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Shadow of the Helix
An Andromeda Story
by Jacynthe Demorae

Tyr remained standing at the viewport long after Dylan had left him. The Orca Pride's escape vessels continued to stream past the Andromeda Ascendant, refugees now instead of predators.

"I trust Tyr to do what's best for Tyr."

Well, at least one of them knew what to expect. Beside his hand lay the coveted symbol of full Nietzchean manhood: the Double-Helix, sign of a claimed male. The prized status of Husband and Father. He picked up the bands, running his fingers over their gleaming surface. These took on new luster when seen through the eyes of a childless male.

And yet he'd cast it aside.

Tyr raised his eyes, looking out at the line of ships still passing the Andromeda. Orca Pride had betrayed the Kodiak. When an Orcan female offered the Double-Helix, was it the same? He didn't believe in coincidence. There was a reason the first Pride that made an overture to him ranked as one of his bitterest enemies.

What were the Orca? Slow-witted fools, who could interpret neither silence nore spoken words. He'd outwitted them all. Dylan had read his silence, and delivered a strike the Orcan Alpha couldn't counter. What male in his right mind would breed into a Pride whose Alpha had been checked by a human?

The same male who attatched himself to a human's mad dream of re-building the Commonwealth, Tyr admitted to himself.

"I'm proud of you," he'd told Dylan, and meant it.

Dylan strove for the way of colorless peace instead of brilliant-edged trial, but the light of his dancing star shone like a beacon. Three hundred years ago, the Nietcheans pulled down the Commonwealth. Their dreams of empire had smashed on the rocks of reality. Dylan...could make it happen. A new Commonwealth, without the weaknesses of the old.

He looked back down at the bands he held in his hands. Finely-wrought from silver alloy, they reflected light like a mirror--and cast a thin band of shadow across his flesh. 'A woman prefers a warrior,' Nietzche said. The blaze of attraction, the heat of battle and passion...these drew men and women together to the feed the eternal flame of genetic immortality. Life, however, was lived in the shadows. A man had to find his own way in the dark.

Females chose the fire. Their approval or censure determined whose DNA created the next generation--and whose proved inferior. They knew nothing of the shadow that bound males together. Freya knew her responsiblities. As an Orcan female, she must do her part to strengthen the Pride's gene pool. Undoubtably, she would use his genetic material to conceive.

He had twenty-two future enemies now, a spurned female, and an entire Pride yearning to burn his blood by the bucketful.

He had Dylan Hunt and a High Guard warship.

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