Mazer in Prison
by Orson Scott Card
Being the last best hope of humanity was a lousy job.
Sure, the pay was great, but it had to pile up in a bank back on Earth, because
there was no place out here to shop.
There was no place to walk. When your official exercise program consisted of
having your muscles electrically stimulated while you slept, then getting spun
around in a centrifuge so your bones wouldn't dissolve, there wasn't much to
look forward to in an average day.
To Mazer Rackham, it felt as though he was being punished for having won the
After the defeat of the invading Formics -- or "Buggers," as they were
commonly called -- the International Fleet learned everything they could from
the alien technology. Then, as fast as they could build the newly designed
starships, the IF launched them toward the Formic home world, and the other
planets that had been identified as Formic colonies.
But they hadn't sent Mazer out with any of those ships. If they had, then he
wouldn't be completely alone. There'd be other people to talk to -- fighter
pilots, crew. Primates with faces and hands and voices and smells, was that
asking so much?
No, he had a much more important mission. He was supposed to command all
the fleets in their attacks on all the Formic worlds. That meant he would need
to be back in the Solar system, communicating with all the fleets by ansible.
Great. A cushy desk job. He was old enough to relish that.
Except for one hitch.