All will must bend to the perfect truth of The Praxis
For millennia, the Shaa have subjugated the universe, forcing the myriad sentient races to bow to their joyless tyranny. But the Shaa will soon be no more. The dread empire is in its rapidly fading twilight, and with its impending fall comes the promise of a new galactic order . . . and bloody chaos.
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September 01, 2003
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Excerpt from The Praxis by Walter Jon Williams
"Of course, following the Great Master's death, I will kill myself."
Lieutenant Gareth Martinez, keeping pace alongside the longer-legged Fleet Commander Enderby, felt himself stumble as he heard the words.
"My lord?" He drove his legs through the stumble, to stride once more off Enderby's left shoulder. Their heels rang again in unison on the shaved, glittering asteroid material that floored the Commandery.
"I've volunteered," Enderby said in his prosaic, literal tone. "My family needs a representative on the pyre, and I'm the most suitable candidate. I'm at the apex of my career, my children are well-established, and my wife has given me a divorce." He looked at Martinez from beneath his level white brows. "My death will assure that my name, and my family's name, will be honored forever."
And help everyone to forget that little financial scandal involving your wife, Martinez thought. It was a pity that Enderby's spouse couldn't be the family sacrifice instead of the Fleet Commander.
A pity for Martinez in particular.
"I'll miss you, my lord," he said.
"I've spoken to Captain Tarafah about you," Enderby went on. "He's agreed to take you aboard as communications officer on the Corona."
"Thank you, my lord," Martinez said, and tried not to let his voice reflect the dismay that echoed coldly down his bones.