Please Respect All Hamsters…especially those who are armed…
Our forces were about a mile out from the city when we were being fired upon. The APCs stayed behind the tanks and mechs. The outside was total hell from what I could see out of the windows. Explosions were going on everywhere. The only sound I could hear above the wheels of the APCs were the sounds of artillery, explosions, and the whine a laser cannon gives off as it fires. I had a large amount of adrenaline flowing through my veins by now. I almost felt like throwing up but sucked it up and breathed deeply.
Some of the guys were real green. They may be soldiers, but I doubted half these guys even knew how to throw a grenade. I’m hoping I’m wrong. Our forces floored it and rushed the last few hundred yards. I looked out and it was like a swarm of ants attacking a grasshopper. It was how the SEALs described D-Day. It scared me.
“ALPHAwolfOMEGA! We need you and your team of snipers to help us out! They have some damned heavy weapons on the turrets, as in heavy lasers! They’re killing our tanks!” Jed screamed.
“Will do!” I replied. Heavy lasers didn’t do shit against foot soldiers. They slaughtered tanks though.
My team got out and stayed behind a little. We were closer to the fighting than we would have preferred to be. At least as far as sniping in the battle went. We each turned on our shields and took separate targets. We began firing on the heavy lasers. They weren’t too hard to take out, just a pain in the ass to get the right spot so they exploded rather than shut down. We took most of those out at the same time, and then went after any soldiers carrying anti-tank rockets. That was the bloody. I aimed at one guy and fired, he exploded.
“What the fuck?” I yelled.
“My shot or yours?” Another sniper called in through his headset.
“Both, I think.”
We had sniped almost every target we could. Each one never saw it coming. They would be standing up or have part of them visible, and then a sniper would squeeze their trigger and the loud report of a .75 caliber slug would be heard. There was little muzzle-flash so you could see their body have a hole the size of a pineapple ripped into them. There would be a cloud of blood behind them and any comrade next to them would duck down for some time. They had gotten smart and stayed behind the walls firing from their pillboxes and other fortifications. It was a total pain in the ass to shoot into the slits they shot from. Most of the rounds they shot would have no effect on our forces since most of the vehicles had some sort of shielding, however limited it was against anything equal to or more powerful than a sniper round. They all had small-arms rounds. I doubted heavily hat they would be able to fire anything major at us, not after our sniping.
When I looked around I saw total hell. There were at least 30 APCs and tanks around that were destroyed, and ten people per APC. The total forces were about 10,000 units. There were craters all over the place. Many of the APCs and tanks that were destroyed were still burning. Every now and then I could hear a grenade or artillery shell explode near my position. It was always the same loud ‘pop’ in my ear followed by a burst of air. This was only on one side though; I was horrified at the thought of the other casualties. There was death everywhere. People screaming and yelling in pain. I looked and saw a new recruit puking his guts out. He was hiding behind a totaled APC with the look on his face telling me he would rather be anywhere but here. He was crying.
There was a loud explosion. It was enough to make me drop my gun and take cover. When I looked up I saw that we had broken through the main wall and were attacking the city. We had about half of it taken. I loaded the sniper team into our APC and headed into the lion’s den.
We put our sniper rifles away and took out our assault rifles. They were standard issue pulse rifles, effective if you got headshots. They didn’t work too well against shields but if you got hit enough times with a rifle the shield would breach. This was something all forces learned from day one. Too many people thought that shields gave invincibility. They only protected you from SOME damage from projectile rounds and energy weapons. Hand-to-hand combat was the only real way to bypass a shield. I prayed my Spatha wouldn’t fail me should I need it.
We entered our part of the city. It was hell. People were shooting everywhere, the sounds of grenades going off deafening my ears, and the sight of people clashing swords in close quarters combat. I thought I would lose it right there but went on. My team jumped out and began fighting. From the radio chatter we heard our forces were hard pressed but winning. We had reinforcements coming in. It would take five minutes. I would pray to the Guardian that we had that much time. My team did well. We damned near mowed down every Chattan that attacked us. We reached our destination and met up with A’Shual’s team.
“Team 1 leader, we got your back!” I yelled to him.
“ALPHAwolfOMEGA, you take point!” He yelled back.
“Troops, follow me!”
The response was a series of loud battle cries.
“On my mark, we move out!”
I waited a little and ordered some cover fire. “Go!”
About thirty men rushed with me across the open plain we were facing to a fairly large building. It was in a fairly good tactical position and could cover a large area of the city we were in. Taking it would be fairly difficult but worth it if we pulled it off. It looked like a government building by the way it had the security booths. I shot and destroyed the booths and anything in them that could shoot at us from there. I wasn’t going to take too many chances.
We stormed the compound as we did in all training missions. That was exactly how it felt, like we were training. The only real difference was that our targets could shoot back and actually hurt us, rather than just stun us. We took down any enemy in our path. Throughout the takedown, I could hear my team yell what area they were in followed by ‘CLEAR!’ My sniper team got to the top floor and set up from there. It was a fairly large building, about twenty stories up. We found little resistance as we made our way to the prime sniping locations. We took out scopes and fit them to our pulse rifles. We adjusted the firing mode so that when we shot it fired off an extremely large amount of energy. This would kill a person with a shield on; however, it would also deplete our ammunition quickly. I almost wish I had my sniper rifle except urban warfare with a rifle that large would be total hell at the best.
I sniped at least ten people before I ran out of ammunition. Sniping with a pulse rifle was very different. There was no recoil but a fairly large charge up time. Everytime I hit a guy he would have a hole burned into him from all the energy his body absorbed. It was a horrible sight to see. A’Shual was having some problems downstairs so I took out my Spatha and got to the ground floor as quickly as possible. I took the stairs because, let’s face it, who would use an elevator if your enemy could toss a grenade into the shaft? I got downstairs in a minute or two. Most of the Chattans had been killed and a few of my units were down. I fought like hell. I slashed my way through the fight and cut down every enemy that came at me. I fought my way to A’Shual and covered his back.
There were at least ten people more I killed there. Most of them didn’t put up a good struggle. They must have been the ones the Chattans didn’t “need” and used as kamikazes. The Chattans were like the Spartans of Earth’s ancient Greece. If they felt you were expendable, you would not survive too long.
The battle was almost over. The reinforcements had arrived and were tearing the enemy presence apart. Then, I heard over the radio that the battle was ours. The enemy forces were withdrawing from the city and we had orders to shoot-to-kill any targets of opportunity. We were away from the main areas of the withdrawal of the enemy forces so we wouldn’t really get any targets. A’Shual called in the remaining units and ordered that we sweep the sector and make sure it was secure. Even though we had won this battle, it was known that the Chattans would leave behind their men for death. If we got lucky we might be able to have some of their men revert to our side, if they didn’t kill themselves. Chattans were also known for their obedience to their commanders. They were usually taught to obey their leaders at birth and usually kill themselves than be taken prisoners of war or pledge allegiance to another House.
We started to sweep the area to make sure it was clear. Gen had found our unit after having most of hers killed. She was extremely… enraged… and was just itching to get a good shot off at one of the enemies. A’Shual had taken point and was heading toward a clearing in the streets. Something didn’t seem right about it. I had a premonition. A’Shual was walking into the road when a series of explosions erupted around him. I cried out to stop him before he got into the street but I was too late. A series of pulse rifle shots hit him and the surrounding area. Most of our units ducked down and I ran toward him. Gen was with me giving cover fire in the direction the shots came from. I helped drag A’Shual to a safe area and called for a medic. I could smell his burning fur and flesh. I felt like throwing up right there but held it in.
“ALPHAwolfOMEGA, it’s not worth it. I’m hit too badly.” A’Shual started but I quieted him.
“You’re gonna be just fine man. You’re gonna get a medal for this.” I said, panicking.
“Dude, I’m bleeding bad.”
“No, you’re just fine…” I was in denial. My best friend was dying and there was nothing I could do.
“SHAUL! I’m not gonna make it. You know this. C’mon, do me a favor, make sure I get a decent burial.”
“Yeah, I’ll do that.” I said, quietly. I had to accept the fact that I really couldn’t do anything.
“One more thing. Don’t deny it. You found love again.” He whispered into my ear and nodded toward Gen.
“Trust me. Don’t push her away, just accept it. She may not be like Shieta completely, but she has some in her. When Shieta was reborn, she entered Gen.”
I nodded with understanding. It only made sense to me. I felt something about Gen.
“I always thought you two were like family to me. Take good care of her for me. Take… good… care…” And then he went limp. He was dead. I looked up and howled. Gen was there by me. I had lost another good friend.
I had made sure he was one of the people who got an actual burial. He had a 21-gun salute. I gave a small speech about him to our unit. They all felt some pain about it, Gen especially. He had been a brother to her and me. Now he was gone and I could not change that. When the ceremony was over Gen and I went over to his marker. It had an engraving on it ‘To our fallen comrades, you will not be forgotten’. I felt some pain about it, but I knew he wouldn’t want me to feel any. I looked up with a tear in my eye, and thought how he had taken those hits for everyone else. At least we got those bastards. Now, the battle was over and I had survived. Yet, somehow, I felt as though I was missing some part of me. I felt empty, and I left the ranks for some time off. Our units was staying in the city, I went back to the pond that our unit had made camp at before. I had gotten permission for religious reasons. In truth, I had no reason. I just felt like I was breaking.
I went out to the pond, and fell there on my knees. I felt alone and hurt. My family had abandoned me, had my love taken away from me, and my best friend killed in front of me. Most of my good friends had died or would not be seen again, and I knew that I could do nothing. I started to cry, like I had done for Shieta. I remembered a song I had heard before, when I was relaxing and a friend let me borrow his headset with a few songs.
“There was a time, looking through myself;
Wanting to pretend;
If I escaped, I could fill myself;
I don’t think you can;
Been far and wide;
But that hole inside;
Never really left;
When I went away, what I really left;
Left behind was me.
It’s telling me;
To be on my way home;
Million miles away;
I can’t stay.
Each passing day, every passing face;
Seems like such a blur;
I long to be;
Lying next to her;
Just to get back, by her side is all;
All I need to be;
‘cause I went away’
But what I really left;
Left behind was me.
I need to be;
Getting on my way home;
Million miles away;
I can’t take.”
I remember the entire song and sung it aloud. It held a deep meaning to me. I had left my home because I had lost something, but when I left it became worse. Now all I wished for was to be home next to Shieta, but I knew she was gone. And knowing that, it made my pain worse. I found love again through Gen, but I would always carry my scar. I fell asleep by the pond, bleeding from my battle wounds still not healed and from a broken heart and a shattered mind. I cried myself to sleep. I awoke only to find myself in a cave of some sort. It was a fairly comforting environment. I felt the presence of someone. It was a familiar presence, but not Gen’s.
“I see the soldier has awaken.” A voice spoke out. It was a soothing voice, gentle and caring. I couldn’t see, I was tired.
“Gen?” I wished it were Gen. I was without my tactical gear, but still had on my loincloth.
“No, you came back into my territory and I found out by the tree alone. You were curled up into a ball and crying. You were hurt so I cleaned you up. You broke down, and were mumbling about someone named Shieta.”
I felt the areas where my cuts were and noticed I wasn’t bleeding anymore. I was somewhat healed. “Who are you? Where is my gear?”
“I am Manawolf. I have your belongings for safekeeping..”
I was dumbfounded more than anything else. “The Noelani Manawolf?”
“Aye. You seemed surprised.”
She chuckled. “Can you get up?”
“I think.” I was gaining back my vision. I tried to get up but fell.
“You’re still hurt.”
“I’m fine.” I said, with some fierceness.
“No, don’t be. I… I’m just…”
“You’re a soldier. You’re one of the snipers.”
“How did you know? Wait, you were the one there at the pond when…”
“Yes, that was me.”
“What were you doing there?”
“You were right next to my home. I checked to see who it was. I knew you wouldn’t do anything hurtful.”
“How could you have been sure?”
“You would have destroyed the area if you were going to do anything.”
“I know these things.”
“Evereen still around?”
“Aye. She’s in command of our forces. She leads House Lupus.”
“I always figured she would do well. How about Ram’Satay?”
“She leads House Chattan. The humans created on Earth came and formed the houses. The humans lead House Terra.”
“I long to see the day that this fighting ends.”
“Aye. I am starting to wish that too.”
The next few hours were spent helping me out with my own problems. Manawolf was an extremely good listener. She knew a lot too. She was as wise as A’Shual had told me and did have a certain aura around her. Sooner than I thought I had to be on my way back to the city or I would be in deep trouble. Manawolf knew.
“I must go now.” I said.
“I understand.” She replied.
“How do I contact you?”
“You won’t. I’ll contact you should you really need it.”
“As you wish.”
I said my thanks again and left. I had my problems sorted out. I hoped I would be able to go back and fight again. I would serve out my time, four more years, and then I could become a civilian again. I could do this. I would do this. I came out of the tunnel leading to Manawolf’s lair and went to the pond. I lapped up some water and then looked up at the sky. It was night and the moons were out. I felt something in me, and I howled out to the moons. I felt like I had touched something in me and went to my APC. I looked around as I was returning to the base. I saw the beautiful flora and fauna and saw some cute little critters (yes even soldiers say ‘cute’). I knew the larger animals had gone into other areas where there wasn’t fighting. They would return, eventually. I longed to see the day when I could return to this planet and see the beauty of it. Not as a soldier, but as a father. Gen was waiting for me. We went our commanding officer, Jed, and reported in. Then we were given our duties and were told that we were allowed to go and get some rest. We found a building that had some privacy and company if we wanted and got some rest together. I will live to love and fight again.