Casualties of War Part 1
Posted By: Tom Murphy<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 23 January 2002, 9:27 pm
In the old days, they thought combat would never be done this way again. They thought wars would only be an exchange of bombs. For a while that's the way it was. Until the Great Bang.
The Great Bang was the Earths most tragic event and ended up causing the death of more than one billion people. It was the cause of the Earths massive over population, because the bomb they used left the surface of the Earth with a massive amount of radiation.
Plants and flowers suddenly vanished; people and animals were instantly turned into a heap of bones. The entire country of India reeked with the wretched smell of Death.
Soon after this horrible day, all atomic weapons were destroyed in hopes of a world peace. All cloning experiments were dropped because everyone knew what was soon to happen.
No one was permitted to settle this area for over a hundred years and people grew restless. Crime rates exploded and people were being murdered in plain daylight over things that would barely trigger an argument. Suicide and disease swept over every country and many people believed that Armageddon had come.
In the old days, people thought lasers or plasma weapons would replace bullets. Now we know though. Lasers are an impossible goal. The only lasers we could call weapons are those that cause an ancient and easily cured disease called cancer. And plasma was far too dangerous to be used as a weapon, and it simply burnt through every type of metal we had. So how were we to contain it?
Instead, during these past few hundred years, we as a planet have put our research into the stars. The blackness of outside the world that people have always thought so ominous and amazing was quickly claimed like any piece of land. Any suitable planet has become a second or third or fourth planet for the human race to destroy.
Mankind thought that finding these planets would lead to the end of all our problems. But that can never happen; the human race has always been unhappy or angry, so why would this suddenly cease that unhappiness?
Now we have found a new reason for war. We have found a new reason to hate, a new reason to want, and a new reason to kill. In the years of ancient civilizations there was war, in the years of kings and queens there was war, in the years of the new world there was war. Now, more than five hundred years after the second millennium, we find ourselves still holding wars. The area where the Great Bang took place, formerly known as India, has been turned into a war zone and I now am going to this land of ash and skulls to do my part in the fifth world war. I disapprove of the war, and all of war in general, but I will not dishonor myself by refusing to fight for my country.
I feel this way because our country fights in defense not in offense. However it ruins me to think of what a beautiful planet we have given up on. What and amazing place we have destroyed and all the people we have killed. Now I find myself bouncing up and down on every bump as I sit in the back of a troop transport. I was with eight other soldiers, who sat across from me, almost blending in perfectly with the gray walls of the truck. Over the time we had been with each other we had become brothers almost.
Each soldiers face was hidden under a mask of gray and his clothes were a collage of gray and black. Most of them toted an automatic with the butt of it hidden between his arm and ribcage and his hand of that arm was holding the handle. The second hand had a firm grip around the front of the gun. I looked at my own gun and realized I held mine the same way.
All nine of us bounced with every pebble the truck hit and we traveled a medium speed of two hundred miles an hour. Behind and in front was the rest of the herd. More than a hundred gray trucks migrated into the barren wasteland. Each truck had an extra passenger, one that no one could see or here, or feel or smell. Yet everyone knew it was there, they could sense its presence. When they closed their eyes they could almost picture the cloaked figure sitting next to him, peering into his eyes. This is what everyone feared.
I felt the G-Force of the truck weaken slightly and realized we were slowing down, it seemed everyone else also realized it because I heard him or her all click their guns out of safety. One soldier however, a new one, simply threw up. His vomit flowed slowly on the floor of the truck and under the other soldier's boots.
As soon as this one had joined our group he had been labeled "coward" because of the way he acted about Death. To the rest of us death had become something we mostly accept.
When the truck had come to a complete stop we all stood up and faced the doors waiting nervously for what the captain would tell us. I let my eyes dart back and forth from one part of the door to another until they started opening. Dim light floated into the mostly dark truck and I squinted my eyes for a moment until I was used to it.
Above me was a blanket of gray, but off in the distance a low thunder trembled through out the sky and flashes of white or red and yellow shot up into the clouds. I suddenly felt my stomach lunge into my neck.
Three minutes later the eight of us were on our way to the real battle zone. The smell of rotting flesh and old bones flooded into my nose as I passed by corpses and skulls, and the sound of explosions and shots grew louder. I looked up to the flashing sky, which let so little light through and only added to the feel of depression. I let my eyes wander across the open area never giving them time to rest.
The soldiers they were sending in now, us, we were an extremely small force. There were only about a hundred of us.
Suddenly a crash went off about ten yards to my left in the open ground, sending ash and dirt flying onto the rest of the soldiers. Another explosion and another, at first only coming every minute or so but quickly becoming more frequent. Ashes stained my already gray face and blinded my vision. I wiped my eyes lids and kept walking.
A mortar landed right out side the right end of our herd sending two soldiers flying over my head and spattering me with warm blood. More ash, more dirt.
I let all the ash and dirt and blood sit on my face and I kept walking staring straight forward. Up ahead I could see the other soldiers on our side running and rolling on the ground firing across their wall of sand bags. I could hear the small pops of the bullets ramming themselves into the sandbags and soldiers crying out in pain as they were brought to the bloody ground.
Before I was thirty yards within the sandbags I ducked down and started a crouching run for cover. Dirt was still exploding into clouds of smoke round me and I was quickly becoming afraid. I was here to snipe, not there was any suitable place to snipe from.
I hid as much as my body behind the sandbags and switched my gun from automatic to single shot. This would increase the accuracy. I brought my eye about two inches from the scope and closed the other one.
Across the field I saw a soldier who was fighting and shooting and killing my men. He took out a grenade and threw it across the corpse-strewn area and over our heads. He threw too far.
Dirt shot up in all directions covering my face even more. I aimed quickly, and right above his eyes, and squeezed the trigger gently and watched the man topple over backwards.
I panned the rifle left and found another target. Once again I aimed above his eyes and fired. He stood up straight even after the bullet sunk through his head. Blood trickled out of the hole and he then just fell into a crumpled heap on the ground.
Soldiers were dropping down around me like flies and the opposing force was obviously winning. I didn't even know the name of the country we were fighting because boundaries and alliances changed so often. All I know is that I'm fighting, because that's what I was told to do.
I ducked down behind the sandbag barrier because I had the feeling I was being watched. I sat with my back against the rough bags and my feet buried in ash. When I looked to my right I saw a soldier looking at me and asking if I had been injured. I told him no but he stayed there and stared at me. As if he were looking for something. Then he left.
Next thing I knew the captain was yelling something really loud to us, but I couldn't hear him over the gunfire. I stared at him trying to read his lips but he suddenly flipped into the air and it almost looked as if he were being lifted by dirt.
He body fell on the ground, half buried in ash, and lit up by fire. I peeked my head up to see what the opposing force was doing but realized they were all- retreating? I couldn't understand why. They were obviously beating us and had just killed our captain. Why would they retreat?
I kept playing the battle scene over and over in my mind, and then came back to the fact that the captain was trying to tell us something. I looked off in the distance and saw all the transport trucks driving up and loading troops in.
In a moment I was bouncing up and down in the back of a truck along with the three who were left from my brigade.
One of who was weeping. He wept loudly and heartily. He held the clothes of his best friend who was struck down and killed in the midst of battle. The clothes were a dirty color of red now and wrinkled and crumpled, and each tear that landed on them seemed to clean away the ash just slightly.
Seeing the tears drop from his eyes triggered some sort of new emotion in me. One I had never thought existed. I suddenly realized that the killing was totally pointless. That it was insane, and done without reason. My mind suddenly burst with a million thoughts each one triggering another, it felt as if there were flies inside my brain waiting to break out and shoot out of my mouth.