Sabledrake Magazine

November, 2004



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     Dead Wizard

     Unexpected Diversions

     Dragon Heart

     From the Pits of Hell

     Honor by Numbers

     CTF 2187: End of an Era




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Honor by Numbers

Copyright 2004 Mark Bolin

    Cerek was not a soldier by any means, but the Empirium had seen fit to put him into a military unit.

Consequently, this was why Cerek was now up to his knees in corpses and trying to find a suitable hiding place.

As soon as a gap appeared in the battle ground it was replaced by more huddled soldiers trying not to spill their guts onto the ground. Ground warfare was almost unheard of in Cerek's day and age, but apparently there was something to be gained on the planet Surk 10.

He had managed to kill no one in the entire two minutes of this war, but the situation was becoming increasingly dire as soldiers began to materialize out of thin air all around him. Some wore the deep green of the Empirium, but an alarming number of the troops surrounding him were bedecked in the traditional Gildounian silver and crimson.

The deadly projectiles of both armies cast a lurid light on the orchestra of bloodshed that was playing itself out on the ground. The sky was every color imaginable at any given time as the lasers changed frequency mid-flight.

But before Cerek could take in the breathtaking beauty of the war, he noticed a Gildounian out of the corner of his eye. He raised his power receptor to the air and made a fist inside the tangled mesh of wire and metal.

A huge beam came down from the heavens, its source no doubt one of the battleships in the Empirium armada.

The blast pushed Cerek down to his knees and now he was surrounded by an aura of ever-changing color. He aimed his arm at the Gildounian and released his grip within his receptor-gauntlet. A hellish blast consumed his enemy and left the poor fellow on the ground, clutching at the many gashing wounds that crisscrossed his body.

He heard the familiar crackle of a receptor behind him, and, driven by pure instinct, he dove to the side just in time to narrowly avoid a gout of nano death.

The laser particle beams themselves were made up of small nano-bots that viciously attacked any obstacle they came into contact with. The beam slammed into the crisp brown dirt and sent a whirlwind out across the battlefield in its wake.

As quick as he could manage, Cerek sent a bolt toward the one who had accosted him. He did not take time to view the after effects and broke into a dead run, his final destination being a transport base. His metallic boots smacked the crackling surface, only narrowly avoiding the many bodies that were strewn about.

At last the pulsating blue of a transport portal greet his sight atop the next rise. He ran even faster and hurled himself through the rectangular gate.

The world twisted and transformed around him and suddenly he was on a battleship.

A burly fellow turned him around quickly, intensifying his teleport nausea, and checked the red number on his back. The man was a checker and it was his job to make sure everyone completed their kill quota.

He wiped away a smudge of dirt on Cereks back to see his employment code.

"Storage clerk eh?" the man said in a gruff voice.

"Y-yes," Cerek stammered.

"All right, you got at least two kills, you can go get some R & R, but be sure to report back at oh seven hundred.

Cerek muttered a quick thanks and sat down at the nearest table. He wondered
at how the nano-bots could actually transmit how many kills you have, as a small portly man came to serve him dinner.




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