The intelligence officer paced back and fourth at the front of the tent as he spoke, delivering the briefing.
"Alright, gentlemen, listen up. Our orders for the day are to provide close air support for ground forces as they advance towards Volgograd. Their objectives are to capture or, failing that, destroy key factories located here, here, and here."
He pointed to several circled locations on the map being projected onto an overhead screen just beside him.
"The Russians have not had a chance reinforce their troop garrisons there yet, so resistance should be light. Intelligence has received word, however, that several anti air missile batteries had been moved into the city prior to the war. Keep an eye out for them. If they are in working order, those missiles will chew through your helos in no time at. Are there any questions about these? No? Alright. The route the ground force will be taking is..."
The he continued his speech, going on about the route that we would be following and possible weather conditions, but none of this really applied to me. I was a gunner for my Black Hawk, so navigation was not really my responsibility. My friend Devon Knox, the other gunner in the helo, seemed to be of a similar mindset as he was leaning over to whisper to me.
"Hey Miller, What do you think of this mission?"
Well what was there to say, really? It was a combat mission. We could all end up dead by the end of it, but if you think too much about that sort of thing, it psychs you out. Makes it harder to focus. ... and speaking of focusing, damn these pants were itchy. It was still early in the morning, but the summer heat decided to get a jump on things. The temperature in the tent was already somewhere around 25C, and sweat plus uniform was a recipe for unpleasantness. Ah, damn it. Focus. Knox is talking to you.
"Umm... Well... It is what it is. Seems like it should go relatively smoothly, provided intelligence is correct."
Knox snorted. Military intelligence was actually quite reliable, but it still had a bad reputation due to the fact that on the rare occasion they screwed up, things usually went horribly wrong.
"Hey, those guys are usually pretty reliable. Cut them some slack."
"Yeah, but if they screw up we're toast..."
The officer cleared his throat and glared at us. Both me and Knox went completely silent and sat straight up, waiting for him to continue. After giving us the 'smarten up' look, he went back to the briefing; thankfully without assigning us any punishment. He probably considered it a waste of time since we would be heading to a combat zone soon, anyways, and may not be coming back. Knox waited a few minutes until the officer turned around for a prolonged period of time, before leaning in again.
"Hey you know, something's been bothering me. Despite the war being in full swing for the past few weeks, I still have not been told by any officers what tripped off this mess. When ever I ask they always say they'll get back to me but never do. You got any ideas? The TV said something about a 'secret black ops military operation' going to shit, and the Russians blaming us for it."
Ah yes, TV. Clearly the most unbiased and reliable source for picking up information during a war... pah. There's so much political muck in situations like these, that any information taken from it is probably loaded with speculation or propaganda.
"You believe that stuff? Man, that sounds like some paranoid conspiracy theory. Who knows, though. I heard a rumour that a search and rescue mission went awry, but that's just talk. We won't know anything until the officers see fit to tell us. Can't figure they'd hold it back forever. Soldiers need to know why they're fighting."
Just then, I looked up and noticed the officer was moving onto the gear being used for the mission: Something I actually had to pay attention to.
"Hey, look. They're about to discuss our loadouts. We need to hear this."
Author's Note: And there we go, the first bit of the story published. I do have several more pages already typed up, but wanted to post them one at a time and get feedback between postings. This is my first attempt at writing fiction, after all, and I want to improve as much as I can. Maybe then, the later chapters won't be as much of a jumbled mess as this one undoubtedly is.
Anyways, I would really appreciate it if you guys took the time to give me some CONSTRUCTIVE criticisms on my work. Review it, PM me, anything. I just want to know how I can improve.