History proved humanity obsolete.
(The Emperor in the Mask)

The taxi car, painted white with few yellow lightning-like stripes, arrived in front of hotel Belgrava. The detachable plates, labeled as a Space Forces property, fenced the hotel temporarily while military patrols were walking by, guarding the gateway, which served as the only entrance to the reception.

From the car, two people emerged, a man and a woman. Both of them wore blue uniforms, showing they belong to Space Force pilots; the man sported captain distinction, the four golden stars, while the woman had only one of them. Thus, she had reached the position of a second lieutenant.

From the way she was touching her shoulders, one could deduce that the promotion had occurred recently. She watched her surroundings with a vivid expression, obviously enjoying herself.

“Finally,” she exclaimed. “The well-deserved luxury awaits!”

The man, an athletic fellow of substantial height, who had trouble getting out from the tiny car, straightened up and performed some exercise to relieve his sore back.

“Sure,” he replied, observing security measurements with clear disdain. “They found another way how to waste SF money. Just look at those cadets with fully charged and unlocked blasters. How adorable! This is exactly the safety we need to have in the middle of the city… Hey you! Come over here!”

The nearest patrol hesitated for a moment. Then, two youngsters reluctantly approached the captain.


“Just a question, cadets. Who permitted you to unlock your bloody weapons in public?” asked Gromov, furrowing his bushy brows.

“We are patrolling, sir.”

“With the enemy nearby, I guess. Do you want to blow your legs away? Just lock it up and don’t mess around.”

“Excuse me, sir. With all respect, but you are in no position to give us an order.”

“Is that so? In that case, be so kind and call the person in charge. I’d like to have a word with him.”

One of the cadets pressed his communication wristband and talked to it. The lieutenant, who watched them impatiently, pulled the sleeve of the captain’s uniform and whispered: “Oh come on, don’t be like this, Sava. You ruin all fun being such a j…”

She stopped, not daring to continue. Between them, the gap of ten years was plain, not to speak of the apparent differences in their personalities. While she gave an impression of a cheerful, easy-going cute kitten with her almond-shaped big brown eyes, soft features, and short haircut, he seemed to be her true opposite - a man who did not like to joke around.

With green strict eyes narrowed in constant disapproval, the captain’s demeanor possessed an air of natural dignity and importance.

As soon as one of the cadets smiled, observing how the lieutenant spoke to her superior, the captain frowned and showed the youngster his place.


About the author

Pavel Morava

Bio: Born in the Czech Republic, Pavel Morava is not a native English speaker. Having been twenty-two years old, he published his first book, which did not become an international bestseller. After a few other attempts, Pavel Morava abandoned the literary career for over twenty years, during which period he has been focusing on processing of plastics, programming, and raising of children.
Recently, with more time at his disposal, he returned to the forgotten ambition, fighting a futile battle with English language, procrastination, and the tendency to give up too early.
Being vivid reader of not Anglo-Saxon origin, Pavel Morava was fortunate enough to experience books from different countries, including Czech, Russian, Polish, Chinese, Swedish, Dutch, Japanese, French, German, and English. Such a vast literary variety heavily influenced his own work, which typically relies on an one-point-of-view narrative, consecutive storytelling, and elimination of unnecessary details.
Web novels and online publishing made him reevaluate his approach to style and building blocks of the text; the result should be, hopefully, lighter, shorter, and more intelligible for reading on electronic devices.

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