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

miércoles, 28 de septiembre de 2016

Facts of war

   The bombs had suddenly stopped dropping from the sky. There was an awful, eerie silence that occupied everywhere that still stood, which wasn’t much. Most of the city was now ruins, a bunch of unrecognizable rubble where people had lived and tried to have good lives and happy days. But that had ended some time ago, when the war started and things went rapidly downhill for everyone in every corner of the globe. It had happened so fast that no one really knew how to explain it or understand it. It was just chaos in it’s simplest form.

 Before bombs started dropping, people thought it would never come to that. They innocently thought that the war would be fought in empty, far away spaces, where no one would ever get hurt and where countries could argue for long periods of time without really affecting the civilian population. Those who thought that had visibly no idea of what war was really like and how it had destroyed and devastated the world once and again in the past. How cities had been leveled down by fire and force and how the strong ones didn’t really care who they hit and how.

 The morning before the bombs dropped on the city, people were already getting a bit nervous but not nearly as nervous as they should’ve been. They had all heard about the rumors that new airplanes that could fly without being detected could be sent in any moment to attack. But the frontline of the war was so far way that people simply didn’t buy that theory. They claimed that some people were being alarmists in order to get some sort of advantage in the war. They decided to deny any possibility of war coming to them. It was their undoing.

 Most of the people in the city died right then, that morning when the sun was just coming up and then, out of nowhere, the first bomb was dropped in the city. It is strange to say it, but the enemy had the so-called kindness to drop a single bomb on an industrial part of the city first in order for people to be able to run to the nearest shelters or to get safe in any way possible. It was a kind of warning shot. Most people ignored it and that’s why the amount of survivors, on the days following the decimation of the city, was so low.

 The few people that survived did recognize the signs of what had happened and ran to the underground parking lots and places similar to those. There were no shelters because they had chosen not to get ready for a war that was real, even if it was far from their homes. Most survivors had to be dug out from under the rubble because they had been underground by chance. Almost no one had actually run down from their home to protect themselves. They really didn’t believe anything could happen to them, as if they were special in some way.

 But they were not. The city was not treated any differently than any other city before or after that. The enemy had a clear objective and new exactly how to hit a target in order to have maximal damage and be able to withdraw fast if the attacked nation reacted efficiently. This was almost never the case as they always destroyed military bases and other potential points of defense in order to be able to do whatever they wanted. The rules of war were clear to them.

 Exactly two day after the bombing started, the bombers retired and went back home. They had done their job and the ground army was already advancing fast, taking advantage of the new position they had taken. It was a very dared strategy but it had worked perfectly for them. When the army arrived, they helped the survivors out of the rubble and they put them in special camps to be held as prisoners of war. No one was mistreated in any way and that made the whole experience a little bit worse. People couldn’t properly hate them if they were suddenly kind to them.

 Of course, they had been the ones that destroyed their city and probably killed many members of their families and friends. But the treatment in the detention center was not the one of a concentration camp or anything like it. It was exactly as if the hundreds of survivors had been taken to a five-star hotel to be locked down as prisoners. It was a very odd thing to experience and most people had no idea what to feel, what to say to the guards and how to react to anything. However, it was clear who had won and who had lost that battle.

 Many other camps like that one appeared in the region, as the enemy’s army advances through the continent. They had a pretty successful year but then, at the end of it, the expansion stopped. The invaded nations were responding but only with skirmishes and guerrilla warfare. The fact that winter had come was an important factor in them being successful and the enemy deciding that the advance of their troops could hold for a while as they decided a new course of action that would end the war in the favor, once and for all.

 The winter was unusually long and harsh. Snow covered the ruins of many cities and prisoners in camps realized that their situation was harder than they realized. Even though they had a goo reason to feel good about being in a warm place during the violent snowstorms, they realized that they were prisoners because of they weren’t they would be out there, standing in the storm with a weapon, defending their countries and their right to exist. Not all of them thought the same but a general feeling of sadness and confusion could be felt among the prisoners.

 When the winter ended, people assumed the enemy would resume expansion and the war would be over in months. But that didn’t happen. Pockets of resistance had appeared during the summer and they turned stronger once the weather got better. No matter their big guns and strategies, the enemy’s army couldn’t taken them all down as they wanted to. They had to be smart about it and realized that their plan for expansion had problems from the beginning, as they had never thought people could resist them.

 That entire year, the Resistance movement, which spanned several countries with different languages and cultures, was able to have some small victories over the enemy. They robbed some weapons or transports; they temporally blocked their advance or just annoyed them when trying to do anything. It was a very tense year and it was the turning point for everything or at least for most things. Prisoners were still in the camps and the destroyed cities remained on the ground. That hadn’t and wouldn’t change in a long while.

 The following winter, the enemy decided the offensive was taking too long so they did something that no one expected them to do: they reached out to the Resistance and proposed they negotiate a deal to end the war. Of course, the people that had been massacred and persecuted were not very keen on accepting anything that came from the invader. Most people called the move a trap and felt that it was a new strategy by their enemy to exterminate any opposition to their plans for the whole world. They didn’t trust them at all, they couldn’t.

 However, they finally sent a group to discuss what the ideas were for the ending of the conflict. The war had lasted for too long and it was worth the shot to at least know what they could potentially do to end the fighting. The group that met with the enemy was very nervous about everything but the others tended to tend as if they were allies. They gave them a great dinner and told them that they wouldn’t return any of the occupied lands but tht they could liberate some territory for people to leave in what could be called the Free Cities.

Those cities would have access to sea and rivers, would controlled by Resistance but an Occupation Board would oversee anything to do with the cities and their development. They would basically be free but with a few limitations. The group went back to the rest of the rebels with the proposal and, it had to be said, they discussed thoroughly for many days. It was very hard to discuss what was right or what was wrong because any measure is good to end death. But at what cost should that be done? The decision didn’t make everyone happy, that’s for sure.

miércoles, 17 de febrero de 2016

Ghosts of war

   Paul pulled the potato plant and some dirt feel into the ground, with a beautiful soft noise. The potatoes had grown decently big and so had the rest of the food he had grown in the back garden. From there, he could not see anyone else, only the shadow formed by the house and the hills that created several ups and downs that got to the sea itself. But the sea was very far and in this inland territory only the cold wind that remained from the past winter swept the land, as if washing away any impurities in this world.

 He pulled a basket, put the potatoes inside with other fresh products, and took it inside the house. There he washed them carefully, cut off the parts that didn’t have any use and then started cooking. Adam got there just in time with meat from the market on the other side of the valley. He seemed tired so Paul told him to sit down and relax as he finished preparing dinner. Outside, the sun had already left the sky and the night was dark and silent except for the snoring of Adam who had fallen asleep in the couch.

 Paul wasn’t in a hurry with dinner, especially because he had to prepare everything enough time to kill all the bacteria and because the meat was thick and took some time to cook. When he was finally done, Paul went to Adam and softly kissed his forehead. As if it had happened in a fairy tale, Adam opened his eyes and smiled because of the kiss and because of the fabulous smell invading the small house.

 They sat down to eat some delicious steamed vegetables with thick slices of fried meat and a side of mash potatoes that tasted different from the one they had known in their childhood but it was still good. As he always did, Adam grabbed one of Paul’s hands, his left one, and kept on eating like that all night. It was something he had started doing when they first moved there and it was just a way to ensure they would never be separated. Adam was extremely serious about it and once they had a fight over that, because Paul had told him that he couldn’t eat properly like that. That night, they didn’t sleep together.

 But this time it was different. When dinner was done, Adam helped Paul wash the dishes and went to bed at the same time. They took off their clothes; each one tired of their day, and just hugged to sleep. But differently than all other nights, a horrible sound woke them up in the middle of the night. It was a sound coming from a machine and there were not many machines in this region. They felt the ground shake, which was what woke them up, and the horrible sound of a plane going over the valley. They had heard planes before but this one different, much worse, as if the plane was a horrible beast of some kind. They held each other after the sound had finished, thinking of what it could mean.

 The next day in town, Adam talked to many villagers and even to some fisherman that travelled daily to the coast and the port to sell their products. Apparently most people had heard the same thing and everyone had been awaken by it.  The first thing they said was that the country was neutral, at least officially, and that they didn’t allow one of the factions to use their territory to do nothing. So either the plane came all the way from one of the continents or their government had just betrayed the neutrality that had been their main characteristic for so long.

 The truth was that no one really saw where the plane came from or where did it go but it was flying really low. The following days some more things happened: many witnesses saw red lights, balls of fire, over the ocean but very far at the same time. It was like a weird light show and there was a sound with it but because of he distance it was hard to say what it was. Then some farmers found tank tracks in their fields but they had never heard any of them passing around. Actually, the army didn’t even have tanks or planes or anything.

 Adam decided they should keep living their normal lives, not minding a lot about these events. Or at least that’s what he told Paul. But at nights he would often wake up sweating from nightmares involving tortures and lights like the ones over the ocean and Paul would ask what was wrong and Adam wouldn’t say. They fought over it a couple of times but mostly they just held each other and tried to be supportive and close, because anything could happen.

 The explanation to everything was written in pieces of paper that had been distributed all over the country. Their nation had accepted the use of several bases by one of the factions and they would use the country to fight a battle against the other faction, to finally crush them for good. Their land would not be caught under fire, only been use as a previous layover for every plane, boat and other war vehicle, even tanks that did target practice in a wasteland north of the valley. That explained the explosions many people had heard.

  So the war had never ended and it was apparently on an important stage, on a decisive point that made even change the face of the world. This secretly excited Adam because even after so many years away from the fight, he was still eager to fight for what he believed and for what he had done so much so many years ago. But Paul just didn’t address the subject. The only thing he said was that if they all wanted to keep on killing themselves, it was fine by him but he didn’t wanted nothing to do with any of that. He didn’t want the war to come to the village and that was it.

 Adam didn’t told Paul but he started to have meetings with many people from the region and they were already discussing if they should also join the fight and how would they do it and why. They had the tremendous chance that the authorities were so busy these days that a meeting in a farm wasn’t important enough for them to attend and tear apart. They would have done it but now the government was using all the resources it had to make their “guests” feel at home. Everyone knew the situation was a disguised invasion and that their country had kneeled without even the chance of fighting.

 Paul kept to himself. He started concentrating only in his garden and in fishing in the lake nearby and doing all these things to make his home the best part of the world. He would share with some villagers his discoveries about how diets could be better so to keep everyone strong during the winter and during the summer too. And what he started to do was to take long walks, always when Adam was about to come back from his meeting in town. He knew he would want to tell someone about it and he just didn’t want to hear about it. He’d rather have their neighbors or their dog help Adam with that.

 Their relationship became very tense and that was very strange for both of them as they had never been in such tension. They had been living together for over three years now, year in which they had build a home together and had found the other to be that person they wanted in their lives forever. They had been through hell and back to get to that valley and have everything that they enjoyed in their daily lives. They had fought together and suffered together and now it was supposed to be a time of peace for them, even if the world was falling apart.

 But the sense of responsibility in Adam was too strong. So one day he followed Paul to the lake, where he went to take a walk and get away from everything, and tried to talk to him. He told Paul, almost yelling, that he needed to go back to the fight because he felt he had to finish what he started, he had to make the west faction pay for what they had done back home, for what they had allowed to happen to them and to the world. They were destroying everything everyone held dear and the world would never be the same if someone didn’t stop them.

 Paul answered that he didn’t wanted the world to go back to what it was. He didn’t want the past because he hated it. He reminded Adam than in that glorious past they would have been hanged if they dared to live together, in that past people were also deprived of everything and lacked so much. Fighting for revenge wouldn’t change anything, no matter who won or how they won. Everything was always going to be the same, war or not.

 For a whole week they didn’t talk to each other and Adam even chose to sleep in the couch. But they loved each other. They couldn’t do that for long because it tore them apart slowly. The war raged on and they were trapped in the middle of the fire, not knowing what to do or where to go.

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.

jueves, 17 de diciembre de 2015

War there, peace here

   The park slowly fell into disuse. First, because it was all the way up the hill, something that had been a prime feature of the place but later was seen as just a silly way to make people pay more money for just some rides that they could easily find somewhere else. The rollercoaster, the ferris wheel, the bumpers cars and all those stands where you could get food and silly prizes were still there fifty years later but in a very different state.

 The city had wanted to dismantle the park but it would have been really expensive and it wasn’t a very rich area to pay for anything that big so they decided to send a team of experts to define if the park was safe as it was or if it had to be demolished, at least partially.

 It was a team of only three people that checked every single machine and structure for a period of five days. They used special devices to help them and took pictures. They were very noticeable in town because it wasn’t a very big city and people knew each other really well. It wasn’t a secret that most people believe the park should be left alone, as it had memories for many of the inhabitants of town but also because it was a very obvious and unique feature of town to have the park overlooking them from a hill. It was something like out of a movie.

 By the end of their studies, the team agreed the park was safe and that only some parts of the rollercoaster should be either demolished or repaired in order to avoid a future collapse. What surprised everyone was that the city council did nothing with the study and decided to file everything concerning the park. As they saw it, it was a place that was out of bounds, so if something collapsed no one would be hurt. After all, a perimeter fence had been built around the park many years ago and they could still manage to electrify it in order to keep out any intruders.

 The citizens were not very happy about this, as it would mean that a portion of the city’s electricity would go to a place no one cared about anymore. Some people presented their complaints but nothing happened. So the subject was left alone for a long time and people eventually forgot about the danger the study had shown, the electrified fence and so many other details that the council had omitted about the park.

 In the period of time that followed, the park was only seen as a feature of the city, like the rest of the hills and the forest to one side and the lake to the other. It was just something that was there and that no one really cared about a lot. It was ten years later, when young people, who didn’t know anything about the park and all that had happened with it, decided to are each other to cross the fence and get into the park. No one really knows why that came up but it did.

 They weren’t surprised when the first boy started climbing the fence and wasn’t electrocuted. Inadvertently, they had been the first people to realize that the perimeter fence of the park had not been electrified in many years. Actually, it had only been like that for a few months until the city dropped it. However, the townsfolk were never notified so they still thought safety was paramount among the rulers of the town.

 The kids loved to enter the park and eventually someone brought a pair of industrial cutters and made a whole on the fence in order for everyone to come in and just play around. Important to say they were just children and young adults, the oldest been twenty-five years old. The young ones liked to go around and destroy what could be destroyed, as well as use the former walkways as places to play baseball, pee and practice their shooting with toy guns. In the summer, they changed that to water guns.

 Meanwhile, the older new visitors went all the way up there to have beer and smoke cigarettes or marihuana. There was no place in town to do any of that without someone’s parents been aware of them so it was like a gold mine when they realized no one was looking at them in the park. Many got really drunk and passed out but friends would always help the guy or girl in trouble: they would help the person eat something, vomit as much as they needed to and then help them go home and say they had been food poisoned.

 Surprisingly, parents were very slow to understand what was happening and there’s no way to blame them as the country had entered another war in a far away land and many of the sons of the town had decided to go and defend the honor of their land. The truth behind this was that unemployment was rampant, which combined by the very traditional values of the region, made for a large part of the population supporting that war and being very proud that their children were participating in it.

 When they began to be killed, pride mutated into despair and worry and the fact that kids were smoking and drinking and playing in a dangerous place, was not really an important thing in the parent’s lives. They wanted to win that war but also see their boys, and in some cases girls, come back. The first coffins arrived only five months after the war had started.

 The perpetual state of mourning and overused patriotism was the perfect veil the younger kids needed to go to the park in the hill and just get away from their parents who spent every second of their day putting flags in every corner of the house or watching TV, usually the most fanatic TV station ever.

 They’d rather be shooting their toy guns to the roller coaster’s pillars or from the lower seats in the ferris wheel. It was amazing how the ambiance changed from the town square to the hill park. In the hill everyone laughed and ran and you could always pick up some gossip from the girl that sat in the benches to talk about their schoolmates. Even pets were allowed now as kids brought their dogs and other animals for their classmates and friends to meet.

 The truth is the place had become a kind of haven for children that were ignored at home. If the parents weren’t there for them, their friends would be. Many became friends after meeting in the park and many fell in love there too, initiating many relationships that would last for years and years, although kids had no idea of this.

 Even things as forbidden as two boys kissing was normal in their little world up in the hill, no one said anything to the boys that did it because there was an unspoken agreement that no one would judge anyone for anything they did, unless it was pretty violent or just wrong. For example, a group of kids saved a girl from being raped by some guy in one of the bumper cars and they decided to form some sort of security group, telling others to be aware of their surroundings at all time.

 Life was good for those kids and teenagers. And it was just like that for some years until an accident happened, the one that eventually was set to happen: the rollercoaster collapsed and killed two children and destroyed part of the fence and toppled trees that were located down the hill. As everyone in town was able to see the tragedy, no one was able to ignore reality anymore.

 Parents grieved now for the kids they had at home and realized what the city had done to them. Lawsuits ensued and media frenzy was created, as people loved all the drama and the tragedy behind this story.

Meanwhile, kids mourned their dead too and mourned the loss of the only place they had to be themselves, to enjoy being young in a world were adults were crazy enough to praise children going to war. The ones in the park talked about the subject often and thought all their parents were insane, even if none of them had said that to them ever.

After the tragedy, the town went back to worrying about those who had left willingly to die. But kids wouldn’t take it anymore. It all started with a twelve year old grabbing all the national flags in the house, piling ALL of them and burning them at the backyard. War had come home.