Resistance

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jegs2
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Resistance

Post by jegs2 » 2004-06-10 03:06pm

Decided at long last to write a fanfic, but this is from the US Army perspective. The setting is 1998 in the Kuwaiti desert. It is but a draft, and I'll likely revise it over time. I'm kind of lazy, and sometimes my profession leaves me too drained to write, but if enough interest is generated in the story, I'll continue to develop it. Enjoy the first chapter!


Chapter 1


First Lieutenant Gregory Yost shifted on his cot. Sleep came to him fleetingly at best, but stifling heat bore into his body, and even the metal supports within the cot burned his skin when he was not careful and allowed himself to come in contact with it. A pool of sweat soaked the t-shirt he wore, causing his arm to stick to his forehead when he slept. Off to Greg’s left, a tall fan stood, mocking him in its stillness. The thing had burned out only hours after another man had turned it on. The sides of the GP-medium tent were rolled up, revealing only mosquito netting. The air that wafted in felt as though it came from a hair drier. In frustration, Greg glanced at his watch. He grimaced as he realized it was only shortly after noon, and this wasn’t even the hottest part of the day. Yes, he was on night shift, which made the workday bearable, but sleep was a phantom that rarely showed itself in this sweltering heat. The Kuwaiti desert was horribly hot this time of year. Greg reached down to the ground to grab his water bottle and took a swig. The water was hot, but at least it was wet. He closed his eyes in an attempt to will his body to sleep. In the background, a power generator’s drone assisted him in his quest, and he reluctantly drifted off.



BEEP-BEEP, BEEP-BEEP, BEEP-BEEP, BEEP- Greg jabbed his hand off to the side, where the small battery-powered alarm clock rested on his foot locker, and he shut off the device. He was very tired, and it was exceedingly unfair that further sleep was now denied him. He slowly peeled himself out of the sweat-soaked cot and sat, staring at the burned out fan across the tent, it seeming to look back at him in its impotence. He tilted his head down to look at his watch. It was 1700. The blazing sun had traversed closer to the horizon, and the heat had subsided. The thousands of flies relished in flight, now that it was cool enough again for them to fly. Several lined the edge of his cot, sucking up the sweat Greg had left for them. Several more were on various parts of Greg, drinking his perspiration. He had long ago stopped batting them away, for that proved futile and only made him hotter. Several other men were getting ready for their shift, some already heading outside either to wash up or eat.



The food wasn’t terrible tonight, and the salad proved almost good. Greg smiled to himself, thinking it was probably pretty difficult to mess up a salad. He knew that the cooks were doing the best they could out here, so he thanked them for the food, as he always did. Greg worked his way toward a picnic bench, where other soldiers from the night shift were busily shoveling food into their mouths. Off to the right of the bench, Greg spotted a HMMWWV with a large dial thermometer hanging from it. He saw that the temperature had dropped to 110 F. The cursed flies were absolutely everywhere. Already, the food on his tray sported about a dozen of them. He sat down next to First Lieutenant Steve Hovey, who was about half-way through his meal.



“What’s up, Greg?” queried Steve while chewing on the evening’s mystery meat.



“I’m as tired as the day is long, buddy. If I don’t start getting more sleep, I’m gonna pass out on shift.”



“Nothing happens around here at night anyway, so what’s the harm?” replied Steve. Greg thought about that. He was the assistant S2 for the battalion, which defaulted him to night shift. CPT Hugh Anderson was the Battalion S2, and he was also Greg’s boss. These “Intrinsic Action” missions were pretty boring when the Kuwaitis decided it was just too hot to play. The days got up to 140 F, so training pretty much came to a standstill from 1000 to 1600 every day. The night shift did little more than monitor the radios and file the usual reports. The battalion commander had authorized a satellite TV for news purposes, but at around 2300 the thing was usually set to Star Movies. Every once in a while, the battalion would conduct night training, and that would alleviate some boredom, but for the most part the nights were dead.



“Yeah, I guess you’re right, but with my luck the Old Man would walk in just as I’m nodding off. Oh well, that’s why God made coffee.”



“And dip,” replied Steve, patting the can of Copenhagen in his pocket.



“Yeah, that too, but I’m trying to cut down on that stuff.”



Steve looked at his watch and groaned inwardly. It was only 2335, and the night was crawling. He glanced over at the S3 section. Steve was seated on a folding chair, a radio handset in one hand and a mug of coffee in the other. He, like most of the folks on night shift, was gazing into the TV. Greg followed Steve’s gaze to the screen. Some Indian movie was playing on the Star Movies channel. In the background, Greg could hear the beeps of the SINCGARS radios, followed by droning of tired voices. Those were company command posts (CPs) conducting radio checks or sending in scheduled reports. Greg looked over his status charts. Only C Company had yet to send in their sensitive items report. He grabbed his handset and glanced at the radio.



“Charger X-Ray, this is Deathbringer Two Alpha, over.” Greg got no response, so he repeated the transmission. No response.



“Any Charger element, any Charger element, this is Deathbringer Two Alpha, over.” No response. Greg looked over at the S3 section of the tactical operations center. Most of the men had their DCU tops off, sporting t-shirts, their eyes still glued to the TV.



“Captain Higgins,” said Greg.



“Yeah, BICC, what is it?” said CPT Vince Higgins, annoyed at Greg for forcing his attention away from the second-rate Indian movie. Greg chafed inwardly. He hated being called, “BICC.” It was his title as the Assistant S2, standing for “Battlefield Intelligence Coordination Center.” He had never understood why his duty position was called a center, but he really didn’t like what “BICC” rhymed with.



“Sir, I haven’t got a Green 2 report from Charger, and they won’t respond on the radio,” said Greg.



“Maybe they’re asleep.”



“Yes sir, that’s possible. I was hoping you could try to raise them on the Ops net.” CPT Higgins looked at Greg as though he had something growing out of his forehead, but then he motioned to his RTO, Sergeant Jones.



“SGT Jones, see if the Charger CP is awake, would ya?”



“Yes sir.” SGT Jones picked up his handset and radioed the CP. After three tries, he got a tired response from someone and told them that the BICC was trying to reach them on the Operations and Intelligence (O&I) net. Greg picked up his handset and called the Charger CP. Once he got the information he needed, he logged it on his tracking chart and in his log. Looking down at his watch, Greg saw that is was only 2350. Sleepiness washed over him like a wave. The coffee wasn’t doing its job. Greg stood up and walked over to the S3 section.



“Sir, I got all of my reports in from the companies, so I think I’ll take a walk to the latrine,” said Greg to CPT Higgins. Higgins looked up at him and nodded, returning his attention to the TV.



Greg walked out into the night, closing the tent flap behind him. The battalion was ensconced inside of a kabal, so light discipline did not exist. Two giant mounds of sand ringed the battalion with two entrances, guarded by the duty company and some hapless Headquarters soldiers. Overall, the kabal was about three miles in diameter. Even so, it was dark outside, and Greg looked up to see countless stars against the blackness. The kabal was about 40 miles north of Kuwait City, so the only light came from within the kabal and any celestial light from the night sky. Greg sighed, as the temperature had dropped to just under 100. He had to be careful, for sand vipers were all around, and the things did not like to be stepped on, often showing their appreciation through a deadly bite. Greg knew all too well the policy for anyone suffering a snake bite. You had to kill the snake and bring its body with you, so you could be flown to Kuwait City where they would produce anti-venom from the snake. Otherwise, you’d probably be dead in short order. Such knowledge caused Greg to walk slowly and cautiously.



The piss poles were located out by the homemade porta-johns, and there were no lights around those, so the place was out in the darkness. Greg didn’t carry a flashlight or night vision goggles with him, so his memory guided him toward shadows that he knew to be the right location. When Greg was about ten feet away, he could make out white PVC pipes sticking out of the sand at 45-degree angles, with mosquito screens lashed to the tops of them. The sand around the poles was damp from the relief of others. Greg added to the dampness.



As Greg was walking back to the TOC, he thought he saw flashes in the night sky. Stopping, he looked upward. Stars looked back down at him. He blinked, thinking it was odd that lightning would be in the vicinity. This wasn’t storm season in the Kuwaiti desert, and only the most intense dust storms produced lightning, and there was only the smallest stirring of a too-warm breeze. He didn’t hear any thunder either. Shrugging, Greg continued his trek. As he entered the TOC, he saw that most were still blankly watching the TV. Greg sat back down in his chair. He heard some curses from the S3 section. The movie playing on the TV was intermittently interrupted with snow and squiggly lines. CPT Higgins called for the soldier from the Signal section.



“What’s with the stupid TV, SIGO?” demanded Higgins. “SIGO” was a shortened term for “Signal Officer,” which the Specialist facing Higgins was not, but the term “SIGO” stuck to any signal type on shift at the time. SPC Flory told Higgins he didn’t know, but he’d check on it. He disappeared through the TOC entrance flaps. Meanwhile, the picture on the TV became more erratic.



“Change to something else. Where’s the remote?” said CPT Higgins. Steve walked over to one of the battle desks and grabbed the remote. He switched to a different channel, but the picture showed no signs of improvement. He switched to Star News. The picture was constantly interrupted, but what the newscaster was saying made everyone sit up straighter.



An Arabic man with a slightly British accent was speaking, “…and BBC continues to receive reports of multiple unidentified fighter craft attacking airfields and military bases throughout Europe. According to reports, the aircraft are like nothing they have ever seen. The British government reports they have managed to shoot down only a few of the unidentified fighters, but they have lost many fighter jets in the process.” The picture switched to a view of a blue sky over a city. Greg could not make out the city, but in the sky he saw what looked like a light-grey wedge. The camera was trying to zoom in for a closer look. The announcer continued, “Reports are coming in from the United States that they are…. Wait. This just in: We have received reports that Washington D.C. is under heavy attack. No government or organization has claimed respon…” The signal cut out abruptly, and snow replaced the announcer’s image. All of the soldiers in the TOC, fully awake now, looked at each other in shock and disbelief.



“This has got to be some kind of joke!” said Steve. He feverishly switched channels, each one revealing only snow.



“Pretty good joke,” intoned Greg.



“Hey SIGO!” shouted CPT Higgins. SPC Flory reappeared through the SICUP flaps.



“Sir, I couldn’t find anything wrong with the dish. It’s aligned where it’s supposed to be, and it’s getting power. The right lights are on, so we should be getting a clear signal. He glanced over to the snow-filled TV in irritation.



“Did someone take out the satellites?” said Steve. CPT Higgins looked at Steve.



“There’s only a couple of nations capable of taking out satellites, and we’re one of em,” replied Higgins. Besides, who would want to take out an entertainment satellite? A look of concern clouded Higgins’ face. “Hey Steve! Go grab me a plugger, would ya?”



“Yes sir,” said Steve with a confused look but then headed toward the M577 from which the S3 SICUP was booted. He reappeared with a tan-colored bulky GPS in his hand.



“Give me a fix on our position, Steve.” Steve began pressing buttons on the device. The old PLGRs were slow to boot, slow to find satellites, and even slower to figure out where you were at, but they were reliable and sturdy. Five minutes passed and Steve shook his head.



“What’s the problem?” inquired CPT Higgins.



“It’s just weird, sir. I’m picking up only two satellites. We normally can get six out here.”



“Well, whoever those bastards on the news channel were, it looks like they’ve been picking off our GPS satellites too. But who in the Hell would want to attack us, or have the nuts to do so?” Higgins appeared to go blank for a few seconds and then turned to SGT Jones. “SGT Jones, go wake up the Old Man.” Jones looked a bit stricken. Waking up the battalion commander was not a pleasant task, but he headed out of the TOC anyway.



“Steve, I want you to try to reach Brigade Headquarters in Doha on the Spitfire. See if they know what’s going on. Don’t want the Old Man to come in here only to find out I don’t know what the Hell to say.” Steve nodded and walked over to the AN/PSC-5 and began speaking into the microphone.



“Greg, see if you can raise the intel weenies at Brigade. Maybe they’ve got a clue.” Greg nodded and turned to his SINCGARS radio. The Brigade O&I net ran off of a retransmission, so he knew he should be able to reach someone there.



“Sir, I get nothing off the Spitfire,” said Steve.



“Okay. Pull out the HF and see if Brigade is monitoring that.” Steve looked a bit wounded.



“Sir, I don’t know where that is, and I don’t know how to use it.”



“It’s a radio, like any other. How hard can it be?” replied CPT Higgins. He looked over to SPC Flory, “Do you know how to work an HF?”



“Yes sir. I’ll have it up in a few minutes,” said Flory. He turned to his section’s M577 and disappeared into it.



“Sir, I’ve got someone from Brigade S2 on the line,” said Greg. CPT Higgins turned to Greg. “They’re saying they saw the same thing we did. They’re contacting ARCENT-KU to find out more. They said they’ll call us back when they find something out.”



“Alright, fine. We’ll just…”



“The battalion commander!” shouted SGT Rogers, one of Greg’s section NCOs. All heads whirled toward the entrance flaps and everyone except the soldiers on the radios stood up. Lieutenant Colonel Harry Bertha rubbed some sleep out of his eyes, but he also bore a level of alertness that came with his years of experience.



“Okay Vince, why am I awake?” rumbled LTC Bertha in a deep but tired voice. He was a tall man with steel-gray hair (what little there was of it) in his mid-forties.



“Sir, we saw reports on Star News of attacks on both Britain and CONUS, and…”



“What?!” LTC Bertha suddenly looked more alert.



“Yes sir,” continued CPT Higgins, “We saw footage of strange fighter craft attacking airfields, and the announcer said that Washington D.C. was under heavy attack.” LTC Bertha glanced over at the TV, frowning as he was greeted by snow on the screen.



“What’s wrong with the TV?” inquired the commander.



“Sir, it went out completely during the newscast. I’m not sure, but we think maybe the satellite transmission was interrupted or something.”



“…or something,” murmured the commander. CPT Higgins paused and then continued.



“Yes sir. We can’t raise Brigade on the Spitfire, our pluggers aren’t registering…”



“Pluggers not registering?” interrupted LTC Bertha.



“Yes sir. Lieutenant Hovey said he could pick up only two satellites.”



“Only one now, sir” interrupted Steve.



“One?!” replied LTC Bertha and CPT Higgins simultaneously. Steve nodded. LTC Bertha looked back at CPT Higgins.



“Sir, SPC Flory is setting up the HF now, and Lieutenant Yost has managed to raise Brigade S2 through O&I.” LTC Bertha turned his attention to Greg.



“What did they say?”



“Sir, they’re trying to reach ARCENT-KU to find out more. Right now, they’re clueless.” replied Greg.



“Okay, stay on it,” said LTC Bertha. He turned to CPT Higgins, “If Lieutenant Yost can reach Brigade S2, then you should be able to reach Brigade S3. The retrans isn’t picky about which net it’s bouncing.”



“Yes sir. So far they haven’t responded, but we’ll continue to try and raise them.”



For the next hour, Greg continued to communicate with his brigade counterpart. SPC Flory got the HF radio up, and Battalion S3 gained contact with their counterpart at Brigade. They too had tried to reach ARCENT-KU. At about 0220, Brigade called back Greg on his radio and told them that ARCENT-KU was unable to reach CONUS in any way except HF. No satellite communications of any kind were possible. The reports they got from CONUS were not good.



“Wake up all the company commanders, and wake up the rest of the staff,” said LTC Bertha at 0255. CPT Higgins nodded and the RTOs began calling the company CPs. Meanwhile, soldiers headed out to wake up the various sleeping staff officers.



At 0330, all company commanders and primary staff officers were gathered in the TOC, forming a loose crowd around LTC Bertha, who stood by the large map board. A few of the officers looked irritated to be awake at such an hour, while the rest appeared to be a mixture of puzzled and tired. CPT Higgins stepped next to the battalion commander and filled in all of the officers on what he knew, alarm visibly growing and replacing other emotions on their faces as he continued to speak. More than a few obscenities were muttered.



By 0730, all M-577s were packed, tents were put away, and the battalion was ready to move. In the distance, Greg could see the Engineers bulldozing down the sand walls of the kabal in different directions. He would get no sleep today. The night shift usually paid in sleep when the battalion TOC had to jump to a new location. But this was different – it was no training exercise. Brigade had sent orders that the battalion had to strike the kabal and array itself in a battle formation, vehicles spread out. He also heard that 3-78 Infantry had received similar orders. They, along with his own battalion, were the only US forces deployed to Kuwait for this operation. He also heard that the Brigade Headquarters was deploying out of Camp Doha and into the desert. Greg felt some trepidation as he recalled the images on TV the night prior. He was very tired, but he now shared an alertness with his comrades that comes with news that your nation has come under attack. Alertness, fear – and a growing sense of anger.
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Post by consequences » 2004-06-10 06:53pm

I'm thinking that using military radio at this point would be a pretty serious invitation to get blasted by the invaders. Of course, they are probably busy elsewhere, but as soon as they've worked their way down their list of targets, they'll undoubtedly go a'hunting for the source of those transmissions.

Unless of course, this is one of those weird cultures that never developed radio, in which case all bets are off.

In any case, continue... Or Be...

Looked At Funny. :wink:
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Post by jegs2 » 2004-06-10 08:03pm

The invaders are occupied elsewhere, but they most likely have noticed. Keep in mind that SINCGARS are frequency-hopping radios that are also encrypted. Not to say the invaders won't be able to pick up on them, but it may slow them down a bit.
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Post by consequences » 2004-06-10 09:27pm

jegs2 wrote:The invaders are occupied elsewhere, but they most likely have noticed. Keep in mind that SINCGARS are frequency-hopping radios that are also encrypted. Not to say the invaders won't be able to pick up on them, but it may slow them down a bit.

They may be frequency hopping, but that shouldn't prevent a more advanced enemy from localising them after repeated use. And deserts make great spots for Demonstration Kinetic Interdiction Strikes to Over-Awe the Primitive Natives(TM). :)
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Post by NecronLord » 2004-06-11 09:12am

Excellent stuff. What can I say but 'More.'

Humm, a light grey wedge... *looks up into the upper left corner of the page*

Humm... Sadism...

Though if it is that, then either the UK govt is lying to calm the civvies down a bit, or the pilots were real careless.
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Post by Col. Crackpot » 2004-06-11 09:19am

hmmmmmm, i like this!

thalt shalt write more!
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Resistance - Chapter 2

Post by jegs2 » 2004-07-01 01:29pm

Resistance

Chapter 2


Greg felt the water coursing beneath his skis as he held on to the ski grip, the rope before him stretching out to connect to a bright-red speed boat. Grins were on the faces of those on the boat that were looking back at Greg, and he grinned back. Off to the left, Greg saw a woman sunbathing on a pier, and his smile widened. He motioned to the people on the boat and gestured in the direction of the sunbathing woman. The driver looked over to his right, saw the woman and nodded. The boat began to swing to the right. Greg juked his skis so as to swerve to the right. At just the right moment, Greg banked hard on the skis, cascading a large wall of water onto the bathing woman. He whooped in triumph, and he swiveled his head to watch the woman’s reaction. Greg watched as the woman, thoroughly peeved, rose in disgust and swung her menacing gaze toward him. Then he saw what appeared to be concern replacing her anger. She waved at Greg, seeming to warn or wave him off. Puzzled, Greg turned back to the front – just in time to see the giant tin wall of a boathouse. SLAM!

Greg awoke to a deafening thunder. A monstrous explosion rocked the ground beneath him. He was already partially dressed as he was thrown from his cot. Shouts of men around him seemed only slowly to replace the memory of his dream, and in the distance, Greg could hear what sounded like the WHUMP of not-so-distant thunder. They were under attack! But from whom? Were Saddam’s troops really that stupid – to attack a heavy US Brigade Combat Team? Then Greg remembered the news from the day before, and he remembered the orders that had driven both battalions deeper into the desert. He had very little time to think about any of that though, because his M577 was already fired up and preparing to move. Forgetting his cot, Greg stumbled over to HQ20.

“What the hell is going on, Sir?!” shouted Greg to his boss as he poked his head into the rear of the track.

“We’re being attacked! Now get your butt in here, because we’re moving out now!” replied CPT Anderson. Greg stumbled through the hatch, which was quickly closed. The track began rumbling forward. Through the dust inside of the vehicle, Greg could see two legs sticking up through the top hatch. He looked over at his boss. CPT Anderson had two “dog bones” (hand microphones) glued to each ear, his face fixed in concentration. The M2 machine gun on top of the vehicle barked angrily, and Greg could see occasional spent cases fall through the top hatch and bounce about on the track floor. He glanced over at the map that hung by some 550 cord on the wall. No red markings denoted enemy positions – nothing was templated. Whatever was attacking them was not depicted on that map. A hand with a dog bone was shoved at Greg, and he looked up to see CPT Anderson trying to hand off one of the handsets. He took it and pulled out some paper and a pen.

“…is Assassin Six, roger! We’ve spotted three red-air contacts. Unable to identify type, but two of them are shaped kind of like bowties, break.”

“…one in the middle looks a bit different. It’s the one dropping ordinance on our positions. We’ve got…wait, break.”

“...My wingman clipped one of the bowtie aircraft with his coax and it appears to be breaking off from the other two.”

“…Break, break, break, this is Deathbringer Six. Want all air guards and TCs to target those aircraft now, and dismount those stinger teams. Out!”

“Deathbringer Six, this is Cougar Six! I’ve lost up to 70 percent of my combat power. Those bastards are pounding us with those bombs and those green beams of theirs. We’ve taken…” Static replaced the transmission.

“This is Deathbringer Six. Dragon, I want you to engage close…”

“Break, break, break, this is Bandit Six! Have three contacts moving Northeast at Grid November Victor two tree six, fife four one. Appear to have two legs – walking vehicles of some kind, over!”

“Bandit Six, Deathbringer Six, are they close enough to engage with your tanks, over?”

“Negative, the threat victors are out of range. Do you want me to break off a platoon to engage them, over?” The radio went silent for about thirty seconds.

“Negative Bandit Six. Continue your course and engage them only if they come into range. Do the threat victors seem to be closing with you?”

“This is Bandit Six. Negative, they aren’t moving as fast as we are, we… break.”

“Those threat aircraft have broken off and are moving Southeast.” The radio went silent again. Greg could feel his track changing course a few times over the next half hour, so they were not heading in the same direction. He overheard two company commanders warning the battalion commander of Class Three shortages. Those tanks drank JP8 like it was going out of style, and they had lost one of the fuelers to the bowtie aircraft. They had to be going somewhere. He leaned over and shouted a question to CPT Anderson, who replied with a shrug. Well, his boss didn’t know where they were going either. They were heading for Iraq. Of that, Greg was fairly certain. But that made no sense, since there were no friends in that direction. Those walking things were coming from the Southeast, from the direction of Kuwait City. Greg knew of no nation, friendly or otherwise, that had walking armored vehicles, so who did the things belong to? Without some Class 3 re-supply, they weren’t going to get far.

Soldiers were moving in all directions, and the darkness was nearly complete, except for the twinkling stars overhead. Most soldiers were wearing night vision devices, and only inside SICUPs and tracks did red light scatter darkness, no red light escaping into the night. Peering upward, Greg now knew that those twinkling points of light held a newly menacing aspect to them. Through local news reports and HF radio, he had learned that the attacks they had been under were not from any traditional enemy but apparently a threat from the stars themselves. Alien invaders! He still chuckled at the absurdity of it but then swallowed. Many good men were now dead on the desert floor, attacked by those bowtie aircraft. From what he and his boss could gather over various radios, a very large invasion force using exotic weapon systems had assaulted nearly every major city on the planet, and resistance, although initially heavy, had died down to what now amounted to insurgency in most areas, including the United States.

Belatedly, the Brigade Commander had ordered strict radio discipline within the BCT. An enemy from the stars certainly had the ability to triangulate and likely intercept their radio transmissions. For all Greg knew, that is how those bowtie craft found them in the first place. They were actually working off of printed SOIs now and using rotating code words and phrases, instead of simply relying on their SINCGARS to scramble their transmissions and frequency-hop. They were also transmitting any FM over low power, when they were transmitting at all. Greg’s eyes were heavy, as sleep had been no friend to him over the past few days. The BCT was relatively scattered, and his battalion was spread out fairly thinly. Greg knew that enhanced their force protection, but while he knew that their moving every three hours did too, he didn’t have to like it. He was off shift now, so Greg shuffled over to his track. It was backed up to the S3 track. The Fire Support track was next to his, and the signal track was next to the S3 track. All four tracks were backed up to each other with their ramps down, and a couple of ponchos were strung overhead with 550 cord. This was known as the “hot TOC” configuration, because it could be torn down and moved on almost no notice. From inside of the S3 track, Greg could hear a radio. From the tinny sound of it and occasional whining in the background, he figured it was either AM or shortwave. A British voice droned on about events, “…and all citizens are asked to remain calm. The white-clad troopers are here to assist us for a smooth transition to rule by the Empire. You are warned to do whatever they tell you to do and do nothing rash, for they while they want to help, they are well-trained and fully capable of dealing quickly with troublemakers. Her Majesty the Queen spoke today asking all British subjects to comply with…” Greg walked to his own track. It was late, and he was so tired – much too tired to listen to that. As Greg stretched out his foam sleeping pad on top of his track, he thought of home. Was Fort Stewart now occupied by these white-clad troopers? What of Hinesville itself? Were those troopers walking around in Hinesville? His mom and dad lived in Tampa. Was Tampa bombed? Were those troopers there, walking around? Were they shooting at people? Removing them from their homes? Visions of menacing white-clad troopers patrolling the streets of his hometown filled Greg’s head as he drifted off into a fitful sleep.

The day was horribly bright, and the sand reflected that brightness also in the form of heat. Greg could see waves of heat lifting off of the desert floor. To his left he saw movement on the ground. Glancing in that direction, he saw a large tan spider dart beneath a HMMWV, looking for shade. Greg shook his head. Those camel spiders were everywhere. In the distance, Greg saw the shape of a camel, now two of them. He could barely make out human forms perched atop them. Though they were too far away, Greg knew those were most likely Bedouins. Those nomads probably knew nothing of news about invaders from the stars, nor would they likely care if they knew. Their lifestyle had remained pretty constant over thousands of years in this unforgiving desert, and wars had come and gone; civilizations and empires risen and fallen. Still, the Bedouins went about their age-old business. Several officers were now gathered about him, many standing and shading their eyes against the sun, others sitting cross-legged and chattering among themselves. Senior NCOs filtered into the area, most of them congregating together muttering in low voices. Most of the soldiers gathered took occasional swigs from water bottles or canteens. A few munched on parts of MREs. All of them were there to hear what the “Old Man” had to say.

Lieutenant Colonel Harry Bertha strode into the midst of the crowd. Some of the soldiers who had been sitting began to rise, but LTC Bertha motioned them to stay seated saying, “As you were.” The crowd, which had been chattering, now grew silent as all eyes swiveled to meet their commander. Greg saw that LTC Bertha was tired – very tired. His eyes bore red bags beneath them and his face was gaunt. He seemed to have aged ten years in the space of only a few days. His very short steel-gray hair seemed grayer now. To the commander’s left and slightly to the rear stood a slightly taller black man with no hair and a very thin moustache. He wore an iron expression that held also years of experience and compassion. Command Sergeant Major Doug Shannon had been in the Army for nearly 30 years and had experienced combat in both Desert Storm and Panama. Above his left breast pocket, Greg saw the brown embroidered jumpmaster wings with a small gold star embroidered in the middle – evidence of a combat jump. Greg had heard the stories of how the man had run out of ammunition and been forced to kill in hand-to-hand combat. He also knew that CSM Shannon never spoke of it and would change the subject if a soldier brought it up. The sergeant major peered over the gathered crowd, exuding a quiet confidence in what was certainly an atmosphere lacking of it.

LTC Bertha spoke, “We last had contact with 3-78 Infantry early last night. We have heard nothing from them since.” Moans and sighs from the crowd followed and the commander held up his hand, “That does not mean they’re not still out there! There could be a number of reasons they have been out of contact, including Colonel Pierce’s order that we maintain radio silence unless absolutely necessary.” The commander gazed out to meet the eyes of his soldiers.

“You all have worked really hard over these past couple of days, and we have engaged an enemy entirely new to us, and I know! I know most of you want to know just what was attacking us the day before yesterday, when we lost so many men to those strange craft,” LTC Bertha lightly sighed and seemed to collect his thoughts.

“Over the past couple of days, we have managed to gather some tidbits of news of what may be causing these attacks. As most of you have already heard, we no longer have any contact with the United States, and even our contact with Brigade is spotty at best, even though they jumped their TOC out to the desert. Many of you noticed that your Pluggers don’t work. We think that is because the GPS satellites have been knocked out. From the news reports we have got, the United States, and indeed the whole planet, was attacked en masse by an interstellar empire.” The gathered men exchanged incredulous glances, muttering (and some chuckling) with each other.

“This is no joke!” thundered CSM Shannon, “Now shut up and listen up!” The men grew silent, returning their attention to LTC Bertha, a few nervous glances going to the CSM. LTC Bertha continued, “I know it sounds ridiculous, but so far as we can tell, it’s the truth. I’ve never seen aircraft before like the ones that attacked us, and we know the Iraqis have nothing like that. We also know that our enforcement of the No Fly Zone would have shot down anything the Iraqis tried to put in the air. No, what we saw isn’t owned by anybody….on this planet, and since the things attacked us we know they’re not friendly. We also identified two-legged armored vehicles, and no nation that we know of deploys such vehicles. The only other pieces we gathered are from news sources supposedly controlled by this new threat force. They call themselves the “Empire.” Their troops for the most part appear to be clad in white plastic-looking armor from head to toe. According to the same news sources, they have set up governing facilities in every major national capitol. If the news sources we monitored are to be believed, their empire controls millions of worlds.” The men muttered with each other again, alarm on their faces. A few just stared blankly ahead. One of the company commanders stood up.

“Sir, if this empire is so vast and powerful, how the heck are we supposed to fight against it?” said CPT Hayes, the B Company commander.

“We’re still trying to work that out, Phil. There is simply too much we don’t yet know. In fact, I’m glad you brought that up, because this evening we are holding a meeting between myself, the staff and all company commanders and first sergeants to discuss that very issue. In the meantime, we will continue to move in order to keep the enemy from getting a fix on us, and we will keep FM comms to an absolute minimum. Use runners. That’s all I have for now, so let’s get back to work.” For the remainder of the day, Greg went over information with CPT Anderson on what they knew of the Empire’s forces. So far it wasn’t much. They knew they had the bowtie craft and two-legged walkers. Based off of reports and some spotty television images, the white-clad soldiers were plentiful. Over that afternoon, Greg used the HF radio to contact the States. He reached a specialist monitoring a set at Fort Gordon. From the specialist he learned that the invaders had struck hard and fast at all major cities in the US. Horrific green lances of fire had streaked down from space, obliterating the Pentagon, the Whitehouse, the Capitol building, and many other hubs of military command and control. The skies were darkened with the bowtie craft and many other types of craft. Apparently, civil authorities such as police forces had put up the most resistance, but the white-clad soldiers had made short work out of them. The few jet fighters that were scrambled were also quickly overwhelmed, and most airbases in CONUS had been obliterated by the green bolts from space. Simply put, the US had not been expecting an attack, especially from space, so they were taken completely by surprise.

In the darkness, CPT Eckstein, the S1, called roll. All company commanders were present except for CPT Simpson, the C Co. commander who had been killed by the bowtie craft two days prior. His XO, 1LT Nick Sudo was now in command. Once the roll call was complete, LTC Bertha stood up to address his men.

“So, here is what we found out today. Greg managed to reach someone at Fort Gordon using an HF radio. For some reason the invaders have not yet occupied that post, so for now it is still being manned by our troops – those that are left and haven’t gone AWOL yet anyway. The invaders have an impressive array of weaponry at their disposal, including very large, four-legged APCs that are heavily armed. They have garrisons in nearly every major city. The US government no longer exists as a functional entity. The enemy wiped out the Whitehouse, the Pentagon and many other key C2 nodes from space in their initial strike. From all accounts, the President, the Vice President, much of Congress, and all chiefs of staff were killed. The Empire is claiming control over the entire planet, and only minor nations have yet to fall. Some fallout from the Empire’s invasion was an invasion of South Korea by North Korea, which thought the invasion was from the US. Seoul and nearly every city north of it lies under a blanket of deadly chemicals, and heavy fighting is still underway. According to reports, the Empire is simply monitoring the fighting but doing nothing about it. S2, tell us what else you know.”

CPT Anderson spoke, “Gentlemen, the colonel has covered most of what we already know. The enemy has the ability to strike targets from space, and based on what we have been able to learn they have several very large ships in orbit, each of which is heavily armed. Their size and composition is impossible to determine, but seeing that they conquered every major government on the planet within a couple of days, their military ability and might is simply unmatched by anything our history records. We dare not make many calls on any form of electronic communication, because we have reason to believe that the enemy’s IEW abilities are vastly superior to ours and our radio transmissions, in secure cyphertext or not, are being monitored, which is why we now use the SOI. I believe that the attack on us two days ago was by a scouting force only.” Some of the officers groaned and muttered to one another.

“Thank you, Deuce,” said LTC Bertha. “Right now, we have no communication with either Brigade or 3-78 Infantry. Whether they’ve been destroyed, moved out of comms range, or whatever, we don’t know. Nor can we reach any higher elements. Our Class 3 and 1 supplies are running low, and we don’t have much water left either. Yesterday evening, I sent a runner back to Kuwait City to check on activity there. He should be back late tonight. If Camp DOHA is still in one piece and there are no enemy forces in Kuwait City, we will probably infiltrate back there. Otherwise, I’m open to your recommended courses of action.” At first most of the officers were silent. It was an awkward silence as Greg couldn’t see anyone’s face in the darkness. Finally, CPT Anderson grunted.

“Sir, it seems to me that we may have to fight this Empire the same way smaller nations in the past fought us.”

“Go on, Hugh,” said LTC Bertha.

“Well, in Vietnam we were never beaten and we overwhelmed the enemy whenever there was a stand-up fight. Even so, they used guerilla tactics to pick at us over the years, cause casualties, and finally public opinion forced us to leave. If we could link up with other surviving units, even from other nations, we could wage an insurgency-style of warfare against these invaders.”

“Of course, we’d shed these uniforms and just blend in with the local populace,” added Greg.

“Terrorists,” said CPT Halverson.

“Come again?” replied the CSM.

“This Empire would brand us as terrorists.”

“So?”

“Just a thought is all. Do we really want to go there?”

“Do we really have a choice?” replied CPT Anderson. That evening more conversation was swapped among the leaders of the Deathbringer battalion, culminating in heated debate. Finally, LTC Bertha closed the meeting announcing a decision he would make known to them the next morning. Greg returned to his usual spot on top of his track and began rolling out his sleeping mat and fart sack. Off to his left, he heard the approach of a HMMWV. As he closed his eyes, Greg heard footfalls in the sand and the voice of the officer he knew the commander had sent to Camp Doha. What had the runner learned. Greg really wanted to know, but exhaustion won him over and he drifted off into sleep.
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Post by Col. Crackpot » 2004-07-01 02:20pm

:shock: whoa.........
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Post by Stravo » 2004-07-01 02:22pm

I really like the authentic feel to this story and gives us a hint at what it must be like in the military when in combat situations. The dialogue flows and I like the descriptions. Keep up the good work Jegs!
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Post by Dargos » 2004-07-02 09:12am

I was going to suggest useing some SHF or VHF LOS radios...but with them jumping every 3 hours and GPS down...looks like they are up shitcreek without a paddle as far as the Coms situations go.

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Chapter 3

Post by jegs2 » 2005-03-15 06:33pm

Resistance

CHAPTER 3


“So they’re not considered important enough for the invaders to occupy… Don’t know if I would want to rejoice or be pissed off about that fact were I a Kuwaiti,” said Greg. He of course referred to the fact that Kuwait City was as of yet unoccupied by any of the white-clad troopers from the invading force from the stars.

Across from him sat Steve, still munching on a granola bar from his MRE. He looked up at Greg, sniffed, and then glanced off to his left. Greg followed his gaze to the setting sun. Their 577 was one of about five vehicles in sight. Just to the left of the setting sun, Greg spotted the familiar silhouette of a fueler, and next to it was a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, covered by a camouflage net. They hadn’t been using camo nets before the initial attacks, but the invaders sometimes engaged and destroyed vehicles with scout craft if they happened to be flying in the area. Nowhere around him were there any tanks. Those had mostly been locked and left in the desert, for they did nothing but drink massive amounts of now hard-to-find JP-8. Their own 577 was already covered with camo netting, and Greg silently hoped that the radar-reflective materials embedded in it would be sufficient to hide them from any probing sensors used by the invaders.

“The old man is supposed to give us an OPORD tomorrow morning,” said Steve. The radios in front of him were silent, but they were powered on. Unlike only a week and a half ago, they rarely came to life with message traffic – that was just entirely too risky. They were reduced to using couriers for the most part, and some of the local Kuwaitis had given them civilian vehicles, which the couriers used to move from one location to another. Tactical vehicles were too likely to draw the wrong attention these days. Greg nodded and returned his attention to his weapon. He now carried the M-16 with him wherever he went, and he had been issued several clips worth of 5.56 ammunition. His Load Bearing Equipment was no longer just for training value. For the first couple of days, the battalion commander had ordered everyone to wear flack vests, but that had not lasted long. Water was no longer readily available, and the heavy vests seemed to just suck up heat and distribute it into the soldiers wearing them. They had nearly lost two men to heat stroke. Moreover, against an enemy likely to shoot you with ray guns, what good would a flack vest be, except maybe to slow you down on foot and make you into an easier target?

“One of the S4 types supposedly got us some native clothes. Bunch of Bedouin robes or something for us to wear for when we get to the city,” said Greg. Guess that’ll be detailed in the OPORD too. He looked up and saw that the sun had dipped below the horizon. Almost unconsciously, he reached into the track and turned off all ambient light. Light discipline was also now critical. Most of the generators were buried into the sand in order to muffle their sound. The desert out here was mostly flat, and sound carried a long way. Even so, Greg wondered if the practice was worthwhile. He doubted it. The Empire probably knew they were out here, but they likely didn’t consider the scattered battalion a sufficient enough threat. Greg didn’t know if that made him feel better or worse. Once again, his thoughts drifted back to Hinesville, where his girlfriend Sandi lived. Hinesville was a small town, so maybe the invaders had left it alone. Then he shook his head. Fort Stewart sprawled right next to the town, and from what Greg had been able to gather, the invaders had essentially laid waste to most major military installations in CONUS from space with their giant orbital ships. Hinesville, and Sandi, likely no longer existed as anything more than smoldering ruin. Anger again rose to the surface of Greg’s emotions, followed by a feeling of helplessness. He finished cleaning the bolt of his rifle and slid it into place, along with the charging handle. You didn’t want to put much in the way of lubricant on your weapon out here. Dust could quickly congeal on the “break free” and render one’s weapon inoperable. He looked up at Steve, who was still gazing toward the remaining reddish light of dusk. They were in for a long night.

“Greg!” said the kid with dirty-blond hair. He sported a grubby brown t-shirt with jeans, and he wore a worried expression. Greg turned away from the boy and looked again at the homemade hovel. Garbage bags had been tied and taped together in a haphazard manner, and they were lashed to several smaller trees in the immediate area with some old twine. Underneath the shelter he could see some old blankets, and a small transistor radio emitted tinny music at a low volume. The radio and some other effects were perched atop some old tires and some plywood. Somebody had recently been there, and that was for sure. Greg had never before seen a bum’s hideout, and he was convinced this was the coolest thing he had ever seen or would ever see.

“Greg!” came a frightened warning again from the only other kid in the area. Greg turned his head again in annoyance, “Shut up, Rodney! You worry too much.” He advanced further into the shelter to get a better look. The scent of old liquor grew stronger. Glancing to his left, he could make out the Interstate that wound from north to the south. It was a busy Saturday, and the road was packed with crawling traffic. They were probably two hundred or so yards into the forest off to the side of the Interstate. They’d come from the railroad tracks on the other side, and to his right Greg could see the ruins of a building that had once been home to a go-cart race track, still outlined with old tires with grass and plants sprouting up through them. That helped explain where the bum had got the old tires he was using for a chair and a table. It really did stink…

“Hey! Kid!” Greg whirled to his rear just in time to see a middle-aged man with a full face of hair, glaring at him and advancing toward him. The man’s disposition was that of someone who had fallen on hard times and had not seen a shower in a long time. Greg swallowed as he backed away from the angry bum, but the man continued stalking menacingly in his direction. Behind him, Greg could hear the footfalls of his running friend. Greg remembered what he had thrown down only a few yards away and was desperately trying to remember where he had tossed it. Looking about him franticly, Greg saw the object and grabbed for it. He yanked it up and aimed the old BB gun at the bum, whose faced then quickly transformed from anger to fear. The gun didn’t work, but the bum couldn’t know that. He and Rodney had found the damaged weapon off to the side of the railroad tracks, and Greg had enjoyed carrying it around with him throughout the day. The bum was now backing away, and he raised his hands into the air, “What did I ever do to you? Why do you want to come into my home like this? Don’t shoot me, kid.” The fear in the man’s face was all too evident. Greg was now terrified … not only of the man but by the whole situation.

“I’m not gonna kill you. I just want to get out of here.” He turned and ran after his friend. The tinny music from the small radio grew more faint with distance. He didn’t know what the bum was doing, nor did he turn to find out. He just kept running. Off in the distance, he could see that Rodney had stopped near the railroad tracks and was now waiting for him. He tripped and tumbled forward, the broken BB gun flipping out in front of him.

“Wake up!”

Greg sat up. The track on which he had been sleeping was running again. He blinked, but he couldn’t see anything. It was really dark out here. He blinked again and rubbed his eyes, “Huh, what’s up? We moving again?”

“Yeah,” said the voice without a face, but then Greg remembered its owner. SGT Jones continued, “We SP in five minutes, sir.” Greg glanced down to his watch and pressed a button. It revealed to him that it was now 0350. Argh! Three hours of blasted sleep! That’s all he’d had – this just wasn’t fair. Resigned to his ill fate, Greg crawled out of his fart sack and buttoned up his DCU shirt. He rolled up his bag and mat and jumped down to the desert floor. The track had already pulled up its ramp and only the back hatch was yet open. Inside, Greg could see weak red light and knew that somewhere in there was CPT Anderson with a “dog bone” glued to his ear. He tossed his gear inside and stepped through the hatch, shutting it behind him.

The track rumbled for a long time, but Greg didn’t know where it was carrying him. He had drifted off to sleep while sitting up, opposite his boss. It was very noisy inside the 577, but that did nothing to keep Greg from succumbing to unconsciousness. Only when the vehicle stopped and powered down did Greg wake back up. The inside of the track was no longer mostly dark, bathed in artificial red light. Instead, he saw daylight pouring through the driver’s view ports toward the front and from the TC hatch above. Confused, he glanced down at his watch, although it was still too dark inside the vehicle for him to make out what it said. He pressed the button, bathing black numbers in a green background. “Six thirty,” Greg muttered to himself. He looked up to where CPT Anderson had been monitoring the radio during the trip. He was no longer there. Greg felt mildly irritated that he had not been wakened. How long had they been stopped. There was no way for him to tell. Briefly, Greg flirted with the idea of just falling asleep again, but his curiosity was sufficiently strong to prevent that and he slowly righted himself and reached for the hatch.

The vehicle had already been covered by camo net, and greg saw the support poles reaching up toward the netting before spreaders gently shaped it irregularly. A small v-shaped opening in the netting allowed Greg access to the quickly-warming desert and he saw that a group of men were gathered around a camouflaged HMMWV. The battalion commander was talking to them. The S2 looked up and saw Greg looking at them, and he motioned for Greg to join them. Greg nodded, reached into the 557 and got his gear.

“…will break into several groups,” said LTC Bertha. Greg could now make out what the commander was saying. LTC Bertha paused, looked and Greg who sat down with the other men, and then continued, “Our friends in Kuwait have provided new documentation that the Imperials are supposedly using for identification, since we know that our military ID’s won’t do. The plan is to infiltrate back to Kuwait City and catch passage back to the states, but it’ll have to be by boat.” That was met by some groans and soft curses.

“I know, I know,” continued the commander, “but it isn’t like we can just catch a plane to the States. The enemy owns the sky now, and we need to remember that. They don’t seem to have cracked down on sea traffic though, so that’s our ticket.” Greg looked at some of the other officers and NCOs around him. Most of them appeared to be as tired as he was – some of them even more so.

The commander continued, “We will also be in civilian clothes, and you are all to let your facial hair grow out. There are not an abundance of clean-shaven men from this area of the world, and there aren’t all that many fair-skinned men either. For that reason, we will wear native clothing and be mixed in with Arabs. Some of you will be dying your hair black. Each of you will get a new personal history, detailing why you are here in the Middle East, and you had better commit it to memory.”

Two days later, Greg found himself in the back of a red Nissan pickup truck, jouncing down a poorly maintained road toward Kuwait City. With him were three Kuwaiti men, SPC Flory and CPT Higgens. All three soldiers now sported a slight growth of facial hair and were wearing Bedouin robes with hoods pulled over their heads. For now, they wore their DCUs beneath their uniforms. They had left their weapons with the TOC, and that seemed all too unnatural and wrong. But these were different times, and American soldiers couldn’t afford to be conspicuous, even in a city as of yet unoccupied by the alien invaders.

Upon reaching the outskirts of Kuwait City, they came to a checkpoint, manned by Kuwaiti soldiers. Greg noticed that the outpost was not flying the Kuwaiti flag. In its place was a flag with a strange circular symbol that reminded Greg somewhat of a wagon wheel with odd angles inside in the place of spokes – like some strange gear wheel. One of the Kuwaitis at the checkpoint walked around the truck, while the driver talked animatedly with one of the other men, who seemed to be in charge of the checkpoint. The man who had walked around to the back of the pickup suddenly raised his rifle and pointed it at SPC Flory, who raised his hands into the air. The man with the rifle was shouting in Arabic. The man in charge who had been talking to the driver ran around to the back of the truck, glanced quickly at SPC Flory and spoke softly to the man aiming his weapon at the frightened soldier. He slowly lowered his weapon and nodded. He said something else in Arabic, and the truck was allowed to continue toward the city.

Once they were inside Kuwait City, Greg could see that the invaders indeed had a presence therein, but it was minimal. Every so often, he spotted a small group of white-clad troopers with helmets that reminded him of skulls walking about. He remembered that they were supposedly called stormtroopers. At one point he spotted a strange vehicle on two legs that stood a couple of stories off the ground, and he remembered the radio reports about those things on the day they had been attacked in the desert. But mostly he kept his head down, and his hood never came off. Eventually they reached a home. The place could be more accurately described as a palace. Inside the home/palace courtyard (the place was enclosed in an ornate stone fence), they were told to dismount, and they went into the house. A plump Kuwaiti man in an ornate robe greeted each of them with a kiss. The Kuwaiti asked them to follow him. Greg looked up to see a long table full of all kinds of food, and involuntarily he began to salivate as delicious odors filled his nostrils.

Greg sat on a fancy sofa, fully stuffed with food. He felt tired now, but he knew that was the food being digested within him. The Kuwaiti man continued telling him and the two other soldiers how US forces had rescued him from one of Saddam Hussein’s detention camps during Desert Storm, where he had been certain he would soon be tortured or killed. Too many of his friends had been murdered by Iraqi thugs before US forces drove Iraqi forces from Kuwait, and Saddam had taken many of his fellow countrymen into exile in Iraq to meet a fate only Allah knew. He said he had rejoiced greatly when he learned that the Imperial invaders had killed Saddam and his sons before installing their own governor in Baghdad. Many prisoners had then been freed from Saddam’s dungeons by the Empire, but he still did not know the fate of many of his friends. He felt it was Allah’s will that he help every American soldier that he could to return to their homeland, and he was very sorry to hear of all the death and destruction that had happened there. Greg learned that they would be leaving on a boat in two weeks time. In the meantime, they were to enjoy the hospitality of this rich Kuwaiti man, within his palatial home.
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Post by Falkenhorst » 2005-03-15 11:01pm

I demand more.
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Post by darthdavid » 2005-03-16 12:21am

Most execellent.

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Post by NecronLord » 2005-03-16 05:17am

Yes. Produce more.
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Chapter 4

Post by jegs2 » 2006-05-14 01:49am

Resistance

- Chapter 4

A brass sky seemed to spread nearly infinitely outward, but below were pools of every size imaginable, separated from each other by either a few yards or in some cases by inches. Greg found himself in front of one such pool. This one was circular in shape, as all the pools within his vision appeared to be. The pool just in front of Greg was ringed with a deep blue tile, and the tiles were quite small, appearing to be but an inch in size. The spacing between them was perfect – more perfect than it had any right to be. The water within was also a deep blue in color. Greg looked deeply into the water, but he could not see the bottom of the pool. It seemed to be so deep that the water turned from dark blue to black as it stretched into infinity. This particular pool looked to be approximately thirty feet across. A sudden swishing sound caused Greg to spin about. This one was a smaller pool, and it had developed within it a whirlpool, and the water within spun quickly, lowering in level until it drained. Looking down into the now empty and inexplicably dry pool, Greg saw that this one was only a few feet deep, and the bottom of it was flat. Greg found himself confused, as he saw no evidence of a drain, nor did he detect any outlet through which the water may have drained. More curious now, he stepped into the empty pool, looking about for where the water that had been there only moments before might have gone. Suddenly, he felt himself dropping and in alarm Greg glanced upward to see that the top of the pool was now more than a dozen feet above him. Water quickly began to fill the pool and he became caught up within a rising whirlpool. Simultaneously, an invisible force began to pull him downward. Greg began to panic and fought to get to the surface of the spinning whirlpool.

“…up, sir!” Greg shook his head and sat up. He was still somewhat groggy from the night before. The large and ornate bed in which he found himself was set inside of an ornate room. An exotic sword hung on the wall, on which Arabic writing was written in golden script. Additionally, he saw paintings of obviously Arabic scenery, and other unrecognizable objects adorned the walls as well. Greg looked to his left and saw a young man with a nearly full face of hair. His skin was tan in color, but his green eyes seemed out of place with the garb he was wearing. They had resided in the palace of a rich Kuwaiti they knew only as Ahmad for nearly two weeks. During that time, they had grown out their facial hair in order to fit more easily in with men of the local population. Greg reached up to scratch his own beard and moustache, both of which still seemed to him alien and out of place upon his own face. He looked at the young man to his left with a quizzical glance, recalling only now that he had recently spoken and had to be here in his room for a reason.

“Did you say something earlier, Flory?”

“Yes, sir. Ahmed has invited us to breakfast, and Captain Higgens wants to talk to you once we’re done with chow.”

Greg blinked, then he glanced quickly to his watch. Black numbers in the LCD confirmed that it was 0943, local time. He had been tired. Memorization of his new past and occupation was not an easy task.

“Peter,” said Greg.

“Sir?” replied a confused Flory.

“Peter Stellano is my name. I am a former contractor from northern Italy, and you are Pedro Filando, a migrant worker from Cuba.

“Oh,” said Flory, “Yes sir… uh, I mean, si, senior.” Flory’s mother was Puerto Rican, so a ghost of a dialect lingered within his voice. He was also fluent in Spanish. “And, Capt… er, uh, Mister Feuerbach wants to speak to you.”

Greg smiled at Flory. Years of military discipline was difficult to overcome, and the practice of behaving as civilians toward each other, especially in light of their differences in rank, did not come easy. Part of Greg’s smile was prompted by the Captain Higgins’ new name. Higgins looked very German, complete with blond hair and piercing blue eyes. Moreover, since he had spent many years stationed in Germany, he knew a lot of German. So the role of Karl Feuerbach, stuffy German engineer seemed to fit him quite well. Captain Higgins was the only one of the three American soldiers in the group who did not now sport facial hair, though he wasn’t beyond growing a bit of stubble on his upper lip.

Greg felt stuffed, as he normally did at the end of any meal put in front of him by the servants of Ahmed. And also as usual, the massive dinner table still contained an overabundance of all kinds of food, even upon completion of the hearty breakfast. Ahmed had excused himself from the dining room, and the three soldiers sat alone at the table. Flory sat to the left of CPT Higgins, who now stared at Greg.

“The boat will set out in two days time from port,” said Higgins. “I know the route the boat is to take, but for reasons of security neither you or Pedro will be told those details.”

Greg blinked. Higgins had used their made-up names without breaking stride. His hair was a bit longer now, some of it starting to intrude over the tops of his ears. Greg well knew that under normal circumstances, the Armor officer would never have worn his hair any way other than a high and tight, the sides shaved nearly to the skin. But these were not normal circumstances. Higgins continued, “At every port call, we will meet pre-arranged contacts who will provide necessary information to us and brief us as necessary. I will say that our final port of call is to be on the Eastern seaboard of CONUS. I don’t think I need to remind you that nearly all of the US is under enemy occupation. Their ISR assets are clearly on a level far advanced beyond anything we have seen, and we are maintaining nearly total radio and computer silence.”

“What about the internet?” interrupted Greg.

Higgins looked mildly annoyed at the interruption, but then he continued, “Reports that I’ve got on that is that we’ve tried that and met with limited success. The enemy has well-trained hackers, and they’ve hired native programmers and internet geeks to root out any internet traffic perceived to be subversive to their occupation efforts. In short, don’t worry about it.” He glanced at Flory, who seemed to be taking it all in.

One concern nagging at Greg’s mind was the hospitality of the Kuwaitis. Although they were still mostly grateful for the American invasion that had freed them from Saddam, they had to know that Washington DC now lay in smoldering ruin and the United States itself lay under occupation from a greater power. Ahmed seemed friendly enough, but for how long would such friendliness last, especially if these invaders were so powerful and skilled? He shook his head. LTC Bertha and his staff had to have thought the whole thing through, so who was he to worry over things like that.

The ride to the docks went without incident. The pickup truck in which Greg was riding had stopped but once, and Kuwaiti soldiers had peered in, plainly recognized that Greg and a couple of his cohorts were not Arabic, and allowed them to continue their trek. Peering around, Greg noticed no surprising changes in the landscape of Kuwait City as a whole. Kuwaitis bustled about as they always had. Mercedes and other expensive vehicles jockeyed for position on the road as the wealthier put their stamp on the face of the public. The only hint of anything out of the normal routine was the occasional stormtroopers intermixed with Kuwaiti soldiers. There weren’t many of those, but those who were present were never alone. There were usually two to six of them together. Then there were the strange-looking symbols on flags in the place of where Kuwaiti flags once flew. Other than that, Greg could hardly tell the place had changed at all.

As the truck jilted to a stop, Greg filed off of the back of the pickup truck with the others. He spotted several boats of varying shapes and sizes. None of the boats were military craft, and none of them appeared to be much more than 200 feet long. The group was herded toward what appeared to be a much-used trawler, roughly 85 feet in length. One the back was something painted in Aramaic, so Greg could only guess at the vessel’s name. The boat was nondescript in nature and actually pretty dingy. It would attract little in the way of attention, either from the invaders or pirates. As they filed onto the boat, the men descended a ladder into the lower cabin. Therein, a man in a US Naval uniform sat in a chair with a headset on, staring at a computer monitor. From the man’s appearance, he was either a chief petty officer or an officer. The man swiveled his chair about and stood up. Greg could now see the silver oak leaves on his collar. He began to open his mouth when a voice from behind him said, “Commander Nash, it’s good to see you again.” Greg turned his head and saw a scruffy looking man in Arab garb with dark facial hair interlaced with steel gray. While he didn’t look the part of a battalion commander, LTC Bertha’s voice was unmistakable.

“Ron, it’s good to see you again too,” replied the Naval officer. The gaze of LTC Bertha shifted to the equipment that CDR Nash had been manning. “So that’s what we’re reduced to. What’s the latest?” CDR Nash looked to the shortwave radio set and replied, “Most of the joint chiefs were killed, but a couple survived here and there. The CINCs are underground now – those who are left, constantly on the move. Much of what is left of the CONUS forces are underground too, blending in with the population.”

“Civilian leadership?”

“All but gone, I’m afraid. The Imperials killed nearly all of them in the initial strike, including state leadership. Strange thing is … bunch of them were killed before the ships started blasting targets from orbit.”

“How?”

“Nobody’s really sure, but we think they were targeted assassinations.”

“Methodical bastards,” murmured LTC Bertha, shaking his head. Greg knew what his commander was thinking. This enemy had been watching them for some time before the invasion, and they had to have had agents and assassins in place, ready to strike when the time was right. His boss introduced him and the others to the Naval commander. They were told to make themselves comfortable – it would be a long voyage. As Greg and his counterparts were dismissed, Greg returned to the weather deck. The boat had been underway for about an hour, and he could see Kuwait City shrinking behind him. Afternoon was giving way to evening, and the heat of the day was slowly drifting into space. That thought prompted Greg to shift his gaze skyward. No stars were yet visible, but he knew that once they were that not all of the bright dots in the night were stars. Some were starships. None were friendly.

The throbbing of the boat’s engine had assisted Greg in sleeping. He found that he slept soundly with that engine running, its vibrations reverberating throughout the boat. With curiosity he had looked at the straps on his rack. His was the top of three racks, but he couldn’t for the life of him figure out what purpose such straps served. Their purpose became all too evident once the boat entered the Arabian Sea. The Persian Gulf had been somewhat calm, but now the boat entered a sea less friendly to land lovers. In the middle of the night, Greg had nearly been hurled from his rack, saving himself from becoming close and personal with the opposite bulkhead only by maintaining an iron grip on one of the overhead pipes. In the process of doing so, he had nearly cracked his head in half on one of those pipes. Those mysterious straps now seemed ripe with purpose, and he used them to strap himself securely into his rack. While the boat tossed no less, Greg stayed firmly in-place.

The boat made plenty of stops, along its month-long voyage, but at no time did the Americans leave its relative safety. Greg had spent nearly three days violently sea sick, but his sole comfort was knowing that others shared that fate. The Navy officer seemed somewhat smug at seeing his Army counterparts suffering such effects, but to his credit he never said anything. Everyone was downright ripe with odor, as the boat sported only one shower, and it was rarely used. Fresh water at sea was a scarce commodity on a boat that small. One break was a cool rain shower off the coast of Africa. The sea was not too threatening, so most of the men took turns bathing in the rain, topside. Toward the end of the third week, Greg was seriously wondering if land truly existed, surmising that perhaps the invaders had blasted everything but the ocean itself to smithereens. Only twice during the voyage did Greg spot aircraft. One was clearly a civilian airplane, and the other was clearly not anything he had before seen. It wasn’t a bowtie aircraft, like the one that had attacked his unit in the desert, but it also wasn’t like anything he could identify. Either way, whatever was piloting it seemed to pay no attention to the boat.

Greg shifted in his rack. Something was amiss, but he couldn’t nail down what it was. It was dark, but then the berthing area generally was, since all shifts slept here. Silence. That was it. Everything was quiet. Something else too – stillness. The boat wasn’t being tossed about by waves. Greg peeled himself from his rack and slowly descended to the deck. He dressed and climbed the ladder to the main cabin. Through a portal, Greg could see land. The boat was docked, but where? CPT Higgens chose that time to enter the main cabin and look at Greg.

“Filando, go get your gear.” Greg was temporarily confused, but then he remembered his fake name. He turned to retrieve his barracks bag. Greg soon learned that they were in Fort Lauderdale. The invader presence was much more prominent here than it had been in Kuwait City. Next to one of the docked cruise ships, Greg saw a strange structure around which stormtroopers were milling about. The structure reminded Greg somewhat of an ancient fort, complete with gun towers ringing it. Within the confines of the fort, Greg spotted a couple of two-legged armored walkers. The Americans, still dressed in Arabic garb, filed into a white van and headed into the city. They were stopped at two checkpoints, manned by stormtroopers. Neither location appeared to be interested in detaining anyone, and the group was allowed to continue on its way.

The house seemed ordinary for the most part, though the yard was gated. As the men entered the home, Greg saw that it was well-furnished. He was allowed to take a shower and change into civilian clothes. It felt great to shave off his beard, but he left his moustache in place. An all-American lunch added to his refreshment, and Greg attacked his hamburger with ferocity. He was sure that a Coke had never tasted so good. Greg now sported dark slacks and a polo shirt. As he and his cohorts finished their meal, they retired to a room Greg had not before noticed. He wasn’t quite sure of how it had escaped his notice, but the entrance to the room didn’t appear to have been a door. It was then that he noticed that a bookcase had been slid to the side. The inside of this new room was more akin to a briefing room, complete with an overhead projector linked to a laptop computer.

“So basically, we’re looking at a low-level insurgency against the Empire,” said LTC Bertha. The man with the black goatee nodded somberly. Greg felt his head swimming with the plethora of information still newly crammed within his mind. A galactic empire spanning literally millions of star systems, and now expanding into an entirely different galaxy – incredible! How could they hope to offer any form of resistance to so vast and overwhelming a force? Insurgencies had tied up superior military forces before, but nothing on a scale such as this had ever been even imagined. The men at this table seemed determined to do just that, and they had to know what level of opposition they faced. The briefing told of vast star fleets of millions of warships, apparently capable of rending entire planets lifeless. What if this Empire decided Earth was no longer worth occupying and instead decided to render it lifeless? LTC Bertha informed the gathered party that he would give further instructions the following day.

Greg looked at the night sky of Fort Lauderdale. The evening was warm and humid, and one could hardly see that anything was any different than it had been since this city was first established as a major American city. Only bits and pieces here and there bespoke of Imperial occupation, but even that seemed relatively low-key. The Imperials seemed little interested in changing the status quo, so long as resistance to their rule was kept to a low roar. Plans were being set into motion, and Greg was privy to but a small portion. How long would the status quo remain in place?
John 3:16-18
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ElPintoGrande
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Post by ElPintoGrande » 2006-05-14 04:28pm

Wow, thought this story was dead. But it's good to see it back up and moving. I really do wonder just what in the blue hell we as a people could do to the Empire aside from annoy them enough to launch a BDZ. Can't wait to read more.
Yay! Midget Toss!

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Stuart Mackey
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Post by Stuart Mackey » 2006-05-17 07:39am

Brilliant stuff Jegs...Keep it up.
Via money Europe could become political in five years" "... the current communities should be completed by a Finance Common Market which would lead us to European economic unity. Only then would ... the mutual commitments make it fairly easy to produce the political union which is the goal"

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jegs2
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Chapter 5

Post by jegs2 » 2006-06-13 12:50am

Resistance

Chapter 5


The day was oppressively hot – almost too hot. The sun beat mercilessly on the boy’s pale skin through a cloudless sky, and the humidity could be cut out of the air with a knife. He was sweating profusely, beads running down his mostly-wet t-shirt and making him itch. Even now, he reached behind toward the small of his back to get at a particularly gnawing itch.

“Yikes!” yelled the boy as he nearly tumbled from his bicycle while reaching behind his back. Embarrassed, he was rewarded with a giggle from the larger boy to his right. Greg wiped sweat from his forehead, sweeping some red hair out of the way. He glared at the boy, but his glare didn’t hold. Bobby still held a jovial smile on his face as he studied his friend, and Greg’s glare transformed into a smile. He looked at Bobby’s bike. It was as worn and used as his own, but Bobby took great care of it, constantly cleaning it and attaching an occasional sticker, usually from a cereal box, to part of its frame. A cartoon Hulk glared menacingly out of the most recent sticker. Greg turned to study their target. Both boys were poised at the top of a long boat ramp, leading about three hundred feet into the lake ahead. He glanced at Bobby, and Bobby winked. Greg jammed his foot onto the pedal and let out a rebel yell. Both boys raced toward the water on their bicycles, racing each other and yelling at the top of their lungs. Greg could feel the warm breeze on his face get stronger the faster he pedaled. Gravity was an ally for both boys as the water got closer and closer.

WOOOSH! The cool water swiftly slowed Greg’s bike, as it coursed around him and offered resistance to both he and his bike. As usual, holding on was hard, but Greg managed. He laughed and yelled, almost simultaneously as the refreshing water cooled his skin, which had been only recently so hot. Greg glanced over to share his joy with his friend. Bobby wasn’t there.

“Bobby!” yelled Greg, and then he checked himself. If Bobby was hiding underwater, he wouldn’t hear him shout. Greg felt a bit miffed – this was a stupid trick to play on him. His anger turned slowly to panic. Bobby wouldn’t wait this long under water. Greg dropped his bike in the just above waist-high water, and he sloshed over to where he knew Bobby had gone into the water. He tripped over Bobby’s bike, and then he submerged, feeling around. He felt some fabric, followed up to feel an arm. Struggling, he pulled on the arm and pulled Bobby’s face from the water. His eyes were half-open. Greg put his ear to Bobby’s mouth, and he heard no breathing.

“Bobby!”

Greg awoke with a jerk, sharply inhaling. Darkness greeted his eyes, and a slow droning of a fan in the room was the only noise to permeate the darkness. BASIC. Why was that word on his thoughts? He remembered the Timex Sinclair 1000 he had as a kid. Why did he remember that stupid little excuse for a computer? It was his first – his dad had given it to him to use. Dad had even installed a power switch on the flat black box with soft-touch keypads, since the device didn’t come with one. BASIC was the language the little computer understood. Greg’s dad wouldn’t let him have an Atari 2600, like a lot of kids Greg knew had at home. No, dad made Greg learn BASIC, because the only video games Greg was allowed to play were those he could program into the little Sinclair. Greg had bought magazines for the little machine. He remembered copying pages of BASIC code into the little black box and then trying out the programs. They were crude. One he remembered had a little L that moved up and down and would fire a solid line of dashes at enemy X’s that moved randomly from the right. The game was supposed to be somewhat reminiscent of Defender. There was no sound in his game, although with a few more lines of code he could have heard a beep every time he fired. BASIC – he still remembered some of it:

Code: Select all

10 CLS

215 FOR T = 1 TO 1000

260 IF INKEY$ <> “ “ THEN GOTO 270

45 IF X >= 200 THEN GOSUB 900
Greg shook his head. BASIC: That isn’t why that word stuck to his mind here in the dead of night; it was something else. The face of LTC Bertha came to mind. That was it. Role-playing – they were role-playing now. What had LTC Bertha told him that made BASIC so important? Greg thought to last month, just after his crew arrived in Fort Lauderdale.

“You have to make a choice,” LTC Bertha told the assembled men. Greg glanced around the crowd. The room could comfortably hold about 40 people, and about that many were there now. He saw some of the men he had come to know in the Deathbringer Battalion. Captain Higgens stood off to one side. His brown hair now fell to nearly his neck, and he had a bushy moustache. Greg wouldn’t know him from Adam had he not known him in full military trim, complete with flat-top haircut and no facial hair at all. First Sergeant Miller stood almost on the opposite side of the room. This man had some Asian in him, but Greg couldn’t peg from where. 1SG Miller now had longer hair, though not as long as Captain Higgens, and 1SG Miller sported much darker hair. On top of his head was the always-present New York Yankees cap. Absently, Greg wondered to himself if the good senior NCO ever took it off anymore, even to sleep. Off to the right of LTC Bertha, sitting to the commander’s right was the burly CSM Shannon. His dark-blue polo shirt was nearly as dark as his deep-brown skin. His eyes were alert, as he keenly scanned the room, mentally sizing up each individual and filing away thoughts of them into his mind. Unlike most of the other men, he had not changed his look all that much, other than shaving off all of the hair on his head. CSM Shannon’s eyes connected with Greg’s, and Greg quickly glanced down and then returned his gaze to LTC Bertha.

“…and we can have no dissension in the ranks, not at this point,” continued the commander. He looked pointedly at several men, shifting his gaze lightly over others. In his own mind, Greg could imagine what his battalion commander was thinking. Who would remain loyal? Who could not be trusted? It was an awful thought, but it nonetheless sprang to mind.

“The choice is before us all,” said the old man with the hint of a smile coming to his lips. “No more paychecks, even for me … what we do now, we do for nothing – for the defense of our nation. Yes, we are under occupation, and by a force vastly superior to our own, and we could certainly never hope to match that power in a thousand years.”

“Superpower,” muttered a voice to Greg’s left. He shifted his gaze, along with most of the men in the room. He saw a young man with light-brown hair shaking his head. Captain Zilliox had been a cynic ever since Greg had known him. As one of the Battalion assistant S3 officers, he had been in the hopper for an upcoming company command. His eyes had been on Charger Company, as Captain Reed was due to rotate out of command about four months after redeployment from Kuwait. There would be no change of command now. Charger Company no longer existed as an element, save in the memories of the men who had served under the company’s guidon. With some amusement, Greg recalled the night of the attack, when he couldn’t raise the Chargers on the net. He smiled softly, and then the smile fled from his face as he remembered the ferocity of the alien attacks the next day. Many soldiers who called themselves Chargers paid the ultimate price that day, to a faceless enemy they had never before known.

“What was that, Mike?” inquired the battalion commander. CPT Zilliox smiled weakly at LTC Bertha.

“Superpower,” he said again at barely above a whisper, “they used to call us that, sir. It’s funny, how meaningless and empty a term can become in the face of … this.”

“Yes, it’s pretty funny,” said LTC Bertha without a hint of mirth, “But then what is the measure of a man, of a people, of a nation … a former superpower? Did we start out as the big boys on the block?” The older man gazed into the eyes of the younger officer. CPT Zilliox returned his gaze at first, but then dropped his eyes.

“Or did we have help from those greater than ourselves? Were not we facing down a superpower of the time during the formation of this country?”

“Allies,” said a voice from behind Greg. He swiveled to see that the source of the voice was a copper-skinned young man with piercing eyes and a determined expression. Now he was nodding, as though seeing something for the first time.

“Say again, Wade,” said LTC Bertha.

Captain Wade Hines had been the Headquarters Company commander, and he had previously been the Assassin Company commander. Most of the junior officers respected him for his diplomatic abilities with senior officers and his almost eerie ability to memorize nearly everything. At no time had anyone been able to stump CPT Wade on one of his soldiers. Not only did he know every one of his soldiers by name, but he knew their spouses and children, including birthdays of each. He always expressed a genuine concern for everyone with whom he worked, but he was also the consummate professional, able to deal sternly with wayward soldiers under his command whenever necessary. He turned his gaze to his commander and repeated, “Allies. We need allies.”

“Go on,” commented LTC Bertha, raising his eyebrows as he sensed his young officer knew more and wanted to impart it to everyone else.

“In the Revolutionary War, we enlisted the help of the French. Of ourselves, we were no match for the British, and without allies, they would have wiped the floor with us.”

“Eloquently put, Wade,” said the battalion commander. Chuckles reverberated throughout the cramped room. “We have recently come across information of some potential allies that have been struggling against the Empire, but what I have so far is little more than rumor. The invasion of our world seems to have garnered attention throughout the Empire, though we are not sure as to why. We are after all, but one world, and if what we have been told is to be believed, the Empire spans millions of them.”

The lieutenant colonel paced around the room, settling his eyes briefly on all the men gathered, “Not all of you were part of my battalion,” He glanced at a few individuals that Greg had never before seen. The commander continued pacing, glancing at men Greg had seen briefly, “And some of you were new to the battalion when we were in the desert.” He stopped and turned. The Sergeant Major stood and held up a photograph, the light barely bright enough to illuminate the image. On it, Greg could make out what was clearly a large starship, shaped somewhat like a wedge, with an apparatus that jutted up at one side. He assumed that to be the command structure. Two globes that reminded Greg of radar domes he had seen on some US Navy warships were visible at the top of either side of the command structure. Most of the men the room were wincing to get as best a view they could in the small, crowded room.

“This,” said CPT Hugh Anderson, “is a star destroyer. It is approximately one mile in length, and it is believed that one of these vessels decimated American cities from space using highly-powered energy beams.”

“Ray guns?” inquired a voice from off to Greg’s right.

“It is also believed,” continued CPT Anderson as though he had not been interrupted, “that the Empire has a great many of these vessels and others like them in a vast fleet, spread throughout the galaxy.”

“Which leads us to why we are now here, in this room today,” said LTC Bertha in a serious tone, “Choices. Each of us must make a choice, and we must make that choice today. Will you continue the struggle against the Empire as part of our grand insurgency, enlisting the help of whomever these faceless allies may be … or will you now part company with us and find a life for yourself in this new world in which we now find ourselves?”

Greg looked around him to the faces of the men gathered with him in the too-small room. Most looked concerned, many uncertain, a few determined. Those who continued the struggle would do so only out of loyalty. No longer was a salary waiting at the end of each month or every two weeks for those who would call themselves US soldiers. This Empire would be none too pleased to discover insurgents in their midst, and who knew how they would react to them when they did discover them? Parts of the planet had indeed reportedly suffered further wrath as a result of violence against forces of the invaders. Parts of Iraq were now smoldering ruin, after a short-lived insurgency had sprouted against the Empire there. The swath of land where insurgent activities had taken place had been simply erased; especially after some bombs and ambushes had killed Imperial troops. Greg frowned when he envisioned portions of his own land being turned to ash as a result of half-baked attacks on the invaders. Surely, the US commanders had thought that through to fruition.

“I won’t ask you to voice your choices here, in this forum,” continued LTC Bertha. That would be unfair to you, and unrealistic. We have a different system. Tonight, when we bed down, those of you who do not wish to continue with us will be allowed to walk out. We are a military organization, so be assured that you will be observed. Not that anyone here would do such a thing, but if anyone did make their way toward Imperial authorities to try to turn us over, they likely wouldn’t make it. We will not hunt down or dog those who wish only to return to civilian life and make their own way, but make no mistake – if you leave us, then you will forget everything about us past the point that you returned here, to the States.” The commander smiled. There was steel and cold promise in his words for all to hear. Still, surely someone would not listen. There was always a rat in the pack, but whom? Greg knew his decision before the commander had asked for a commitment one way or another, but the next morning he would see fewer of those he had called comrades. He would not feel ill toward them, for their choice was their own.

BASIC. No, just Basic; not an acronym like the archaic computer language. It was the Imperial language. Greg nodded to the darkness. That was it. Of course, on that fateful day more than a month ago, he had been one of the men to choose to stick it out. He was an officer in the US Army, and he felt it his duty, even if he felt he was but an ant fighting against a mighty hurricane. Others had not taken that route. Others had been gone the next morning. SPC Flory, CPT Zilliox, CPT Miguel, and even MAJ Flynn, the Battalion XO – all were gone that next morning. Not that he had been told, but the decision had already been made to relocate long before that day, and they all moved, piecemeal, to a different location, closer to Orlando, further from urban areas. Greg had heard reports that the old safehouse was raided by Imperial troops, not long after they had all displaced. The rats had apparently become restless.

“What do you want me to do?” Greg had asked his battalion commander. LTC Bertha looked at him and said, “You will enlist in the Imperial Army, or Navy, whichever you can get into.” Greg’s jaw dropped.

“Enlist with the Empire, sir?”

“That’s right Greg. You’re an intelligence officer, and we need people on the inside. You’ve seen recruiting posters, and offices, for the Empire. You will become an Imperial soldier in every aspect.”

“How will I get in…”

“… touch with us?” finished the older man, “Don’t worry about that. We’ll find you when we need you. You just worry about finding yourself into Imperial intelligence. This war cannot be won in any traditional sense, and we won’t accomplish anything by conducting the occasional ambush against Imperial patrols here. No, we’ll need to be … creative. This will be long and drawn out, and we may not win.”

“But sir, isn’t the idea of our struggle to win?”

“What definition will we use for win, Greg? Win will take on a whole new meaning now. The Empire likes to use the term, “New Order,” but our definition of win may well mean changing the definition of their own term. We must use all of our advantages, and we must be smart in our struggle. We will use a cell structure not unlike that of the terrorists we’ve fought in the past. Compartmentalized at all levels we will be, with few who know what other compartments are doing, and even fewer knowing of an overall objective. There are things happening now to which you are not privy, and to which you will never be privy. I can safely say the same of myself, for that matter.”

“Okay sir, so what do you want me to do? Should I report to a recruiting office tomorrow?”

LTC Bertha laughed, “No Greg, you have to learn the Empire’s language first. Basic. You need to learn Basic.”

“Where, er, how do I learn Basic, sir”

“We know the Imperials give free classes on it, using those droids of theirs. You’ll learn it, alright.”

Greg stared into the darkness remembering the conversation with his boss. He had gone to class, and he had studied non-stop for little more than a month now. The droid was patient with him, and the other students. He now had a rudimentary understanding of the main language of the Empire. Tomorrow morning, Greg would report to the Imperial recruiting station in Eustis. They were still hiring, and he needed a job. Greg smiled into the darkness. An overall plan, and plans within plans – cells, and he was to be part of it all. Tomorrow would tell. He glanced at the digital clock off to his left, the droning of the fan still cooing him to sleep. Red, glowing numbers announced that it was 3:17. He closed his eyes, and once again Greg began to dream.
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Post by Stuart Mackey » 2006-06-13 01:16am

Very nice. I must say its good to see a Fic from this point of veiw, without any kind of tech to even things out, even on the tactical level, let alone the strategic stage.
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Post by Instant Sunrise » 2006-06-13 01:52am

Wow... This is what I wanted "Series of Unfortunate Coincidences" to be like, The US going from Superpower to having to fight as an insurgency. Great job on this fic.
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Post by phongn » 2006-06-13 11:45am

Quite nice, Jegs.
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Post by CaptainChewbacca » 2006-06-14 12:36am

Interesting. I was hoping Earth would go down like Rentatasia, but this is interesting too.

When exactly is this story set in the chronology of SW? Is it 2006 in the fic?
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Post by jegs2 » 2006-06-14 08:58am

CaptainChewbacca wrote:Interesting. I was hoping Earth would go down like Rentatasia, but this is interesting too.

When exactly is this story set in the chronology of SW? Is it 2006 in the fic?
The fic is set in 1998. The SW universe is set sometime around three years prior to the Battle of Yavin.
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Post by Spice Runner » 2006-06-14 07:28pm

Very nice. It has already been mentioned but I must say that I like the way that everything that has happened thusfar was from the point of view of ordinary soldiers.

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Chapter 6

Post by jegs2 » 2006-07-20 03:56am

Resistance

Chapter 6

“Are you going in there or not?” chided the smaller boy with a wolfish grin on his face. The larger boy swayed uncertainly to his left, and a bit to his rear. His eye was fixed on the path the smaller boy had pointed out to him. Alarm was clearly evident on his sweaty face. The heat of the summer day was matched only by the oppressive humidity. The thick foliage about the two boys was dotted with palmettos, vines, and various trees, all tangled with overgrown vegetation. Behind him, the larger boy could hear the occasional car pass by, reminding him that he didn’t have to do this. He could just walk away.

“Or don’t that skill award mean nothin’ to ya?” teased the smaller boy. His face was a mask of cruel amusement, and his green eyes bored into those of the larger boy. The smaller boy held the handle grips of a small red bicycle. The larger boy could see the skill award in his mind – a gold-colored piece of tin that he could affix to his belt, and on it was a depiction of a compass rose – the skill award for Hiking. He glanced quickly down and away from the gaze of that smaller boy; the boy had the power to sign the paperwork awarding that skill award to him. He outranked him as a Second-Class Boy Scout, and he already had the skill award. But, why did he have to do that? The larger boy swiveled his eyes upward, just above the mottled path the smaller boy had indicated to him. The latticework in the web would have normally been beautiful to behold, and the boy was certain that morning dew would have served to increase its splendor. There, just in the middle of it was a very large spider, appearing to have only four legs arrayed out from its center. In reality, the boy knew that the spider had all eight legs, but it kept them together in pairs. That particular spider was so big, that even here at several feet away from the critter, the boy imagined that it could see it looking at him with one of its multiple eyes. While the boy knew it to be impossible, he still couldn’t shake the feeling, and he shuddered involuntarily.

“Can I just walk around it?” plead the larger boy while glancing purposefully at the giant spider hanging in its sizable web.

“No! You gotta go through it, “ sneered the smaller boy, wiping sweat from his brow and returning the larger boy’s gaze. “Or, we’ll just forget about it and go home. You ain’t got what it takes to get that skill award anyway, do ya?”

“I’ll do it!” said the larger boy with determination in his voice. He stepped toward the path blocked by the massive spider web.

“Stop!” shouted the boy. He pushed his bicycle toward the larger boy, “You gotta carry this, on your back with ya.” The larger boy halted and studied the bicycle the smaller boy had indicated.

“Why do I got to do that?” queried the larger boy with irritation.

“We ain’t got no backpack for hiking with us, do we?” said the smaller boy with a grin on his face, “This bike is for that.” He frowned now and then added, “Oh forget it then. You don’t need this hassle. We’ll just leave and go home.”

“What about the skill award?”

“You won’t get it,” replied the smaller boy.

“But why?” said the larger boy with desperation.

“Cause, you gotta earn it.” The larger boy looked at his nemesis and then to the path he had indicated. He took the smaller boy’s bike and hoisted it onto his shoulders. He walked toward the massive spider web. As he contacted the web, he shrieked as his felt the huge spider scrambling onto his head and racing down his back. The evil smaller boy whooped with glee, laughing maniacally.

Greg opened his eyes as the alarm clock continued its electronic insistence. He jabbed at the rectangular button on top of the device to silence it. With sadness, he remembered portions of his dream. The larger boy had nearly panicked and ran in front of a fast-moving car, all because the smaller boy had wanted to have some cruel fun and abuse his power. Greg had been the smaller boy. After he left the Boy Scouts, he lost track of the larger boy. Steven was his name, and he was a friendly and giving person. All that was so long ago, memories of it relegated only to occasional dreams. The clock now announced that it was 6:01.

Today, Greg was going to do something he had never thought he would do. It went against every fiber of his being. Bits and pieces of the day he was commissioned an officer in the US Army floated through his mind. He could yet envision his dad’s proud visage, stained but by a single tear. He could see his mom pinning a gold bar on his epaulet, his younger sister pinning on the other.

Greg closed his eyes tightly, wishing away memory, but unwilling it came anyway, a vision of himself in uniform, his right hand in the air, mouthing words – they were just words, right?

“…having been appointed a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army under the conditions indicated in this document…”

Words, that is all they were, and words could become meaningless enough, if you didn’t dwell too long on their significance – relegate that significance to a mere uttering of syllables, breaking them down into their component parts.

“… do accept such appointment and do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States …”

What meaning could words really have, after all, if that for which they stood no longer existed as an entity? Was the United States really anything other than a memory now? Could the forefathers of this once-great nation have foreseen invaders from unimagined realms, raining fire from the heavens and sending forth invincible engines of war?

“… against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion …”

If you thought about it long enough, were not oaths of any kind mere collections of words that would be by themselves unimportant and trivial, so why should any grouping of them have to hold some overly important meaning? Why could not any conglomeration of words simply be discarded at will if necessity dictated?

“… and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter, so help me God.”

Greg opened his eyes, and he glanced toward the digital clock on his left. He had his orders, and while the United States might no longer exist as an entity, he had an oath to fulfill.

Eustis was not a large town, and it in fact was almost a suburb of the much larger and more important city of Orlando. Millions had flocked to the metropolis from all over the world for years to celebrate with each other at places like Disney World. The arrival of the Empire had not changed that, and Disney World still drew enormous crowds. That dollars were slowly giving way to Imperial credits mattered little to those who counted the piles of either generated by such places. In the shadow of mighty Orlando, Eustis and its sister towns were of little consequence. But even here, the Empire made its presence known. Storm troopers (Greg chuckled inwardly that the white-clad troopers would bear the name of the Nazi goons from over half a century before) made their way throughout the town, in small groups. Greg noted there were never less than three together – a wise enough force protection measure on their part. He also noted there weren’t very many of them. It wasn’t unusual for a resident of Eustis to go a whole day without seeing one. Greg saw no checkpoints. The storm troopers seemed content to simply run occasional patrols – Eustis being somewhat of a low-threat area. Local police were far more numerous from what Greg could tell.

Greg rode his bicycle down the right side of the street. The bike had been given to him by one of the soldiers prior to his departure from the safe house. It was nondescript, and it was broken down. Were it stolen, it would not be missed. Greg no longer tried to shift the bike’s gears, as the first attempt had skipped the chain right off the front sprocket, costing him a good ten minutes of manipulating the rusty chain back on and finding a gear setting that was less offensive to the contraption. Even now, chain constantly sounded as though it were ready to leap off the sprocket again, especially when Greg applied any level of strain to the pedal. For that reason, Greg remained alert for surrounding traffic should he be forced to maneuver quickly out of the way of a larger, and fast-moving vehicle.

The morning was still somewhat cool, though morning traffic did what it could to add to the heat with engines belching heated exhaust. Greg pedaled past the Burger King and continued on toward his target. He was wearing shorts today, and since he was light in skin tone he had slathered his legs, arms, face and neck with gobs of sunscreen. Even now, the sun beat mercilessly down onto his arms, probing for weaknesses in his carefully-applied armor. Beads of sweat trickled annoyingly down his temple, forming tiny streams down his back. He wore a Florida Gators cap on his head, the bill rising high over his forehead, providing shade barely sufficient to keep the blazing sunlight out of his eyes. His orange t-shirt announced proudly that he was a member of the Coconut Creek High School Electronics Club. Greg had never gone to the school, but his dad had taught there many years before, and Greg got the shirt as a hand-me-down. Besides, he liked the drawing on the shirt, depicting a young man being electrocuted by an “electronic goodywhopper” he held in his arms. More than once, Greg had to maneuver deftly out of the way of an angry car driver. They did not like sharing the road with him.

There was the building. Where it had once sported a sign that announced, “US Armed Forces Recruiting”, it now had the “US” removed, and an Imperial flag was pinned underneath the sign. Greg maneuvered his bike into the overhang of the building, noting that there was no place for bicycles. He spun in up on to its rear wheel and placed the bike upside-down, next to the wall. Greg looked at the entrance to the recruiting center. The old posters that had announced, “Be all you can be!” were gone. In their place were new posters. One showed the imposing bulk of a star destroyer, flanked by swarms of bowtie craft, and beneath it was language in BASIC. Quickly converting it in his head, Greg saw that it invited the unwashed masses to make something of themselves in the Imperial Navy. Another poster depicted a squad of storm troopers in the attack, all looking very imposing and frightful indeed. Taking a deep breath, Greg opened the door and entered the building.

“What can I do for you?” asked a man wearing a grey uniform when he spotted Greg. Greg noted that it was a small station, one that had been formerly manned by two US Army recruiters. The man addressing him appeared to be the only one present, and he also appeared to be a bit bored. Greg glanced at him and around the room, where posters reminiscent of the ones he had seen in the windows outside invited him to consider service in the Imperial military. Almost as an afterthought, Greg realized that the Imperial had addressed him in English, and pretty good English at that.

“I’m looking at some options for employment, and this looked like a good place to drop in on,” said Greg to the man. He looked for rank identifiers on the man and noted that the man had none, so he assumed he was a noncommissioned officer, though in what particular branch of service Greg could not tell. The man also wore no nametag, but a plate on the desk announced that he was Staff Sergeant Belkor. As if reading his mind, the man extended his hand and said, “I am Sergeant Belkor of the Imperial Army, and you are …”

“Greg Yost is my name. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Sergeant.”

“Prior service are you?”

“Yes, actually. I was an officer in the US Army when you, er, visited our world.”

“Were?” fished the Imperial NCO.

“Yes. So far as I can tell, there is no longer a United States, no longer an Army, and thus I find myself unemployed. It was only natural for me to look here, since I am a soldier by trade,” added Greg helpfully.

“What became of your unit?”

“We were in Kuwait when your attack commenced.”

“But you found yourself back here, how?”

“My unit disbanded once we realized there was no longer a functional US Army. I bartered for passage here to the US. I am a Floridian after all, and I wanted to see home. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike Kuwait or their people, but the sands of the desert just aren’t home to me.”

“I’ll need to get some information from you, Greg,” said the NCO. Greg had discussed all this with LTC Bertha repeatedly. Almost everything he told the recruiter was accurate, only he left out a few key details. Staff Sergeant Belkor manipulated a console that Greg assumed was a computer of some kind. It looked nothing like the QWERTY keyboard interface with mouse that Greg was accustomed to seeing, but it seemed to do the trick for the Imperial NCO. He watched the monitor embedded into the console intently, scanning through the data that came back.

“Looks like your story checks out, Lieutenant Gregory Yost. Shows here that you were assigned as an assistant intelligence officer with a tank battalion, and the last of the US Army tracking does indeed place you in Kuwait. We can continue on and look at your options.”

“What sort of enlistment bonuses do you offer?” asked Greg. The NCO looked puzzled and scratched his dark hair.

“Bonuses? What do you mean?”

“In the US Army, recruiters would offer civilians enlistment bonuses for specific military occupational specialties or specific enlistment terms.”

“Eh?” grunted the bemused Imperial NCO, and then he seemed to recall something. He laughed and added, “No Mr. Yost, we don’t offer bonuses for enlisting. If you enlist, the Empire will see to your needs, and you will be paid. But sorry, no bonuses for volunteering for service with the Empire, unless of course you refer to the bonuses included in adventure and travel.”

“Okay, fair enough,” said Greg. He then asked for which jobs in the Imperial military he was qualified. The NCO asked him if he knew BASIC. Greg surprised him by answering in that language, and then he further surprised the NCO by writing down some answers in BASIC when prompted to do so. A small cloud of suspicion came over the Imperial NCO’s face.

“Sergeant, the Empire is here to stay, and I was an intelligence officer. It didn’t take long for me to put two and two together and come up with the conclusion that it might be a really good idea to learn the Empire’s language as quickly as possible, if I hoped to be successful in this new order,” said Greg. Staff Sergeant Belkor seemed to digest that and relaxed. He showed Greg a series of options available to him. Greg asked the NCO what the credentials were for becoming an officer in the Empire.

“Normally, you would apply to one of the academies, and the Empire selects from applications transmitted every year,” answered the NCO, “But as you are from a newly-conquered territory and were furthermore an officer in the military of a conquered world, well that presents … challenges. If you were to enlist and prove yourself a loyal Imperial subject, then the authorities might look on an application for commission from … someone … like you, with, um, more … what’s the word – interest. Does that make sense?”

Greg was still trying to swallow the word, “conquered,” when he smiled weakly and answered yes. He learned that the shortest enlistment was the equivalent of ten years, and he agreed to settle on an intelligence analysis job in the Empire’s navy. He was mildly surprised to learn that there was no paperwork, but he should have figured. Everything, including his enlistment contract would be through that terminal.

“Oh, one more thing,” Staff Sergeant Belkor added hastily, “You will have to denounce any and all allegiance to the United States prior to agreeing to serve in the Imperial Navy. Greg was careful not to swallow, as images of his past threatened to flood back into his mind. He willed them away and said, “As I told you, Sergeant, the USA is no more, so any oath I took in service to it is now moot.” Staff Sergeant Belkor nodded and had Greg repeat words that all but damned his commitment to the oath he had sworn years earlier. Greg could almost see the rows of ghosts of soldiers from the American Revolution to the present glaring at him from behind the Imperial NCO. He wished them away too.

Three days later, Greg returned to the recruiting station with nothing more than a small duffel bag in his hand. He remembered his first enlistment when he had reported to a Military Entrance Processing Station (or MEPS as everyone had called it) in order to endure mounds of paperwork, a physical examination, and a thorough review of his enlistment contract prior to boarding a bus for the airport. This was not like that. Staff Sergeant Belkor was there that day, along with another grey-clad individual. Staff Sergeant Belkor identified the new individual as Sergeant Nagalev, also of the Imperial Army. Greg sported a pair of jeans and a polo shirt, and he looked around the small recruiting station, spotting two other individuals. One looked to be about 18 years of age and very nervous. The young man used his thin fingers to move blond locks of hair from his forehead and looked around the room. On the opposite side of the room sat a much older man, older than Greg by a number of years. The man had specks of grey in his dark-brown hair and a handlebar moustache. He was looking at the kid on the other side of the room and switched his gaze to Greg.

“You’re prior service,” the man said to him. It wasn’t a question.

“That’s right. Army. I just got back from Kuwait a little while ago.”

“Sandbox, eh?” said the older man, nodding. He added, “Was in Desert Storm myself with the Twenty-Fourth Infantry before I hung it all up to become a civilian.”

“How many years did you serve?” asked Greg.

“A little over six. Made sergeant before I got out and figured it was time to go. I was real pissed when I found out Baghdad was wide-open for the taking and we just up and left. We were still dealing with that bastard when these fellows came,” said the man while motioning his head toward one of the Imperial NCOs. Greg followed the man’s gaze to the grey-clad individuals.

Another five eventually joined the men. They were shuttled to Orlando on a bus and found themselves at the Orlando International Airport. Greg noted that one of the concourses had been cordoned off from the general public, and it had an unusually high concentration of Imperial personnel.

“What a sorry looking group of individuals,” one grey-clad individual said to Sergeant Nagalev in BASIC as he lead the group of men down the concourse, to which he grunted in return. Greg filed down to a gate where two storm troopers stood to either side while yet another grey-clad man sat in front of a terminal. Unlike the others Greg had seen before, this one had what looked like a blue and red set of squares on his breast with metal cylinders on either side, and Greg knew him to be an officer. He had each man rattle off his name and social security number prior to going through the gate guarded by the storm troopers. Greg noted that the Imperials seemed to find it convenient to use social security numbers for those who had them instead of using their own system. Greg rattled off his information to the Imperial officer who then waved him to the gate. The storm troopers appeared not to care one way or another, though Greg guessed that any unexpected move on his part might somehow animate them.

As Greg walked down the gangway he saw that it was familiar enough, complete with the boot that would normally lead into an airplane, only this was no airplane. The interior of this vehicle was completely alien to him, but there were seats within clearly designed with human beings in mind. A grey-clad man gestured to an empty seat and said in broken English, “You sit there.” Greg nodded dutifully and did so. He could not find a seatbelt. Soon the cabin was completely full except for one chair. A storm trooper came through the door and took the empty chair, a weapon at port arms. The doors hissed closed, and Greg waited for the push that normally came with liftoff – he assumed the vehicle would not first roll. To his surprise the storm trooper stood up mere minutes later as he heard something clang on the door. It opened and through it Greg could see a cavernous bay with various space vehicles within. As he and his cohorts stepped out, they were separated into two groups. His was the group that had some familiarity with BASIC. Greg looked to his left and nearly fell down. What looked like a huge window with a blue glow around it was all that stood between him and space. He could see nothing out there but stars.

“Welcome to the Victory Star Destroyer Ash,” said a man in a grey uniform, “And welcome to your first day of service to the Empire.”
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