a moment. First, answer a question. When they sent your team to 456, did they say why?"

Kyle frowned. "No, not exactly. They said the objective was to take a communications relay station - no more than that."

Jan nodded. "Well, the information they gave you was accurate so far as it went, but there's more. The truth about the Emperor and his many atrocities is one of the most potent weapons the Alliance has. Once aware of it, neutral parties become more sympathetic, new alliances are formed, and support is solidified. The vast distances that separate the Empire's planets make that difficult, however."

Kyle started to object but Jan raised her hand. "Hear me out - see with your own eyes - then say what you will.

"The Alliance has reporters, brave men and women who roam from planet to planet, often within Imperial controlled space, collecting stories for dissemination to those willing to see, hear, and understand. Many of these correspondents have companions like A-Cee here, who are equipped to capture, store, and edit whatever they witness. Once the stories have been prepared, they are distributed throughout the Empire via communications relay stations like the one on Asteroid 456."

Kyle, who was none too pleased by all the anti-Imperial propaganda inherent in what she'd said, crossed his arms. "This is all very interesting.

But why should I care?"

Jan was silent for a moment, and, for reasons he couldn't understand, looked sorry for him. "Kyle, there's no way in heck that I should show you this, but I'm going to do it anyway. Remember the reporters I mentioned?

Well, A-Cee was assigned to a woman named Candice Ondi.


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