|Men of Goodwill
Author: NeonCrisis PM
A small platoon, on an alien planet. Things take a turn for the worst, and they must now come to terms with their inevitable end.Rated: Fiction K - English - Words: 1,003 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 03-22-06 - id: 2137893
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Men of Goodwill
"They're coming, sir," Private Johnson whimpered, the fear on his face seen only by the green light emanating from the radar console. Other than that, the barracks were painfully darkened. "They're coming," Johnson said clasping his mother's cross tightly in his insecure hands, muttering reverent prayers.
The troop—or what was left of it—sat attentively on their respective bunks, M-8 Carbine rifles clutched tightly in their trembling hands.
The man in charge, Seargent Stone, was a man of few words, and today was no exception. Using the tip of his rifle, he ordered the troops to gather in the common-ground.
Everyone understood immediately; this was to be a final desperate strike. There would be no rescue operations; no one would bail them out. The only thing their training gave them was the incentive to die with honor. Go down in a blaze of glory. Make your death worth something.
Seargent Stone opened the door to the barracks, confronting the darkness with light from the setting sun. The abrupt change in mood raised the troop's awareness, and brought them out of their disheartening thoughts.
"Sarge," a Private snapped his fingers, "it's Sinclair" the Private crudely interrupted his contemplation. Were the circumstances different, the private would have been reprehended for speaking out of line. But the circumstances weren't different.
The Seargent turned to look at the private, following his gloved finger to a silhouetted figure curled up in a corner. He let his eyes linger for a second. First instinct told him that this Cadet could only bring trouble to his group, probably causing deaths.
Stone, looked at him coldly, but upon further consideration, the cadet was still green, and not psychologically equipped to handle the situation. Stone surprised himself by his sudden rush of sensitivity.
He crouched beside the cadet. "It's okay, son," he said, "It'll all be over soon." He extended his hand, to assist the cadet to his feet. Stone flashed a sincere, warm grin.
The young cadet wiped tears off his face, and regained composure. As he was about to thank the Seargent—who was more of a father to him, than he'd ever let known—he was interrupted by the radar guy.
"Sir," Johnson called out from the radar console, "enemy approaching, three clicks northeast, and counting." Johnson barely managed to get the words out, his expression frozen with terror. He should have heeded his friends, war was not for him.
Seargent Stone, rushed to the door, "C'mon ladies, it's show time" As ordered by the Seargent, the platoons stood in an open field, fresh magazines in their weapons, each holding an extra clip. "Make it last," the Seargent had said as he handed one to each of them.
The alien air densened as everyone held their breaths.
The flapping of the "demon birds", as well as their shrill war cry could be heard approaching. Steadily and rapidly.
The sloppy formation of crimson bodies, crammed beneath a glowing sun. Painting the horizon with their majestic figures. So terrifying were these beings that the sun itself seeked refuge behind the gathering clouds.
Stone cocked his rifle, and held it securely in both hands. "Johnson," he called out."
"Yessir," Private Johnson responded with an involuntary salute. He held it expecting dismissal from the Seargent.
"Are you religious?" the Seargent asked.
"Y-yessir," Johnson responded, curious as to why this mattered at a time like this.
"Then do me a favor, pray for us all, son, pray for us all." The troop chuckled uneasily. Stone was dead serious when he delivered this message. He really thought they would die. This really was the end.
Having said that, Stone and his entire platoon stood in silence, carefully watching their death approaching. As they came closer, their screams seemed to be muffled. You know, they were beautiful these birds, in their own way, they were beautiful. The pure white light from the sun reflected off their glistening bodies, as they tore effortlessly through the sky. It was beautiful.
The young cadet, who had seemed defeated earlier, had apparently regained his composure. He joined the group of expectant…no, not soldiers…brothers. That's what they were, the children of war. They were all his brothers.
Eyes fixed firmly on the glimmering menace; the cadet reached for his wallet, and kissed the picture of his ex-fiancé. He dropped the photo and called out enthusiastically, "Let's show them who they're messing with!"
The battlefield erupted with cheerful roars, "Give 'em hell!!" "Bring it on!!" "Tear them to pieces" and "Come and get it!"
The Seargent raised his hand, silencing the troops. "Here they come boys," he said staring intently into the crimson sky, "I'll see you in hell"
Another chuckle pierced the battlefield, it was light hearted and warm. Johnson held his mother's cross close to himself. He'd be seeing her soon, of that he was certain.
The young cadet withdrew a jewel encrusted ring from his pocket, and slipped it on his finger. He looked up smiling. For a moment, the "demon birds" screeches seemed like an angel choir.
Stone retrieved a carton of cigarettes from his pocket, and chucked them aside. No better time than now to drop a nasty habit.
The "demon birds" shrill shrieks resonated above them. The birds hovered for a moment, coordinating an attack. The troop stared up intensely. A voice came from the background. "Hermanos," said the voice,"It's been an honor."
Weapons were raised synonymously; it was like a final salute. The "demon birds" let out a war cry, before swarming. Wings spread, thousands of figures ripped through the air in all directions.
Stone could see himself smiling in the eyes of his enemy. He chuckled; it was a good day after all.
"Fire!" he hollered, "fight like there's no tomorrow." Gun fire bombarded the air, from the battlefield to the crimson horizon.