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“Baseplate, this is Alpha One-Zero Actual. We are ready to proceed and we are on schedule.”
“Acknowledged, Alpha Zero-One, proceed to complete objectives.”
“Acknowledgement received. Roger and out.”
“Good hunting. Out.”
Lieutenant Lance Hanzala, a young scout from the 7th Strike Regiment of the Pan-Asian Alliance was situated with his team in the middle of the desolate Siberian taiga. They were to infiltrate and sabotage the renowned Russian secret base of Yamantau in order to clear the way for the rest of their forces to retake it from the Atlantic Union.
They must succeed in this mission; otherwise, the alternatives would be either an expensive space-drop assault or an orbital bombardment, something that the High Command deemed to be unacceptable. After all, Yamantau is an important staging base for the Pan-Asian Alliance that allows them to quickly traverse nearly anywhere in the world, except for Africa.
Worse, if those alternatives were exhausted, practically half of Russia’s military will be cut off, which might play a huge step in terms of giving the Union forces a huge strategic advantage. Hanzala knows the consequences if they screwed up the mission…
Thus, in order to succeed, they were trying their best to concentrate on the mission at hand.
“Fucking hell, LT, what are we waiting for?” asked a subordinate.
“We can’t just go in with our guns blazing. We need to wait for the signal to start.”
It is already the sixth year of the Third World War between three of the world’s largest supernations.
The Atlantic Union, the Pan-Asian Alliance and the African Collective are all fighting for complete control of the Earth’s ever-dwindling resources. To make matters worse, the Colonial Entities who rule Mars and the Outer Planets are planning to exact their revenge on Earth’s governments due to complex political matters that left the human colonies embittered and impoverished.
Meanwhile, Yamantau, or “Yama”, is one of the Pan-Asian Alliance’s largest bases. Containing hangars for mechanized forces, tanks, aircraft and spacecraft, as well as mass drivers and missile silos, the base is considered to be a critical node in the Alliance’s war calculus. Its defences aren’t bad as well, as it contained extensive defense positions, weapons platforms and anti-orbital shields. In other words, Yama is a 22nd –century fortress that gave Russia full control over its eastern possessions.
I really wonder why do we have to wage war like this. Too much blood, too much hatred…yet we can’t even do a single thing about it…after all, orders are orders and we need to do this job as long as we are sworn to our country.
Once he was able to collect his thoughts, the young lieutenant gave the signal for his troops to go ahead.
Hanzala and his team of scouts were selected to become and advance party for a base retake, followed by several squads of highly-equipped, state-of-the-art heavy mechs known as Lancelots and Bulgasaris. He and his team have already succeeded in doing similar missions during their tours of duty; that’s the reason why High Command selected them as the lead squad to spearhead the assault on Yamantau.
“This is Alpha One-Zero. Sound off.”
“Three in position.”
“Five is right on track.”
The roll call continued until nine, which meant that there were ten squads ready to take on the challenge.
With all units in their respective places, he and his squad first went to a generator, making sure that they were not spotted by the various patrols that guarded the perimeter of the base. Once they reached the power source, they placed several timed EMP and thermobaric bombs all over the area.
So far, so good. Everything’s going smoothly.
Thanks to the inclement weather, many of the guards weren’t out on patrol. This detail didn’t escape Hanzala’s attention.
Afterwards, they were careful to mix up their footprints in order to distract the guards. After all, even though they were in their mirage-generating battlesuits, people would still be able to see the steps and raise the alarm. Hanzala and his team know that anyone who has passed basic scouting school would know how easy it was to detect tracks in the snow.
Knowing that the other squads have done their jobs at this point, Hanzala’s teammates quickly went to a safe distance, knowing that the fireworks would begin shortly. He looked back at the base and marvelled at the red, yellow and green lights of the mass drive as well as the blue pulses of the weapons storages.
The sight made him think of the Christmas celebrations that he spent in the past together with his family, friend and lovers. It almost made him cry.
However, with his family dead after being killed in a firebomb attack, there was nothing anymore to celebrate. Since then, he only had one mission: To kill Atlantic soldiers whenever he had the opportunity.
Blinking back his thoughts into the real world, he took a cursory look at his digital watch. The welcoming ice-cold blue screen showed “00:54”.
The display was about to commence.
Indeed, it would have been among the most magnificent explosions that they’ve witnessed in their lifetime, except for the fact that Yamantau was also one of their own. They knew very well that it will cost the Pan-Asian government a fortune to fix this mess again.
They could even hear the shouts of panicked people trying to pull their comrades out of the raging flames. Some of them were looking in a panicked matter at their battlesuits; they’ve just realized that they were also hit by EMPs, thus ensuring that the command and control structure was in shambles.
Then, after what seemed to be an eternity, the sad wail of an alarm sounded as a couple of red and orange fireballs lit up the winter sky. They were followed by multiple booming sounds, which confirmed that they were able to accomplish their mission.
Best of all, at least according to the Pan-Asian Allaince’s eyes, the base’s early warning system is now crippled and they are on their way towards securing a grand and decisive victory for their faction.
Yes, this is what a war looks like. Men seem to die for a righteous cause when in fact they’re just nothing but players in a long, futile game.
This also includes me, by the way.
While these thoughts were racing inside his mind, several mech pods dropped from above the sky, revealing Griffins, Rhinos, Bulgasaris and Lancelots inside them.
So the real party begins.
It’s your turn to shine. Good luck and good hunting.
With those words receding from the inner recesses of his mind, he signaled his team to leave Yamantau on foot towards the rally point come seven kilometers away to the east, tying his fate to the strike force that had just landed from the skies of Siberia.
He knew very well that it was just the beginning of a long, excruciating road from defeat. Whether the path led to glorious victory or eternal damnation was another matter.
As for him, he did his job well and survived to fight another day. That was enough for him.
Hanzala knows that the future was not set by him…and that they were just stories in the long and winding river of life.
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About the Author
Earl Carlo Guevarra, 27 and a proud Zamboangueño, is a teacher of English based in the heart of Manila. Also, when he’s not teaching children the fundamentals of grammar, he writes essays and poems, many of which have been published locally and internationally. Finally, he also loves fruit shakes and video games.
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