Storygames Home City of IF
Free online storygaming

Chapter 1: The Harsh Reality of War
Click here to go to the original topic

       Storygames Home -> Pillbox
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message

Posted: Thu Jun 01, 2006 3:08 pm    Post subject: Chapter 1: The Harsh Reality of War  

:biggrin: Pillbox - Chapter 1

The Harsh Reality of War

Sgt James Mack thought he knew what war would be like. All throughout his life, growing up as a kid, he dreamed of war, played with toy soldiers, arranged wargames between his freinds, and always looked forward to the day when war would become a reality for him. His day had come. And it shattered him.

You can imagine his excitement when he was told his battalion would be joining the invasion forces in Iraq. He had trained and honed his skills devoutly for this very day, and he felt ready, more than ready. His strong leadership skills and raw determination had boosted him quickly through the ranks. Not only was he a Sergeant, but he had been to Airborne school and had taken honors there. Now he was to lead a squad of paratroopers into the desert, and he couldn't wait to get there.

He had heard stories of the first war in Iraq, horror stories, stories of heroism and honor, stories of fear and survival. Mostly he listened to these with disdain for those who told them, feeling he could have done better in every situation that was explained, feeling he was an invincible God in the US Army and that all others would someday see what he could achieve.

Chomping at the bit, he and his platoon landed deep in Iraq, only to find that the war, the invasion anyways, had already been completed. Cursing his commanding officers for sending him in late, he spent days furious with discontent. His troops began to wonder if they could trust his leadership.

Then, after setting camp for many days and nights, and maintaining a vigilance for the possibilities of an attack from the scattered resistance, word came in that he was to report, with his platoon, into the heart of Baghdad. While this was possibly just a ploy to keep he and his green men away from an impending battle, it could also be for an order to perform a mission of importance. Not sure what to think of the order, he carried it out in his disciplined military manner, and within an hour the camp was ready to move.

They didn't get far.

Well, SGT Mack arrived in Baghdad, to be sure. However, he arrived in a manner he could never have predicted.

SGT Mack awoke in a mobile hospital. Moans of pain from the man next to him jerked him from a sleep that seemed as if it must have lasted for an eternity. He couldn't remember anything! Panicking, he reached for his rifle, but it lay not at his side. Taking a moment to assess his situation, he looked around the room in which he lay. He was on a bed, a bed like many which lined the walls of this large tent. Heat from the desert beyond the flaps of the tent radiated inward, wafting the smells of rotted flesh, burnt skin, and blood, so much blood. All in this room were laying in these cots covered with white sheets stained red, so red in places they could be said to be black. None seemed to aware of him, and many were contributing to the moaning which woke him, creating a symphony of painful expressions. His head spun and a dizziness overcame him momentarily, forcing him to lay back on the bed.

From this vantage point, he could look up to see an IV dripping into a tube which his eyes traced downward to his arm. He lifted his arm to inspect it. It seemed normal as he extended and contracted his fingers, rolling his wrist to stretch muscles long unused while immersed in the deep sleep from which he had just emerged. He continued then to check his body further, obviously he was able to lift his torso, so his stomack and chest must be fine. He must just have had a concussion, he mused. But something didn't feel quite right. As he waved his hand in front of his face, watching as his hand slowly caught up with itself, the realization that he was under the effect of a very serious painkiller set in. He watched as he raised his right arm and waved it back and forth, tying the tracers from his hand into knots in the air.

He giggled at this for a moment, then snapped to awareness that his situation must be far more desperate than he had first assumed. He got serious at this point and began to pat himself down starting from his head. His head felt fine, a few bandages indicated some wounding, and his lack of memory entered his awareness. How did he get here? Still no sign of serious injury.

He was distracted for a moment by a shrill scream from a man laying opposite him. He sat up to see the man but his gaze never passed his own bed. Immediately he noted what he had failed to register initially. The lower portion of his bed, where his legs would be, should be, was covered in a dark red pool.

Suddenly he felt pain. Unimaginable pain, pain so intense it redefines the meaning of pain. The world spun and went black.

In the weeks that followed, he became increasingly cognizant of his situation as doctors and nurses continuously had to remind him, in his drugged stupor, that, yes, his legs had both been destroyed by shrapnel and had needed immediate amputation. He didn't accept it at first. He was young, he was invincible, immortal. How could he be now without legs?!?

The emotional struggle was overwhelming, but in the months that followed he did come to accept that his fate was to be medically discharged from the military, albeit bringing home the honor of a purple heart. Still, this was unsatisfactory, this wasn't possible, this couldn't happen, but it was happening, and he could do nothing about it. His legs were gone and would never return.

Letters were written. Letters were sent. Letters to his Commanding Officers, to his Congressman, to his President, to anyone he could think of. Couldn't anyone out there figure out a way for him to remain a soldier? This was his life, his whole life, and he couldn't deny that he still demanded his destiny to be here, with a rifle in his hand. He couldn't go down without a fight. But the letters went unanswered and his prayers never grew fruit...

Until one day...

The day before he was scheduled to be released from the US Army, scheduled to be terminated from the life he desired with all his will; on that day someone came to visit who would change his life forever.

The nurses were gathering his things as he lay still, gazing up at the roof of the tent, nearly comatose, as all emotions had left him. He was cursing his life, cursing his existance, and cursing, of course, the Iraqis. A touch on his arm roused him from his dark reverie.

"Sgt Mack?" The voice was unfamiliar to him, but it was gentle, yet strong in its masculinity, firm. Lifting his head he was suprised to note that the man who spoke was in a wheelchair himself.

"Allow me to introduce myself, I am Sydney Blake. Senator Smith said he would like me to speak with you. He mentioned that we might find each other very interesting. What do you think?" Sydney wore thin glasses and struck James as a man who looked very much like an older version of Kevin Bacon.

"Are you here because of the letter I wrote him?", returned the Sgt.

"Well, he doesn't tell me how he gets to know folks, but I would imagine, if you wrote him a letter, then yes probably so."

"Mr Blake, I'm a man of few words. The world sucks right now and looks like it's gonna suck for the rest of my life. As you can see I no longer have legs and the Lord didn't have the decency to finish the job. If you can do something about that, I'll be more than happy to talk with you. If you can't, I'd like you to leave me alone."

A long pause ensued, both men locking eyes, trying to read the other's intentions. The silence was broken with a chuckle bursting through Sydney's throat.

"Hah, you just might be exactly what the Army is looking for.", he proclaimed with a smile.

"The ARMY? The Army is about to get rid of me, tomorrow in fact."

"And what if I told you that I could offer you a way to stay?" This comment elicited the most intense of focus from SGT Mack.

"Go on..."

"Well, the problem is, it's dangerous. It's experimental. It's never been done successfully. In fact, if you survived the process, well, you would be the first. Are you so willing to toss away what life you could have, even as a cripple? Furthermore, if we do this, and it works, and you survive, you won't be able to go back. You will be top secret, and noone will know you but those who work with you, of whom, there would be few. You would be swearing off women, well, relationships anyhow. You would be swearing off contact with your family ever again, you would be agreeing to be pronounced dead to the world, and furthermore, you could, in fact you likely would, end up dead indeed. Is your continued service to your country, is your life in the military, are your legs, worth that sacrifice?"

A moment of silence betrayed SGT Mack.

"I see you have some doubt. I understand you have a sister back home with whom you are very close. You have friends, yes, we all had friends."

"How much time do I have to make this decision?", asked Sgt James Mack.

"You must decide now"

OK, discuss now, in 2 days I will post a poll and the vote will be taken. Obviously, this does not need to necessarily be a yes or no answer, some alternative may be determined, but keep in mind that Sydney seems to want a clear answer, and he wants it now.
Back to top  
       Storygames Home -> Pillbox
Page 1 of 1

Powered by phpBB Search Engine Indexer
Powered by phpBB 2.0.16 © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group