By Chris Wilson
Copyright – 2011, All Rights Reserved
The swarm is coming. Corporal Aggar and a unit of Confederation Marines have been ordered to hold back a ravenous tide of insectoid alien attackers. Each attack presses until men to the limit of their physical and mental strength. Aggar as his men fight on, in the face of certain death, as the lines break and their attackers begin to overwhelm them.
I am a Marine; I am nothing without my rifle; it is my sole value, my life, my purpose...
The ammo feed locked into the lower receiver. Without my rifle, I cease to be a Marine; I become nothing but a target, a casualty... The vented barrel slid into the floating mount and seated against the breech. I will never fail to clear, clean and maintain my rifle, to ensure that my rifle never fails in combat...
Corporal Gorman Aggar finished screwing the barrel into his ACR-14 ArmTech Autolaoding Combat Rifle. Aggar’s rifle hadn’t needed cleaning, but ingrained, repetitive action kept him focused and relaxed. He could identify every part by touch, even through the armored gauntlets of his Hostile Environment Combat Armor – Powered, and assemble them by reflex. Muscle memory knew the proper place and fit of each part – the feed ramps, the ammo counter, the drive piston, the cycle springs, the burst limit capacitor... well, there was really no need to keep that.