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Vishniac Colony, Mars—August 11, 2218, 1000 Hours SST
“That’s an officer’s tail, ain’t it?”
Lieutenant Michael Brogue, dressed in camouflage fatigues the color of a Terran desert, stood in the center of a wide cavern, surrounded by old-style arc lamps, fifty or more unmarked crates, a dozen terrified hostages, six desperate Freedomists, and an antique handheld chemically propelled projectile weapon pointed directly at the bridge of his nose.
The man addressing him appeared to be about twenty-five years old, a native