What the hell does that mean?

It means...

All three figures reach up to the top of their heads, and slowly peel off the leathery skin of their masks. Before all three are even fully off, I feel puke in my throat. They're straight out of The Hills Have Eyes. You're lucky you can't see them.

The one in front of me has an eye socket about three inches lower than it should be, and he lunges at me, but the one in the middle sticks out his arm to hold him back. I have to remember that they can hear what I'm thinking. I fight to keep the blade out of my thoughts. I... move my fingers back and forth, but I think about it as little as possible.

"What the hell happened to you?" Commander asks.

Nuclear testing, the first voice growls in my head. Your country used our island to test atomic bombs and nuclear warheads. They didn't give us a warning. We were expendable to them. There were over three thousand of us here before, living a life away from the evils of the modern world. Less than one thousand remain. The tests took place in 1992, but the defects are genetic now. Some children have been born, but most of us have been here since the explosions.

That... I'm always up for defending the US of A, but I've seen the dark side of the country. We've done things the founding fathers would be ashamed of. I believe them, one hundred percent.

We know you believe us. Your kind always does. However, we don't desire your belief, or your validation. We make our stance clear: no outsiders are permitted on our island. Your evil nation continues to send its men to die, to scout land for another military exercise.

Shit. They know about North Korea?

Of course we know. Your colleagues gave us all the information we wanted before their deaths.

Commander bucks against his ropes. "You killed my boys?"

Yes, but they were not the ones who gave us the information. That happened several missions ago. Your men were silent to their deaths. Maybe with the defeat of its most skilled group of agents, your nation will finally learn to leave us be.

I hear a yelp from Tam, and all I can feel is pure, unbridled rage. Rage at these people for killing my other teammates, and rage at my country for making them this way. Rage I can't act on, because the damn blade isn't doing anything. It'll take me an hour to cut through this rope. Maybe that's why they haven't taken it from me, even though I'm obviously thinking about it. They know it won't do anything to help us.

A very smart guess, one of the people speaks into my head.

They all kneel down, and Commander bucks again, but Tam speaks calmly.

"It's okay, Seesaw. We knew this would happen eventually. We can't win every battle."

Seesaw? Who the hell is Seesaw?

"They sent us into a trap," he growls. "I knew we should've left Absolute when we had the chance. We played right into their hands, and thought we were smart for it."

I can't imagine what they're feeling right now, but I... I'm sick. I'll never be able to see my family again, my little brother... my sister just got engaged, and I fucking love her fiance. He's a real stand-up guy. I'll never see them get married. All because we were set up. I don't know why they sent us here to die, but I do know I can't find it in me to forgive them. Not for us, and not for the people about to kill us, either.

Good. You shouldn't forgive. Forgiveness is for those who admit wrong. Your government sent you here to die. That does not warrant forgiveness.

He's right. As I stare into the hideous, mangled face of the person in front of me, I know I'll take this grievance to my grave. Commander... Seesaw? Whatever his real name is, he looks at me.

"It's been a pleasure serving with you, Wiz."

I nod. "Copy. You too. And you, Tam."

She nods at me, and I face the mutant in front of me. He reaches for my ear, and I know he's going to take out the earpiece. So this is it. Maybe someone outside of the government will listen to these tapes and stop them from sending anyone else here. I doubt it, but there's a chance. If you're part of the public and you get your hands on this recording, don't keep quiet. Get the word out. Island needs to be left alone, or more oblivious soldiers will die. More victims of radiation poisoning who don't want anything to do with us. Don't let our deaths be in vain.

Sorry that you don't get a happy ending. At least you're not here.

END OF RECORDING

7:47 AM 25 JUNE 2017

EARPIECE MALFUNCTION

7:52 AM 25 JUNE 2017


MISSION ABORT

12:00 NOON 25 JUNE 2017