|The Meat Grinder
Author: Instant Ninja PM
A story of warfare through the eyes of a soldier.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Angst - Words: 718 - Reviews: 11 - Published: 06-08-05 - id: 1934911
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Rain, a word I've always found so beautiful. Liquid life falls from the heavens to provide for Gaia's children. Funny how different it seems when it comes now, like this: a torrent, a storm, and today, a soldier's worst nightmare. Lightning turns invincible heavy armor into a furnace, baking the unfortunate caught inside. On a hill like this, mud makes it easier to slip and fall, and landing the wrong way can make a man drown before he can struggle against his armor's weight, if enemies don't slaughter him first. Gods I hate this job. "Join the military, see the world, be a hero," that's what the signs said. Fuckers made it seem like a goddamn field trip. Nothing was said about watching friends die in your arms or comrades blown apart. And yet, here we are on some fucking crusade in the middle of nowhere. The rain makes it near impossible to see more than a few feet, but we can already hear the rebel cries. Sounds like those freeze a man's soul. It makes me shiver just thinking about it.
I stand on the front line of our ragged formation, along with the men I have come to call my brothers. We get called "veterans" by the green recruits alongside us. You can tell a green from a veteran easily: a green looks a bit excited or nervous. A veteran knows he's already dead, so he seems apathetic. Veteran means we survived a skirmish. It was the scariest thing I have ever seen. Blood and entrails flying after a ballista bolt shatters what was once a proud knight of the Seventh Infantry. The Emperor expects us to win this "crusade" because we are "stronger, better trained, and better equipped than those… barbarians!" Training, armor, numbers… what use are they? When a seven foot tall Nortland berserker runs at you screaming and swinging his axe, it's all you can do to keep from shitting yourself. Every day they grow in numbers, battle or no battle. We can barely keep our soldiers from deserting. And yet the generals send back favorable reports, those boot lickers who never set one foot on a battlefield.
I'm afraid, but I don't show it. I stand here, in my standard issue armor, one half-broken shield and a long sword my only defenses. I'm still weary from two days ago, but I don't even get replacements or repairs for my damaged equipment, thanks to the stingy ass bastard of a general. I wait for all hell to be unleashed. How odd it is that we all stand here in formation, facing the enemy growls and preparing for an onslaught that we cannot see. I wonder what would happen if they did the same. Would we all just stand here in the cold, and at the end of the day, suffer more casualties from pneumonia than enemy attacks? But now, everything seems trivial. Adrenaline rushes through, and our legions surge as a flood, barely contained by the dam of order. When the dam breaks, we will become a sweeping wave. Ha… how false this self administered pep talk seems.
I often wonder why I'm here, on this side of the field. I find more respect for these revolutionaries than I do my own men. They fight because they believe in their cause. We take a more mercenary approach. I sometimes plan to defect, but my family would pay the consequences, and I cannot jeopardize their safety. My name is Titus Andrometius, but today, I am simply another soldier, a pawn in a war between two men I have never met. The rebels are led by a fire breathing giant demon… or so the rumors say. Fear makes the enemy grow… but I find myself unable to dismiss the lies. Anyone who can unite Nortlanders, Calorians, Baragones, and Yessens must surely be more than human. I fear this mighty…
The horn blows, and all thought flees my mind. Knights cry. Berserkers roar. Fanatics howl. Everyone charges. And when we meet, I get blown off my feet by the impact. As I rise, the world lands on my skull. Noises dull… silence… darkness… nothingness.
Hm… maybe more later…
-Ikari No Kami-