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Space stataion under attack," blared a robotic voice.

"OH NO!" I screamed. "They came back!" I pulled a gun out of my flight suit, adjusted it to its lowest setting, and sprinted toward the airlock. I had to keep more of them from coming in. As I rounded a corner, a man in a red suit stepped out from a side passage, and I found myself staring down the barrel of his weapon. Just as he fired, I hit the floor and rolled, hitting him in the ankles. He fell on top of me. I rolled out from under him, leapt onto his back, and hit him in the head with my gun. He went limp beneath me. Again, I took off to where the action was, a bit shaken now, having come within two inches of death. Suddenly, I heard feet on the floor behind me. I hadn't knocked him out! As I whirled around, I heard a shot and was overwhelmed by pain. I plummeted through nothingness into a world of floating dots and a loud droning sound.

When I woke up, I saw Colonel Mason standing over me, his head bandaged.

"Lieutenant Mize? Peter!"


"You're on a medical transport, Mize . . . and you're going home."

"So, I'm being . . . discharged?"

I had been waiting for this. I knew that, sooner or later, I would be released because of my unwillingness to kill when I had the chance.

"No. It's hard for me to tell you this, Peter. You lost your arm during the fight. Your left arm as burned away from the elbow down."

With a quiet, "I'm sorry," he turned and left.

So that was it. I was going home. To Sarah and Matt and Bobby and Biscuit. I was going home to the sound of bacon sizzling on the skillet. And I would never have to kill another human being as long as I lived.

That thought made me almost glad to have lost my arm. Besides, the computerized one they had attached was a perfect replica. No one would ever know. And I was going home.



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