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    If you are a fan of sci-fi then here is a treat for you. We have an exclusive prologue to ‘Ronin‘ by Jan Domagala, which is the first in a series called ‘Col Sec’.

    He stood on the Observation Lounge looking out at the vista of stars waiting to die.
    Out of the four volunteers for the special experimental programme, only he and Kurt Stryder were left alive. The other two, Summerfield and Watson, had died in circumstances too horrible to contemplate. Was this his fate too, to die like them?
    He knew there were risks involved in the programme, a fact of any experimental programme but seeing those risks, seeing the consequences up close and personal made him doubt the validity of both the programme and his eagerness to enlist in it. It was too late to pull out now though, for the final round of tests had been completed. At least he had gotten that far, more than could be said for Summerfield or Watson.
    Turning away from the large panoramic viewport he decided to return to his quarters. It was after midnight station time, which was synchronous with Earth Central Time. At this time of night only the night shift were working keeping this station, Research Station Five, operational. He walked towards his quarters, nothing more than a cubicle with a bed really, and he entered. He soon had disrobed placing his uniform in the wardrobe, the only other piece of furniture present in the Spartan quarters before climbing into the bed.
    He was more tired than he had first thought and sleep came to him quickly. After a few hours sleep, he was suddenly awakened by a searing pain that ripped through his abdomen like a wildfire. He tumbled out of bed wrapped in the duvet that strangled his movements. He tried to stand but a wave of nausea engulfed him like a raging tide washing over the shore. He stumbled and steadied himself against the wardrobe to prevent falling on the floor then activated the locking pad on the door. As it opened on a cushion of compressed air he threw himself out into the corridor beyond.
    A series of hacking coughs wracked his body and when his sight returned he saw the wall he had leaned against for support was splattered with blood.
    This was not good. This was how the other two started before they died.
    He was afraid then and he screamed for help before another coughing fit took control.
    He fell to the floor, his stomach heaving, the pain building to excruciating levels. As he lay on the floor he turned his head to see a pair of boots running toward him. He had never felt such pain and he was so weak he could hardly lift his head.
    He felt someone cradle his head and he looked up into a pair of worried eyes.
    He coughed once more spraying the shirt of whoever was holding him with blood before he succumbed to the darkness that had been creeping into his peripheral vision.
    The man cradling his head accessed a comm channel via his Neural Interface.
    When the call was connected he said, “Sir, Captain Bell has just died.”

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