Eleven Days Since…

Author : Roi R. Czechvala, Staff Writer

She sat in a corner of Starbucks, talking on her phone. In the window behind her, the Earth was just setting. Her short blond hair was pulled back in a ponytail which she twisted nervously.

“How long will you be gone,” she asked. There was a hint of desperation in her voice.

“But Europa is so far from Earth, what does it have to do with us? So a colony was attacked. We don’t know those people. What did the Asiatics ever do to us?” Her voice quavered.

“Look, we can go to Venus. There’s no war there. A nice leisurely life in one of the Sun Domes…”

She began to cry. Tears streamed slowly down her delicate face. “What… what happens if… if…”

“I don’t give a fuck about the insurance, Tom. What’s going to be left to bury anyway.” She pulled the phone out of her ear and held it away as she screamed into it.

“I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I love you so much,” She sobbed into the phone.

“Just please come home safe. Why did you have to join? Why? Don’t you love me? Didn’t I love you enough.”

“I know, you’ve got to go. I love you with all my heart. Please come back to me. Please come back.” She pulled the phone bud from her ear. She curled her legs under her and wept silently. She drew in ragged breaths.

In a fit of pique, she threw the phone from her. It slammed into a corner, where the battery fell out. A battery that had been dead for eleven days.

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Why, I Oughta…

Author : Roi R. Czechvala, Staff Writer

“Allright men, listen up.” Even without the aid of his complant or the voice magnification of a batt’suit, First Sergeant Lesimov could easily be heard over the scream of drop ships as they streaked through the atmosphere. “True to their kind, the little bastards are holed up in caves in the mountains. It’s up to us to go in and burn ‘em out. SUIT UP.”

“I hate my suit,” whined Private Kitchen, as he donned his helmet and subvoked the HUD panel, “I know it was fitted for me and I’m the only guy who has ever worn it, but it smells. It smells like farts. Somebody else’s farts. I know my own farts.” He lifted his visor and took a sniff inside the suits torso. “Yup, those aren’t my farts.”

Slowly he shrugged into the torso while the gauntlets extended and assembled themselves. “I’ll bet that Spanish guy, Rio, or whatever his name is farted in my suit,” He grunted as he bent to apply his greaves. Placing them against his shins, they expanded and sheathed his feet and lower legs in nearly indestructible plasteele.

He watched as his cuisses wrapped and joined with his greaves and codpiece. “Ow, that hurts. I wish I’d never joined the infantry. I don’t want to fight. The recruiter lied to me. He said there was a chance I would never see combat, but here I am. Lying bastard. He promised me I’d never see battle. When I get back… I’ll show him. Who does he think he is anyway?”

Pvt Kitchen stood and stretched to check the seals of his batt’suit. He powered it up and checked the readings as one by one they came to life in his visor. “I guess its okay. This thing was designed by a moron. I could do a better design job and I dropped out of university. Smells like cabbage in here. I know somebody farted in my suit.”

He took a few tentative steps to check the gyros. “I should have joined the Navy,” he sighed. “That would have been fun. Sailing off the shores of Europa and Ganymede. Watching as the Marines made their drop while I was safe and snug with all my buddies on the carrier.” Kitchen smiled at the thoughts of the good times he’d shared with his Navy friends. The rest of the Marines considered the Navy as somewhat effete to say the least, but not Kitchen; he bore a special affinity for the boys in blue.

“I always thought that a few months afloat with the sailors would…”

“PRIVATE KITCHEN.” First Sergeant Lesimovs voice came pounding through Kitchens complant so hard that he thought the device might actually burst out of his skull. “You do realize that you had your ‘plant voked on the company freq the whole time don’t you?”

Pvt Kitchen said nothing as his suits thigh pads began ‘cycling a sudden gush of urine.

“Care to shake the sand out of your vagina Kitchen and join the rest of us?”

“Ulp… yeah Top, right away, Top.”

He began loping to the assembled group of Fleet Infantry Marines. They stood immobile as their orders and directives were downloaded to their ‘plants. “Bastard. He thinks he’s such a badass just because he has that diamond. Why if I thought I wouldn’t get thrown in the brig, I’d take him out behind the barracks and…”

“KITCHEN. Your ‘plants still open.”

The faecal reclamation pads in Pvt Kitchen’s suit began functioning.

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Alone Beside a Methane Sea

Author : Roi R. Czechvala, Staff Writer

Harry Morgan was a bear of a man. Over six feet and in excess of 240 pounds. He eschewed a prosthesis, preferring to simply pin up the sleeve of his MCU where his left arm had once hung. He wore the morphic combat uniform of the Confederacy even though it had been three years now since his retirement.

For all his size and the deep scars that crossed his face, he was a gentle man. Slow to anger and much slower still to violence. It is no small wonder then that he lay upon the purple sand beside a methane sea bleeding his life away.

It had been gut shot. A slow painful way to die. He silently cursed the self sealing feature of his suit. A quick rush of his oxygen into the near vacuum of the planets atmosphere would be more merciful than this.

“You bastard,” he said, wincing from the painful effort to speak. “You murdering bastard.”

From a vantage point atop a boulder, further up from the lapping tide, an envirosuited figure stirred. “Now, now, calm yourself or you’ll bleed out faster.”

“Is that your game? You want to watch me suffer slowly? You want to watch me die?”

Casually, the seated figure examined the weapon in his lap before quietly responding. “Die? Now why would I want you to die? Suffer? Yes. Immeasurably. But die? Emphatically, NO. I want you to live. And you shall. You shall bleed to death. When you die, your monitoring system will shut down and within a scant heartbeat you will be frozen through. You suit will activate the beacon and within hours you shall be rescued, resuscitated and resurrected in all of your glory.”

“Why,” he gasped, spraying his visor with blood soaked phlegm.

“So I can do it all over again.”

“But why? Why at all, you crazy fuck?”

“Why? WHY?” The voice took on a disembodied quality as it rose to a banshee shriek. “Why,” he repeated a third time, his voice growing calm once again.

“Why? Because I like you. And Mother liked you. She always liked you best.”

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Author : Roi R. Czechvala, Staff Writer

Battles in space aren’t the cool atmosphere bound dogfights of the twentieth century that are still depicted in movies. Battles in space are a matter of orbital mechanics, patience and stealth. Real fighters aren’t streamlined, sexy, sleek affairs. The are ugly little craft bristling with pointy things and energy damping Tesla generators to counter detection as well as retaliation. More than anything else, a fighter looks like a pissed off porcupine.

My last kill was simple enough. Her presence had been betrayed not by my sophisticated detection system, but by a glint of sunlight reflected to these low tek eye bulbs of mine. I dove straight towards the Allied fighter. As she turned to engage, I kicked over in a somersault, and let loose with a quick flash of laser fire to her cockpit, followed by a swift plasma burst to her engines.

Just like that, she was dead. If her atmosphere hadn’t already escaped, she was still adrift.

Dead either way.

“White One Bravo, this is White One Victor, Over.”

“Bravo here, Vic. What’s up?”

“Allied scout just off the northern shore. Threat eliminated. Sending grids now.”

“Keep your eyes open. I don’t have to tell you, if you see one…,”

“…there are a hundred you don’t see. Right. I’ll scout around. See you soon.”

Most of the pointy bits on a fighter are reaction thrusters. To make yourself a harder target to hit, you engage the thrusters in a random pattern. The effect is not unlike a stoned cat in room filled with parakeets.

Just as my craft began lurching like a Philipino prostitute when a ship’s in port, I heard something. Or rather sensed something.


It’s impossible to feel motion inside a T shield, but I knew I was dead in space. My engines were cut. Why? Then I saw her. A new ship. One I’d never seen before, though I recognized it for what it was. A lethal matte black craft boldly flying the Allied insignia. She spun like a top as she sidled over to me. She looked me over before winking out.

“White One Bravo, This is White One Victor.” No answer. My comm was knocked out. I punched the comm over to record.

“To anyone who retrieves this message. They can counter our evasive pattern by duplicating it and apparently firing while shielded. Sort of like a flechette grenade. Watch out guys.” I switch off the comm.

Well, she missed my cockpit so I still have air, but she holed my engines and whacked my comms. I am adrift.

Dead either way.

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You Deserve A Break Today

Author : Roi R. Czechvala, Staff Writer

“With the launch of Grimace 4, the MacDonaldCorp orbital facility will be completed on time and ready to begin dishing out delicious meals at competitive prices to our brave astronauts as well as the astronauts and cosmonauts of all nations.

We go now live, to Sharon Davit at MacDonaldCorp’s CapCom in Houston, Texas to speak to MacDonaldCorp spokesperson, Ronald MacDonald himself.”

“Thank you Terry. I have with me Mr. Ronald MacDonald, spokesclown for the MacDonaldCorp’s orbital restaurant and hotel and President of the United States. Mr. MacDonald…”

“Please Sharon, call me Ronald.”

“Okay … Ronald. Tell me. What does this mean to the corporate growth of space?”

“Well Sharon, we just want to deliver a delicious and familiar taste of home to space farers of all nations.”

“Any plans beyond the restaurant and hotel, Ronald?”

“’House’, Sharon. Not ‘hotel’, ‘House’. No, we don’t want the Moon… Yet. Waka waka, waka.”

“Thank you, Ronald. Back to you Terry.”

“Tragedy is connected with the completion of this, the latest and undoubtedly greatest, achievement of corporate manned spaceflight. Famed Science Fiction writer and winner of multiple Hugo and Nebula awards for his visionary work, Roi R. Czechvala, died by his own hand early this morning at his home in Corpus Christi, Texas.

According to his full time nurse, Dorothy Fontana, the infirmed writer was heard to mumble, ‘I’m Lovin’ It’, before producing a large calibre revolver where after he ended his life. Mr Czechvala was 114 years old last September. According to those closest to him he died “still pretty pissed off that that jet pack they promised him in the early seventies never materialized.”

In related news, strange sounds appear to be emanating from the graves of such men of science as Doctors Stephen Hawking and Isaac Asimov, as well as Science Fiction luminaries Robert A. Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, Phillip K. Dick, and S. R. Smith.

With us in the studio is the director of the MacNASA Parapsychology Centre in Bowling Green Kentucky, George J. Kreskin III. Mr. Kreskin, what can you tell us about these bizarre phenomena?”

“First of all Terry, thank you for having me. I need to point out that this is not a new phenomenon. It was first noticed after the launch of Big Kroc 1 which successfully placed the restaurant module into a LEO or Low Earth Orbit. The intensity of the sound emanating from these graves was noted by a marked increase in frequency after the launch of Hamburglar 2, carrying the playground component of the habitat or rather, the ‘MacSpace Station’”.

Today, the noise again shifted tremendously and is clearly audible to those standing even several feet away from the graves of these lauded men, with the launch of Grimace 4.”

“Dr. Kreskin, can you tell our audience what is making these strange noises.”

“Terry, it’s too early to tell. Right now we are seeking court orders to exhume the bodies of these esteemed men. All I can tell you is that the sound is a sort of whizzing noise as if something were being spun at a tremendous rate.”

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