Authors: J. A. Laraque
By: J.A. Laraque
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 by J.A. Laraque.
Cover design by Sheska Ivelisse
This book is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. Any reproduction or other unauthorized use of the material or artwork herein is prohibited without the express written permission of the author.
Some believe that when all you have known is war it becomes part of you. Even with the stench of death from fallen comrades choking your every breath, it is all you know of life and you accept the taste of it. The fires of the burning cities become your source of warmth, the screams of your enemy a form of entertainment. Wrapped around you like a blanket, it is when you are in the thick of it that you feel the safest. Silence is the cause of worry because, in war, silence is unfamiliar.
These sentiments came from those who fought during the Global War. Following in the footsteps of those before them, these men and women knew nothing but the fight. When you fight for so long that you forget the reason the conflict began, you push on because it has become instinct. For those like me who came in at the end, we have not had the need for battle imprinted upon us. Some consider us lucky for that while many of us regret it.
What I saw during the last few years of the war did not prepare me. I did what was asked of me and I have felt the lost of friends and more. When peace came, I was happy to accept it. I had no need to continue on, no hatred that I felt needed to be drained out of me. My life was not defined by the lives I took. Some believed their merit was proven on the battlefield and perhaps it was. I believed I would earn my place elsewhere. Sadly, I was mistaken.
They attacked without warning or reason. The world had seen less than a year of peace before they came. When the global War ended, I believed that with the nations of the world coming together humanity would enter into a new paradise. Maybe thoughts such as those are unbecoming for a soldier, but it was what I wanted, what I hoped for.
Our greatest advances in science and technology came from the war. From our conventional, to chemical, to biological weapons came the ability to advance our civilization in ways that would have otherwise never been imagined. One of the first projects after reconstruction began was to bring the scientists of the world together to find new sources of energy to aid in the rebuilding of our world.
The search began on earth as we discovered how to break down any material into pure energy. Though it was highly experimental, in time, it would solve our energy crisis. However, we did not stop there. The search continued outward, beyond our planet. The rate of progress was astonishing. During a joint operation with the Global Space Initiative, a young scientist discovered a small meteor that was on a collision course with our planet. Though many of the earth’s satellites were damaged or destroyed during the war we still should have discovered the meteor sooner. As word of the meteor spread, it was soon revealed that the meteor had been tracked by our long range satellites, but its course had put it nowhere near our planet.
They were cowards. We had no name for them other than that. By the time the military realized it was an attack the only course of action they had was to flee and hide their handpicked best and brightest. The bunkers were created during the global war in case of a nuclear attack. The problem with the bunkers were that they could only hold a small number of people and though millions had died during the war, there were still millions more who would die when the meteor struck the earth.
As far as we knew there was no declaration of war. We never received any communication or demands. Our space based weapons were designed to strike against land targets and could do nothing to the massive death hurdling towards us. Extinction was what was predicted, with the size and speed of which the meteor was headed for earth nothing was expected to survive. Even those locked beneath the earth in their bunkers would never be able to leave in their own or their children’s lifetimes.
It could have been the shortest war in history, but just as the meteor reached our planets orbit a blast of energy fired out from our moon shattering it into pieces. At first there was a moment of joy and relief that we had been spared, and then the truth settled in, the blast was not created by anyone on earth. There was no time to question who fired the blast because we were quickly learning why. They did not want us killed in one quick action. Though the meteor was shattered it was not destroyed, the pieces left were still large enough to inflict horrific damage upon the earth.
All I could do was watch from miles underground. While I was not one of the chosen per say, it was only because of my military service and proximity to the bunker that I was allowed in, but it came at a terrible price. Outside however, the price being paid by humanity was just as cruel. As the fragments rained down upon the earth, millions were killed and an already weakened planet was left crippled.
With more than half the population killed only phase one of their plan was complete. There was no record of any ships in orbit, but somehow they began to appear across planet. We assumed they used some type of matter transport device as they could appear out of thin air and only landed in area’s that still stood after the attack.
While intelligent enough to attack military targets, they were also brutal enough to murder civilians. Women, children, it did not matter to them. All we could wonder is why attack in this manner? Why prolong a war they could have won in minutes? As their ground troops hunted down the remnants of humanity I had found that reason to fight. It was not just for the deaths of all those people, but for the one who mattered most to me.
Most of the world’s military was destroyed or still trapped beneath the earth. While we were out numbered more than ten to one we all banded together to fight, it was either that or lie down and die. People who had never fired a weapon took to arms to fight back extinction. Many fought alongside those, that a year ago, they would have been fighting against. It was like finding the sun just before it sets, peace before death.
We knew little of our attackers and this did not change with time. They wore black metallic environmental suits. We believed this would give us an advantage since we believed there was something in our air that they could not adapt to. We soon learned however that their suits not only gave them protection from our environment, but also from most of our weapons.
We could take little joy in killing our unnamed enemy. As tough of a task that it was to take one down even once we did there was no body inside. There was no way to capture or interrogate them. Even with our best effects to just disable them we could never get to see what was behind their blackened visor. The closest we got was trapping one beneath a collapsed building. When it knew we had it captured a green mist began to rise out from its suit. When we finally cracked it open, all we found was what we always found, ashes.
They fought like soldiers, no, more like exterminators. I say this because they took no prisoners, set up no bases. When we were able to kill enough of them more would appear from out of thin air. We continued searching space for signs of a mother ship, but we found none. It was speculated that perhaps their base was on the moon, where the blast of energy came from. There was no way to confirm that. All our attempts to launch space craft or missiles were countered by their attacks. We only had two options, fight or die.
Rumors began to spread about who our enemy was, from theories that our own government unleashed them to religious hysteria. None of the reasons mattered to me. I was David Zavior, first lieutenant of the security squad for the Naxum research facility. My job was to protect bunker thirteen from attack. Once the meteor fell and my wife was taken from me I only had one job left. Kill every one of those sons of bitches until the day I died.
There was a story the military Chaplin told the new recruits the day before our graduation from boot camp. It was about a man whose family was killed when the Eastern Alliance bombed his town. Before then he abstained from the war believing that diplomatic talks were the best weapons. Before his family was laid to rest he had already joined the Federation forces. The day after they were buried he was shipped off to the front lines.
The man used his anger and hatred to ruthlessly slaughter the enemy. As the body count mounted he found that even covered in the blood of his enemies he could not fill the void within him. He continued on, his tactics becoming more and more brutal. In time, his targets were no longer confined to the military. Everyone under the Alliance banner was to be put to death. He believed only then could his pain would go away.
Learning to block out the cries of women and the tears of children, the man burned entire cites to the ground. Nothing, even the total decimation of his enemy’s lands could bring him peace. When he took a moment to close his eyes all he could see is blurred faces screaming in agony. After years of this the man no longer cared about anyone, including himself. The battle continued and there were more enemies to kill, but to this man, there was no reason to continue.
One night as he lay resting inside a hollowed out building he was attacked by an enraged man. As he fought against the man he could see in his eyes the same burning hatred that he once had. The enraged man screamed that his family had been murdered by the man’s hand and that he was there to exact revenge. At first the man put up a fierce fight to defend himself, but as the struggle continued he realized he had become what he hated most in the enemy.
Falling to his knees the man looked up at his enraged attacker and told him that he would accept his fate and allow the man to kill him. As the enraged man placed his weapon to the man’s forehead his hand shook as he prepared to fire. Closing his eyes preparing for death the man spoke his final words. He told the enraged man that no matter how many men he was to kill it would not bring back his family. He said that revenge cannot heal a wound. No death would fill the emptiness within his soul.
The enraged man kicked him in the face knocking him onto his back. Placing his boot on his chest the enraged man bent down sticking the weapon between the man’s eyes. He said that he was not killing the man to fill a void, but to prevent him from bringing the pain he felt to another human being. With those final words, the enraged man fired killing him. That was the last person the enraged man killed.
The Chaplin told that story to teach us that we fight to prevent the suffering of others. I did not buy it. Whenever a human life is taken there is a void, whether it is a solider or a civilian. Yet, I was still a soldier and I still fought and I still killed. Two years later I used the void left when my wife was killed to continue on. It did not matter to me the pain I may have brought to the enemy. They were not human and they attacked us unprovoked. I promised myself I would not rest. As long as I had breath within my body, the war would never end.
After numerous injuries they pulled me from the advance teams. I had spent the last few months patrolling Maiden city. Walking the streets surrounding the once beautiful landscape of what was the Unity building. It was in that building that the global peace treaty was signed. A few years ago its shimmering glass structure would shine out across the green grounds and marble structures. Now, it was blackened and burned, a shelter for the dying.
The night was cold and dark, the moons light could barely shine through the thick smoke from the burning remains of the city. It was quiet much like the cemetery it had become. My patrol was not so much for the enemy, but more to protect the few remaining humans in the area. However, there was the potential for an attack. Factor Alpha, our top advance recon team, had its base on the outskirts of the city, though it had never been attacked directly there was still the possibility. I personally believed they only told me that to make me feel as if I was contributing.
The time far from the war did not dull my senses. I could easily distinguish the difference between a starving animal, searching for a fresh corpse and a marauder, looking for a weakened prey. Unlike the man in that story, my will to kill had not faded. My body was weakened, but my resolve remained as strong as ever. I promised to fulfill my duty until I could return to the front, to my reason for living.