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It was dusk, and the disgusting flittering of night creatures could be heard in the evening sky. Johnathan could do nothing as his chest heaved as if of it's own accord. He stuck his head out of his fox-hole, peering cautiously over the lip of the torn and weathered earth. A round of plasma struck near his face and he quickly ducked below the protective ledge holding his head, wrapping his arms around himself. He gripped his plasma rifle and he clung to it, like a child to it’s mother. He cursed his bad fortune, his bad luck, his bad friends and his bad… bad everything. In the midst of his cursing he heard a high-pitched whistle blow, crying out among the yells and screams of the dying soldiers, their already short lives ending abruptly. He crossed himself three times, and lined up along with others against the lip of his fox hole. The commanders had ordered the charge into the white hot center of the battle, no man’s land, the scouts called it simply, “Death”. The officer, John believed was a sergeant, blew that whistle three times. With a surge and a wild yell, Johnathan and the company of his fellow soldiers, his friends, his family, charged forward over the lip of the small dirt mound. He let off a volley of green plasma as his few friends beside him fell to three successive shots. John searched the surrounding area, looking for the sniper that had taken their lives much to early. He scanned the horizon until he saw the muzzle flash of that sniper’s high-powered rifle. John took the plasma round in the chest and fell backwards, his arms splayed around him, blood pooling under him, friends running over him, men dying around him. It was horrific, and to top the gruesome deeds off, John knew he was dying, his crimson life seeping from his shell. He looked up once more at the sky and let out a sob, praying, cursing, crying to whoever or whatever would listen. A black figure approached him, casting a shadow over his shaking, bleeding form. Johnathan to his credit tried to rally, tried to fight this behemoth off. He feebly punched and kicked at it’s legs, even making an effort to draw his pistol. It did him no good, as the darkened figure lifted it’s hand, pointing one solitary finger at him.
The black shadow, growled out one word.
John felt an immense pressure growing around him, his body’s flesh beginning to become seared with an unknown heat.
The giant shade repeated again, almost motherly,
His vision darkened and he obeyed the shadow’s command. Johnathan slept and knew now more.
An amazingly loud bell rung out, it’s empty, shrill notes hanging in the air. A fan buzzed, humming to itself quietly. The balding man at the screen-board turned to face his class. He called up an image of a planet, not unlike Earth, it’s figure slowly turning on the screen mimcing it’s real gravitational orbit.
He grinned and asked, in a loud, rumbling baritone, “Who can tell me, what this planet is?”
He looked to each of his hundrend and fifty strong class. A few of them looked away, a few sunk lower in their seats, surprisingly though, a few tenatively raised their hands. He selected a young woman, probably not even in her twenties yet.
“You! Blondie, do you know what planet this is?”
The blonde tenatively twisted a finger around her straight, champagne colored locks. She bit her lower lip nervously and spluttered out,
“It’s Korith sir, isn’t it? Home of the Verdant?”
The man smiled, “Excellent work miss.”
He turned to face his class, “Yes, this is Korith, the site of Earth’s next expeditionary campaign. The news-feed will tell you it’s a peaceful planet. Do not be fooled. The fighting has already begun and it’s vicious as all hell. You’ll be receiving your assignments in the next room. Good luck, Recrutis.”
With a low hum, each student’s chair began fasten harnesses and cinches around them. They dropped into a lower room, filled with green flashing light as veterans shot dazzling beams of plasma at targets.
A man approached the group, holding a rifle. He shifted his weight to his right, onto his prosthetic leg. It whirred with strain. He tossed the plasma rifle at the nearest recruit.
“Who’s ready to kick some butt?”