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Title: Vent Core on the Horizon Author: Sam Shepherd

PART ONE - A NICE DAY TO DIE

Sergeant Blitzburg was very angry. A newly recruited UESC marine with an itchy trigger finger had accidentally fired a SPNKR rocket at a VacBob(Infinity only) that was patrolling nearby. What remained of the Bob’s body was scattered over a distance of 10 meters, some of it smeared on the sergeant’s face-plate.
Blitzburg promptly began to hurl abuse at the new marine, and successfully included the f-word 32.3 times.
After approximately three minutes of swearing, the sergeant unholstered his Magnum, wiped a piece of brain off his visor, and shot the marine’s kneecaps off.
The marine screamed.
An on-looking Bob pissed his pants.
“And that goes for the lot of you!” Yelled the sergeant at no one in particular, and stormed off back to his bunk.

About 5 kilometers away Private O’Leary and the rest of the men in his platoon were getting themselves killed by a large number of Pfhorish soldiers. So large, that the thirteen men left in the platoon were outnumbered ten to one. The marines were hiding behind some wreckage of an old, ruined building.
O’Leary squeezed off several rounds from his MA-75B rifle at two charging Pfhor that were screaming gibberish at him. The penetrator rounds hit the one of the aliens in the torso. Thick, yellow blood emitted from the fighter’s stomach, spraying his comrade, who also copped a round in the eye.
O’Leary fired two more rounds into the alien’s face just to be sure.
The Pfhor slumped to the ground, dead.
O’Leary picked off another pfhor, hitting it in the groin. The Pfhor screamed for a long time. O’leary couldn’t stand the screaming any longer, so he decided to put the bastard out of it’s misery.
He aimed his rifle at the fighter’s head.
He pulled the trigger.
Click click.
Nothing.
His rifle had jammed.

“Bugger,” said O’Leary, frowning. He pulled out his antique combat shotgun and filled the dying alien’s head full of lead pellets. Enormous gouts of lumpy yellow mist erupted from the fighter’s face, leaving it’s spinal cord horribly exposed.
Meanwhile, the platoon sergeant was having some trouble of his own. A Pfhorish trooper had just shot him in the left shoulder, and he had no ammo left.
“Hey private!” Yelled the injured sergeant at O’Leary. “Got any spare magazi-”
Without warning, the sergeants chest exploded. An energy bolt had ripped through his sternum, leaving a gaping hole. A torrent of bloody pulp cascaded onto O’Leary’s face.
“Ah, crap,” sighed O'Leary, as he picked up the dead sergeant’s rifle off the ground. Rifles weren't as omnipresent as they used to be. UESC cargo vessels had stopped supplying them to the company of soldiers posted on Tau Ceti over 3 years ago. Plus, O’Leary’s rifle had jammed anyway. He tried to wipe off the blood on his face with a tissue.
“Where the hell are the reinforcements?” a fellow marine yelled, hoping to catch someone’s attention. “They should’ve been here half an hour ago!”
O’Leary’s attention was caught, and he shook his head. “I have no idea, apparently they’re bringing in a ‘Mjolnir IV’ or something, some sort of cyborg.”
“Oh,” replied the marine, and he continued to fire grenades at a group of onslaughting Pfhor, until he was blown up three seconds later by an energy bolt. There were now only six marines left, and still a hell of a lot of Pfhor charging at them. Defeat to the marines seemed imminent.
Suddenly, something teleported behind O’Leary.
Instinctively, he turned around and aimed at whatever was standing behind him.
O’Leary looked up.

There in front of him, stood a very tall person wearing standard security officer battle-armour.
It had a SMG in one hand, and a dead Bob in the other.
“Hey,” it said. “How are you?”
O’Leary realised at this point that the security officer was in fact the reinforcments/cyborg he was waiting for. The cyborg was inspecting his SMG, patiently waiting for an answer.
“Uh,” O’Leary said, his voice a little shaky. “Could you help us out, we’re sort of getting killed out here.”
“Sure,” the cyborg replied, and threw the dead Bob he was holding at an amazing speed in the general direction of a Hunter. The Bob hit the unnoticing alien in the chest, instantly knocking it unconscious.
The security officer/cyborg chuckled.
“Ha,” he said. “Man I kick arse...”






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