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AragmarMay 19, 2018, 4:17:15 PM

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any and all similarities with persons, organizations, and groups are purely coincidental! 

An elderly man lay motionless on the pavement, holding his cardboard sign with an almost shaking hand. Eyes sunken and face ravaged by constant hunger, the bearded man's ragged clothes barely protected him from the chill winds. Once more his side was struck by random pieces of garbage that the gust had taken up in the air. Little swirling hurricanes comprised of trash and dust were quickly forming as the wind was picking up speed. And dear God, how cold it was. The homeless man tried to wrap himself in his hole-ridden blanket and save even a little bit of warmth - to no avail. 

Occasional passers-by gave him disgusted looks and he very well knew why - the man stank to high heavens. After the govt threw him out of his old home, they promised to relocate his neighbors and himself to a new and improved "free" housing complex, that was supposedly about to be built soon. As with all similar claims of the new American Communist government, by the time that complex was actually built, he and the rest of his homeless friends would be most certainly found frozen to death on the streets. And what was scarier, the man had heard rumors of relocation squads. Armed party members, who came to areas full of homeless with army trucks and then moved everyone someplace else... that nobody ever came back from, nor was heard again.

With a shaking hand, the man unwrapped a piece of moldy sandwich and devoured it quickly, trying not to think of the way it smelled or tasted. For a second the man's shaky eyes glimpsed the palm of his hand and slowly, his eyes teared up. He was a mechanical engineer and a physicist, yet he was barely scraping by on the street, living without a roof over his head. Why had he, why had no one seen what was to come? The country was tearing itself apart, there was civil war all the while USSA's Comrade Premier was spewing lies daily from his state-owned mass media how: "Everything is fine!" and "We are a prosperous, socialist country at last!" The destitute man had to take but one look at his rotting toes and scream "Bullshit!"

A brand new limousine came to a screeching halt mid-street. Out of it came a trio of young teens carrying a box full of brand new booklets and one that apparently had sandwiches in it. The little useful idiots started chanting the usual crap to his homeless friends - "Accept the party line because it is the only correct thing to do. Praise the name of our leader, glorious Comrade Premier, for his continuous successes in providing all citizens with everything necessary for them to live wholesome lives and you shall receive assistance!" 

When the little shits came close and dangled the party pamphlet before his eyes he spat on the ground. The filth could prey on the hungry and downtrodden as much as they wanted. His dignity was not for sale, not for a measly sandwich. The man's face sported a sad, yet victorious smile - all of his neighbors rejected taking the propaganda brochure, leaving the indoctrinated little fools stunned and confused. In their deranged small minds, the little communists couldn't imagine anything better than obeying the Party and following the party line towards building a better future and "Full communism". The teens left in a hurry and so angry, they were basically frothing from their mouths.  

Next day, when the relocation squads came to their little homeless village, the man was found dead. Nobody cared enough to check why he was dead since it seemed that the "cleaners" had specific orders issued from the local party leadership. His corpse and the bodies of those who resisted was promptly piled up and then ferried away by one of the waiting in line garbage trucks. 

First morning light came and shone upon the now empty, thoroughly ransacked, shanty village. Later this day, another cleaning team would wipe away this eyesore of a hamlet. After all, there were no homeless in the USSA. How could there be when virtually everyone was employed in their most prosperous, socialist country? The army trucks could be seen speeding off in the distance, taking the huddled mass of sick, hungry people to the closest government train station. Their trip to the reeducation camps had just begun.

*  *  *

"Captain, our sensors detect one new contact, Sir. It is a Slave Raider!"

The sensor and electronic warfare specialist of his private starship named the "Reaper" reported in with a calm and professional voice, as always. 

"Jam their sensors and comms! Navigation, plot an intercept course, flank speed ahead!" with an angry voice Captain Macland began churning out commands and soon the bridge was abuzz with murmur and swift action. 

"Captain, they've noticed us! These scum are trying to veer away and out of our attack arc!"

"Engineering, more power to the main weapon arrays! I will not allow those filthy slavers to fucking escape and prey upon our frontier colonies! Not on my watch!"

The "Reaper" swiftly stormed towards her pirate target and with laser cannons churning one overcharged barrage after the other, broke through their port shields, armor, and then melted huge holes in its hull. The slavers were caught with their pants down and with sensors jammed, unable to react fast enough. Sending a call for aid was too out of the question since all FTL comms were blocked by their enemies' electronic warfare officer. 

"Star Marine detachment, prepare for boarding! I want their crew slaughtered to the last man and woman." - Commanded the captain. 

"The sooner they understand that our people are neither willing to be slaves nor easily enslaved, we will continue writing warning after warning, using the broken hulls of slaver starships and the bodies of their crew!"

"Captain, I am detecting another ship advancing towards our position, it is a pirate vessel, Sir." The captain looked at his ship sensor screen and snarled. 

"Marines, continue your attack! We will deal with this... distraction. Gunnery officer, lock the new starship and prepare a full torpedo barrage! Load the dandelion cutters in the tubes. I want the fucktards melting, cooked alive by radiation, got it?" 

His starship's gunnery officer was an alien. Now a citizen of the Imperial Minarchy he'd lived and suffered for the better part of his life as a slave. Captain Macland was the one who personally freed him and his people. He then armed, trained, and personally led the newly freed citizens to victory against their oppressors. Gnawing his teeth, eyes transfixed upon his targeting screen, the gunnery officer punched his station's controls and soon the "Reaper" launched six nuclear torps that he personally programmed the homing and evasion patterns of. While his captain and everyone else on the bridge was listening in to their star marines' chatter over the intralink, the torps, evading all point defense fire slammed tearing through the pirate vessel's hull. It split from bow to stern, torn apart from the explosion's force. Were there any survivors, their flesh would rot from the radiation and slowly die in agony. The gunnery officer muttered under his nose - "Die, as you should, Slaver scum!" - He then nodded at his captain making a hand sign, adding - "They are toast, Sir!"

"All slavers terminated captain, Sir!" - Reported their Star marine commander and added "We left the usual message as per your instruction, captain. Strike Team Alpha is returning to hangar momentarily!" the captain nodded satisfied, noting that in their data-stream were reports of lightly wounded Marines and damaged armor only. He could care less about damaged equipment - after all his soldiers would easily use the looted gear of their enemy to repair everything. Hangar crews only had to clean the gory trails left after his Marines had dragged the nets full of salvaged enemy gear into their barracks...

"Navigation calculate an FTL jump to our secondary ambush position for the day! Let us all hope that the greedy filth will try again and slither their way into our space..."

The ship's near half kilometer large hull was suddenly wrapped by a blinding white light and vanished from normal space, just to appear in a nearby solar system, shielded from prying sensors and eyes, hidden in its suns radiation belt. The "Reaper" was again on the prowl. Systems set on silent running, torpedo tubes reloaded, its star marines sleeping in their bunks with the calm, satisfied minds of people who did the right thing.

Slaver ships who came to look for their clanmates later discovered their gutted starship. Full of the aimlessly floating, butchered remains of its crew once bent on enslaving the free, their captain discovered the corpse of his counterpart impaled on his own sword. There were words written in their own language, the Fringe speak. Somebody, using the blood of their deceased clanmates had left an ominous message behind:

"Come, enslave us, we are waiting!"

If you liked that short story, check my books Starshatter , Twin Suns Of Carrola , Treads Of Vengeance , Von Braun's Gambit , Secrets Of Lothoria and Final Liberation on Amazon. You can support me on Patreon or Subscribestar.