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Edition 19: Rainbows and Death Machines by JB Rockwell

Isolis might only be a small part in the plan of Star Revolution, but when the Core Alliance unexpectedly rolls into town with their weapons of war, it becomes more than an abstract concept for the locals. All Trebnor and his unit have to do is hold off the Alliance until their own weapon is ready. If they survive that long… SY

Isolis was a smallish planet—quiet, unassuming, of no particular strategic importance—so it was quite a surprise when the Dark Star Revolution showed up and started recruiting. Trebnor wasn’t particularly interested in their rebellion—no one on Isolis was—but the pay was good, and the uniforms snazzy, so he lined up with the others and signed on the dotted line.

That was two years ago, and it was only now, as he peered through his binoculars at the hulking, diesel-spewing monstrosity just appearing on the horizon that Trebnor realized what he’d gotten himself into.

“What is it, Treb?” Jenkins asked at his elbow.

Jenkins was nineteen and a hot-head—a young wolf among the middle-aged, down-on-their luck troop of shabby soldiers Trebnor had assembled. Most days he was all mouth off, macho posturing, but right now he just looked worried. They all did.

“Not sure,” Trebnor replied, fiddling with the binocular’s not-quite-autofocus.

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Edition 2: A Propensity For Violence by Michael Saad

flag USLieutenant Kellington is on tour in a far away galaxy, trapped in between the two indigenous races and their bitter blood feud. But Kellington has a secret. Will his past compromise his mission or will he lose it all? SY

2284 AD—Occupied Territories, Planet Adrella, Andromeda Galaxy

The red sky glimmered against the rolling hills of the Adrellan landscape. Planet Adrella was under the protection of the United Nations of Earth, or UNE. The planet’s population consisted of a humanoid race with a small skeletal structure, wrinkled foreheads, and narrow, sunken-in faces. Their physical bodies possessed less musculature than “Earthens,” making them physically weaker. Yet one area where Adrellans equaled human beings was the propensity to commit violence, and the headless torso that lay smoldering in the dirt was a definite example of that.

“Middle aged, Adrellan male,” Lieutenant Ryan Kellington confirmed, kneeling over the body. “The deceased appears to belong to the Tredder race. We can’t confirm that right now because there’s no way to piece together what’s left of the head.”

“That’s the sixth attack this year where the head has been disintegrated,” Arung, the Tredder official, cursed in broken but understandable English. He was an Adrellan belonging to the Tredder caste, a people who lived in the urban areas of the planet. He thrust his finger at the Sekena diplomat, who looked over Kellington’s shoulder. “The Sekena continue to act like barbarians, setting back any hope of peace between our people and yours!”

“Once again you blame Sekena for disrupting the peace,” Kestin B’urac, the Sekena diplomat, shot back. The Sekena people were concentrated in the rural areas of Adrella, and practiced a pastoral lifestyle. “How quickly you forget that it is the Tredder oppression of Sekena civilians that escalates our conflict. It is you who drive our people to these measures!”

“That’s enough! Neither of you are helping this situation.” Colonel Grey Norgale stepped in as he glanced over the body. The UNE commanding officer wiped his brow and let out a slow, defeated sigh. “What the hell is this planet coming to?”

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Edition 11: Rabble by Arley Sorg

flag USSoldiers are drawn from the incarcerated to fight against the fast and bloodthirsty Trayg that threaten to overwhelm their world. When they offer them advantage in the form of upgrades, the prisoners would be fools to reject any help. In the war against invasion, isn’t any advantage worth testing? SY

Darrin shifted in his bunk, struggled against coarse blankets. Sleep teased the corners of his eyes. Thick drowsiness crept under his skin.

She pooled, bright white and red, a head splitting star in congealed blackness.

Slick moonlight beaded in her hair, blood drops bright on her blouse. Her last, surprised breath as she crumpled in his arms.

One night six years ago. A night he used to not care about. It wasn’t even the worst he’d done.

He swung his feet onto cold floor, planted his sweaty face in his hands.

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