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The Machines of War: A Modern Horror Story, A tale of survival in the face of death!
ComradeCrimson
post 14 Oct 2016, 1:03
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The Trench Dog
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The Machines of War: A Modern Horror Story

A tale of one man's survival in the face of unrelenting death. Part 1




0700 hours. Monday. Democratic Republic of Congo, near the Angolan border. The Zone.

Ntumbu sat with his rifle in hand. It was an old model of AKM. The sun was beginning to rise into the sky outside, soon to beat down on the brows of him and the other guards of the encampment, although clouds were seen in the distance so rain was also a possibility. The Global Liberation Army had tasked his boss, Commander Kakengo, to guard this specific stretch of territory. The former border of Angola and DR Congo had in the last decade since the GLA's arrival turned into a vicious battleground constantly rife with occasional skirmishes between the armies of the United States of America, South Africa and its allies and the numerous warbands allied to Sulaayman under the colloquial umbrella of the Global Liberation Army.

This specific location, nicknamed boue rivière by a good many of Ntumbu's colleagues, or "Mud River," was the site of Ntumbu and his fellow soldier's deployment. Kakengo was a very diligent commander, and one that prided himself on his well trained soldiers that he had personally trained. Kakengo's troop was no unit of slackers, according to him. Unlike many of the units and forces within the GLA, Kakengo's troop was one that had high standards of soldiery, and discipline among their ranks. Even to be part of Kakengo's company was a great honour, and Kakengo was rightfully respected as a stern but ruthless commander.

Ntumbu had been part of this troop for about 3 years, since he was 16. The last 3 years had been one of transition for Ntumbu. Back then he had fled from his home with his sisters after their mother had started to delve heroin addiction with the funds she got from servicing various men in the bedroom, Ntumbu's father having died in one of the militias years ago. He had weighed a mere 53 KG at 182 centimeters of height back then, dangerously underweight. Kakengo had found him one day taking his sisters out to try and forage for berries and other goods in the nearby jungle. Kakengo himself had been known as something of an enforcer of law back then, one of the few strong armed men to keep watch on the local villages. He was tied to the Global Liberation Army, but he styled himself as a policeman back then. Of course, such notions in the zone that any semblance of judicial system existed was completely out of the question, but Kakengo brandished his own variant of frontier law, and for the most part it worked.

Seeing Ntumbu, a good boy, starve like this but still hang on to provide for his siblings had made the man consider recruiting him. Ntumbu had also avoided most of his patrols for the longest time, which made him someone with a valuable trait- Ntumbu was elusive, and skilled at not being caught. But Kakengo struck lucky that day. And while at the time Ntumbu would have not admitted it, Ntumbu might have as well in some regards. 3 years passed and in those 3 years, Kakengo had trained Ntumbu and all other sorts of boys and girls in the art of killing and soldiery. Even Ntumbu's sisters were taught how to field strip a gun, and how to maintain weapons, and most importantly shoot them with discipline.

Ntumbu was 19 years of age now. And he stood now at 186 cm, a tall young man, at a modest 81 kilograms. Trained and refined by 3 years of martial training in Kakengo's warband, the one thing the dark skinned, brown eyed young man embodied most was the sense of diligence and dedication.

The river flowed lazily outside. Its banks were swollen, and Ntumbu was sitting underneath a tarp to keep out the sun, next to a bunch of ammunition cases and other equipment. In the distance a radio buzzed off and on, one of the lieutenants speaking into the radio's microphone, communicating with command. He had been on the radio for at least 20 minutes now, by Ntumbu's reckoning.

Ntumbu had his attention to his gun. An AKM, likely made somewhere in India, Pakistan or god knows where, maybe even from further within the zone if he was to believe the stories of Sulaayman's arms factories. Its craftsmanship was moderate, although the sights were completely incorrect, the numbering system on them being complete gibberish, having randomly placed numbers and letters along the various points in the sight, such as 3, 7, z, 6, 5 on the left side and 9 3 b k 2 on the other; the gunsmith (or in this case, some local village craftsman) who likely made it not fully understanding how guns were made nor the concepts behind their construction, likely just copying the design of the gun at the behest of the GLA's suppliers.

But despite that, it was a good rifle otherwise. It had all the necessary features done correctly. He begun the process as Kakengo had taught him. He removed the receiver cover, thumbing the small module and pushing it until it clicked, and then pulling it off with his other hand as he sat on a cheap plastic foldup chair. After that, he started to remove the recoil spring, carefully extracting it, and placing it on the grey plastic table that had a bunch of other guns nearby it. Ntumbu had been assigned to not only attend to his own rifle, but also to make sure all the other firearms were in working condition. As he worked out the bolt carrier assembly and bolt, he turned his head. The lieutenant, a man named Singa, was starting to look rather perplexed. Whomever was on the line with him was obviously shouting at him, as Singa's goatee covered, dark skinned face was plastered with the look of a man who was being scolded.

Ntumba was about to return to the bolt and bolt receiver when all of the sudden a rumbling motion was felt from about a quarter of a kilometer away, causing the table to shake and collapse in on itself and numerous other young men in Ntumba's troop to stagger from the shockwave. A deafening roar of a blast was heard after, the explosion being so fast that it surpassed the speed of sound. The young man hastily assembled his AKM, not being able to complete the field stripping as planned. It would have to wait, necessity called. Men were running about the camp getting ready as he grabbed a spare tokarev pistol that lay on the table, it in of itself a relic of over 40 years old, being one that was supplied to the former DR Congo military by the now defunct state of North Korea. Checking the magazine, he also grabbed a grenade and stuffed it into his backpack, which he now slung over his shoulder as Kakengo himself bursted out of his tent and started shouting orders for everyone to fall into positions. Manic shouts filled the camp, and then another explosion hit... this time striking a bit further off in the distance. The noise was deafening, and the culprits was likely stealth bombers, who came in and knocked out defensive positions the GLA had entrenched along the riverside.

It was going to be up to men like Ntumba to hold this expanse of muddy brown riverside, the long green reeds and thick trees the witnesses to the carnage to come.

The Americans had been attacking positions along the river basin for an entire week, launching steady offensive pushes. The Global Liberation army was expecting the Americans to push into their territory in order to push them back from their border aggression outside of the zone. But these last few days have surprised everyone with the sheer tenacity of their forces, and from what some say, the sheer ruthlessness and lack of mercy the American forces have showcased with the deployment of strange and terrifying drones, among other technological terrors.

It wasn't long before one of these terrors came in... one of the largest aircraft Ntumba had ever laid eyes on- a combat starlifter, whirred into the field. It eclipsed part of the sky above him, casting a large shadow below as it landed off in the distance, unloading some sort of vehicles. Most of the anti aircraft batteries had been taken by surprise, bombed to oblivion by precise aircraft strikes. Ntumba's heart beat fast, and his jaw clenched as he saw what his foe was going to be... drones. Machines. Large spider like creatures came scurrying in, their metallic legs stabbing into the ground and jittering almost unnaturally towards him, with red glowing eyes that looked like they belonged to some demonic arachnid. They whirred closer and closer, as one of the modified so called marauder tanks came rolling into position, one of the company's main armour attachments sent by one of the nearby Warlords. The crew shifted the turret around, and even from here Ntumba could hear the noisy loading mechanism of the tank over its rumbling engine as the crew inserted a shell into the barrel, ready to fire. With a great slam of the gun the shell fired out and struck the soil at one of the drones, blowing it to pieces; but there was many more than where that came from. Men opened fire with their rifles, taking down a few of the terrifying spider like machines, but more drones followed suit from behind, these ones mounted on treads with long barreled machine guns attached.

The machines pressed onward into Kakengo's lines, and he was shouting orders, waving his pistol around trying to rally the troops. Mines and IED's were exploding off in the distance, the drones being able to dispose of them with relative ease... the men scampered into structures and the dug out, dirty scrap bunkers they had constructed to find a semblance of cover. The spider like drones had clambered on top of the Marauder, and started to cut into the tank itself with lasers, and then started butchering the crew by slicing them apart both with stabbing legs and bursts of their lasers. Men ran from the monstrosities as the drones pounced on them, raising and stabbing their legs into the men rapidly like skewering blades, their screams being punctuated by rending stabs and the gurgling of their own blood, while others were gunned down by the relentless machine gun fire from the other drones.

Kakengo rallied the survivors of his men into the various structures, and RPG 7 fire as well as other anti vehicle ordinance was utilized against the machines. A few sentry drones exploded in heaps of scrap metal, as flying drones with rotor blades whirred about outside gunning down any unfortunate soul left behind. Ntumba had managed to crawl into a trench underneath, a rusty plate of steel above his head, a mere walkway thrown there for men walking over the trench. He hid in there, the rest of his brothers in arms huddling in the trench, Singa on the radio with Kakengo, asking for the next course of action.

While this was happening, the results of what the behemoth like starlifter had landed was evident... 4 oddly shaped tanks rolled forward. Ntumbu spotted them, and dared to interrupt Lieutenant Singa in his call. Singa's eyes widened, and he grabbed his binoculars.

Singa yelled for everyone to aim on those tanks immediately. His orders were panicked and full of stress. Everyone felt like they were going to die, their teeth clenched tighter than a stripped screw on one of the now gutted marauders, who were filled with the mutilated and soldered corpses of its former crew. Clouds were beginning to form, and soon the storm of drones would be accompanied by the angry thunder and rain of the heavens above. RPG's and all manners of ordinance was directed on the tanks. It took several glancing hits before some of them hit a lucky spot and destroyed or blew the tracks of the strange tanks. However, one of them rolled up to a structure, and it was evident that the tank was melting and burning everything around it- plants withered and started to melt, the green leaves of many bushes and trees melting like goop and grasses melting and catching fire briefly. Radio chatter was constant now, Singa hearing the lieutenant inside one of the large trenchlines ahead of his position frantically trying to evacuate his troops in the face of the imminent danger.

The communication soon ceased however, as men who were trying to crawl out of the trenches were caught in the radius of the tank's weapon. They began to cry and shriek in anguish and clutched themselves, sliding down from the trenches and writhing, screaming as their organs inside began to burn and eventually explode, the uppermost layer of their skin melting and being frazzled by the microwave thermal energy. Their eyes burst from their skulls, and every single soldier inside those forward trenches died in sheer agonizing pain as their organs ruptured from the heat, the now muddy, slogged trenches being filled with sizzling, boiling, bubbling bloody and dirty water as the rain began to pour more intensely. The tank driver inside flicked off the switch, as more drones now swarmed over the trenchlines into the structures themselves, the main line of defense being gone.

American soldiers were also joining the fray, armed with combat shotguns- mostly Benelli M1014's, drones of their own and some also had some strange form of grenade launcher. They ran forward, taking position in the trenches. One soldier, Sergeant Mathew McDonugal, held his combat shotgun with a firm grip, the electronic visor over his left eye giving him tactical informaton. Deployment had been successful, and the push into GLA territory was a success thus far. Him and his squad had secured this stretched with the help of General Griffon's air strikes and following drone assault, and now it was up to him and his men to secure this point. One of his soldiers, a private named Tony, was caught staring at the horrifying mess the microwave tank had left behind. Nearly 3 dozen burned bodies with their abdomens ripped open by exploding intestines and their eye sockets blown out by bursting eyeballs clogged the trenches, and it was hard to get a foothold without stepping on their melted, almost gooey slop like remains. Tony was relatively green, and this was his first deployment. Old Mathew knew this, and went over to grab him by his shoulder and patted him on the back, Tony evidently about to vomit from the sheer encounter of the trench and its ghastly smell, the scent of burned and seared flesh in the air. Tony retched for a few moments, Mathew patting him on the back.

"Get it together soldier. Ease up on the breathing, breathe slowly through your mouth, pace yourself." Was all he said, as he comforted the young private. Tony looked up to him and thanked him, before Tony handled his own weapon. A large, bullpup design grenade launcher, but not just any grenade launcher. An M25 Punisher to be exact. He aimed it, arcing the gun upwards and braced it against his shoulder, and pumped a few timed grenades towards the GLA positions.

Ntumba and many of the men considered retreating and fleeing into the jungle at this rate. Men had exploded before their very eyes in a gruesome display of gore and suffering. Machines flew through the air, winged drones being thrown like gliders by the American soldiers, with grenades now landing at his position. A number of them landed in the dirt, and he scrambled outside of the trench alongside his comrades, and he scampered away and then dove behind a number of crates full of MRE's and soup cans. They exploded, blasting fragmentation and the explosions also threw up several kilograms of dirt and rock into the air, warping the trench and causing the rain to make the trench slick on its sides with dirt flowing into the bottom. The zig zagged pattern trench thankfully had managed to prevent the explosions from billowing through the rest of the trenches, as Kakengo was not an inexperienced commander when it came to defensive positions, but the magnitude of this attack had taken everyone off guard. AK fire rattled through the rainstorm as drones were finally being shot down and soldiers being fired at. The firefight was becoming very hectic, and the GLA soldiers were being flushed out of their positions by the sheer amount of ordinance being laid upon them. Ntumbu found himself crawling from out from the crates, only to find a remnant AT drone scampering towards him from a crater, missing one of its legs, wires sparking and small amounts of oil leaking out. Its sensors and 2 mechanical eyes shifted and whirred at Ntumbu, and he scampered onto his back in a panic and then grabbed his rifle, his eyes widening in terror. He breathed deeply, he was relatively alone, a good many of the flying drones, WASP drones, had cut down his fleeing comrades. He aimed his rifle.

In his haste he had not assembled it right, and it jammed, not firing. He tossed the gun aside and whipped out his pistol, and held his wrist to steady his aim, nearly ready to piss himself as the terrifying machine scampered its way closer. He fired a few shots, and the bullets deflected and ricocheted off of its metal hull, the machine staggering only slightly at each blow. He was about to scream, but then he saw its sensors. He only had half his clip left, and he fired the Tokarev right at its sensors. The first 2 shots missed and hit the surrounding metal chassis, bouncing off. As it was nearly 2 meters away from him he steadied his hand, knowing that if he missed now he would be ripped apart by its legs and cut apart by its vicious laser. He aimed and it leapt at him, and he fired the last 3 bullets of his magazine, and 2 of them punctured right through the electronic sensors, and he rolled out of the way as it landed into the dirt. It collapsed on the ground, blind and malfunctioning, and he grabbed his rifle, and as its legs thrashed around he beat the machine with his rifle stock, grabbing the gun by the barrel. Kakengo would not approve of such an impromptu makeshift club but at this rate Ntumbu did not care. He felt wet in his pants and he wasn't sure it was merely just rain at this point, the reek of piss entering his nostrils.

The rest of the line was being evicted out by constant grenade fire and shotguns suppressing them. The Americans were making steady progress in making this line impossible to hold, Kakengo was desperately trying to radio in reinforcements. Lieutenant Singa lay dead in a trench, a shotgun round having ripped the side of his torso which caused him to fall back into the trench in pain when the grenades went off, his corpse now a dismembered collection of body parts strewn across the trench, his one armed upper body having been thrown against the steel supports at the far end, his neck broken unnaturally. His lower body however, had been flung up at some point outside of the trench, or at least part of it. His radio was still on the remnants of his hip, somehow intact. Ntumba crawled over to it, inching forward on his elbows and heaving himself forward and grasped it. He rolled away and crawled onto the river bank, the water beginning to slowly rise as rain fed into it. Ntumba was muddy and terrified, and he grabbed out his knife and placed it in his teeth as he checked the dials of the radio to see if it was still picking up signal and operationable. Kakengo and his men were being overrun, and the commander himself was no longer in sight. Ntumba saw that the radio was picking up signal, but it was weak... he would have to escape first. Trying to cross the river with the enemy on his tail was suicide- the bridge was right where most of the men were fleeing now, and they were all being gunned down and ripped apart by a combination of flying WASP drone machine gun fire ripping through their bodies and the charging Americans who were steadying their shotguns upon the backsides of the fleeing, terrified troopers of Kakengo's company, the men yelling and shouting in terror trying to flee for their lives.

Ntumba decided to take a risk. Stuffing the radio in his bag and making sure it was well zipped, he placed the gun in there and he grasped a hold of his knife. He clambered into the river, and shifted onto his backside as to float downstream, knowing it would take him further into friendly territory. Wild animals or the rapids could kill or drown him further up ahead, but it was a better chance of surviving than this hell before him now. The waters carried him down river, and thankfully he was so dirty and bloody from the battle and his colleagues that the Americans did not notice him floating silently downstream as they pursued and decimated his fellow soldiers, the water already bloody and murkey from a few other, truly dead corpses floating alongside Ntumba. Corpses that were once his friends and brothers in arms. Ntumba only prayed to god now that he could perhaps see his sisters back in friendly territory back at the main encampment, hoping the main base of operations could hold out against the onslaught. As he floated down the river, away from the conflict zone the sounds of warfare grew more distant... but the animals had not filled in the void. Most had likely fled the noise and cacophony of violence. In this silence Ntumba felt himself in the throes of shock. His face was stiff with horror and sorrow. He did not cry. Not because he did not want to, but because at this point water was splashing about him and he was still so afraid the enemy might hear his heaving sobs. He pushed himself to shore, hauling himself onto the mud and clambering on there, breathing slowly in exhausted breaths. He grimanced, and noticed that he had actually been shot. Not a serious wound by any means, but its likely why the Americans did not shoot. A grazing bullet wound on his hip now came to his attention, and the pain with it.

It hurt to lay on that side, and he slowly got up, his teeth gritting and his breathing becoming laboured with the stress of pain. He knew that, even as far as he was, it was not a good idea to even give a yelp of pain. He merely bit onto his cheek and breathed slowly as he reached into his now drenched backpack, hoping the insides of it were not waterlogged. Thankfully, he had managed to keep it above the surface just enough to prevent the most water damage to their contents. The extra plastic bags he had bought at the market back at base had certainly come as well, as the airtight ziplock bags had done their job for his most prized possessions- his chewing tobacco and the extra rations he had kept in his bag, also among his lighter and spare clips of magazines. Most of the men had considered Ntumba odd for keeping his stuff within plastic bags inside his already large bag, but Ntumba was diligent. He liked to keep things clean. It was something his now likely dead commander liked too. It was becoming a struggle to fight back tears the more he thought about it, so he decided to crawl a bit more into the bushes and grab some of the chew and stuff it into his gums to distract himself with it and relieve stress.

It took roughly 2 days before Ntumba could come into distance of any sort of friendly GLA signal. He had spent those two nights hearing far off distant explosions and battle. He had no idea what was going on, only that he had to keep moving. He didn't even light fires during those nights, and instead merely changed his shirt once from the damp and soaking one he was wearing, and barely slept. He shuddered a lot during both of those nights, alone and in the dark of the jungle. Few birds were heard, and while ants and other insects crawled in the undergrowth and on the plants, often trying to investigate and crawl over Ntumba's sodden and soaked clothes and form, no other large animals were around. The troops of monkeys Ntumba was used to and their clamour, and the songs of birds were not to be heard throughout either days or nights. They had been driven away by the sheer violence of the front.

Ntumba eventually managed to find his way back to camp, using his scavenged radio to contact them prior, utilizing war cant local to their various divisions. The Americans had thankfully not come this far, that Sulaayman was sending reinforcements, even Ibraahim was apparently coming down this way to reinforce the lines. Ntumba told his story to the garrison. A story that, for however brief, would haunt him for the rest of his life. He took whatever solace he could, at the very least being able to find his sisters. For how long this sense of respite would last, he did not know, nor was certain was going to last.

This post has been edited by ComradeCrimson: 14 Oct 2016, 1:16


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Svea Rike
post 14 Oct 2016, 11:35
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Damn good read, Crim. If I'm not mistaken, this is your first fic, right? Good job! I definately want to read more.


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3rdShockArmy
post 14 Oct 2016, 13:05
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If you ever decide to invade Russia, for the love of God, bring some warm clothes. We don't want you to blame the "evil Russian winter" when you get crushed, like everyone else who tried.



Great story, Crimson. smile.gif It would be great to see more parts of this.


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M.P
post 15 Oct 2016, 3:27
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Really nice story. Good job smile.gif
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ComradeCrimson
post 16 Oct 2016, 8:27
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The Machines of War: A Modern Horror Story- Part 2


The Ghosts of the past





1200 hours, Friday. Former Democratic Republic of the Congo. The zone.

Sergeant Mathew McDonugal was tapping his fingers on a clipboard, a pen in hand. It had been a week since the attacks on Mud River, and he was now reviewing reports. The camp was bustling with activity. In a little over a week the American forces had pushed violently into GLA territory. General Griffon was overheading the operation from what the sergeant knew, hence the excessive use of drones and top of the line aircraft. But the majority of the ground work was still up to army regulars such as himself, and that of his squad. Tony Karcosci, Johnny Smith, Kyle Ortega and Patrick Nowicki were in their barracks. Likely relaxing their feet with their stinking socks in some bin. And as for Bill Steinson, probably flirting with the logistics operator again and being a smug bastard. And the rest- Maverick, Ryan and Joe? Probably working out like the jocks they were. It had been a hard week for all of them and they all sought distractions and rest, especially with Samson biting it in Wednesday's assault when a 4 .50 cal rounds from a GLA machine gun ripped into the squad's position and tore through the man's liver and guts. His death was slow and painful, and the fragmentation in the man's stomach meant there was little chance of saving him.

Sergeant Mathew was a seasoned veteran. He had served two consecutive tours against the GLA years ago in Europe and Anatolia in the 2020's and 30's, and was one of the last waves of soldiers before the mass withdrawals. He had been in at least three different squads, and seen enough killing to last him ten life times. Standing at roughly five feet and 6 inches (167 CM), the sergeant wasn't necessarily a tall man, but what he lacked in height he made up in musculature, being made like an utter bulldog in terms of physique with a bald head, and piece of flesh from his upper right lip having been ripped off from shrapnel in 2028, exposing a bit of his teeth in a forever snarling expression. He certainly looked the mean part of a soldier to say the least, with a camp nickname being that of "Sergeant Snarl," and the more affectionate (and less tolerated by him), "Snarly."

But that didn't sour his sense of humanity, nor his own sense of care for the troops underneath him. The 8 of them, formerly 9, soldiers in his squad were all rather fresh with the exception of Corporal Bill. Bill was a smug bastard though, and something of a scoundrel. Mathew had to do a lot of breaking in for the rest of them, and Bill's bad habits certainly didn't help with that. Mathew would like to chew out Bill but the truth was that, when shit hit the fan, there wasn't a better man to have by your side. Bill was cocky but he had the gumption to back it up in combat, with a clear head and quick reaction time Bill was something of an example to follow on the battlefield. Still, the slick black haired bastard was exactly that. A bastard.

On the battlefield. At base, he was a complete hooligan with ill discipline. Twice now Mathew has had to ask him to shave the scruff on his neck, and even more times still he has told the man to fix up his uniform. Mathew was by no means a by the book hard ass, but when it came to inspections and basic regulations in the army, they were followed for a reason.

Especially against the likes of the GLA. He stressed more than once to his men that the concurrent danger of chemical weapons and toxins were an ever present, looming threat when facing the Global Liberation Army. His years in Europe had taught him that personally, seeing men choke up and die due to chlorine attacks or have their flesh melt off with acid bombs and even biological contaminants like anthrax. The GLA didn't hold much back when they were cornered, and right now he definitely had the strong feeling that they felt cornered alright. Rumour had it from captured GLA soldiers that the so called "French Man" was on his way with his own forces. And that would mean only one thing.

An opponent who is not afraid to utilize chemical weapons of mass destruction.

As much as Mathew hated the man, if he could even call the son of a bitch that, he still knew the GLA was certainly pressured enough to resort to such evil tactics. Griffon's relentless pushes with drones and aircraft strikes have made the GLA pull out the big guns, and it was the army men on the ground like himself who were going to get punished for the escalating games of the high command.

Sulaayman was also sending more forces. They likely would not bother attacking the American encampment, within range of air support. No, they would be waiting inside the jungles themselves... ready to use whatever nasty weapons they wanted there. And the worst part being, that the American military could not flush them out with weapons of their own due to the PR nightmare that would cause if there'd be bombing strikes and usage of devastating weapons on the Congolese jungle environments.

No, this job would have to be done by boots on the ground... and Mathew dreaded it. He underlined a few reports with the inked fountain pen he had in his hand, a small bottle of black ink on his table. He still preferred marking things down on paper over pure tactical feeds. Looking at tactical reports on the new hologram systems and electronic feeds, and military based internet devices made his eyes sore and his head throb. He had grown up utilizing computers as any other person had in the 2nd millennium, but the fact was it came to a point where too much was too much. One of the few things Mathew liked to pride himself on was his collection of pens and steady hand, and the inks he utilized with it. He often kept to simple black ink for more work related things, but he always enjoyed receiving and writing letters. Despite his failed marriage, his son still kept in contact with him with the passion for penmanship that the kid inherited from Mathew.

It was one of the few remaining comforts these days that Mathew had, that made him remember there was a life outside the military routine. Of course, he never adapted well to civilian life. Lacked the quintessential feeling of purpose and direction. Life wasn't necessarily easier, especially when he had come home after the withdrawals. Several hundred thousand soldiers have been withdrawn from several conflict zones across the planet, from all sorts of different garrisons that the United States has had a presence with since the Second World War. Finding work in those days in the 2030's was not easy, and his marriage had suffered for it, in addition to his aggravated behaviour from restless nights on account of sleep terrors. The only reason he managed to stay afloat was due to his exemplary service record securing him a good pension. The divorce settlement nearly brought him for his knees, if it wasn't for the good attorney he had during the court case for it. Partial custody of his son. It was a degree of fucked up, but it was still something of a semblance of family, even if him and his wife were no longer partners, he still had a son to look forward to when he got home.

If he got home. He finished the report, and cast it aside. He'd scan it later, right now he figured would be a good time to check up on his men. He walked outside of the tent, but not before placing his fountain pen inside his fatigues pocket and putting the bottle of ink, tightly sealed, into his footlocker.

Outside was a different world than the orderly domain of his tent. It was about noon right now, or rather, coming off of noon. It was nearly 3/4ths the way of lunch break. Mathew had already ate, and preferred to eat alone, but he always made sure to check up on his men at this specific time if he could. Not even to pressure them, but rather to sit with them at the last of their break. It was good to keep a semblance of squad cohesion and interaction going between an NCO and his troops, built a good bond. And for fresh faces like the lot of them, this was doubly important. Men were already returning to their various barracks to clean up and get ready for another shift of duty, and as Mathew rounded the corner and into his squad's tent he saw at least some of his squad. Kyle was just outside, eating an orange and minding his own business. The tan skinned hispanic had his feet crossed, and he was cutting the orange with his knife, peeling it. He hadn't noticed Mathew walk up at first, but Mathew stood for a good few moments, just watching the man eat for a good moments until Kyle turned his head and saw the sergeant standing there, raising an eyebrow. Mathew had his hands behind his back, giving and impromptu stare, and Kyle got up to his feet and walked up to the NCO to a space of 3 feet away (just under a meter) and gave a salute, the orange tucked into his pocket, with a resonate, if hasty, "Sir!"

Mathew looked over to him, and raised his own hand returning the salute. "At ease soldier. What are the rest of the men doing?"

Kyle responded, a bit more relaxed, "Well sergeant, the rest of the squad is mostly in the barracks. Bill is near logistics wing. Ryan, Maverick and Joe just returned from a bit of a workout routine as well."

Mathew nodded slowly, "Alright. I'll head in to check in on them. If Bill's late I'll deal with him," and with that, he walked inside.

And just as promised the squad was in sight. They all grew to expect him by now, and all lined up and stood at attention. This was met with a quick response of ease by Sergeant McDonugal. While the squad was still fresh faced and still accustomed to the formalities of service, McDonugal knew well enough that even after the first few months of bootcamp recruits typically liked to slack off with such things. He did it himself in his earlier years, and once he got to know a squad and could come to depend on them he allowed a degree of it himself. But these fresh faces weren't up to par to his standards yet by any means, and he was unfortunately a whip cracker and had to play the role seriously for these green soldiers.

"I want you all ready by 1300 hours, we've got patrol duty today for the afternoon shift. And I want everyone with eyes and ears peeled sharp."

The squad did assemble on time when it cam down to that, even Bill- albeit, a bit late and smelling suspiciously like perfume.

They all marched out after grabbing their gear, and entered the jungle. Keeping the perimeter of the camp clear was a necessary and dangerous chore.

Keeping the surrounding areas clear or at the very least, sighting, enemy activity was a necessary and dangerous job.


It was about 2 hours into their patrol when Joe saw something. The burly, curly haired Texan notified his sergeant.

"Smoke sir... there's a campfire up ahead. COA?" The sergeant immediately stated, "Eyes up boys. Check your spacing, and fan out... were going to check out this area. Keep watch for traps and if you keep your sights aimed just in case. This territory is an active conflict zone, if you see any unusual movement you have full clearance to fire."

Those last few words were a bit to swallow. There was a few villages in this area with civilians, families even. But the sheer audacity of the GLA and their entrenchment within the local population had made fighting in this territory as much a conflict against the armed insurgents as it was against the local populace. Most people avoided meeting your gaze, and some even gave the stink eye; whilst the kids always seemed to come up to you to ask for candy and other snacks. Such behaviour was not to be encouraged either, as the GLA has in the past utilized such things to their advantage, wiring explosives to children to kill servicemen and leave a wake of destruction. Sometimes capitalizing such strikes with full on following assaults. Most thankfully had dispersed since the recent week's conflict... many villages becoming utter ghost towns, void of life, derelict tools and furniture being the remaining witnesses of the degradation and desolation the war has been causing.

One of the men came into a clearing of one such village, and he had sight on the fire. The village seemed largely empty... until he approached the fire. Johnny opened his eyes wide when a Bolt Action .301 Enfield rifle made a shot at him and struck his neck, and he was knocked backwards onto his back, gurgling and choking on his own blood. The culprit was tucked away in the bushes, and the fire was placed underneath a hanged US soldier, who dangled, lynched- his boots having been burning and causing such a plume of smoke. Calling his men to action, Mathew snarled his already snarling face further, and gripped his combat shotgun. He threw a grenade into the bushes, and a few GLA troopers, partisans by the looks- typical civilian fighters, ran away. Kyle and Bill took this chance to fire at them, Kyle inhaling and exhaling a breathe to try and steady his aim, and they fired their rifles in quick succession of one another in bursts, managing to land at least two hits, confirmed by the concurrent shriek of pain that emitted from the partisan. The grenade exploded and the scream stopped, but return fire came as bullets whizzed by, nearly hitting Bill's own head as the bullet lodged itself in the bark of the tree behind him, wood splintering from the impact. The jungle was lit with gunfire as the muggy sun above shined, but a sinister smell snuck up on Mathew's nostrils. He had smelled this smell before... and his eyes widened in fear. The worst place for it as well, the steaming hot jungle.

"Boys, gas masks!" Was all he shouted, and he quickly ripped out his gas mask, and firmly buckled and placed it over his face. He inhaled slowly, normalizing his breaths through it. Thankfully these models of gas masks were not like the ones the US Army's forefathers wore back in the days of the doughboys, but the thought of getting fogged up visors was never far from the sergeant's mind. Especially in humid conditions like this, where visibility was already low due to the sheer amount of vegetation. And now it wasn't just green leaves he was seeing. There was green vapours. Thankfully everyone got their masks on in time, but the fact was, visibility was becoming seriously reduced. Staying prolonged in this miasma was already proving to be a mistake as well, as Mathew's skin was already beginning to itch. As long as he didn't breathe it in he wouldn't die immediately, but lengthy exposure was going to be harmful for his skin and flesh. He was hot, sweaty. He told his troops to find some cover, shots were still grazing past them.

All of the sudden, a few respirator covered faces were seeing charging in the distance, carrying strange backpacks and weapons. They immediately let loose their payload, a stream of acid that melted Ryan's entire upper body, causing him to collapse to his knees in pain, his flesh bubbling and melting into the ground. A tractor rolled out from the bush, and the ambush was proving extra fatal as more troopers began to appear from the bush. Mathew's squad was dropping like flies, being shot by men in the bush or being outright melted by the acid gunners. Tony raised his rifle up, and he shot one of the chemical warrior's bulky containers and the it burst open, and a splurge of acidic chemicals came out and starting to singe into the man's flesh, causing massive pain to the GLA soldier, and following rifle shots were placed by Tony, aiming at the center of the man's mass right in his torso, bringing him down in a flurry of bullets.

Mathew decided that it was time to fall back. He had already lost Ryan, Maverick and Johnny. There was far too many of them and they had vehicle support.

The squad began their escape from the premises, but not before sniper fire hit Kyle in the leg. He collapsed, and Mathew and Joe picked him up by the shoulders and carried him out of there in a whiz of bullets. Mathew clicked on his tactical feed and spoke into the microphone, which was connected via wire to his radio. It wasn't working. The chemicals had corroded it. He tried the radio itself, and got a static signal once they got well out of the premises. He was somewhat muffled, still wearing his mask, and his skin was irritated beyond belief. A constant, painful itch radiated all along his body. His skin was red and burned by the excessive amounts of chemicals he was just exposed to.

Kyle wasn't looking good either, and was looking rather pale. Speaking on the radio he informed his commanding officer of the issue, and they were soon picked up an extracted. The camp was on high alert.

All of Mathew's squad was immediately transported to the infirmary, where they stayed. While most of them had minor burns and respiratory problems, Kyle was seeming to grow worse and worse... his immune system was shutting down. It didn't take long before his sickness spread to the rest of his squad, all of them succumbing to bed ridden fevers and debilitating vomiting, and at the last of it, internal bleeding and bleeding from the pores. It was some type of pathogen, and it was highly infectious. The entire infirmary had to be quarantined as the sickness spread, nurses and field medics succumbing to the illness. All of them died within a matter of a week, except Mathew, who woke inside a quarantine chamber. The room was all white, and he was in a hospital gown upon a bed, half naked with an IV hooked up to his veins.

And he was alone.

This post has been edited by ComradeCrimson: 16 Oct 2016, 8:34


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chemisthypnos
post 23 Oct 2016, 3:47
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What an amazing read. The detail on it was so pleasurable to observe, and I enjoyed every moment of it!


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ComradeCrimson
post 24 Oct 2016, 22:18
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QUOTE (chemisthypnos @ 23 Oct 2016, 4:47) *
What an amazing read. The detail on it was so pleasurable to observe, and I enjoyed every moment of it!


Thank you. I plan to continue more of it soon when I get in the mood for it again.


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chemisthypnos
post 16 Nov 2016, 2:41
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QUOTE (ComradeCrimson @ 24 Oct 2016, 16:18) *
Thank you. I plan to continue more of it soon when I get in the mood for it again.

Glad to hear it. I can't wait to see the next installment.


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