I woke up and Gen was gone. My mind raced and I panicked for a minute. I thought she had left me like many others I had known. I went for the door but it was locked. I tried to open it but it wouldn’t budge. I went to check the windows but they were shut too. I was trapped. I went for my gear and clothes but all that I could find was my loincloth and nothing else. My mind snapped and I realized Gen had something planned for me. I just went back to sleep and decided to let her do whatever.
I woke up again to the sweet aroma of a hot meal. Gen was kneeling over me smiling. I just smiled back and shook my head in disbelief that she went through the trouble. I got up and got dressed in whatever I could find and ate. She ran her hands down my back and chest. I don’t know why she treats me this way but hell, who was I to argue. When I finished she let me rest a little. Our forces were being given a break so that we could rest up a little. It was something we needed. We had heavy casualties taking the city and the surrounding areas and we were going to do another attack in a week. Jed told me himself. It was going to be an attack on a prison camp. We had some POWs in there that we needed to rescue.
“So why are you being so nice to me?” I asked.
“Do you really need to ask?” Gen replied.
“Honestly, yes. I do.”
“You really don’t trust women too much do you?”
It took me a while to answer that. “No. I’m sorry, I don’t.”
“I love you.”
“I have for a while.”
And then I thought about what A’Shual told me. I accepted it, slowly and just went with it. I loved her too, but I had no real idea she really loved me back. Damn, I really am fucked up. I don’t know if what I felt was love or not. I don’t know if what she felt for me was love or not. It felt good though. How long would it last though? I put the thought out of my mind and kissed her. She kissed back. I would always remember Shieta, no doubt about that. But I would also love again. We left and went to look around the remains of the city. The battle had torn it apart. There were still shops and other buildings that had remained intact. The problem was finding them. I went and found Jed. We talked about the next mission.
“So what are we trying to do here?” I asked.
“You’re rescuing prisoners.” Jed replied.
“Because, they are our men. Soldiers who fought with us, and now they’re being slaughtered because of it.”
“They’re killing off the prisoners. For the simple fact that they are Lupine.”
“And you, my friend, are going to help get them out.”
“But, isn’t that against the current War Policies?”
“Need you ask?”
I was getting really pissed off. “They’re killing off Lupines because of their race?”
I walked away really pissed off. It was back to the original wars. Killing simply because of the different races. I walked away disgusted. I tried to enjoy the rest of the day but simply couldn’t. Gen tried to cheer me up but she couldn’t. I spent the entire day sparring against others and beat every opponent. I had a deep hatred against racism and always built up extreme amounts of rage when I heard about events such as this. I went to my quarters at sundown and just sat there thinking. I had a vision.
I was fighting a battle gone to total chaos and hell. I was fighting with my sword and dagger. Gen had my back and we fought harder than we had ever fought. My lips were curled back, teeth flashing, growling, and then I lunged at a group of enemy Chattans. Then I awoke. Gen was looking at me, with a look of worry.
“You were tossing and turning. I tried to calm you down but you threw me off of you.” She said.
I was in a cold sweat. “I’m sorry.”
“You were dreaming of fighting weren’t you?”
“Who were you fighting?”
“They were killing off my friends…”
Gen put her arms around me. She started to rock be back and forth and I fell asleep. I didn’t have any nightmares or violent dreams. I’m not sure if I even had any dreams that night. I slept long and hard. In four days I would be on a mission to rescue fellow soldiers who were victim to a war stirred by racial tension and hate. I was a victim caught up in all my hate and anger because of a single incident. It had changed my views on life and left a deep emotional scar. I slept on through the night and part of the next day.
I woke up alone. My gear was next to me with a note from Gen saying she had gone off to spar a little and would be back later. She cared about me. I was glad about that. I was still unsure whether or not she actually loved me. I was unsure about my feelings too. Maybe I did love her and she loved me. A’Shual thought so, and he could sense these things. Maybe…
I got dressed and put my gear on. I put the note in a vest pocket. The one thing I hated about being a sniper was the rifle I had to carry. It went everywhere with me. It wasn’t heavy, just extremely large. I saw the old .50 caliber sniper rifles and thought they were fairly small in comparison to the .75 caliber sniper rifle I had to carry. The good part about being a sniper was that you were not expendable. House Lupus treated their snipers well since they were a major threat against almost all enemies at long to medium ranges. We even had better skills with hand-to-hand combat. Aye, it was good being a sniper. Although, sometimes I wish I could be right next to the guy when I killed him, to see the look on his face as I slit his throat…
My stomach was growling, I hadn’t had much to eat so far. I went to where the ‘mess hall’ was supposed to be. They were serving lunch. The usual rations, nothing new. I was hoping I could find that diner again and grab a burger with Gen and Jed. The SEALs had taken a real liking to me lately. It was almost like the old days with Alpha Pack. I missed those guys. I finished eating and decided to go visit the pond again with Gen. Maybe after I got some burgers. Real red meat with some beer or wine, then to the pond for a quick swim, and maybe watch the small critters that lived there.
To pass the time I went and sparred. I had to keep my skills at peak level. I went and fought with some of the pros of our unit. I had a tough time to say the least. I was a good fighter, but they were much better. They had been soldiers for ten more years than I and had learned much more than I had. Jed was one of them. I was sparring against him.
We circled a little and he got into a fighting stance. I got into mine. We were given fake swords to use. We each lunged at the same time clashing swords. We jumped off of each other and landed both of us facing away. I spun around and jumped into the air. He rolled on the ground under me and I landed with my sword where he was. Caught off guard, he thrusted toward me. I spun around and dodged left. He missed me, barely, and I parried and punched toward his chest. He was surprised at this move and I landed a solid punch to his upper chest. He stuttered back a little but recovered quickly.
I jumped toward his right and swung my sword out, trying to hit his back. He saw through my move and ducked, countering with a kick to my side. I was completely open and had the wind knocked out of me. He lunged at me and I jumped over him and landed behind him. I spun around with a leg sweep and completely out of luck got him. I knocked him off his feet and jumped upward. I thrusted my sword toward his chest and stopped less than half an inch away.
“Round, mine.” I said, grinning.
“Correction, tie.” He said, grinning back. I noticed his sword was right at my groin.
“Lousy way to go. Worse if you live.”
This drew a few laughs from everyone, including me. “Aye. Good fight.”
“Yeah, how did you know to sweep my legs?”
“Luck. You gotta teach me some of those moves.”
“In time, my friend. In time…”
We talked a little and it was getting dark. I went to find Gen and she was at our quarters. I asked if she wanted to go grab a burger and she said she would love to. We went to find it and were lucky. We got the last ones for a while. There was supposed to be another diner somewhere on the other side of the city but it would take some doing finding it. We went to a table and ate. I asked if she wanted to go to the pond and she lit up with happiness. There were few things more beautiful than that pond. I don’t need to mention who or what they were. I got permission from Jed to go. He allowed us to go, with a wide smile on his face. I just shook my head at him and he nodded his. ‘I know what you’re thinking of’ is what he would usually say if he only had friends around.
We took an APC and got on our way. We were given permission to be away for two days. If we were gone for longer than that they would have a search and rescue team sent after us. I knew that it wouldn’t come to that. I drove slowly and pointed out things of interest to Gen. It was fairly easy driving one of these things. Almost like driving a truck, a very heavy and tough truck. We got to our destination and unpacked some gear. I had on all of my tactical gear on. The only thing I didn’t unpack was my sniper rifle, which I left in a special compartment with the ammunition for it. Should anything happen to the APC, the rifle would remain safe and protected.
It cost a lot to make that rifle and the ammunition was a bitch to transport. It was fairly hard to find a weapons manufacturer that still made projectile weapons and ammunition for it. Low caliber ones were hardest to find. The only reason anyone would own something less than a .50 caliber rifle would be for hunting small game. On this planet anyway. There were things that would come from legends on this planet, and the plant life was incredible. The trees were as big as houses, literally. It was all beautiful, just don’t piss off anything that looked like it could hurt, and looked like they couldn’t hurt for that matter.
I set up the two-man tent and set up a detector unit. I decided to leave the auto-cannon off and disassembled it for obvious reasons. You don’t bring a weapon into someone else’s home and tell it to shoot anything else but you. No, if Manawolf didn’t want something here, she would make sure it didn’t bother her. I said a silent prayer thanking her that she allowed me to come back with a friend.
When I finished I heard someone splashing in the water. It was Gen, she was having fun. I decided to let her have some fun on her own while I finished up unpacking and securing the APC. Every APC had a security code. You either put in the code or cracked it. If you didn’t, the thing wouldn’t open and send an electrical charge along the outside periodically. It wouldn’t kill, but it would hurt. It gave you about thirty seconds in between shocks to enter the code. It seemed like a lot of time but it was very little if you didn’t know or forgot the code. You had two separate sets of keys, numerical and alphabetical. It was a ten digit code and a bitch to try to hack. I set up everything else and made sure that the APC was secured.
I went to the pond, took off my clothes, and got in. The water was cool, but not cold. It felt soothing and was perfect for the day. It almost seemed as though the temperature adjusted for your comfort. I swam around a little and then just let myself float while I went deep into thought. Gen was swimming and having some fun, she liked water. I had about three years of service left. It would be a long and arduous journey. I felt someone tickle me at the sides and I jumped up. I quickly sank since standing in water didn’t work too well. I struggled to get up, trying to free myself from Gen as she tickled me. I was extremely ticklish at that spot, and she knew it. I got up, gasping for breath. Gen was splashing away with laughter. I just grinned and jumped at her. I wrestled her a little and we ended up tying each other, laughing about how fun it was.
It was getting late and I gathered some firewood while Gen made a firepit. I built a decent sized fire and started to cook some rations for us. We ate in silence, listening to the night sounds, the fire crackling, and the stream feeding and draining the pond rush over the stones on the riverbed. It was a serene environment. We cleaned up and got ready to sleep. I decided to sleep out under the stars and Gen decided she wanted to stay in the tent. She fell asleep quickly and I watched the fire. I had a bucket with water in it ready in case anything should happen. I also had a fire extinguisher in case it got bad enough.
I wasn’t tired, so I went into the pond again. I stood up in the water, cleansing myself. I put my arms across my chest and began praying to the Guardian. I was deeply religious. I prayed for a good amount of time and then I heard a voice. It was Manawolf’s. I looked around and I couldn’t see her. I looked up and she was hovering above me. I knew she had wings but had no idea she could fly. It made some sense to me that she could use them for something, but how boggled my mind. She landed on the shore and we began to talk a little.
“I see you’re back.” Manawolf said.
“Aye. I hope you don’t mind that I brought a friend with me.” I said to her.
“Not at all. As long as you don’t harm anything that belongs to me.”
“She wouldn’t hurt anything that didn’t want to hurt her.”
“I know. She’s a soldier like you I see.”
“Yeah, but she’s more caring than a mother can be.”
“I know. I saw how she cares for you.”
“Can you tell me something, Manawolf?”
“Sure. What would you like to know?”
“How do I know if I love her. How do I know she loves me?”
“I can’t tell you that. I don’t think there is an answer to that question. You have to find out for yourself.”
“You can’t expect it to come to you in minutes. It takes time. From what I’ve seen though, she does love you.”
“Trust me, my friend. Trust me”
Then, she flew away. She called me her friend. I wasn’t sure if she meant it or not. I put that thought out of mind for now and then thought about what she said about Gen. She said that she loved me. I dwelled on this a little and still could not think of an answer myself. I heard some movement from her area.
“Shaul?” Gen said, sleepily.
“Yes?” I answered back.
“What’s going on? Who was that out there?”
“Don’t worry about it. It’s nothing.”
“Are you sure?”
“I’m sure. Go back to sleep.”
I got out of the pond and dried off. I shook all the water off of my body and got dressed. If you don’t have a towel you dry off the old fashioned way. It was more effective than most people thought. I got to my sleeping bag, next to a fairly large tree where there was a nice patch of soft grass. Gen came next to me.
“I can’t sleep.” She said to me.
“Neither can I.” I replied.
“Now what do we do?”
“I dunno. You tired?”
“Yeah. Just not sleepy.”
“How bout this. You can rest in my arms, and we can both watch the moonlight reflect off of the pond.”
“OK.” She said, yawning.
She snuggled up close to me. I started rocking her back and forth, gently. Her breathing got deeper and she fell asleep. The fire had burnt out by now. I started to lie down and kept her head on my chest. She got closer to me and I just put my arms around her. I kissed her and whispered ‘I love you too’ into her ear. I fell asleep right after that.
I woke up and Gen was still asleep next to me. I let her rest and just sat back and enjoyed the scenery. It looked so different during the day. It was alive, but in a different way. It was more active, hyper. The nights were more docile and peaceful. I saw a rabbit cross across and just stared at it. It hopped up closer to me but Gen began to stir and it ran away. She got up and yawned. She had a look on her face of absolute content.
“You’re up.” I said, quietly. A squirrel was approaching us.
“Yeah.” She said, softly, still somewhat asleep.
“Look.” I pointed toward the squirrel.
Gen looked. Her eyes grew wide and then the classic ‘It’s so CUTE!’ look appeared on her face. “Awww… It’s so small. So…”
“Cute?” (Yes, I know that was redundant)
It looked at us and then scurried away. She got up and I stretched out. I had sat in that position so long I had gotten a cramp. I stretched it out and then got some rations out. We ate and then looked around a little. We saw all kinds of different plants and animals. Being part wolf, we could sneak around easily and get a good look at things. There were tons of extremely huge plants. It was like prehistoric Earth. It was beautiful. We spent most of the day going around enjoying the beauty of this planet. It was getting to be around noon when we got to our APC. We had to get packed up or we’d be back at the city late. If we got back late, it usually meant more PT (physical training) when we got off of our break. We spent an hour or so packing up. When we got to packing up our tent we found a nice little surprise. It was a fairly large bunch of some of the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen. They were deep blues, emerald greens, and dark reds. Some were like roses, some had many small petals, some had large petals that drooped over, and some were small but had sweet scents to them. They were all beautiful. I had an idea of who put them there and would later say a silent prayer to her. We packed up and put it all in their proper compartments in the APC. We headed back to base, Gen holding the flowers. Those two days were pure joy. I didn’t want to leave, but I knew I had to go back. I will be back; after I finished my fighting, I will be back.