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Writing Saint and Soldier [M-LV]


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This is actually the opening chapter of something I wrote a while ago and decided to post...

Chapter 0

6/14/76, 11:13 UNM Standard Time
The Ivory Coast, West of Porto Novo

Private First Class Michael Burner unscrewed the lid of the bottle in his hand and took a deep draught of salty-tasting water. He drank until he thought it was half empty and screwed the lid back on, thinking of the dehydrated spirits in his back pocket. He decided to save them for after the battle: his victory drink. As he screwed the lid back on, he noticed one of the conscripts staring thirstily at his bottle but then looked quickly away when Burner looked back at him. He never could stand the conscripts; they were always so god damn quiet. Must have known they had no chance.

Burner looked around at the rest of the African trench he was standing in. The trenches were huge, wide enough for two rows of Mustang jeeps or even an Elephant tank and still have enough room for a few columns of infantry to march alongside. It was dug there by machinery that the UNM had brought over ?just in case? both the Sahara and the Congo regions were conquered by the enemies, forever lead by Rahze: the rebel, the god, the crusader and the conqueror.

Burner had been there, in the Sahara, with his partner Watkins and had experienced the fighting for himself. He had seen the barbarism, the hate, and the utmost fanaticism with which Rahze?s soldiers had fought and murdered his fellow soldiers as well as the anger the survivors used to avenge them. Burner had been given an anti-tank weapon and with Watkins, his loader, had personally seen to the destruction of four of Rahze?s tanks, but now they had been pushed back to the Slave & Ivory Coast were they would hold the line until Fleet Admiral Diaz?s fleet would reinforce their position. Diaz even promised to bring the means to take back all of Central Africa and allow for some of the soldiers who fought well to be replaced and given some time for R & R. Burner couldn?t wait for the fleet to come so he could get some time away from the war, his entire life had been in the shadow of the war and he had been fighting for four straight years.

Burner was tired of war; he wanted to rest and take some time to wash the blood of his hands. Diaz?s fleet wouldn?t come in time to get him out before the coming battle but it didn?t matter. Burner had fought through four years worth of hard fighting and he would just have to stick through one more battle. He focused his hearing for a second and realized that he could hear in the distance the grinding of tank treads. Burner looked at Watkins who was asleep against the trench wall, then lent over and touched his shoulder to wake him up and said ?They?re coming?. Watkins immediately jumped up and retrieved their bazooka from the far wall of the trench and handed it to Burner, who stood up at shoulder level with the trench wall and shouldered the weapon. Once more, he thought to himself, with feeling.

Ten Hours Later
Fort ALEXANDER, Sydney

Captain John Harrison vaulted down the underground corridors of Fort ALEXANDER, took a corner to fast and fell, hard. He rolled over, got up, and continued with little loss of momentum, dropping his black beret in the process. He didn?t pause to think about it though, as long as he had the folder in his right hand he wasn?t going to stop for anything.

Capt. Harrison turned another corner, this time a little slower, and continued his sprint through the hallways of the fortress. He looked ahead a little bit and saw a familiar sight: a black-haired colonel followed closely by three lieutenants. The colonel spotted Harrison running down the hallway and began to speak, ?Harrison, I?ve been?? But the captain didn?t have time to talk; he leaned his shoulder in and knocked the colonel out of his way and onto the floor. Normally even Harrison recognized that dashing down a hallway of a top military installation and knocking an officer three ranks above you on his ass was not acceptable behavior, but he felt the circumstances justified it.

He reached the end of the hallway and slammed into the far wall of an open elevator; he spent a second recovering from the high speed impact and then began pounding on the button panel which automatically scanned his fingerprint.

The door slid shut and Harrison put his hand on his knees and attempted to catch his breath while an aloof female voice came through the elevators speakers, ?Please state your name.? Still panting he answered ?Captain? John? Harrison? Then the voice came again ?Where is your business?? Harrison could never stand being questioned by the damn computer whenever he went to the deeper levels of the fortress but decided this wasn?t the time to complain,
?The Office of Field Marshal Kenneth Shepard?.
?What is the purpose of your business in the office of Field Marshal Kenneth Shepard??
Captain, your pulse is above average. Is something wrong??

The door of the elevator slid open and Capt. Harrison ran through while it was still only half open, ignoring the pair of MPs that had their rifles aimed at the elevator as the doors opened. No doubt the security program alerted them to screen him carefully and had they not recognized him they likely would have filled him full of wholes before he made it three steps past them. He dashed down the corridor to the door he knew to lead to Field Marshal Shepard?s office, and managed to open the door and get through without slowing. Harrison ran right to Shepard?s desk, where the Field Marshal sat and raised his head when the captain entered and said in a slightly surprised voice, ?Harrison?? The captain didn?t attempt to stop until he was less than a yard away from the desk; he nearly lost his balance and had to resort to windmilling his arms to keep standing. As soon as he was no longer in threat of toppling over, he threw the files he held on top of the desk and once again attempted to catch his breath.

The Field Marshal picked up the folder slowly, wondering what was so important that Captain Harrison had dashed past security to tell him, he looked at the folder for a second and then let if fall from his hands and hit the desk.
?What is this, Captain??
?Fleet Admiral Diaz?s fleet? was attacked by an enemy armada, they couldn?t reinforce the coast.? Harrison replied, panting.
?Then what happened?? Shepard asked, now sounding genuinely worried.
?No contact with Diaz since the first reports of engagement, sir?
?What about the-?

Suddenly, the door to the office burst open again and Harrison, recognizing who just entered, backed against the wall to the side and stood perfectly upright and saluted. A second Field Marshal had just entered the room: Field Marshal Yoshi Oshikawa. Field Marshal Shepard stood and saluted, as did Oshikawa. The Field Marshals then cut off their salutes and Oshikawa began talking rather loudly.

?Do you know what just happened?? Oshikawa asked sounding angry. ?Captain Harrison here has just brought me a report that I was in the process of reading? Shepard said gesturing toward the wall where Harrison stood. ?Well do you know how it happened? Do you know how Fleet Admiral Diaz?s fleet was so quickly slaughtered? Do you know how our entire contingent in Africa was just destroyed?? Oshikawa demanded. ?Calm down, Field Marshal. We don?t know that the fleet was destroyed, their communications may have been disabled? Shepard said calmly. ?You are far too optimistic, Shepard. All of those soldiers are dead.? Oshikawa, now sounding calmer, replied. ?Every last one of our soldiers in Africa is dead.? Shepard nodded his head, and said quietly, ?What about the men of Zeta Corps? They were in Africa, were they not?? Oshikawa didn?t reply, it seemed he didn?t know. Shepard turned his head and said ?Captain, was there anything in the report of them??

?Sir, we have no reason to that the Zeta Corps suffered any losses. They seem to be half as good at staying alive as they are at killing.? Harrison replied, with a trace of venom in his voice.

Harrison hated reporting casualties; it made him think of his brother who he had been told was killed in Europe. Shepard often asked him about his older brother, something Harrison always wondered about.
Why was the Field Marshal so interested in a dead soldier?

Though Harrison was clueless, the reason was because Shepard knew he was not actually dead. Though he was fighting for his life.

If anyone has any comments/criticism/feedback/etc. I'd be happy to hear. Also it might be worth noting that this is just an intro and the bulk of the story is told from three different groups of characters with intertwining plot lines as well as delving into how the political situation, how the war began, and the psychological condition of Rahze.

The story follows the marines and command crew of a submersible cruiser named the [i]Argo[/i] as they fight the war from South America to Asia, a group of officers initially stationed at the underground super-fortress Fort HANNIBAL in Sydney as they lead soldiers and discover the sinister working and spy games played by Intelligence, and the group of super soldiers Zeta Corps that experience the heaviest fighting special operations of the war occasionally against the Templar Unit, that consists of some of the most powerful combatants in the world lead. The Zeta Corps story is split between the development of the fighters as well as the past of their leader.
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