Janissary, by Bruce Corbett



Copyright  2002  Bruce Corbett


Smashwords Edition






I was always intrigued that, historically, some of the Turks’ greatest regiments were composed of the children of their enemies, brainwashed and trained from childhood as Turkish Janissaries. What would happen if a ruthless alien race came across Humans scattered amongst the stars. Might they do the same? In this story, the monsters come from outer space. Man fights a magnificent fight, but the aliens use the greatest weapons of all against man - other men!





"You! Toad! My name isss Corporal Si'isss, and, son, your cloaca belongssss to me! On your feet! You haven't got all day!"

I stare in awe at the Corporal, magnificent in his burnished green scales. He has no more time for me, however. He turns to the birthing angels in white on either side of me. "Get a move on with the processss, unlessss you want to join them!"

I can sense the fear of the two men in white coats. They rush to twirl some dials and start removing wires from my body.

As the Corporal goes by again I stare at him. He is almost twice my height, and he is a glorious sight. I look down at my arms while some cables are being disconnected, and I see a pallid pink and unarmoured skin. I feel ashamed. I seem to be a fragile vessel, not worthy to be in the same room as the glorious corporal. I manage to croak out a few words.

"Honoured Corporal, have I truly just been born?"

"Of courssse, toad! And you been taking a damned long time at it. As sssoon as they get the wiresss off you, you will be finally done. It isss a damned good thing, too. You were needed on the front linesss daysss ago!"

"Corporal, you said the 'front lines'. Where is that and what will I do there?"

"You are a ssstupid toad! You will be given the opportunity to offer your life for the glory of the Empire of the Ssstelig."

"I am not worthy, Corporal. I see before me a magnificent specimen of manhood, while I am only a pale slug. I do not have your natural armour or teeth. Surely I am not worthy of the honour of dying for the Empire!?"

Corporal Si'isss looks momentarily pleased. I can see row after row of powerful pointed teeth in his powerful jaw. "I look that way to you becaussse I am a member of the Ssstelig race. Your kind hasss good reflexesss, however, and, in massss waves, you are moderately effective.

Now hurry up! Mossst of your sssquad have already finissshed birthing. They wait outsssside."

I let myself swell with the honour of being a chosen warrior for the Ssstelig, then I force my mind to take command of my lethargic body. Gradually I gain control over my legs . . . An errant thought flashes through my mind. How do I know that those limbs are called legs? . . . and then my arm and hands. With shaking fingers I undo the last straps that hold me to the Gurney, and the angels in white hurry to remove the last electrodes from my bare skull.

I stagger erect, and Si'isss nods curtly. "Here isss clothing. Cover your disssgussting body immediately!"

I look down at my pale skin, and I am ashamed again. I shrug quickly into the clothes Si'isss has thrust at me with his third and fourth arms. I wonder if I have done this before. I seem to instinctively know what to do, and quickly figure out the mystery of the clothes fastenings. Within moments I am dressed and standing at attention. Si'isss talks abruptly to the next figure on a Gurney, but then deigns to notice me.

"About time, toad! Now get your cloaca out that door and join the formassion!"

When I pause to ask a further question, my head suddenly explodes with pain. I run blindly for the door, and the pain eases. I will remember next time. 'Do what you're told, without hesitation!'

Outside there are more pink uniformed slugs like myself. I fall in at the end of the line and stand rigidly at attention. I do not know why I know to do this, but I do. The knowledge I need in my new life seems to flow into my head as I need it.

Corporal Si'isss finally arrives with the last birthing stragglers, and he leads us off at a brisk pace. As the formation moves over the purple grass and into the shelter of brown-leaved trees, I have an attack of deja vu. I am somewhere else, and the trees are an impossible shade of green. Instead of an orange sky, I see a clear blue one! I shake my head, trying to physically dislodge my waking dream. I concentrate on moving my body with absolute precision, hoping that I can leave the disturbing vision behind.

I wake quickly, eager to get back to training. The chow-line is moving, so I join the slowly snaking line of men. It's gruel again; my favourite. I stand close to the guy in front of me, but he doesn't say anything, and neither do I. Corporal Si'isss says there is no sense in getting too friendly with your squad mates. He says that it will just be harder to leave them behind when they get hurt.

His brilliant words are drilled into my consciousness. "You will leave injured men where they fall. Whole battles have been lossst because a toad foolisssly ssstopped to help sssome guy who isss going to die anywaysss. Look, toadsss. Thisss is the coup-de-grassse cut for the wounded. A quick slissse, and your wounded companion isss out of pain forever."

I bolt my chow, and am left with a few minutes of time before formation. I make my bed and wash my face and hands. Cleanliness is next to Godliness, or so Corporal Si'isss tells us.

I am excited when the bugle call for formation finally blows. The two suns are in a low line, parallel with the horizon. It's the signal for our working day to begin.

I am awed that Corporal Si'isss is willing to spend time with us. We all work hard, and within days I can kill a pink slug with thirty-seven different blows. I can strip a blaster right down to its component pieces and have it back in working order in less than a minute. After steroid treatment, my skin goes all blotchy and I feel constant pain, but Corporal Si'isss says it is a small price to pay for the increased strength. I find myself able to run for twenty crocoids without pausing, and after that I can pull myself up a cliff using my hands alone.

I may be only a shadow of Corporal Si'isss, but I learn that I will be fighting creatures that look a lot like me. Corporal Si'isss tells us, however, that they took a wrong turn somewhere in their evolution. Mere mammals like me, they first foolishly colonized planets before the Ssstelig reached them, and then had the audacity to refuse to vacate them in the face of the Ssstelig arrival.

Hundreds, thousands of us, as soon as we are finished training, are to be rushed to the front. Corporal Si'isss' immortal words ring in my head. "The Human toads must be stopped, at any cost. The future livesss of millionsss of unborn Ssstelig hatchlingsss depend on you!”

Our training is completed within another week, and Corporal Si'isss himself deigns to inspect us. We stand rigidly at attention.....................This story is available for purchase at, Apple eBook store, from Sony, Diesel, Barnes and Noble, and, soon, Amazon.