Under Surveillance

Author : Roi R. Czechvala, Staff Writer

A low, thin fog rolled down the hillside. There was something almost menacing in its approach. When it encountered an object, a tree or a rock, it appeared to stop in surprise as if trying to make up its mind before dividing and going around.

“I must be getting tired. I’m starting to see things.”


“Never mind,” replied PFC Nestel, rolling on her back and stretching her body as best she could in the confinement of her reactive armour. “It’s just… cliché.”

“What are you talking about,” LCpl Jeffries asked. He took his eye from the scope of his plazer and regarded his cute but often annoying battle buddy.

“I dunno. I know they’re out there watching us.”

“We’re out in the middle of nowhere, lying in wet grass, the trees dropping those leech things on us, enduring the constant rain of this hell hole planet watching an abandoned fuelling station. Who would be watching us? They’d have to be crazier than we are.”

“I know,” she said testily, “I said it was cliché.” Still, Nici couldn’t shake the feeling. She rolled back over and tapped her helmet, bringing her bioptic implants online and scanned the surrounding hillside for signs of activity. There was none.

“Look, try to get some sleep. It’s not like your missing anything. You’ll feel better.”

“I wish I could.” Something wasn’t right. She could feel it. Despite all evidence to the contrary, there was something going on. At least the fog, barely a foot above the ground, gave her a comforting hug. Still the hair on her arms did it’s best to rise beneath the sheath of her thin flexible armour. She popped her bioptics and closed her eyes.

No sooner had Nici dozed off than Jeffries was shaking her. “Nic… Nic,” he whispered, “I’ve got movement.”

“What is it,” she asked in a bleary voice.

“I can’t tell. The scope’s rez isn’t high enough. Scope it with your beautiful bug eyes.”

She slugged him on the shoulder and tapped her helmet again. Her multifaceted eyes linked to his scope so he could share her vision.

“I’ll be damned.” With her artefact eyes she observed five oriental soldiers beside the defunct fuelling depot waving to them.

“How long do you think they knew we were here?”

Before Pfc Nici Nestel could reply to Lcpl Ron Jeffries question, her head had been severed cleanly from her neck and lay staring to the sky, a scant three feet from her inert body. Her eyes were still recording a scene her dead brain failed to see.

Standing over her helmeted head, an Asiatic Alliance equivalent of a sergeant sheathed a plasteele vibrasword and removed a protective mask moulded in a gruesome rictus designed to instil fear in the hearts of his enemy. He held the head of the young Jeffries in plain view of her bioptics.

Tapping his breastplate, the “fog” of nano surveillance ‘bots, suspended above the ground in a negative charge withdrew into his armour. Casually he tossed the head aside and spat into her pretty dead face.

“Stupid Americans.”


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Indiana Girl

Author : Roi R. Czechvala, Staff Writer

Virginia “Jen” Taylor was a good soldier. She had the quiet good looks of the girl next door. She had the spirit typical of an Indiana farm girl. She could be sweet and feminine; she could mix it up with the boys. She could carry water. She was a good soldier.

I met her at Bragg. She kicked my bunk waking me from a sound sleep. “Drop your cock and grab your socks. Get a move on soldier.”

I watched her walking to the latrine, carrying her toilet bag and a towel, clad only in panties and a sports bra. I swear she must have been psychic. As if somehow sensing my admiration of her retreating backside, she spun around and barked, “Are you a staring at my ass?”

Before I could react she had closed the gap between us and I was on the floor trying to swallow my balls that she had kicked into my throat. “You still have a nice ass,” I managed to croak. She didn’t turn; she just raised her arm and flipped me off.

She wasn’t one to hold a grudge though. “Hey Newbie,” she yelled above the lifters screaming turbines, “You’re with me.”

It was just a training exercise, but it was still scary as hell. We dropped into an LZ that was hot, and I mean HOT. Plasma blasts were flying everywhere; trees fell as grenades slammed into them. The plasma was dialled down. It wouldn’t kill you; just burn your nuts off.

The lifter was barely on the ground when she turned to me and yelled, “Do you want to live forever?” She grabbed me by the strap of my LBE and yanked me out the door. With one hand she hauled me through the dense brush, with the other she kept up withering covering fire.

She flung me down behind the bole of a gigantic tree and returned deadly fire in earnest, taking out the robotic sharpshooters with apparent ease. Once the shooting had stopped and the call for “All Clear” had been given, she looked down at me huddled at the base of the tree. “Pussy,” she said, and strode off.

Over the days and weeks, we became friends. We trained together, we ate together, we…well we were friends. Then we got the orders. Combat drop. Allied territory. Venus. Very bad.

We were radar null in geosynch above our LZ. Jen’s eyes were glowing. The excitement in her was palpable. When I felt the lifter drop from the carrier, I thought I was going to shit myself. Jen seemed on the verge of explosion. The grin on her face looked carved in stone. The lifters rear door opened and the ramp dropped. Jen was on her feet in an instant.

“Do you want to live forever,” She bellowed above the howling wind. Before I could stop her she was out the hatch. I ran to the ramp and watched in horror as her flailing body disappeared from view.

“No, I don’t want to live forever,” I yelled, “But I’m going to wait until we land to get out.”

Virginia “Jen” Taylor was a good soldier. She had the quiet good looks of the girl next door. She had the spirit typical of an Indiana farm girl. She could be sweet and feminine; she could mix it up with the boys. She could carry water. She was a good soldier.

She just wasn’t too bright.


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Author : Roi R. Czechvala, Staff Writer

“Who are they,” the chief officer of the starliner, Raumfahrer, asked Captain Kurtzmann.

“They’re a group of fanatic pilgrims,” he replied through a tight smile as he nodded perfunctorily at a small mass of red cloaked figures marching by. Several of the men smiled meekly and made odd gestures to the Captain and his crew. “They’re followers of the Slain God.”

“I’ve heard about them. They worship an ancient myth. Their God was violently murdered for preaching peace to his followers. Very ironic, if a bit anachronistic.”

“These ‘anarchists’ chartered an entire liner for their pilgrimage. Please bear that in mind,” the captain hissed in a ‘watch your ass’ tone.

A figure, conspicuous by his white raiment and the ornate staff he carried, broke from the group of crimson frocked men. “Are our quarters ready?”

“We have cleared an entire hold for your group. Your uh, uh Your Eminence,” he quickly added, remembering the term of address from an article he had read.

“Please, so such formalities. I am but a humble pilgrim. I’m sure what you have arranged is adequate.”

“I must implore you to reconsider, Sir. There are only 30 of you, and you have the entire ship of 450 staterooms. Surely, you would be more comfortable…”

“Is everything prepared as requested,” the wizened figure interrupted.

“Yes Sir. The hold has been cleansed and spread with the leaves you provided.”

“I’m sure it will be most adequate for as far as we need to go.”

“I don’t know how comfortable it will be for the entire journey. Even with the torch drive, Copernicus is a long way off.”

The old man smiled warmly. “As I said, as far as we need to go.”

“Weird group, this,” remarked the helmsman as the captain stepped onto the bridge.

“Yes, they’re friendly enough, but they make me uncomfortable. There’s something about their leader that bothers me.”

“Do you think there’ll be trouble?”

“It’s not that. It’s as if he’s expecting something. As if he’s got an inside joke and I’m not in on it.” The captain became lost in contemplation for a moment. “Pull up the feed from hold three, please,” He said turning to the communications officer.

In an empty space in front of the bridge, the cavernous interior of hold three appeared. Before a large mass of palm fronds, the men had erected a wooden structure and now knelt before it. It consisted of an upright, neatly bisected by a shorter cross brace. A low chant came from the men. “Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison.” The chant was repeated, rising and falling in volume.

“Well, nothing sinister there, but I just can’t shake…”

“Sir,” a sharp ejaculation cut him off, “what the hell is going on?”

Startled by the brusqueness of one of his officers, Kurtzmann spun around to confront an ashen faced ensign pointing at the ships forward view.

The bridge crew stared as, one by one, the stars winked out.


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Remember O'ahu

Author : Roi R. Czechvala, Staff Writer

The skiff shot swiftly across the calm waters of the harbour as if pushed by a giant hand. A young woman, her thick red hair flying wildly in the wind, sat in the stern manning the tiller. Around the little craft, pacific striped dolphins danced. Blissfully lost in the enveloping sweep of the moment, she was shocked back to the present by the subtle buzzing of her iPlant.

She subvoked the ‘plants menu which appeared to her eyes to flutter against the saffron sail. The call was priority from Confed command. “Shit,” she muttered, “not even one fucking hour of peace.” Reaching up to her right ear she pulled away a lock of crimson hair… and as she pulled the lead of the Sony DreamMan from behind her right ear, the dismal reality of her berth congealed around her.

“Murphy here. What is it?”

Only appearing in her brain, but to her perception, materializing before her was a tall broad shouldered man with close cropped hair wearing the uniform of a Marine brigadier general. “IT, is your DIVISIONAL COMMANDER, Captain Murphy.”

Instantly she snapped to. “Sir, sorry Sir, I just thought, I had no idea Sir, I…”

“Never mind. Our base on Pearl was bombed. It’s gone. O’ahu is gone for that matter.”

“Sir I don’t understand. What is going on?”

“The Asiatics. They violated the Earth Non-Aggression Treaty. They brought the fight to Earth.”

“Sir, I am afraid I still don’t understand.”

“You have the captured yacht of Hikachi Muromoto in tow, correct?”

“Yes sir. I am to escort the defence minister, his staff, and the yacht’s crew to the detention centre on Ganymede for interrogation.”

“Captain, destroy that ship.”

“But Sir, they are just unarmed civilians.”


“Aye aye, Sir.”

Captain Adelaide Murphy muted the neural connect. “Bridge,” she called, opening a secondary connect, “Cut the yacht free. When she reaches 300 kilometres fire one salvo singularity torpedoes. Maximum spread.”

“Yes Sir.”

She pulled up her main feed. “Sir, I…”

“I heard Captain, I just hope that…”

At that moment, the reaction drive motors of the Asiatic Alliance yacht, Divine Wind, went critical. Her hull breached and washed the Confederate battle cruiser NCS Juarez, and her crew of six hundred in the warming glow of white thermonuclear fire.



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Special Ops

Author : Roi R. Czechvala, Staff Writer

The morning sun cast a dim ruddy light through Frank’s single window. He missed the cheerful yellow light of Sol, though in this incarnation he had never been to Earth. Though his heart was attuned to his home planet’s local star, his eyes weren’t. He pulled himself from the Jesus tank and towelled himself dry.

“Curtis, blinds,” he ordered the room, squinting in the Betelguesian glare; he stumbled to the wall and unfolded the kitchen. “Koff, breakfast.” Without further instruction Curtis produced a mug of synthetic coffee and a plate of egg material grown in a vat from imported tissue.

“Curtis, sitrep,” through his ‘plant, Frank heard the usually sarcastic, mostly sardonic, frequently cynical and for some reason, Russian accented voice of his AI.

“White team mission successful. Target adequately nullified. The strike leader’s remains were returned to his quarters for resurrection.”

“How bad was it?”

“They found your toe, Sir.”


“Indeed, Sir.”

Frank folded the kitchen away, unfolding the bathroom in the process.

“Um… Curtis?”


“Where’s my dick?”

“Gender reassignment was necessary for the current mission specs.” Frank could have sworn the AI snickered.

Frank turned to the mirror and gasped in horror discovering that he was now a young, attractive, red headed female with, he had to grudgingly admit, nice tits. “Curtis,” Frank asked a quaver in his voice, “what are the current mission parameters?”

This time there was no mistaking Curtis’ outright guffaw. “You are to infiltrate Kim Sung Mung’s compound as a,” here the AI broke off in uncontrolled laughter.


“Sorry, Sir. You are to infiltrate the Asiatic commander’s compound as a pleasure companion.”


“Shall I pack your mouthwash, Sir?”

The AI’s derisive guffaws could be heard in the corridor outside and beyond.


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