Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta soldiers. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta soldiers. Mostrar todas las entradas

sábado, 7 de mayo de 2016

Always there

   The two armies had destroyed each other in the field. There were shields and swords and helmets all over the place. The spears had lost all shine and the images on their armors were all tainted in blood or dirt. The ones that were alive from the Barbarian side had been captured. They were dragged like animals to a pen built with the broken spears of the fallen soldiers and there they would wait for some kind of transport to take them away, to being their lives as slaves of the Roman Empire.

 When the soldiers left with their prisoners, the bodies were left to rot on the field. It took several days and the process was somewhat helped by the rain and the occasional wild animals that were still coming out of the forests to attack humans. Desperate for any food, they would eat the corpses, specially the vultures. Months later, the ground only had a bunch of bones there and most people that travelled through the nearby road, never noticed anything particular.

 Many years passed until the Romans stopped travelling through the country. The field was left alone and trees begin to grow, very slowly but steadily. More than a hundred years later, there was a proper forest in that place and many creatures called it home. There were several kinds of creatures, including wolves and boars. They moved around with ease, not minding the few humans that cross the forest, risking their lives in the journey. The ancient Roman road was still being used.

 Then, the numbers of transports passing through the forest begin to grow. Apparently, the economy was beginning to do better and the ports on the south needed to reach the cities in central Europe, to the north. Some merchants carried salt and sugar and exotic good from far away lands. There were no slaves anymore but there were beautiful scents that every creature in the forest was interested in. They had never smelled anything like that before.

 Sometimes, very angry wolves attacked the carts or a hungry bear but that was only at the beginning. After many years, and many fires too, the greatest danger for those merchants were the thieves that hid in the forest. They would live there because in town they had nothing to eat. And then they would wait for a lonely cart full of food and just kill the driver.

 In time, the carts were made more elaborately and the drivers were never alones but with a security composed of one or maybe even two men. Besides, the merchants were not the only ones going through the forest. More and more caravans of just people in carriages penetrated the forest in order to rich the better life of the north. There were rich people and poor people crossing, not one of them caring a bit about the forest.

 One of those men and women caused the biggest fire the forest had seen. As all towns were so far away from the place, the trees burned for many days until rain calmed down the fire. When the inferno was over, half of the forest had completely disappeared. When the users of the road noticed this. They thought they could do better than the fire and decided to chop off all remaining trees in order to use the wood for making many things they needed in the cities.

 The area became a plain again and the road was cleared for the heavy traffic that it was receiving.  Then, for a long while, people stopped travelling. The animals that had left slowly returned, not missing the humans at all. In the nearest town, almost all of the population had died. The ones that hadn’t, burned the bodies and wore strange bird like hats in order to protect themselves from one of the worst pandemics to attack humanity. That’s why, for a long time, the road of the plain was practically not used.

 It would take many years to make the merchants return, to the annoyance of the animals that had seen small bushes and trees grow in the region. The forest wanted to come back but humanity wouldn’t let it. When the carts and carriages returned, they did not removed the new plants but they did reinforce the road by putting down stones on it to make it less slippery when it rained. For the next hundreds of years, the number of transports using the road would only grow.

 Also, the customs of the people that travelled to the road had changed. One day, a beautiful woman travelling in a very elegant carriage, just jumped out of her transport and ran into the highest part of the area. The weather was not good and her brother, younger than her, had some problems following her. She appeared to be an unusually strong woman but, in the top of a hill that dominated the plain, she started crying.

 When her brother approached her, she confessed she did not want to marry the man she had been promised to. She knew her parents had already arrange everything, even paying big sums of money, but she wasn’t into the idea of living with a men she didn’t even know. He had seen her once and she didn’t even remembered her face and now he was going to be her husband. She just didn’t want that.

 Her brother stayed there with her for a while and then convinced her to go back to the carriage. He helped her realized that it was the best thing that could’ve happened to her. She didn’t want to get old and never have been married or having kids. After all, it was what women were all about. She finally conceded and went back to her journey.

 Years later, more soldiers stomped the ground of the plains. They had high black boots and marched in order. It looked so nice, so spectacular, that no one would think twice about the number of people those men had already killed and the numbers they were going to kill. They camped there for one night and all they could talk about was about how great their leader Napoleon was and how Spain needed to fear him more than ever. They all agreed he was going to rule all over the continent and maybe even more.

 The next day, they were gone. The animals ate the food they had left and the plants used the animals and humans droppings to grow a bit more. The following winters, almost all of them, were harsh on the region. Some trees froze and never grew again. The road was covered permanently in snow and the few carriages that passed had to be extremely careful not to flip over to something. Those were very difficult times for everyone. But worse one would come.

 More war and, this time, even more men and chaos. Tanks trampled over the bushes and planes invaded the air with their horrible sound. The town nearby was taken by the Germans and then retaken some days later by Allies who helped push the Germans away from the rest and into their country. It was around that time one a road was built near the stone road. But these new road was made of asphalt and was made for cars.

 At first, there were not many. But as years passed, the number increased exponentially. There were all types of vehicles going up and down the road and also all kinds of people. Some of them were going of vacation and some others were only travelling for work. Some years later, the road was widened to support even more vehicles.

 World War II began and the road itself was bombarded several times when the Germans took the region. Some men and women, very pale and skinny, used the forest to hide. Some of them managed to escape the Germans but others weren’t as fortunate. They were put on cars and driven to the nearest train station and then they would never be seen again.

 Many months later the place was bombarded again, but now by the Allies. In a few days, the whole region was captured and the Germans pulled away from it. From then on, the road grew even more and became the basic link between north and south. The forest also began to grow a lot and soon became protected by the same humans that had destroyed so many times before. The animals now lived in peace and, only now and then, something happened in there but never like in the olden days.

 But who knows what the future holds?

sábado, 6 de febrero de 2016

The 501st

   The first battalion to arrive at the drop point was the 501st. Commander Yok, who led them nowadays, was a very experienced man, having the privilege of been one of the few soldiers in the war to have been personally awarded a medal by the Chancellor. He was very respected by his men and it hadn’t been very difficult to decide he would be the one to lead the invasion of Kamara. And even if they hadn’t chosen him, he would have volunteered. That was the kind of man Yok was, always putting the mission first, him second.

The planet Kamara was very far the industrial worlds and the farming planets but it was important for another reason: tourism. It had been a resort world for many centuries, a favorite spot for the wealthy of the galaxy but just after the war the ties to the planet had been cut and the indigenous population, which lived of the tourists, was left to defend itself when the Confederacy invaded. They destroyed many of the hotels and resorts, as well as many attractions that had made of Kamara the envy of all the tropical worlds.

 Commander Yok landed in the jungle, near Kyloi, the capital of the world and the center of all confederate activity. The idea was simple: to decimate them with aerial attacks and then move in the troops. They were lucky enough to have two full cruisers for this mission so the planet was expected to fall shorty after the arrival of he army. Such was the trust put on Yok and his men that many aristocrats were already planning their trips to Kamara, not only to enjoy its beaches and climate but to recover the fortunes they had left in the many vaults constructed all around.

 Before the first way of bombers departed, Yok demanded a probe to be sent and check for the status of the city and the population. But that proved useless as the probe, and the two sent after that one, exploded in midair before reaching the central area of the city. Bombing started and from a mountain overlooking the city, Yok was able to see how many buildings the bombs destroyed, how they fell and burned. He was pumped. He had been made for this in the factories of his home world, and now his flesh was ready for battle.

 He led his men raging through the streets of the decimated city, running at first and the marching, all the way to the capitol of Kamara, building that was at the center of the city in every sense possible. They were silent, slowing down their march and blowing up roadblocks every so often. They climbed the steps of the capitol and went inside. No one was there, not a single confederate. They went to the top of the building and planted there the flag of the galactic government, claiming back Kamara. But joy was short-lived.

 Everyone knew taking a planet couldn’t be that easy. It normally involved very heavy fighting and resistance. It required days, at least, or months at most. Besides, they hadn’t seen a single native. The people there were rather humanoid but with green skin. If they had seen one, it would have been obvious. But nothing, not one of them was lying dead on the street or hiding in any of the many building that the 501st checked on that first day. To prevent anything from going wrong, Yok asked for no more battalions to come down to the ground until the situation was clearer.

 The first night was very confusing for the soldiers. They gather around and improvised fire and were rapidly divided into two groups: the one that believed they had won already because the enemy had abandoned Kamara and the other group, who believed there was something darker in the shadows of the capital. They discussed each theory thoroughly but didn’t reach any consensus. Yok didn’t really pay attention, not even taking part of the conversation.

 He was a soldier, a hero for many and now he was in a situation in which he had never been before. The enemy appeared to be smarter this time or at least much more mysterious than usual. He wondered why there were no bodies, from any kind, why there were no signs of the invasion that had cut off Kamara definitely from the rest of the galaxy. Communications had been interrupted but in the capital all services appeared to be in optimal shape except they didn’t work.

 Yok was the only one that didn’t sleep that night. Every other man closed his eyes and fell asleep fast. None of them were tired, they couldn’t really be but maybe it was because it was their first peaceful night in a while that they felt so at ease and in peace in Kyloi. The following they, they checked several other government offices but they couldn’t find anything that would explain why the planet was deserted. The army was already considering pulling off their war effort on the planet and place it somewhere they could actually help in some way.

 But as decisions were taken, something happened and only the 501st was there to see it. Up, in the sky, several enemy cruisers appeared out of nowhere. They engaged the army in the air and the battalion on the ground could only see how their forces were destroyed in a matter of hours. The only ship they had was a shuttle that hadn’t been built for galactic travel. So they were trapped in Kamara with enemy cruisers in the air and a sudden sound that made their souls quiver. It was a sound they realized had always been there but just now they realized it wasn’t supposed to be there.

 The enemy cruisers left the airspace, disappearing into the blackness of space, leaving the soldiers frightened to death on the ground. The sound didn’t stop, growing in volume and, apparently, in number. They all had their guns up, pointing at the sound as if they could attack it. But they couldn’t do anything about it. The sound continued as the small group of men climbed a building and decided to take shelter in the terrace, in order to see if they could decipher what was making that noise.

 But when they decided to investigate, the sound stopped. However, damage had been done. The men were scared and knew they were trapped for at least three days if not more. Commander Yok tried to contact their headquarters several times but he was unable to do so. Nothing came into his radio, no communication of any kind. He even tired scanning the sky for ships, even maybe cargo vessels or whatever was up there. But nothing, it just didn’t work.

 Then they heard another sound but this was weaker. It came from below so they descended the building and so what it was. A humanoid, one of the greens that inhabited the planet, was there in front of them. But it didn’t seem to be ok. It was barely moving, its arm an legs moving very strangely and his eyes just opened but unfocused. Commander Yok ordered the men to raise their weapons and wait for his command. The humanoid stayed there and he began to tremble, especially around the waist and chest. The men were all scared at this point.

 Suddenly, the most awful thing that could have happened happened. The humanoid burst open and from inside his bodies many insect-like creatures emerged, breaking his ribcage and launching themselves towards the soldiers. Gunfire was heard all around, insects blowing up in one side and the other. Commander Yok ordered the men to climb up the building again. But he hadn’t realized many more insects had come out, they appeared to have been waiting for them or possibly they all hatched at the same time.

 Arriving last in the terrace and locking the entrance, Yok realized the enemy had set them up. They had used some kind of creature to lay eggs inside the indigenous people of Kamara and use them as hosts that would burst open once the army had arrived. The bodies were probably in the sewers and hadn’t been detected because they were practically dead.

 The insects pounded the door hard, clinking sound made by their pincers. Every single man tried to help in holding the door, except Yok. He knew what was going to happen, somehow he had always known. He decided to put on his helmet and face the true destiny of a hero, of a true soldier of the Republic.

lunes, 21 de septiembre de 2015

Queen of tragedy

   The devastation brought by the wave could be seen easily from the castle, which had been built in a peninsula that shoot straight into the ocean with a very high elevation. The waves that attacked the city did not really affect the castle or the people inside it, although they did feel the arrive of the killing water and saw how it engulfed the whole fishing town that was located very close to the castle. Every little boat and those small and weak houses were rapidly destroyed by the wave. The people didn’t even have time to pray or to scream. The wave was just too fast and too destructive, it didn’t leave a thing standing. The people in the castle, including Princes Ariana, were all horrified. She sent some soldiers after it happened but, as they were about to go out, another wave, even taller than the last one, hit the beach.

 No one could have survived that. And the thing now was that, because of the second wave, the access to the castle had been flooded. Until the waters receded, they were all trapped there, without any communication with the rest of the world. Ariana’s father, the King, had left the day before to attend a very traditional ceremony in an inland town and her mother the Queen had also left to visit her brother who was a duke in some region south of the castle. Ariana was alone and needed desperately to talk to someone, as she was very perturbed by the images of water hitting the fishing town with such vile and strength. She remained in the chapel for a whole day, praying and asking God for the souls that had been lost. She asked “why”.

 But, of course, she never got an answer. After that time, the princess tried to help the people that were inside the castle and organize everything for every single person to have a ration of food. She had no idea how much time that could last but she would at least try to help them as only she could do it. At the end of the day, the castle was hers, her domain, and everyone inside it had to hear her until the King or the Queen came back. The day after the waves hot the coast, the castle started to receive various letters sent by aerial means (pigeons, mostly). Many were soldiers informing of the situation on their towns and others were people, asking for help as the situation was very dire. It was a surprise to see letters from far inland and the Ariana’s heart stopped for a moment.

 She asked her helpers to look for letter from a specific location. There was only one letter and it was from a farmer. He said the wave had flooded his field and now his crops had been destroyed, so he had no means to sustain his family or to trade with others. He also mentioned, although briefly, that the nearby town had been flooded too and festivities had been cancelled. Ariana breathed out. Her father was probably okay but she needed to be sure. She asked her servants to answer the letter she had just read and do what they could to locate his father and help that poor man with his crops. She owed him, or at least she felt so.

 Ariana did the same thing to know if her mother was okay but there were no letters from that region in the big pile that had arrived during the day. More pigeons entered the castle during the day, but almost all came from very nearby, were apparently the stench of death was already hard to ignore. People said that there were no victims, as the people who sent the pigeons were merchants that traveled from town to town and saw what happened all around them. Apparently the fishing town couldn’t be saved and the most awful part of it all was that everyone could easily see the ruins of the town from the castle. It was so close but at the same time it had such a different faith than the people hidden in the castle.

 They received a letter from the King the day after that. He informed the people that he had been injured by the flooding, that had taking everyone by surprise. He was in bed with a very swollen ankle, product of a fall as he escaped the water towards higher ground. The doctor said that it was easy to cure but that he had to stay there for some day, at least a week, to make his leg better. Ariana read the letter in front of everyone and even shared with the people the nice adjectives he had for her. He said that the castle was in hands of the princess and that everyone had to respond to her orders and listen to her lead, as she was the only person with authority to be there with them.

 These words from her father made Ariana feel very happy and also very important. She had never done much in the castle or even in her life, only being a nice girl that sits correctly whenever an important visitor comes and that leaves for her room to do nothing at all there, except if you consider combing your hair or looking at your dresses some sort of job. The truth was that Ariana was thrilled to finally have some responsibility and taste, however short it may last, the sweetness and pleasure to share her kindness with her people and with everyone that wrote the letters that kept coming into the castle. On the fifth day, the waters finally receded and soldiers were sent to every single nearby that to assess the situation.

 The small fishing port had not been the only one to be destroyed completely. A very large portion of the coast had been devastated by that same wave, ten meter tall or more, so many towns had suffered the same faith. Even some soldiers that decided to check on the state of the castle came with urgency to see the princess and asked her to put some men to work. Apparently, the bases of the castle had been shaken very seriously and repairs had to be made in order for it not to fall into the ocean. A small army of men was hired to do those works and the proper army was tasked with burning every corpse they saw and help survivors, if any. There were not to many.

 The first week was difficult for Ariana, specially when a merchant that sold fur came into town and old everyone how the wave had destroyed the region south of the castle. He swore the smell was too overwhelming and bodies piled up on both sides of the roads. Ariana felt awful and sent some soldiers right then but it was useless. The man was right; there was nothing but destruction, especially because in the south there were no hills or mountain. It was a big plain and now it was something like a swamp, with flies flying all over it and over the bodies of hundred of people. One of those was the Queen, who had died with her brother as they were outside the duke’s house when tragedy came. Being inside, wouldn’t have changed a thing, though.

 The princess tried not to cry when she received a pigeon telling her of her mother’s death. She only asked for the soldiers to bring her body and that of the duke, if they found him. Some days later the dead body of the Queen arrived into town and a rapidly organized funeral was arranged. Ariana would have loved to have her father there to comfort her but was now having a very dangerous fever and his doctor recommended for him to stay were he was, as any trip might be too dangerous for him. So she had to bury her mother alone, in the family mausoleum. Many people attended the funeral and she wasn’t surprised, as her mother had always being loved by her people.

 Ariana, in the inside, was devastated. Now she didn’t want any responsibility or to grow up, she didn’t want to be the woman who ruled over the kingdom. And even if she was the last royal, she would have to marry to be able to exercise her role as Queen. It hurt her to be thinking of such things, as if her father was dead too but he wasn’t, he was just injured and she wanted to be with him but then no one would stay behind to help the people that needed the family. Some of her father’s helpers wanted her to leave to have a free reign over everything but she refused to go and even jailed some of those who pretended for her to leave the city and stay away from the corruption.

 Only two weeks after the waves hit the coast, the King came back to town. But Ariana suffered once more because he wasn’t doing as well as the doctor had said. Unsurprisingly, the doctor had left the party that accompanied her father. She ordered soldiers to execute him if they ever saw him. But the most important thing for her was to see her father, which whom she talked privately and summoned a religious authority and a lawmaker. After some days, the King was too weak to keep talking and he eventually died from his wounds and mistreatment. His funeral was attended by all and he was buried in the crypt next to his wife.

 Everyone was more surprised, however, with the fact that a new law had been enacted the day before the king’s death. It liberated his daughter of marriage and gave her the power to rule the kingdom as Queen. People didn’t know whether to celebrate or not. But eventually, they would know the answer to that question.

viernes, 3 de julio de 2015

The last march

  After the Great War, the lone commanders of the Union that were still loyal to the ideals of their lost cause, decided to force thousands to march to the deserts. One would think people would rebel against this in a heartbeat but the truth was that they didn’t. They were all exhausted after having been prisoners and slaves for almost five years. They didn’t have any energy in them and the commanders were the only ones that, though deranged, still kept some integrity and ideals, even if they were twisted. The war had destroyed every major city and no government had remained after the last nuclear warhead had been either used or destroyed in the ocean. The world was no longer in chaos because humanity was broken and it would take a very long time for it to be fixed.

 The march went on for a year, by which the commanders had begun to show mercy to their prisoners as they were all in the same condition. As the climate always changed, everyone wore the same robes that were cool during the day, when the sun was specially harsh on the planet and were a bit warm during the very cold nights in the deserts. The people only marched and marched. Sometimes they rested, ate what they could find, mostly insects, small animals and plants, if they could find them, and they had all agreed to harness the largest amount possible of water and to share among the whole community of marchers. The commanders wanted a larger share for themselves but, in time, they stopped asking for special conditions.

After the first year was done, almost five hundred people had died from exhaustion or disease. Among those, many commanders, some of the hardest and cruelest among them, which explained why no one was being as evil as they used to be anymore. The commanders had always believed that their race was superior and that their values and morals were the ones that would make the world better. But now, the ones remaining secretly believed that to be just propaganda statements. In the desert, going almost completely mad, they understood they were not superior to anyone and that they are equally fucked by war and the decisions of men that weren’t there to be punished.

 Of the group that marched, there were not many children. People began to notice, after a while, that sexual desire had decreased after the war and that even when people had sex, children were almost never produced. The general belief was that many women had been rendered infertile by the radioactivity in the air. One of those cases was Yolanda, a woman in her thirties that used to have three children but now only had one and had been rendered sterile. The only child she had was now too skinny and his skin was a weird green hue. She knew he was going to die soon because of radiation and, when it happened, she barely even bury him. She had been prepared.

 Among the commanders, Rick Wolf was maybe the oldest one remaining. He almost forty years old and had joined the Union because he had believed it would lead to a better life for him and his family but that was proven to be false. He actually thought about it often during the long walks, and he had reached the conclusion that the most disastrous point of his life had been the one when he had worked for some of the mad men that had rendered the world into a barren dust ball. Even then in the desert, he had never felt guiltier and shocked that during the war, were officials were demanding to exterminate certain groups o for them to be examined. They had inspired themselves from the past because, he thought, humanity had always been rotten.

 Commander Johansson was much younger, not even reaching his thirtieth birthday and he was beginning to think he would never reach it.  The truth was that he was never too hungry and when they happened to capture a large animal in some large wasteland, he just wasn’t hungry enough to eat more than a bite. He knew it was the radiation that was eating him slowly. He probably had cancer but he did not want to know anything about it. He was kind of glad medicine was over because he wouldn’t be able to cope knowing what was going to kill him. He felt better like this, just walking without thinking and waiting for his death.

 Not all of them just walked. A man called Jeremiah had been named one of the leaders of the prisoners, which were no longer really prisoners, and he was the one that lead them and decided were to go next. In the morning, he was the first one to be awake and he would often go around the camp singing waking everyone up. The songs he sang were sad and very ancient but they made the trick: people were ready in no time and it was him who decided which way to go. He thought that they should go to Australia, a country that was rumored to be still full of life and only marginally affected by the war. Radiation may be present there but not in such large quantities like here so he tried to take them there but no ocean had been seen yet.

 No water bodies had been seen at all to be correct. All the lakes and large rivers appeared to have been vaporized in the war and the small amount of water they often found was the kind that poured from the mountains over rocks and that could barely be kept in any bottle or can. They just drank from it or licked the rocks and went on with their march. Most people had forgotten fast about the taste of the food that they had eaten before it all went to shit. They forgot about juices, about cooked warm meals and about water that you didn’t have to lick to be satisfied. Their memories were slowly dying and nothing could really be done to stop it.

 They all knew that, eventually, they were going to die. They also knew that it would happen much faster than usual and that the weak would go first. And so it happen during that first year when mostly children elderly people and the ones that had a proper disease just died stumbling down to the ground. Some people, the ones that still had any real feeling left, tried to bury them with sand or under rocks but they soon realized that was too much work and that they didn’t have the amount of energy to be doing that every time. So from then on they decided to just let the dead lay down on the ground and for the living to continue their journey in peace, or at least without worries.

All that could be seen on their walks was dead or dying. The few creatures that they had managed to hunt were skinny animals that were simply not enough for such a large amount of people. At first, when capturing an animal, they would let one of the commanders skin it and then cook it in some hot water they had found. But like burying bodies, that too proved to be just a waste of time and energy. With time, they began eating raw meat, which gave them the energy needed to keep going and live one more day. Because in the end, that was their goal, to just live one more day in this world that had been destroyed and that would eventually be empty and with no recollection that we, the humanity, had ever been here at all. All of our things destroyed, our individual stories rendered useless and forgotten in the abyss of time.

 People didn’t know why they wanted to keep living. But they did. Most of them still had hope that they could fin more people, maybe living like proper human beings, or maybe getting to that Australia place and live in peace for at least a couple of years. Some of the walkers still remembered the old world and they would often tell storied to the others, to keep them entertained. The commanders allowed this and they would too be enthralled by the stories of the man, who claimed men had walked on the moon and that they had created viruses to be weapons and how an entire country was blown up in a day by the forces of the Union before the war even started. Although most people thought they were just stories, it happened to be all true.

 People had forgotten who they were. Humanity was no more and just people remained, empty, like a shell that some animal has left in the ocean to be covered by algae and sand. People had no interests in the world anymore or on each other. Some were still more human than others but it was all the same because they all knew that they were the last generation to walk the Earth. Strangely, that didn’t make them nervous or crazy. They had just accepted it because they knew it had all happened because of them and now the consequences were upon them and not accepting them was not an option.

 The march went on for as long as ten more years. The last group, of no more than twenty people, finally arrived to what used to be the ocean. Now, it was a region of canyons and death. It was then when humanity disappeared.