Author : Roi R. Czechvala, Staff Writer

She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. Long blond hair pulled back in a ponytail. Soft blue eyes. She had on a rumpled olive drab Viet Nam era jacket. An embroidered patch of a bald eagles head adorned the right shoulder. It was worth a small fortune. Obviously she had money.

She was drinking a Jovian Blast. A cacophony of liqueurs carefully layered to represent the banded planet. A sliver of dry ice added to the otherworldly affect.

Despite being over six feet, muscular but not burly and possessing weathered good looks, he was still uneasy around women. He slammed back a shot of Jack Daniel’s. The amber fluid gave him the strength needed to approach her.

He walked up beside her, started to speak, looked away and tapped his drink order into the bar top. “Um, hi,” he finally managed.

“Hello yourself,” she replied. It would have been mocking if it weren’t for the disarming smile. She found his unease attractive. “Can I buy you a drink?” Her boldness caught him off guard. Before he could splutter some incoherent nonsense, his beer appeared and he quickly took a swig.

“You’re cute,” she said. A spray of beer showered the bar.

“I… um… I’m sorry. I… didn’t mean to bother you… I,” he stammered, as the bar, somewhat pissed, cleaned itself.

She placed a hand atop his. “Don’t worry, I don’t bite. Sit down.”

“Really?” A huge grin spread across his face. “I mean, thank you,” he replied a little more solemnly. Stupid, stupid, stupid, he thought, mentally kicking himself. Her soft smile never faltered.

“I’m Rachel,” she said extending a hand, “and you are?”

He took her hand and fell into her eyes. “I’m uh, I’m… I’m Ray. I’m an architect. I designed this tower. I’m really proud of the docking ports. The owners originally wanted a single docking area on the roof, but I thought the individual ten car docking ports scattered on the outside of the tower added to the overall aesthetics of the tower itself. What do you think,” he blurted in one breath. He plunged his face once again into his beer. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

“I think you’re cute.” A second stream of beer shot out. If the bar had eyes to roll, it would have rolled them. Had it a head, it would have shaken it slowly while making ‘Tsk tsk tsk’ sounds. Instead it just quietly cleaned up and reminded itself that it was payday.

Embarrassed, he turned and stared out of the floor to ceiling windows. From the 173rd floor lounge, they offered a breathtaking view of Dallas. He could see a shuttle lifting off from the port at Arlington, bound for the orbiting launch facility.

“What do you see,” she asked quietly.

“I see… Everything.” He turned towards her. Again he plunged headlong into those deep blue eyes. A split second of terror washed over him as he leaned forward and kissed her. She took his face in her tiny hands.

Somewhere in a room smelling of antiseptic and painted neutral beige, Ray raised a withered and liver spotted hand to his temple and removed the memory augmentation device. The vision of his wife, their first meeting, slowly slipped from his mind. He smiled a sad smile as a tear rolled down his cheek.

He stared up at the ceiling for a moment. He thought of Rachel, gone many years. He turned to the medical technician waiting patiently by his bed. “I’m ready,” he said.

The med tech inserted a syringe into Ray’s catheter and depressed the plunger.


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Super Troopers

Author : Roi R. Czechvala, Staff Writer

Packed into the ship’s tight squad bay were twenty five lockers and twenty five cryo-beds. Inside their frozen coffins rested men and women engineered for their speed, agility and overall physical prowess. Perfection incarnate. These individuals represented the finest combatants culled from the Army Rangers, Marine Force Recon and Navy S.E.A.L.s. The Air Force had lobbied unsuccessfully to have their Glee Club included.

Woken from their frozen slumber, the men stared unseeing from their open beds. Communication bugs crawled from their housings and burrowed into the neural jacks of each soldier. Twenty five bodies jerked spasmodically. They quickly quieted as realization of place settled over them.

Lieutenant Bova’s voice was the first heard. “Drop your cocks and grab your socks people. SUIT UP!”

“What about those of us fortunate enough not to have cocks,” Chief Petty Officer Rand cooed.

“SHUT UP,” he snapped at the buxom red head. He rode her hard in front of the others, but they knew that in actuality, in-body, he was riding her hard. Out-body though, he repulsed her.

Without another word, the troopers suited up in plasteele augmentation armour. While adjusting and flexing the form fitting reactive armour, they felt more than heard the change in pitch of the drop ship’s engines as they bit atmosphere.

“I hate enefs,” somebody muttered. Enefs, Nasty Fuckers. Two metres of six limbed insect-like humanoid. Primitive, but tough to kill.

“Nobody asked you to like ’em, just kill ’em,” Bova grinned, “besides, just think of all the overtime you’ll get.” As one, they groaned at the worn joke.

“Hey Rand, how about a kiss for luck,” Sergeant Valek sung out.

“In your dreams,” she replied, playfully punching him in the face, bloodying his nose.

“Knock it off. Be profess…” Lt. Bovas words were cut short as a massive explosion rocked the drop ship sending the soldiers sprawling across the bay.

“What the fuck? Enefs don’t have weapons that can penetrate a T-field.” Cpl. Bernes comments were cut short as a plasma blast penetrated the deck, vapourizing CPO Rand.

“They don’t. They didn’t… they…,” Lt. Bovas words trailed off. “It’s a trap.” he said, the stunned disbelief visible on his face. A well placed shot struck the tiny ship’s reactor. They died instantly.

Deep within the aircraft carrier Robert E. Lee, safe in geosynch above the planet, twenty five figures lay in boost couches, waldo strips firmly attached to their shaven pates. Lt. Bova was the first to awaken. With great effort, he manoeuvred his corpulent form over the edge of the couch and stood on incongruously scrawny legs.

Next to stir was a skinny red head. Not one to give in to the vanity of surgery, not that it would have improved matters, she reached up and retrieved a pair of thick framed black plastic glasses and settled them on a blackhead encrusted nose. “Shit,” was all she said.

“What the hell was that,” a hook nosed, chinless Cpl. Bernes of the CSMC squeaked in a trilling falsetto that would make even the most butch choirmaster swoon, “we’re the best of the best. We’re Delta damnit.”

Lt. Bova, Army Ranger, shrugged his shoulders, his massive man boobs jiggling gently. “You win some, you lose some. Hey Rand, care to join me in a donut?”

“Screw you fatty,” said former S.E.A.L. team six member, CPO Rand.

The twenty five members of the elite Delta Force, the best of the best of the best, with honours, slowly shuffled out of the combat centre for their feeding and a well earned nap.


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Snicker Snack

Author : Roi R. Czechvala, Staff Writer

“Jesus jumpin’ Christ,” ejaculated Cpl. Davidson before he died. Though clad in nearly impervious plasteele body armour, his head was cleanly ripped from his body.

“Run away, run away,” the rest of the men in his squad screamed as they fell pell mell over one another. The creatures went by different names; Bandersnatch, Grendel, Jabberwocky. Vicious Motherfuckers, or VM’s, was not an uncommon term.

Whatever they were, they certainly weren’t the creatures that created and piloted the immense spacecraft that had taken up residence in Earth orbit. No, these were brutal mindless beasts that appeared to kill and destroy anything without a conscious thought. A biological killing machine.

Lt. Fenwick let out a deep sigh as he watched his men hauling ass across the plain with a Jabberwock trailing close behind. Their enhanced speed, augmented by the armour, was no match for the creature. Much to the terror of the fleeing men, the beast quickly gained.

“Vorpal ready,” barked the Leftenant.

“Vorpal weapon ready, Sir,” replied his gunner.

“Wait for it.” The Lt. raised his field glasses just in time to see another of his men fall beneath the scythe-like claws of the beast. It paused just long enough to shred the hapless soldier before resuming the chase. The drawback of the Vorpal weapon was its range in an atmosphere. It spat a stream of tiny magnetically accelerated ferro/tungsten particles at seemingly relativistic velocities. In the near vacuum of space, the range was virtually limitless, in an atmosphere as dense as that of Earth however…

“Hold your fire until you have range,” Fenwick ordered as another of his men fell to the loathsome nightmare. The gun crew watched in anguish as their comrades died while they remained impotent until the bastard could be drawn within range.

“Wait for it… wait for it…” Despite the bunker’s chill conditions, imparted by the weapons coolant system, beads of sweat rolled down the young officer’s face . “Almost there… almost… FIRE!”

The Vorpal emitted a muted shushing sound as mag-accelerated particles, little larger than coarse sand, issued forth in a coherent pencil-thin stream. At hyper velocities the trillions of individual particles took on a solid aspect that sheared through the monsters nearly invulnerable exoskeleton and severed it neatly in two. Though mortally wounded, the torso of the Jabberwock still pursued its prey at speed with its four upper appendages and managed to slaughter another soldier before it expired.

Despite the daemon’s recent demise, the remaining men of the patrol continued to hastily beat feet back to the safety of the bunker. While the exhausted men shed their armour in the cramped bunker’s antechamber, Lt. Fenwick called his company HQ requesting a mortuary team to retrieve his fallen soldiers. Clicking his teeth, he logged off the company freq and turned to Master Gunnery Sergeant Kalnick.

“Bad day Gunny. Bad fuckin’ day.”

“Yeah LT. I just wish we could get a ‘wok alive.”

“Why? There’s nothing we can learn from them. They’re little more than a living automaton programmed to destroy. They’re mindless.”

“Yeah, I know. I just want to see how long one would hold out against my mother-in-law.”


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Eight Miles High and Falling Fast

Author : Roi R. Czechvala, Staff Writer

It’s amazing how fast the human brain can process information. Particularly when it’s being fed a cocktail of endorphins, steroids, adrenaline and other chemicals too exotic to name.

Even with his souped up reaction time all he could manage to do was blurt, “This is gonna hurt.” He watched as thousands of magnetically accelerated iron pellets barely a millimetre in diameter each, neatly separated his torso from his legs.

Due to the heavy fighting, it took the medtechs nearly an hour to retrieve him. Given the prolonged exposure to hard vacuum, not to mention the radiation, the doctors hadn’t given him much chance of survival. “I’ve been through worse,” he’d say later when he was decanted from the Jesus tank. “I feel like a battered bowl or warmed up dog shit,” and collapsed to the floor before the bored technicians.

His battle and sometimes fuck buddy Karen Jefferies met him in recovery. “I feel like hell.”

“You look like it. Why do you keep at it?”

“For the booze, broads, and good times,” He grinned. She slugged me in the arm. It hurt.

“You could retire. You’ve got fifty years in. You could take up prospecting.”

“Nah, more dangerous out in the belt than in combat. Here, let me sit down for a bit.” He leaned back against the wall and stretched. Reconstructed muscle is electronically stimulated to promote growth and reduce atrophy, but it can’t replace good old gravity, or what passes for it on a spinning battle station.. “Why are you so all fired up about it anyway?”

“I’ve been thinking…”

“Last time you did that we joined the Marines.”

“… we’re not getting any younger…”

“Oh shit. We agreed on the boundaries of this relationship. We’ve been over this a hundred times. Just fun and no attachments. That was the deal.”

“Fuck the deal Jeff. I love you. Doesn’t that mean anything to you? Don’t you love me?”

“Yeah, I guess so, I mean… are you getting broody on me?” She slugged him again. Hard.

“You’re an asshole, you know that? Look I’m getting tired of watching them stick pieces of you in that tank and praying that you come out in one piece.” She looked him in the eye. Her lips quivered. Tears welled up. She turned away. “I almost prayed that you didn’t make it this time. End my torment.”

Her words stung. “Okay, that hurts. Look, I’m a little tired. Can we talk about this later.”

“You bastard. You always put it off. You won’t be happy until you’re dead.”

No sooner had those words escaped her lips than klaxons sounded through out the station. As she looked in rapt horror, the medical section vanished into blackness. The plasma field that had reacted so quickly that barely a breath of atmosphere escaped before the breach was closed would not stand against the armada of enemy ships that were materializing around the station.

He turned to her with a rueful smile. “I guess we’ll find out won’t we.”


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Sign of the Times

Author : Roi R. Czechvala, Staff Writer

“Fucking bastards.”


“Fucking Nip bastards.”

“What are you talking about?”

“First of all, they violated the Earth Non-Aggression Treaty by bringing the war to the home planet,” Larry Talbot said through clenched teeth, “then they bomb Pearl Harbour… AGAIN, and now this.”

“And now what,” his long suffering friend Neil Bohr asked with a sigh.

“You can’t see it?”


“THAT,” he screamed, jabbing a finger at the 45 foot high letters adorning the side of the Hollywood hills.

“It’s the same old “Hollywood” sign… Ohhhh…”

Shimmering in a shifting iridescent pattern, in holographic letters a mere ten feet high, just to the right and slightly below the iconic sign that symbolized the wealth and prosperity of Los Angeles, California, read the words; “A SUBDIVISION OF THE SONY CORPORATION”.

“Bastards,” whispered Neil.



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