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Casualties of War Part IV
Posted By: Tom Murphy<cunnuslingere@hotmail.com>
Date: 12 April 2004, 9:28 PM

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You really should read the other parts in the series. I really feel confident that this is interesting.

We didn't stop running. We couldn't give those things a chance to catch up to us, so we kept moving as fast as we could until we were through the doors of one of the buildings in the Communications Compound. After the last man was in Julius slammed the door closed and leaned on it. "What the hell was that? It was like his face was... I don't know... like, burnt or something, man. What the hell?"

Keyes put a heavy hand on his shoulder. "Julius. Calm down. I'm sure whatever it is that's out here, I'm sure we can deal with it. We were chosen because we're better than the rest. For our ability to survive. Bob's out because we weren't ready. We didn't know what was going on. Now we have an idea so let's just get to General Hawke and get home."

Julius loosened up a little bit and lowered his shoulders. "Alright. But how do we even know Hawke is in here?"

Keyes gave Julius a stressed and weighted look, "We don't. We have to hope. I don't think we should go looking for him though. We'd have a better chance if we just made our way into the Communications room and waited for him. It's the only logical place for us to go. But be ready for anything."

Keyes had obviously adapted the position of leader. He always seemed to know what to do and during our time in Old India he was constantly with the Sergeants and Officers telling them the best way to attack. He had been promised promotions more times than I can count, but the people who were going to do it were always killed before sending the request up the chain of command.

He had leader written all over him. He was one of the few people who had actually survived with me from the beginning of enlistment.

I watched him intently as he signaled and gave commands and positioned everyone safely around the next door. He swung it open and Smith let him know it was clear. We all moved in through this door and took in the new room. There was a wall console to the left of the door. Keyes moved over to it and brought up a map screen. "This is us," he pointed to a room on the map as he stepped out of the way so we could see. "This is where we need to get." He moved his hands three rooms to the left. "So I think... I think that means we'll be going through that door." He brought up his other arm and pointed to a door on his right.

"Well then... let's go," Smith said.

We moved through the next two doors without any problems but stopped at the third. Something inside all of us knew there was going to be problems in the next room. At our goal. There was an extra person in the room. Just like there was on the truck no more than two days ago, the same person was in this room. No one could see him, but he was sensed. The cloaked figure flowing darkness forth from his very soul waiting for one of us to fall. Watching.

Keyes took a deep breath. "Ok, get ready folks. I got a bad feeling about this one. Lipton, get over here and watch the door when I open it. Stamos, you too. The rest of you just wait.

Julius looked over at me. "I hate this waiting crap, man."

"Won't be long," and with that Keyes swung open the door and the two men watching the other side immediately began firing. Keyes peeked around the wall and started firing, and I and the other men moved up closer. I watched as a pink ball flew through the air and into Stamos. He dove onto the ground and rolled out of the way. "Shit! It's melting my armor! Get this shit off of me!" Julius and I ran over and got the burning metal off his skin. Smith ran over and took Stamos' place. I watched as he fired over and over into the other room at an enemy I had yet to see. But suddenly a dozen or so small pink things flew into Smiths body and sat there for a second. He looked down at them, utterly confused, until they all simultaneously exploded.

As a reflex, Smith jumped up into the air a little as his whole body just seemed to burn. He was dead before he hit the ground.

"Got 'em," Keyes said. "It's not lookin' good fella's. It doesn't make sense. How can anything take that many bullets and stay standing? I don't get- Whoa. Wait a second here. Those are my bullets! Why aren't they in his carcass?! Holy shit! They must have some kind of armor!"

"Keyes," Julius said interrupting his discovery. "Smith is down." Smith's body lay on the ground twitching and smoking and he all stood around it just staring down at it. "This is going to be one hell of a war." Keyes said solemnly.