By John Ringo

WITH neighbors LIKE THESE... With the Earth within the direction of the rapacious Posleen, the peaceable and pleasant races of the Galactic Federation provide their assets to assist the backward Terrans -- for a value. Humanity now has 3 worlds to guard. As Earth's armies rush into conflict and exact operations devices scout alien worlds, the people start to study a precious lesson: you could guard yourself out of your enemies, yet may perhaps the Lord prevent out of your allies.

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So we dream up this stuff, then send all the forces off planet and lose Earth behind them? " he asked, referring to the role that country had played in WWII. With the vast majority of its forces battling the Germans in North Africa, Australia was nearly invaded by the Japanese. Only American intervention and a stroke of luck in the Coral Sea prevented the inevitable loss of the continent to the Japanese. "Like I said," said Horner, patiently, "a fair proportion of it will be slated to home defense.

Asked Mosovich, taking a pull on the beer. Ersin pulled his head back and twisted it in a motion that was faintly ratlike. "He moves like a fuckin' yak in the bush," he spat in distaste. "You've worked with Mueller," said Mosovich. It was a statement. "Yeah," admitted Ersin, swirling the beer around and taking a sip. He preferred a more cultured brew than the sergeant major had to offer, but free beer was free beer. "He used to hang with Harold. We did some pellet work and I ran him through the SOT course a couple of times.

Moments later, Himmit Rigas' voice came over the system. "We'll be entering the atmosphere momentarily. " The team strapped on their packs and weapons then moved to the last hold area and clambered awkwardly into specially designed crash couches. Their packs, fitted into contours designed for them in the crash couches, remained on their backs. As each settled into place, a plasticlike substance extruded and filled in all the open areas between them and the couches then extended to cover their bodies, creeping up their heads and down their arms and over their strapped-on weapons, finally leaving them cocooned except for their faces.

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