“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling, which thinks that nothing is worth war, is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing that is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” – John Stuart Mill
It was a worn-out room. A blank room open to the entire world. A room ravaged and raped by the war that was continuing on outside of it. Somewhere far off from the room, the war raged. The wind was blowing hard. It was as if the heavens were trying to erase this very room, this war, this existence. How did it all come to this?
If you were to stand in the room, you could see all that was outside, for it was missing an entire wall. Probably from some shrapnel or the newer weaponry out there. Debris floated through the air and the dust from the ground was throughout the wind, giving it a darker color. Outside of the room destroyed, totaled vehicles lined the battered streets and fragments of formerly owned suburban houses littered the landscape. Life seemed to have vanished from this terrible place long ago.
Inside the room there was a small table in the middle holding up an operating television. Amazing how they both had survived what cars couldn’t stand up to. The television was flat, almost like one of the flat-screen televisions we have today, but much more advanced. It had the usual buttons to press, but it was thinner than a pencil, and yet, it was very sturdy. The table had what used to be extraordinary craftsmanship, but the war left it looking bare. Papers covered the floor near the television and stirred up every time another gust came around.
The television was on, but it only showed static on the screen. Most of the stations had been knocked out nearby and it would be almost impossible to get a signal around here. The television hissed loudly at the room as if to say that it didn’t want to be there any longer. The television seemed to glow inside the room. It gave it all an ominous feeling. A feeling of death, of destruction.
All of a sudden, the static started to clear and an image of a man standing in ruins was going across the screen and finally stopped. The man was a British reporter for BBC World News and had just started telling the basis of his story. His name was Harold Greene.
“Here I am in what used to be downtown Los Angeles,” he said as he walked through the remains of what was apparently a city, “It is now June 8th, 2112 and for the last fifty years China has acquired enough arms and currency to pose a threat to anyone at this point. Even the creators of the new energy source called Ionized Obliterating Nuclear Material or ION, the Mexicans, did not anticipate such a strong force to come of the Chinese. Chinese forces have gained many dangerous allies in the past ten to fifteen years. Most of Asia is now under the control of China leaving only the Russians to their onslaught. The European Union has sent all military personnel to help in the defense of Russia, but all hope seems lost. China has been challenged time and time again by the Americans and the other countries of a now shattered UN, but the Chinese War in 2076 ended in disaster for the Americans and the Ruso-Chinese War of 2092 had almost the same outcome.
“Now as America’s economy and military might is fading, the shift of power has swayed towards Mexico and China. The creators and the innovators of ION have set the stage for a war that could encompass the earth and determine the way we, the free people, will live out the rest of our lives. Whether under the control of Dalun Minsheng or the close watch of President Stefan Santa Cruz, this war will surely change us all. To ensure victory, Minsheng, had ordered mass bombings of most major cities of the free world on May 10, 2112 where over fifty seven million lives were lost. Wonderful capitals and metropolises like London, San Diego, New York City, and even Moscow have all been reduced to rubble.
“China now has its power-hungry gaze set on Mexico as it prepares for what could be the last stand of the free people. With a short list of allies and a limited amount of resources, there is not much the Mexicans can turn too. The Americans will have to come through if the Mexicans can hope to win this war. The situation looks grim for America, however. Their weapons systems aren’t as current as the equipment the normal Chinese soldier would carry. The Americans have little troops compared to the Chinese war machine combined with their list of powerful allies. America has little to no chance of victory, but China will still have to gain a foothold in order to lead an assault on Mexico. This is to be the first war fought on American soil since the Civil War, however, this conflict will not be for uniting the country, it will be for preserving it…”
The television had then lost the feed again and started to whisper with static. Then, footsteps could be heard far off. The wind began to die down and soon calmed as if some holy presence had ordered it too. The footsteps could be heard easily now. Some silhouette was traveling down what once was a main street in San Diego. The silhouette was in the shape of a lean, tall man. He held a weapon across his chest and was disturbed by what was left of this former city. He passed by a few cars that had the outline of a person burned onto the exterior. The horror of nuclear weaponry. He stared at one of those cars and vomited.
He slung his weapon around his back at this point. He stopped and crouched down over a broken picture frame and recognized who looked back at him. He began to cry as he looked at a picture filled with the faces of a family. His family. They all seemed to be frozen in time as they were constantly smiling. Just happy, never to know of their fate. They had all perished on that horrific day. There was no one left for this man. He could no longer feel the warmth of his wife, see the innocence in his daughter or deal with the mischief his son had planned. He had no family left. He had no reason to live. He took his sidearm and put it against the underside of his jaw. He could feel the cold, but almost welcoming steel as he pressed it hard. He wanted to pull the trigger and end it all right there… but he couldn’t. He could never kill himself, no matter how dire the circumstances. He couldn’t bring himself to commit that terrible act. His family was right there watching him and he could feel their spiritual presence. He needed to live. His family would’ve wanted that. His radio interrupted his train of thought very abruptly and brought him back to reality.
“All military personnel defending the beachhead report to Rally Point Delta immediately. All civilians are to evacuate to the outskirts of the city as soon as possible. Attack is imminent. Repeat, attack is imminent.”
The man hidden by his own shadow rose up and swung his rifle back across his chest. He took the picture out of the frame and put it in one of his pockets. He turned almost waiting for someone telling him not to go, but ran off back into the wall of settling dust and vanished. Just then, the wind kicked up again and the picture frame slowly slid away.
The Battle of San Diego
Dalun Minsheng was a very important man. He didn’t answer to anyone and was the reason for the sudden success of the Chinese people. He had once been a hero of the Chinese War, which had seemed so far back in his memory. He had also led the forces that destroyed all hope that the Americans had in stopping their growing power. He had been victorious for the entirety of his life. He had never lost a battle that had his men in the action. He was ruthless, cunning, and a well-respected man of his people. After much of the fighting had ended he became the front-runner for the 2094 election. When he came into office with a landslide victory he sought to keep his power no matter what. It was easy to get the people to support him. He had invested much of their country’s wealth into the further development of ION and it was paying off for them greatly. He decided to change – no improve – their government, his government, for the welfare of his great country. He pressed the People’s Congress of the Chinese Communist Party to allow the president to have total power and keep them as his advisors. A dictatorship, if you will. The congress wasn’t too excited about this idea, but the people willed it to happen and after only five years in office he had gained absolute control over his country.
Soon, the issue of expansion had arisen within the great and powerful mind of Minsheng. The country’s population was growing; his people were content, and the economy prospering. He had decided not on invasion, but persuasion instead. This gave certain countries protection from others or promise of financial security. He quickly became both a great military leader as well as an intelligent and witty diplomat. He gained very powerful and dangerous allies for the newly formed International Reformation Coalition. They had several countries involved from the get-go, but the real basis of support relied in China, North and South Korea, and Iran. However, not all of the countries they were interested in were willing to swear allegiance to them. That was where force came in and that is where this war, World War III, had begun. On the steppes of Russia, where the first refusal and first firefight had occurred: they had made a huge sacrifice for the rest of the world. They had taken on the full force of the IRC and had paid dearly. Soon, the whole world had intervened and all hell broke loose. This is where Minsheng came up with his master plan to take down the source of his enemy’s power. He decided to launch an assault on North America and planned to take Mexico. The birthplace of the highly coveted energy would fall before him. However, he needed a base of attack.
America had been considerably weaker since the Chinese War all those years ago. He thought that such a broken country would fold easily against the might of the IRC. Minsheng knew that the majority of his forces sent there need not worry of America, but Mexico. The Americans would give one hell of a fight, but would not last long. It was only a matter of time, and time seemed to be working in his favor these past decades. America, to him, was like an old horse that couldn’t race anymore. It just needed to be taken out back and shot – put out of its internal misery. And so Minsheng and his top generals have met in his study to go over the landings one last time.
His study was rather large and had exquisite furniture that had been handcrafted specifically for the President of the People. He sat at his desk while his other two generals were standing in front of him looking towards him with their utmost respect. They are both keeping their proper posture as to not offend the great Minsheng. He was reading over a file of particular importance because it gave the estimated casualties for their massive assault. He looked up towards his generals and they could tell he wasn’t happy with what he read.
Dalun Minsheng was an old man now. He didn’t look much like a great hero, but he still held the stature of one. He wore an old pair of glasses that rested on the bridge of his nose. His hair was put into a middle part that was black with grey streaks throughout it. He had a closely shaven face but had missed a few whiskers. He wore his uniform from his glory days and kept his many medals pinned on the front. He also wore his former dog tags under his uniform to feel as if he was still in his beloved past victories.
He let the information sink in and took a moment to control his anger. He stared bitterly at his most trusted and respected man, an American, as a matter of fact. He was born in the States, but his parents had lived in China to achieve better livelihoods. He had seen many of his young friends as well as his parents die in the Chinese War and had vowed to get back at the Americans. He considered himself Chinese more than his American heritage. He was a short, stocky man who bared a bushy goatee among his face. He kept his eyes staring blankly ahead of him as he waited for Minsheng’s heated remarks.
“McCoy! What the hell do you mean over 16,000 casualties?! This is not acceptable!” Minsheng screamed in Mandarin.
“Sir, it’s only a prediction of the worst possible outcome,” he replied quietly. Major General Allen McCoy was a hero of the Ruso-Chinese War. He served under Minsheng in many infiltration missions to preserve the People’s way of life. He was treated like a son by the great Minsheng and had risen in rank after his heroics until he made it to the top.
President Minsheng got up and walked towards the window to the right of his desk with his hands grasping each other behind his back. “My men won’t allow such failures to occur! We outnumber the Americans and the Mexicans still have doubts about bringing aid to their fight! How much resistance could we encounter?” Minsheng looked out the window for a few seconds and finally spoke, “I won’t let China fall to the same fate as the Soviet Union. When they never took the step to face the Americans, they sealed their fate,” he turned back towards McCoy and brought his hands in front and began to ponder about his country’s future, “This will be the single greatest mass assault ever. We must secure a straight shot to Mexico. We have no choice but to attack San Diego.”
“Yes, sir… our soldiers are the greatest in the world. They shouldn’t have a problem taking what weak Americans own. They don’t even know that our troops approach as we speak. Our ships have left the closest port that we control… Midway. We will hear of their success in only a matter of hours, sir.”
“I pray for you that we will…”
Captain Jeremy Exile had been in the Army since he was seventeen. He always used to joke with his fellow soldiers that he became of legal age in basic. That time seemed so long ago. He was forty-one now, but could still fight with the best of them. Except for his drooping eyes and five-o’-clock shadow, he didn’t look too old. You could see how weary he had been from fighting. His hair didn’t have any grey yet and kept its cool brown color over the years. It still looked as good as when he was in high school. The other senior officers wanted to put him in a leadership role, but he didn’t want to be in an office far from the action. He was an amazing soldier and his record had shown that.
He had been a relatively well-known hero of the Ruso-Chinese War. Because of his enormous talent and excellent decision-making abilities, he had been placed in an Advanced Reconnaissance Detachment. He took part in a small squad who had brought down many key components of China. Utilities, weapons facilities, ION development factories, had all been hit by his squad quickly and efficiently. He had a large scar running over his right eye to show for it all. Due to what he had seen he kept an angry appearance in order to keep from knowing his men too well. He knew that he would have to see some of them die. Seeing your friends die is always tough so he decided to keep his distance.
He was walking towards headquarters, which technically was just a bunker with much more protection. He looked around at the beating this once bustling city had taken. In just a few hours it had been turned from a beehive into a ghost town. He was called by the commanding officer of the American Forces in the area. He didn’t know what to expect when he would reach the interior because the General had become slightly… antsy lately.
When he arrived at the General’s bunker he was recognized immediately and saluted by two guards standing outside the heavy door. They let him through and he was met with extra security on the other side, but they stood down immediately when they saw the soldier’s face.
“Captain Exile… I’m sorry, sir, please go on ahead. General Murphy is waiting for you in his private quarters…” a timid officer quietly said.
“Good, I don’t want to waste too much time,” Exile said bluntly in a slightly quiet but fairly deep voice. The smaller lieutenant nodded and moved out of Exile’s way. He headed through a dimly lit hallway towards the general’s private quarters. The walls were made of reinforced concrete with a light, shielding layer of titanium alloy. Of course, if the Chinese knew where their headquarters had been located it would be destroyed in a matter of minutes.
He kept along the right side of the wall and took a right when he reached the end. He could see the door to the general’s room and knocked when he arrived.
“Yes, come in,” he said with a deep voice. Exile entered and found the general standing in front of a large screen displaying the map of San Diego and showed the positions of all of the forces in the area. The general turned and smiled at Exile. Exile stood at attention and saluted his commanding officer. The general returned it.
“How you doin’, sir?” Exile asked. They had known each other since Exile had been a recruit. General Murphy trained him personally after he had shown extraordinary talent.
“Never better, Jeremy. I’ve told you this before, call me Julius. We’ve known each other for over twenty years now. I think we can go on a first name basis, don’t you.”
“Heh… yea… damn, I never thought they’d let you take charge here. I always thought Command hated the way you played?” Exile said.
“Not anymore. They need every man they can get. I’m just happy they didn’t stick me up north with the Canadian military. You know Intel says a Chinese fleet has been spotted near the Aleutian Islands.”
“Bastards move fast,” Exile said in an irate attitude.
“I know… I don’t know how long this war will last, but even I seriously doubt we can win it…” General Murphy said while he began to show a more depressed demeanor, “They have troops ready to pour in at Alaska, San Diego, Los Angeles, Boston and Charleston. That’s not even including the aid those sons-of-bitches will get from Iran, and Korea. Command doesn’t even know if Mexico is willing to help us at this time. We’re fucked basically…”
“Sir, I don’t care if they have the whole god-damn world against us. You know I will never stop fightin’ no matter what. I’ll take every one of them down if I have to…” Exile said with a more menacing tone. He had seen a lot of bad things happen in his career as a soldier, and he wasn’t afraid of any opposition.
“Yea, you are probably the best soldier I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, which brings us to why I had called for you…” General Murphy waited for a reaction from Exile, but all that he did was change his look from agitated to surprised, “Command has approved my project, which could give us a chance or least time before we lose all this…”
“What the hell are you talkin’ about, Julius?”
“I’m telling you that I have an important mission for you…” General Murphy said in a firm voice.
“What do you need me to do? Blow up some shit? I can do that, but I’d rather stay on the line, sir.”
“No, I need you to lead. My project consists of forming a squad of the most amazing fighting force that anyone has ever seen. We have taken notice of individuals of your caliber. I need you to take control of this squad of extraordinary soldiers and take it into the heart of the IRC,” General Murphy said with an increasing sense of force in his tone.
“You got to be fuckin’ with me right?”
“Not at all. I don’t think you’ll have a problem if you can gather the squad. You and your squad will be given your own name. We have decided to call you the Archangels.”
“So what is this? Some sort of suicidal, only-on-a-need-to-know-basis mission that I was in last time around?” Exile asked with an addition of bitterness. As Exile said this, the general began to walk over to his computer.
“No, we don’t want these group of soldiers to be labeled as secrets. We want the whole world to know what your soldiers are capable of. We have no heroes, no saviors anymore, and I want our men to remember what it is they are fighting for,” General Murphy said encouragingly. He turned on his computer and pulled up the files he needed onto the large screen where the map had just been.
“There are no heroes in war, and there is no need for us to be separated from the rest… Archangels…” Exile laughed at the name. It all seemed foolish.
“Jeremy, the Archangels were the highest of the divine beings under God. They represented the power and might of the Lord. I personally came up with the name. Besides, what we’re hoping to accomplish is unheard of. A squad that can take down hundreds by itself seems crazy, but we have no other options. And after all this, you, your men, and just the word Archangel will have the enemy cower in fear after your squad can exude all of your potential.”
“Hundreds? You really think that’s possible?” Exiled asked even though he didn’t like the idea so far.
“If you can get the squad together, you should have no problem with almost any opposition. I won’t lie to you, all of the missions we have in stock are very high-risk and cannot be guaranteed successful. Oh, and just to let you know… you have no fucking choice, but to lead the Archangels. You’re the only one we got that can bring together these individuals.”
“I figured that…” Exile said with a smirk.
“Good, it looks like you might like this after all.” General Murphy said in a slightly lighter voice.
“No one likes war Julius. I just gotta get through this shit and hope I make it out alive…” Exile said in a calm, but depressing state. It sounded almost desperate, those words. He didn’t wait for a reaction and pressed on, “Who are the fucking greenhorns that I need to find.”
“You’ll be surprised, Jeremy, we don’t have them as candidates for no reason. You’ll find that these select few aren’t just a load of flashing lights.”
“Alright, alright. Get on with it. I’ve got to get back on the line ASAP,” Exile said hurriedly. General Murphy looked to the screen on his computer and showed him one of his new squad mates.
“Yes, well, your first man is a Lieutenant Julio Chavez. They call him ‘El Despiadado’ or ‘The Ruthless One’. He is known to be a very well-trained soldier who is fluent in Spanish, English, and Chinese and is known to be a little ‘mean-spirited’ towards the Chinese.”
“A Mexican? But I thought it was American only…”
“If only Americans were eligible for the Archangels then that would be a smaller pool of soldiers to choose from, which is why we decided to include all countries allied with us. The Mexicans want to have their influence in it as well and since they are the major backers of the progress of this project, you will have him serve directly under you.”
“Whatever’s best for the team.”
“Good. Now, the next man you must find is a Brit named Private Robert Mann, AKA ‘The Miracle Man’. Now this guy is a little squeamish when it comes to fighting, but… hold on… this guy can fully heal anyone, whether they are dead or dying.”
“What? No fuckin’ way!” Exile said in disbelief, “What the hell are you talkin’ about?”
“I’m absolutely serious. We have a recording on here to prove it. I’ll show you.” General Murphy told him. Exile leaned in close to get a look at a blurry video that the general pulled up. There were two men behind a small wall in the Russian bloc who both had the British SAS symbol on their right shoulder. They were under heavy fire and screamed at the cameraman to get down. He crawled right next to them with red, almost transparent bolts slicing through the sky and making a piercing noise as it passed. An ION PA07-A turret had them pinned down. The firing had ceased for a few seconds when one raised his head and was hit with a sniper bullet between the eyes. He collapsed and went limp. The other soldier threw away his Assault Weapon 36U (AW36U or 36U for short) and told the cameraman to stay back as the firing continued again. He took off his gloves and closed his eyes. When they reopened, they were dark and a shining, pure white light was radiating from both of his hands. He then put his hands over his fallen comrade’s head and kept them there for a minute. The dead soldier then opened his eyes again and the other took his hands off of his head. There wasn’t a scratch left on the man. He had just been struck in the head by an ION projectile and had come back to life. The cameraman and the formerly dead soldier were staring at Robert in disbelief. The clip then ended.
Exile was also in disbelief, “How the hell…”
“That is the kind of thing you’re going to be dealing with most of the time when you lead this squad,” General Murphy said much more confidently, “Alright, the next man… is actually… a woman. She is Private First Class Rachel Sanders who is called ‘Timekeeper’. Not much information is given on her background, but has been recommended by several officers for her service in Russia.”
“Shouldn’t be too hard…”
“Right, now the last guy I have in store for you is by far the best. His name is Terell Conors. He’s called–“
“Conors… You mean like Jermaine Conors?” Exile remembered that botched mission all those years ago.
“Terell is his son.”
“Jermaine’s the reason why I’m still here. I hope his kid is just as good.”
“He’s called ‘Kamikaze’ because he charged an IRC controlled ION storage facility in Russia by himself. Guess who was left standing in the end.
“You’re serious?” Exile couldn’t believe what these soldiers could do so far.
“I don’t lie to my men, Jeremy. You know that.” The general said.
“My God… I’d like to see us in action soon.”
“Which comes to your mission. This might be hard for you to hear.”
“Just give me it, Julius,” Exile said dryly.
“We want you to go to Seattle. There’s a significant target there that we need out of the picture,” Julius said quietly.
“Who? The only major face of the Chinese military in that area is… No…” Exile stopped as he realized who he’d be sent to kill along with the newly formed Archangels.
“Yes… I am sorry, but we have to get rid of him. He’s done too much damage to us already and the future just brings more despair for us. You have to take your Archangels and storm McCoy’s HQ.”
“Are you serious? You know our history! I can’t do that without being reminded of the past! He fucked me over! Remember that?!”
“I know, I know, but you are the only one who could possibly do it… If there were anyone else who could get this done, I would send them. There is no one else so that leaves you… He should be arriving there in the next few days. We will provide further Intel when we get it. Basically, when we know, you’ll know.”
“Now, you have to get back to the line and I have to get the hell out of here. Apparently, I’m far too valuable to lose and IRC Fleets have been spotted not too far from here. The alert was all over the Comms a while ago.”
“Yes, sir. I promise I’ll get through this alive and get the Archangels together,” Exile said as he stood upright.
“Good,” General Murphy said as he approached Exile, “Hope you do Jeremy…”
“McCoy’s as good as dead.”
“Excellent. Contact me through your personal radio once you get out. I’ll be in the vicinity of the city for some time, so I’ll be within short-wave radio capabilities. Keep it on a private frequency, preferably the one you used in Russia to reach me. No one will be using that one. I’ll upload the positions of the target onto your mapping HUD. You should be able to find them with no problem at all.”
“That’s good to hear, sir.”
They shook hands.
“And Jeremy… good luck. You’ll need it.”
Exile saluted the general, turned and left.
Yingjie Tai had been fighting in the Chinese Commando Elite for over 4 years now, and he was becoming tired of it. He had risen in this prestigious subdivision of the People’s Army to a First Lieutenant. He had wanted to fight the Americans for so long, but now he just wanted to see his family again. His young wife and two very small children were still waiting for him at home. He had been so angered by what the Americans had done to his homeland in the previous years, but he needed a break. A cease to all of the blood, gore, death and despair he had experienced. He still knew that leaving now would disgrace him and his family and could bring him his death with all of the radicals back home. He had to fight, he needed to fight. He knew this war would be over quick, but he still kept his guard. The Americans couldn’t shoot for shit, but their dedication to their own country made up for it. He knew, as well as the rest of his men, that the Americans would be fighting to the death.
Yingjie was a man of average height with broad shoulders and a dark goatee. His hair was short like everyone else’s and he put his helmet on to cover it. As he placed it on, it connected wirelessly into a small ION battery pack, which powered it on. A clear, easy to read HUD (or Heads-Up Display) appeared on the helmets transparent visor that covered both of his eyes with a projectile-resistant material similar to that of the past’s Kevlar. He checked his Combat Armor and made sure that his shielding generators were functioning properly. When ION had been developed, there came a need for better armor and thus came the Heavy Combat Suit 2104 (HCS for short). It had small generators that created a small but effective barrier that could withstand about three or four state-of-the-art assault rifle rounds. Those few shots could mean life or death in those intense situations and was immediately picked up on. The barrier uses a field of concentrated energy to deflect anything moving at incredible speeds. So the soldier can sit down, but still be able to take a shot. The weapon he held was an ION rifle that was made only for the best of the People’s Armed Forces, called the PA30. An ION rifle had a few key components. Unlike a gas-powered rifle, like the ones used by the Americans, an ION rifle had a battery to convert the clip of raw ION energy into a deadly streak of speeding ION. These type of weapons are much more accurate over longer ranges than an American rifle, but at a loss of power against shielding.
Yingjie and his scouts were a part of the Chinese Commando Elite (CCE) who were the equivalent of the American Delta Force or the British S.A.S. They were recognized as the most intimidating and successful fighting force in the world. They were the first to hit the rocky shores of the San Diegan beach. It was going to be hell, and they knew it. They were approaching in a military ION-powered speedboat that had two ION PATD heavy machine gun turrets. There were hundreds of speedboats just like this one that held about fifty soldiers each heading towards the San Diegan beachhead. All of them were traveling at an incredible speed and braced themselves for action. Yingjie, seeing how cocky his men looked knew he had to break them down in order to build up their guard.
“I see you all think this war is over before it has even begun. Know this, these Americans may seem weak and disorganized, but that is where they shine! Underestimation is what won them their freedom! They will give you no mercy for they have no choice, but to fight! The Americans will sacrifice every man if it means a chance at victory… We must take San Diego! There can be no retreat under any circumstances! You understand me?!”
They all cheered back at him and got their equipment ready for the tough fight ahead. The boat then started to speed up as the man behind the wheel yelled back at Yingjie.
“We have incoming mortars and heavy resistance on the beachhead! Good luck to all of you if we make it there!”
“Don’t worry. They’ll be begging for peace after we’re through,” Yingjie said as he cocked his PA30.
Private Cassandra Stevens was a marine in one of the Beach Assault Units. She was a young girl who showed extraordinary fighting ability for a female. Like her, the soldiers that were on the immediate shoreline all had the Squad Automated Rocket Launcher or SARL for short. They were there to make sure that the Chinese couldn’t get a foothold on the beach; however, it was a futile effort due to the enormous amount of ships heading their way. A spotter who was her squad’s commanding officer accompanied her. He was Sergeant Brian Jordan and carried a standard set of binoculars and extra rounds for Cassandra’s SARL. She kept herself in kneeling position in order to have more accuracy in each shot.
“We have numerous tangos inbound with only a limited supply! Fire when in range only! Wait for it to lock on and we’re in business!” he gave her some last minute advice. She nodded in acknowledgement and pressed the switch to prime the rocket in the tube of the SARL.
“There’s one now! Get a bead on it and fire on my command!”
“Yes, sir!” Cassandra replied. She let the scope of the SARL fall onto the first speedboat. It made a familiar beeping sound to signal that it recognized a heat source on the incoming ship. The reticule on her HUD then turned red and made one extended beep to signify a lock-on.
“Got it, Sarge!” she screamed out.
“Let it fly!” Sgt. Jordan told her. She fired, which let out a smoke trail and headed towards the fast-moving ship. She watched as it went closer and finally connect. The boat lit up and exploded in a mass of carnage that continued moving after it was destroyed. It had collided with another ship, which caused it to capsize. Then, the shells started to fall and sink several would-be invaders. The boats then started to scatter and try to avoid over a hundred rockets flying through the air at once and many more shells falling from the heavens above. Many ships were left to the sea as a wave of rockets collided in a spectacular display of metal, fire and ION. The ships lost were only a small fraction of the IRC war machine, which continued forward after facing a slight “hurdle”. Stevens grabbed another rocket from Jordan and then proceeded to reloading it through the massive tube the rocket would be fired from. She lifted the SARL back onto her right shoulder and looked through the small scope again. The aiming reticule on her HUD appeared to lock on and stick to its new target.
“Got another one!” Cassandra screamed at the top of her lungs.
“Fire! Fire!” the sarge cried out. She reacted and hit another ship, which was sent spinning through the air and finally hit the water again and sank into the abyss. She was given another rocket and placed it firmly in the hollow, cylindrical shape of the SARL. The ships were getting closer and much more wild as the rockets continued to fly out from the shore. Smoke trails from the anti-vehicular shells could be seen everywhere, but the ships pressed forward and were still numerous. Soon, the ships became close enough that the men still left could fire with rapid succession using the mounted turrets upon the speedboats. The ION streaks flew over the sky and burned through the flimsy armor given to those on the beach. They really weren’t meant to survive; only give the rest time. It is sad, yes, but it was necessary, and could help the Americans in their fight for survival. Soldiers on the beachhead dropped like flies in a matter of minutes. Stevens had another rocket within her SARL and targeted a very close boat.
“Locked! Should I fire?!” she called for Jordan’s confirmation.
“No! We need to fall back! It’s too close and we’re overrun!” Jordan begged for her not to fire. She got back up and ran back with Brian and dodged several hot bolts of ION. However, she did not want to give up this easily and pivoted on her right foot. She then went on one knee, eyed up the incoming ship and let the SARL lock on.
“Sorry, sir! I’m taking the shot!” She then fired on a boat, which had just hit the beach. The blast sent the ship hurtling through the air in a fiery ball towards her and her commanding officer. Brian looked back at her, but could not scream as the huge mass of metal crashed down upon him, leaving nothing but a mess of broken bones and shattered limbs. There falls Sergeant Brian Jordan like so many others. Cassandra just stared in horror as she was left to retreat back up the beach by herself, however, she would not make it so far. Another boat hit the beach and a few CCE soldiers vaulted off. She turned only to be pierced by the searing pain of ION.
First Lieutenant Yingjie Tai watched as the woman fell to the moist sand lifeless. Another kill, but he wasn’t counting anymore. It didn’t seem right to disrespect the dead as if they were just another number on his long list of hits. He came out of his mental lapse and ran up the beach with his comrades bearing the dark uniforms worn by the elite of China. They all charged as fast as they could while crude bullets rained down from two central bunkers guarding the Eastern Front. There was little cover other than antitank obstacles and debris from shattered city buildings. Just my luck, he thought, We’re in the crossfire… Shields flickered and died as several bullets penetrated the useful, but not invincible technology the barriers applied. Mortars and shells hit the beach while man after man fell. They all desperately ran for the trench riddled with American soldiers still barely holding the beachhead. It was their only chance.
“To the trench! To the trench!” he screamed as he tried to signal what was left of his scouting team. The other Chinese Commandoes acknowledged him and headed for the Americans’ first line of defense. Rally Point Alpha, as it was called. It was a small five-foot tall trench that was the only feasible way to attack the two bunkers holding several turrets.
They approached the trench as another man was shot in the head just in front of Yingjie. He pulled out his combat sword when he was in range of the trench. A combat sword is almost like a knife, but slightly longer, and was held in a case on the right forearm. This allowed for simple unsheathing of the deadly weapon that was intended for very close quarters combat. Yingjie leaped into the trench into a few unsuspecting Americans. He took his rifle in his right hand and made the blunt stock of his weapon connect with an American on the right. Then he proceeded to beat the American directly in front of him with the butt of the rifle. The last on his left was shot with a short burst of ION, which dissipated the shield given to them by the Mexicans. The American in front of him wasn’t knocked out yet, but quite confused and was immediately stabbed with a combat sword when he tried to groan. Yingjie had taken the lives of three American soldiers in a few seconds with no damage done at all. The soldiers still left in the trench were eradicated quickly and efficiently, which allowed little casualties to be had by the CCE.
This left the two bunkers.
“Snipers! I need snipers! Get those bastards up here!” Yingjie commanded to his men while the back-and-forth fire of red and yellow continued. The Chinese couldn’t stay like this for a long time. They were still suffering greatly with those numerous turrets unloading clip after clip upon them. “Get some grenade launchers up here too!” he just remembered. He realized that they would have to flank the bunkers in order to bring them down, but with all of the soldiers to the left and right of them, he didn’t know if they could last that long with what little they had.
The snipers and demolition teams arrived and he quickly gave them their orders. “Now, I need the snipers to get a bead on those firing the turrets upon us. Also, demolitions… fire everything you’ve got at the soldiers in the trenches near the bunkers. This is just for a diversion. I want two platoons to come around the right side of the bunkers and flank them. Use the doors in the back, set charges, and kill the Americans inside. When that is finished, report back to me…”
Yingjie’s men were always easily led, took orders quickly and did the job efficiently. Once he had stopped speaking, they did exactly what he had ordered them to. There was no room for error and they all knew that. The CCE soldiers committed all of their free time to the honing in of their skills as a soldier and improving their flaws, if any. The men Yingjie had sent out completed their task and made the American defenders look like inexperienced militia men who had just picked up a gun. Of the one hundred men sent out, only four didn’t come back. The Americans holding the bunkers were now either dead, dying, or unconscious.
“Those bunkers won’t be bothering us anymore, sir!” a private said to the Lieutenant.
“Good! Now, we have nothing to slow down our advance. The Americans have several trenches and bunkers dug in, but they aren’t the keystone to their defenses! They’ll crumble without this forward bunker and we can use their guns to get a hold on our own targets!” the other parts of the beach weren’t so easily taken as the gunfire from all over the San Diegan coast could be heard.
They all yelled “Yes, sir” in unison and ascended from the trench. They intended to bring down the American defenses, and with their powerful guns and experienced troops, it looked to be a cakewalk.
Captain Jeremy Exile was running alongside hundreds of soldiers that were all under his command. Exile held with him a submachine gun with a shotgun attachment called the MP37A. It had a sizeable amount of power for the accuracy it provided. He was known for having a sword that he had custom-made on his back. He had this sword after the Ruso-Chinese War when he had much more free time and thoughts reminding him of what had happened. The terrible loss he had faced made him what he is today. An overall angry man had come from what used to be such a highly spirited individual. He is often questioned of what happened in his past that had affected him so. However, none of the soldiers he has come in contact with could truthfully tell who he is. A mystery covered in a hardened being that only cared about who he could kill next and the men that served under him.
These men he was with were being sent to their death, and he knew it. There was no possible way that this desperate plunge into the gunfire could produce any positive results. There were reports of the CCE taking American guns and using them against their owners. Rally Point Delta was still held in tact, but Alpha through Cobra had been lost within the hour. The damn Chinese could sweep over them in a matter of months.
They could tell they were getting close to the Chinese base of operations in the beach assault because of the enormous, bellowing sounds of American HMGs and the screeching, piercing slices of ION.
“Check your shields! Make sure the Mexicans didn’t give you a piece of shit before you head out! If it ain’t workin’ then just reset it and move your ass!” he ordered to his soldiers.
“Alright, you ready?!” Exile asked over the loud screaming, gunfire, and explosions. The company of men and women he had under him cheered back to show their enthusiasm. Most of these soldiers had not fought before, and were more than willing to get into some action for once. That’s all the kids these days want… Some action, Exile thought to himself.
They soon reached a huge clearing where there were American bodies scattered all over the battlefield. No cover… Great, Exile thought sarcastically. With what little cover there was to spare Exile ran head first into hell despite the fact that he could possibly die. That’s probably what made him such a good leader and soldier. He had complete disregard for his own safety, but concerned over the lives of countless men and women he had served with. This group of soldiers was no different, however, it is difficult to save their lives when they follow you to your own demise.
“Get some cover, now! Over there by the debris dammit! Get the fuck outta here!” he called out orders to those who followed. He found some cover near a huge building that decided to fall over a week before the assault. It didn’t cover much, but was useful. Exile found a private crouching behind a crumbling wall left from the building.
“Who are you?!” Exile asked.
“Private Billings from Echo Company, sir!” Billings replied in a frantic tone.
“Alright, what’s the situation here, private?!” Exile had no idea what kind of firepower the Chinese could potentially deal out to him, but all of the bullets and red, transparent streaks could tell him that it would most likely kill him. He was close to a section of guns that could bring down the rest of the Chinese base. He then waited for the private’s response.
“Okay, sir, we don’t have anything to drive these guys back with, and they have all of our turrets that were held in the Western Front!”
“You’re shittin’ me…” Exile was angry because that should not have been lost so easily.
“No, sir, they have all of them here and they have been firing for over twenty minutes straight! I can’t take it anymore, sir! It’s constant and it’s starting to ring in my ears, just firing over and over…”
“Get it together, soldier! We have people dying out there! Now, what I need you to do is get everyone you can to stay behind this building and wait for my signal! I’m gonna take out these guns nearby and then you can take back this trench from there! If I’m successful, I’ll open a comm for you and order you to advance! If I fall, you get everyone to retreat to the Mexican border and hold it all costs!” Exile ordered.
“Yes, sir! I hope you make it out alive!” Private Billings called as Exile ran into the open straight for the guns firing off to his right.
A high-ranking CCE officer noticed the crazed captain and had the machine gunners fire on him, but nothing was connecting with the one man. Not even a registration of energy loss in his shield was apparent. Those firing were amazed and infuriated at the same time. The officer sent two squads to take him down after he went behind a large chunk of debris. They followed the orders and all twenty of them converged on his position only to be met with—
A sword. Exile lunged forward at the first unlucky soldier on his right and stabbed him through the heart. The next two on his left were brought down with two pistol shots each in one half of a second. The pistol used was a more powerful version of the past’s Desert Eagle and was called the DE77C, which was the most powerful handgun in the world. Exile brought his sword out from the first man and quickly deflected several strikes from a few different combat swords. Each sword was batted away and the owner left for dead. Exile had his DE77C shot from his hand, but he quickly replaced it with his MP37A, and shed a clip into the man who made that fatal mistake. He immediately slammed another clip home while still holding his bloodied sword in his right hand.
He then escaped from the close quarters behind the wall and exposed himself. He didn’t care. He wanted to die so he threw himself towards ten more men and had performed the most graceful killing moves anyone could ever witness. In about seven seconds there was nothing left around him, but moaning soldiers. He didn’t care. They were all just nobodies who came as strong invaders and went as crying cowards. He was then out of ammo, but had a clear shot at the guns so he finally primed a few grenades and threw them in the trench. However, as he did that an Iraqi officer came out after him, both to escape the explosion and to kill the man who would not die. The Iraqi officer was too close to fire his rifle and had it immediately knocked away by Exile’s sword.
“You want to challenge me? I’m gonna take pride in taking your so-called ‘Chinese Commando Elite’ head!” Exile tried to intimidate, but the officer did not have any of it. He understood English, apparently.
“I hope your God will accept what I will send up to him!” They then charged each other, one with a long sword, the other with a small, but quick combat sword. Exile seemed to be winning. He had thwarted the officer’s efforts in retrieving a pistol from his side. It fell to the ground beneath them. The officer tried to go for it but had his right arm cut and a piece of fabric fell from it. The officer noticed the opening after Exile’s miss and decided to stab him in his exposed kidney. He then laid out Exile with a right hook to the face. Exile went down, which gave the Chinese officer plenty of time to pick up his fallen pistol and light him up with the rest of the clip. The other American soldiers saw Exile fall, and Billings signaled everyone to retreat. Finally, Exile thought, Free at last…
Or not. Exile woke back up in thirty minutes seemingly unscathed by the absolutely fatal encounter. There was no one around as he still lay on the ground. He sat up from the ground and could see the bullet holes in his uniform, however, there were no wounds or blood or anything that could give evidence otherwise. He was still alive, but how?
He finally pulled himself up and found his MP37A and his personal long sword that was very light. He couldn’t explain it, but he was both amazed and angered by his continued existence. It’s not everyday that you are given a second chance to live but…
“Why me? I’ve killed so many people. Why do I still live?” he said to himself and God. He then put those questions into the back of his mind for now and realized he had to get back to the border defenses. His country still needed him, but more importantly, his fellow soldiers still needed him. He started to run back when he noticed a small piece of a Chinese uniform. It looked to be an identification badge. He then remembered the section of fabric he had cut off with his sword before he “died”. He recognized it to be in Mandarin and translated it. It read—
First Lieutenant Yingjie Tai
1st People’s Army of China
As I listened to the radio chatter, I could hear several desperate cries for assistance. I wanted to help, but we had strict orders to stay put. The western front by the beachhead had entirely collapsed according to the officers yelling back and forth with screeching and screaming being heard in the background.
“We have no reinforcements to spare! Fall back to the border defenses, immediately!” ordered Command to some unknown officer on the line.
“Are you fucking kidding me?! We’re completely surrounded! How the hell are we getting out of here! Hold that flank, soldier! We need air support, artillery… something God dammit! Send us some Goddamn reinforce—” the distress call went dead as one string of static could be heard.
“Captain?! Sound off! Damn…” the soldier holding the comm channel open said sadly. At that moment we knew that we probably wouldn’t make it out of this alive.
I looked at my P88MG Light Machine Gun and back at the rest of my platoon stuck guarding the northern flank. We could hear the soft echo of the carnage the Chinese were dealing us in the distance. We all looked the same in our standard gear and we had just received some Heavy Combat Suits from the Mexicans earlier that day. I looked at my hands, which showed off my slightly tan skin. I took my helmet off because it was making my head itch. I ran my hands through my short, brown hair that had reminded me of what I had gone through to be here. I am from Arizona, Tucson to be exact. I had lived there all of my life and went to the University of Arizona. I had played for their basketball team for two years and I obtained excellent grades my entire time there. I had become outstanding in Philosophy and English, which led me to believe that I could become a well-respected writer or journalist in Mexico, maybe.
My thoughts progressed even further into the recesses of my mind, and I was reminded of how good I could have had it. My ex, Alicia, appeared in my mind. She was a beautiful Puerto Rican girl with dark, long hair and deep, brown eyes that I just couldn’t get over. She had been in a few of my higher academic courses at the University of Arizona. I fell in love with the fact that she could carry on a conversation extraordinarily, and she could make me laugh constantly. The only reason she was my ex was because I enlisted… She couldn’t understand why I would fight for the country that has been unable to help me in the past, but I knew I had to do something. My younger brother had enlisted, and I couldn’t just let him do that on his own. I was all that he had left, and we looked out for each other. It’s easy to just criticize and do nothing, but to know that there is a problem and trying to fix it is what makes this country great.
That was two years ago.
Now I am sitting here in this shit-heap of a bunker holding my heavy, large and over-powered machine gun. I knew that we didn’t have a chance and that the only hope would be to somehow side with the IRC or just submit to them. I was then interrupted in my train of thought by a red bolt that just missed my head. They were here…
“Snyder! Mount up! We have enemy tangos inbound!” Staff Sergeant Kai Takahiro yelled out to me, but I sat there for a short time just taking in all that I had recently heard. Takahiro called out for me again, “Sergeant Mark Snyder! Get up and move your ass now! We got incoming!” he came over and grabbed my arm and pulled me up out of my daydream. I pulled the lever on my weapon, which allowed for the first bullet to sit in the chamber. I was ready now.
“Rangers hold the line! We have to stop them here!” Takahiro tried to inspire us while he was at our side. It was working. “We’re alone in this fight! There are more than two hundred Chinese Commandoes approaching, but we can hold them! Remember… we are Rangers! We are the best soldiers America has to offer, and these fuckers don’t have a goddamn chance! Now… are you with me?!”
“Hoo-up!” we all chanted back in unison. The other soldiers brought their weapons up on top of the bunker wall. Others cocked their rifles or checked their magazines a second time. Many clicks and other noises could be heard like a symphony of weaponry. I smiled for some strange reason.
I knew I had to speak, “Keep it level. Take as many shots as you can. We have enough ammo here to last us a while. Don’t pop your head up too much. These guys are the best and know how to take a fortified position. Watch for silhouettes on the buildings as they could be snipers. We have our own so don’t hesitate to call out their positions. Godspeed to all of you…”
Then they came through the buildings. We fired first to keep them pinned down. We could recognize their black and gray uniforms easily. They were just the scouting team. I could see a couple pressing their index and middle fingers to their left ear. It was obviously an intelligence call to give the next wave of soldiers a heads-up of what was to come. I fired at an advancing Commando who decided to be the hero and prime an ION grenade. I felt bad, but at the same time I knew that he would have killed many of my fellow troops and I if he were allowed to throw it. I’ve learned in the past that survival precedes over emotion. I didn’t care about whom that young soldier was at the time, but I know I will regret my actions later in life.
There were about thirty of the scouting team still advancing slowly forward behind piles of rubble scattered all over the battlefield. We picked off a few here and there, but then their reinforcements came. I could see a few CCE units setting up ION mortars.
“We got mortar teams at ten, twelve, and one o’ clock! Snipers, get some lead on ‘em!” Staff Sergeant Takahiro had almost read my mind, but before one sniper could get a bead on the mortar teams, a few high-pitched, piercing sounds followed by enormous firepower had ripped through all four of our snipers all at once. These guys definitely were the best.
“Man down! Man down! Snipers!” as Staff Sergeant Takahiro said that, he raised his AW36U and began firing out in the distance. Another shrill call from the Chinese came out and hit him right between the eyes. His face was almost unrecognizable.
ION sniper rifles… They were the most powerful anti-personnel weapons on the planet because they could put a hole straight through two inches of super-hardened titanium. We didn’t have a chance with our lowly American armaments. I kept my head down for a short time and then crawled over to a downed sniper. I had been trained to use almost every American – even ION – weapon efficiently, and I picked up my fallen comrade’s rifle. I knew the clip was fully loaded so I just kept off to one side of the bunker where no one was firing. I looked over the wall and put the rifle over the edge of the wall. The barrel was long and had camouflage over it as to blend in with the bland grays, blacks, and whites found throughout the city. My HUD read out that there were six shots in my clip and I needed to use every one of them.
As I finally put my right eye behind the scope, I looked for obvious spots their snipers would hide. I spotted one lying down near a short wall I aimed at his head and held my breath for a short time and let a shot out. Dead on.
More CCE soldiers were weaving through buildings and pressing forward. Several Chinese gunners dropped to a prone position and fired towards our bunker. ION bolts streaked through the air at incredible speeds and kept many of us pinned down while some of us were left dead. We were losing the fight, and the only hope for survival was surrender. We had taken down many Commandoes and then the mortars started to drop. Succession after succession of high whistling broke the sound of the bullets being fired as we heard one lone—
“Incoming!” from a now dead soldier. The first mortar blasted through a piece of the bunker and hit him as he looked towards us. He did not exist anymore. I was struck with horror as to what had become of his body. What could be defined as a body, anyway. I stopped, dropped the sniper rifle, picked up Big Bertha and loaded another box of ammo into the belt-fed machine gun. I cocked it and looked over the wall. I then brought my enormous weapon over and fired constantly out towards the soldiers that brought on this wave of destruction.
“Fuck you!” I heard myself say over and over against the actions of my so-called enemy. There were soldiers screaming for medics and their mothers all over their place in all different languages. I was brought back into reality by the sound of my own gunfire. It hadn’t stopped and I was somehow still alive. Everyone else was just staring at me while they were cowering under the thick bunker wall. They became inspired and almost all of them lifted their guns over the walls. I had killed countless men and I could see the ammo counter on the HUD for my P88MG becoming low. I went to an ammunitions crate in the back and grabbed another box loaded with the preferred type of ordnance. As I started to load my weapon I heard the mortar fire cease and a distant cry as more CCE soldiers began their charge. Then I saw a small, red spherical object sail over my head, land and stick to the crate in front of me. It was an ION grenade.
“Bail out! Grenade!” I screamed as I ran towards the bunker wall. Other soldiers vaulted over it as I thought I have some seconds left… 3… 2…1… Boom!
I had just made it over the bunker wall in time, but I was dazed and couldn’t feel much of my body. The concussive force of the grenade exploding along with setting off another ammo dump killed off the majority of my fellow soldiers who didn’t react in time. There were about ten of us left groaning and examining our bodily damage. I was on the left side of bunker and could hear some Mandarin chatter and I realized I was still in combat. About fifteen Commandoes were still alive in their first wave and the rest would approach soon. They ran over here and looked towards their officer as he gave the go order to kill the rest. They aimed their rifles at crying soldiers as another Chinese Commando jumped on top of the bunker wall and unloaded his entire clip at the dead or dying bodies. I could hear the desperate calls for help and pleads of mercy. I was still slightly dazed and heard the ION bolts call out to me as a siren would. While my sight was in a haze I tried to locate my P88MG, but could not find it. I finally came to and saw a dead Chinese soldier holding a very well made PA30 ION rifle with a grenade launcher attachment to my immediate right.
My helmet was lost somewhere, but I didn’t even care anymore. I crawled over to the black death-dealer with glowing red accents. I picked it up and I read on the side of the weapon that the battery and ION energy clip were almost full. I quickly turned my body while still in prone and made sure I was behind a piece of the bunker still. I looked around the corner and could see only five of them through the sights of the weapon. I made a rash decision. I rolled over the expose myself and then fired on the unsuspecting Commandoes. I saw their shields flicker and flare out from the damage the ION rifle was doing. They were all dead in a matter of seconds. The others heard the commotion and ran over to the source of it, me. I got up, ran behind the corner of the bunker and activated the grenade launcher.
“Goodbye, you sons-of-bitches…” I said to myself as I turned the corner and fired in the center of their mass. They got off a few shots, of which only one had glanced off my shield. However, there was not much left of them. They were all on the ground dead, unconscious or moaning in pain. I could see their reinforcements approaching from far off. I realized I didn’t have enough time to check for any vital signs. I picked up a few extra ION clips from the men I just killed and then ran off towards where I hoped the Mexican border defenses would be.
“Please, get me out of here,” I said to anyone and no one in hope of finding another American soldier. I ran off looking for a way out of this hellhole and pondered how I was to come of this life. Even with all of the horrible acts I had just witnessed, I could still stay slightly optimistic. For I believe, that in order for good to occur, the bad must precede it.
Sergeant Jacob Lewis and the rest of his tanker team were one of thirty tanks sent in to reinforce the beach defenses. However, they and their commanding officer knew that they were being sent to their deaths. The defenses had been breached and smaller groups of soldiers were being sent to die to give those retreating a chance. The two other soldiers in his tanker team were like brothers to him, and they had the unfortunate luck to be the scouts for the rest of his squadron. They were placed within a Light Attack Tank (LA-3), which held three tankers and had only one explosive turret. This tank was built for speed and ran quieter than any other tank. Their tank was given the moniker “The Hammer”, which was painted on the front and sides of the small tank. Tanks like these were designed for reconnaissance missions and scouting parties. However, the speed and utter silence the tank had, meant it obviously lacked in armor. This made it almost a death trap in open conflict against most other tanks. It played a skirmishing role in open conflict, so they would attack a larger tank or group and fall back. Then, they would regroup and repeat. Lewis knew these tactics well, as did the enemy. He looked through the LA-3’s optics and out across the desolation in front of him. There were crumbling buildings and toppled high-rises as well as roads cracked and filled with obliterated civilian vehicles. Lewis and two other LA-3 tanks advanced through the decimated streets and around the war-torn buildings. The tension filled the air as all of them knew their backup was over a thousand yards behind them. Most of them hadn’t even seen combat before as only the best were sent over to Russia before the American invasion.
“Everyone keep their heads on a swivel. These Chinese bastards are going to be hitting us any minute, but watch your fire. We might have friendlies coming through too,” Sergeant Lewis radioed to the other tanks. They kept advancing through the labyrinth of former skyscrapers trying to obtain lines of sight on anything.
“Sergeant! Heat sigs at our 10 o’clock!” one of the other tank crews shouted back on the comm. All of the tanks turned left slightly and kept their turrets aimed at a mass of wreckage that used to be a highway.
“Everyone hold your fire, but stay frosty! They could be ours!” Lewis reminded them. The tanks all stopped as the heat signature closed in on their position. They were prepared to fire and high-tail it out of there. Nothing happened for what seemed like ages, but then, a few American carrier humvees (CRHV) came around the rubble, and headed towards the tank squadron.
Jacob opened the hatch to his tank and pulled himself halfway out of the top of the tank. He then proceeded to wave down whoever had just scared the living shit out of him and his crew. The humvees all slowed down in front of Jacob’s tank and the driver of the first vehicle stepped out of the car. He looked… relieved.
“Hell, am I glad to see you guys! We had IRC Commandos closing in on our position fast until we found these guys all left behind,” the nameless soldier said as he hit the hood of one of the humvees, “We have a lot of wounded Sergeant, and I have no idea where the hell I’m going,” the young man told him. Jacob noticed the single arrow patch on his arm and then looked to the soldiers in the back of the humvees. They were all torn up and just holding on.
“Alright, private. Get your ass to the border. You’re going to keep heading south back the way we came from. Get a move on, we’re gonna have Chinese infantry and armor all over us in a matter of minutes. Go!” Sergeant Lewis barked at the private. He ran back to the other humvees to explain their next move.
“Sergeant Lewis! We got more heat sigs, and they’re comin’ up fast! It’s big this time…” Lewis heard over the comm. A large ION round sounded off like a roman candle on the fourth of July…
And registered on the three humvees trying to make their escape. Sergeant Lewis retreated back into his tank and radioed to the rest of the squad far behind them.
“We got enemy armor approaching! They have LRIT’s (Long-Range ION Tank) firing on our position and we’re not moving that much! I need you to get your slow asses up here now!” Lewis called back to the main outfit of his squadron. Lewis realized that his recon tanks were boxed in and being slowed down by all of the debris and rubble around them. They must have been waiting for their chance to strike. He walked right into their trap.
“We gotta move now!” he ordered to his tank crew. They all were clamoring around inside the small tank and desperately trying to get themselves to retreat. They managed to get their LA-3 moving again, but it was being hindered by the number of buildings behind them. Another ION round was fired and hit the rear guard of the three-tank scouting party. The lightly-armored tank was pierced easily and erupted in a larger-than-normal explosion. The round must have hit the fuel tank for a reaction like that.
“Shit! We lost Tomahawk! C’mon let’s go! Now!” the sergeant screamed at his crew. There were long-range ION rounds flying by the tanks left and right. The two tanks, Hammer and Gabriel, were trying their best to navigate the tight corners, but they were still taking an enormous amount of fire. As they passed by a crumbling, one-level store on the left, another Chinese tank – this one being much bigger – rammed through the store, leaving it in complete ruins.
“Where the fuck did that thing come from?!” yelled one of Lewis’ crew.
It headed straight for the small battle group and fired. The ION round scored a direct hit on Gabriel, leaving it dead in the water. The crew tried to get out of the smoldering tank, but was cut down by the enemy tank’s heavy machine gun turret. This behemoth of a vehicle was known to all of the allies as the “Rhino” tank or the Heavy Assault Tank (HVAT). The large high-explosive main gun could easily decimate any of the flimsy Recon tanks.
“Step it the fuck up! We need to get out of here NOW!” Jacob Lewis screamed at his team. The other two nodded their heads and doubled their efforts. Lewis had the feeling that they were screwed, but he just had to hold on a bit longer and try to fall back to the rest of the squadron. However, he may already be too late…
I was running back to the border as fast as I could. The IRC could have been right behind me for all I knew. I was terrified and completely alone. I was running from alley to alley as to avoid any open spaces and any way of being spotted by Chinese scouts. I was coming up to the remains of a housing project and I decided I should get up higher to get the high ground over any IRC troops that would be pouring into the inner city. As I was moving in a tight alleyway I saw a fire ladder across the street in another alley. I needed to get there, but just then I heard footsteps. A lot of footsteps. I took cover behind a partially blown out wall at the end of the alleyway. The squad of Chinese troops was getting closer and I peeked around the corner of the wall. They were only regulars. They wore the standard Chinese combat uniform and not the all-black gear of the Commandos. I pulled my head back around the corner and checked my newly acquired ION PA30 rifle. I pulled the clip out and checked the ammo counter on the top. Only 22 rounds left and no extra clips… Not good.
Now, the ION clip worked almost like a temporary battery for the weapon. As long as the clip had juice – the ION energy source – the gun would fire. Firing the gun does reduce the amount of ION in the clip, and a standard PA30 clip will hold enough ION to fire 30 rounds. There is no need to cock the rifle as there is instead a button on the top of the weapon to signal the clip is in place and the weapon is ready to be fired. The ammo counter would usually be linked wirelessly to my HUD’s adapter, but I’m out of a helmet. I have no HUD now, so everything will have to be done manually from here until I can find a replacement. Fortunately, I was trained extensively for the situation I am currently in.
The People’s Army regulars were getting closer and I could hear their sergeant calling out orders to his squad mates. They walked on by and all of them had their weapons scanning buildings and alleys for movement. Another couple of squads followed them up and one of the NCO’s (non-commissioned officers) ordered a couple scouts to move into the alleys and monitor their perimeter. It was obvious that they were planning to use this area later for troop movements, artillery setup and the like. There were about four squads now and there was no way I could take them all on. My only hope of survival was to evade or surrender, but I’m not one for giving up.
I peeked around the corner again to see a sergeant wave a private to my alley… I pulled my head back again and I whispered “Shit.” As the single scout approached my location behind the wall, I pulled out my combat sword that was sheathed on my right forearm with my left hand. I decided that I would have to make it quick to avoid anyone noticing his death. His neck would have to be severely wounded to prevent him from screaming out to his fellow soldiers and getting me killed. Also, his weapon would have to be removed because I don’t need him firing off a couple of rounds and bring the attention of the now five squads in the area to me.
I could hear him getting closer and I was mentally preparing myself for the bad day this guy was going to have. I put the ION rifle on my back as I couldn’t fire it without being noticed. I was going to need both hands. I then saw his gun come into view and his right foot took a step over the debris of the wall. He was mine. In a few quick motions, I grabbed his gun with my left hand. Then I broke his right arm with my right hand and immediately hit him with the full force of the underside of my right hand to his throat. On the killing blow, I stabbed my combat sword straight through his neck and saw it come out of the other side. I couldn’t imagine the pain of getting a two-foot-long and two-inch-wide blade going through your neck, but it had to be done. It all took about one second to do, and then I pulled him over to my side of the wall and sat him down in the corner. I took his two extra clips and a couple of ION grenades as well. He also had some MRE’s – Meals Ready to Eat – in his bag and I took them too. I didn’t know how long it would take for me to regroup with the Border Defenses or if I would at all. It would only help to have a few more MRE’s.
I poked my head out from cover again and no one had noticed my actions. I looked across the street again to see a Chinese sniper going up the service ladder. I checked both ways and then darted across the street to the other alleyway. The sniper had reached the roof by now, and I knew I had to stick to my plan of getting the high ground. I went up the service ladder and reached the roof quickly. I poked my head over the top to see if the sniper was aware of my movements. He wasn’t. So, I took this opportunity to get up behind him and take him down. I took out my combat sword again and swung the PA30 around my back. I went in for the kill, but he heard me at the last second and spun around quickly. His shot missed right, but it was loud enough for everyone to hear. I had my sword at his chest and had him pinned, but he quickly disarmed me and threw me off of him over the edge of the roof. I grabbed onto the storm drain and barely held on with my left hand. He got up to come and knock me off, but I pulled out my P87 machine pistol from its holster with my right hand and let him have it. He had not turned his HCS shielding on and it cost him yet. I hit him with four quick rounds to the chest and head and he fell off the roof from where I was hanging. At this point, the Chinese regulars were all looking at my position ten stories up and started firing at me. Thankfully, they weren’t CCE soldiers because those shots would have landed and I would have been smeared on the asphalt. I managed to pull myself back up to the roof and I saw a squad head over to the service ladder while the rest continued to fire at me. I quickly realized that I had to run.
I turned around and started running over the rooftops of the housing projects. I knew the squad would be on my tail, so I let my adrenaline take over and run my ass off even more. I saw a huge tank battle ensuing relatively far away from these buildings but in plain view by a series of roads. ION shells and canisters were hitting their marks and decimating the unshielded American tanks. The shots were loud and explosions were going off everywhere. A few rounds were going wide and getting close to these buildings. Some ION rounds were being fired at me from behind and I took a quick look back to see that they weren’t that far behind. I am a quick runner, but they did have a decent line of sight on me. I tried to zigzag to avoid as many shots as possible, but they were getting close and I was running out of steam.
I was running across a half torn-up building when I realized that I had run out of rooftop. “Fuck, fuck, fuck! What do I do?!” I yelled at myself looking over the edge of the roof. There was no visible way down and the squad was closing in. I took cover behind the roof entrance door on the far side from where the troops would be coming from and readied my weapon. They were going to have to get me off of this roof in a body bag if they wanted me so bad. I turned the corner and fired about ten rounds at the mass of them, killed one, and reduced the shielding on two of them. They all tried to take cover as a couple soldiers lit my position up with covering fire. They weren’t Commandos and I was a ranger, one ranger albeit, but a ranger nonetheless.
They were closing in and I managed to kill two more, but I was running out of ammo. I was on my last ION clip when I fired it into one more taking cover behind a ledge. I threw the PA30 away and reached for my P87, but they flanked me on my left side. A Chinese regular was standing next to me with his gun trained on my head. He told me to throw away my weapon in Chinese. I spoke the language, as did many people in America at the time. You had to know the language in a lot of jobs as we used to deal with the Chinese frequently before the war. I took out my P87 and I thought of a bad idea. My shield was still on, but his gun was against my head at this point and the shielding can’t deflect anything that close. I was taking out my gun and the Chinese soldier repeated his order. The rest of his buddies moved in and I was running out of options.
“You have done well for yourself today Sergeant. You have killed five of our men and distracted us for the time being.” this cocky Chinese lieutenant said to me in English as he approached.
“Six. I killed one of your scouts too.” It seemed to have pissed him off.
“Six. Wow, quite a story my fellow warrior, but it ends here. You have cost us too much and you need to die. Try to kill us with your weapon if you like, but there are too many of us and that is a very weak weapon.”
“I don’t have to kill all of you. Just you, dick.” Like I said, they’ll have to bring me down in a body bag…
“Kill him” the lieutenant ordered. I heard a loud bang, but it wasn’t from their guns. An American tank round hit the building we were on a few floors below us and knocked us off our feet. I sat up and fired my P87 at the closest soldier to me while he was on the ground. The other six there, were all trying to recover as I picked off another. They got back up, but all of a sudden something felt as if it was giving way. The roof was collapsing! The building was falling apart beneath our feet and a quick sudden give knocked us all off our feet again. I looked up and saw the building falling and quickly got up. I had to jump for it, and since I was about ten stories in the air, I didn’t really have hope for survival. I started running for the edge and I noticed that the building was falling towards the other side of the street into another building. I saw an opportunity and when I had reached the edge of the roof I dove across and smashed through a window in the other building. The other building collided into it, but then shifted away and collapsed.
I got up and looked out the window at the destruction that had befallen the Chinese squad and said to myself, “Well… that was lucky…”
I somehow lost my sidearm in the commotion, but after leaping from a falling building and narrowly making it into this skyscraper I was just glad to be alive. Still, not having a weapon in a warzone can cost you dearly. Especially if you have four or five squads after you. I headed for some nearby stairs and ran down the ten stories to the ground floor. I had been consistently running for the past four hours now and it was getting to me.
I reached the bottom floor and I sat down in what seemingly used to be the lobby of a hotel. I was leaning on what looked like a concierge desk and just gathered my breath and thoughts. There was dirt all over the floor, random debris here and there, no light except for the natural light coming through the windows and holes in the walls, and that staleness in the air that indicated nobody had been here for quite a while.
Everywhere in San Diego was like this. It blows my mind when I think about all the people that used to be here and how much of a bustling city this once was. After the evacuation, most of the people left. You sometimes get the people still hanging around and trying to make it out in this Metropolis Wasteland, but they are scarce and just doing what they can to survive. We soldiers can’t come to trust them too much because a lot of them feel as if their government has left them to rot. You get civvies sometimes helping the Chinese in these city areas because they get food and water from them. There were even instances of people rising up against their own countrymen and taking up arms for the “wonderful” IRC. I saw it in Russia and I’m sure it’s happened here already.
I can’t say I blame them because I don’t know what I would do if I had no home, no help and no way out. Hell, my girlfriend didn’t understand why I would serve for a country that has left so many of its people high and dry. All I had to say to her was “If I’m not going to support my country in harsh times, then what country do I deserve to live in?” Maybe she was right, but I feel a moral obligation to put my life on the line for my country. I’m not - in the typical sense - a patriot. I’ve been angry and disgusted with the decisions of my leaders in Congress and the White House. I’ve disagreed with a lot of the actions taken by my government, but I’m not about to throw my friends and family and the American people in with the lot of a bunch of failing politicians. They deserve a chance and a say, even if those elected to represent them can’t give them that. They deserve the defense of their lives, their homes, and their way of life. If they can’t defend themselves then who will?
After about a half hour, I got back up and walked over to the front door that was hanging from a couple hinges in a skewed manner. I peeked my head out slowly. I looked back and forth to see if I could spot any Chinese regulars. The road seemed clear and I made my move across the street. My TACPAD was finally up and operational and made a single beep to signal that it was working again. I heard a number of footsteps moving quickly, so I ducked into a former restaurant and then waited for the home screen to show up on my TACPAD. Once the home screen was up I then found my location in the mapping section and designated myself a route to the headquarters of the Mexican border defenses. My detour through these buildings had surprisingly gotten myself closer to the border, which was lucky. I saw about two squads (twenty soldiers) from that party I crashed earlier. They were moving fast and they were scanning buildings to try and find me. I turned off my TACPAD and went behind the bar of the restaurant as they neared the place. I got behind the counter and kept low as a couple regulars walked in. They left the door open. They were moving slowly and methodically and I could hear them knocking over tables and what-not to catch me. I accidentally knocked my arm into one of the mugs that was still on the bar shelves, which made it fall over. A noticeable noise came directly from my vicinity and they both focused on the bar. They started to get very close to me and I could hear their footsteps getting closer and closer. All I had was my combat knife and there were two of them. Even if I had managed to kill one of them, there was still the other to deal with. Their footsteps were splitting apart as they headed to opposite sides of the bar counter. I inched myself closer to the right side of the bar counter as to catch one of them off guard. I pulled out my combat knife very quietly and tensed up. I was ready to strike, but I was unsure of my outcome. One of the two was getting close. Very close. I saw his foot at the end of the counter but then…
An automatic weapon fired off several rounds out in the distance. It was the sound of bullets, which was a welcome one to me. Our allied forces didn’t use ION except for the Mexicans. If it was the sound of a bullet, it was the sound of a friend close by.
The regular almost directly in front of me looked away to where the firing was coming from. I noticed the kitchen door a split second after he looked away. It was six feet away at my right and I darted for it as the regular closest to me yelled to his commanding officer from inside the restaurant. He then told the private at the other end of the bar to check out what was going on. When he finally turned the corner to where I would have been, I was already through the kitchen door and letting the door close slowly as to not bring any attention to it.
I saw a door in the back that undoubtedly led back outside and I thought that a smart thing would to take the back alleyways. This door would probably open up to one, and I’d inch my way down to the border. I kept myself in a crouched position as I made my way over to the door. I put my combat knife back away and then slowly opened the back door just a bit. I made sure to check my angles before heading outside. I then went into the alley, which had a nice piece of cover to watch the Chinese soldiers as they left to see what was up. I turned my TACPAD back on and decided to head down the other way. I was moving quickly, but as silently as I could. I came to another street, which I had to cross – according to my TACPAD – in order to get into another alley. I looked over almost the entirety of the chipped, cracked, and torn street in front of me and deemed it safe. I started my dash across the road, but as I did some regulars came around the corner and spotted me.
“Fuck,” was all I managed to say as they made eye contact with me in the middle of the street. I felt like a deer caught in the headlights.
“American!” one of them shouted in Chinese and they opened fire on me. My legs finally cooperated and I got them to start fucking moving immediately.
“Shit! Shit! Shit!” I was screaming as they shot at me and drained some of my shield down, “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to go that way!” I shouted at them as they chased me through the alley I tried to go down unseen, but I think my situational circumstances had changed just a bit. I leaped over a trash can, headed across another street and smashed through the back door of an electronics store of some kind. I vaulted some counters and made for the front door. They came in at the back door as I was leaving through the front. I could taste fresh air one moment, but the next – BAM! – I tasted my own blood. Then I fell out of consciousness.
When I woke back up, there was a gun in my face. It had become increasingly apparent to me that I was bleeding from my nose and I was sitting down against the wall outside the electronics store. The guy hit me pretty good.
“Fucker… nice hit,” I said in a more impressed tone as I wiped some blood away from my face. It takes a lot to knock me flat on my ass. The regular had smirk on his face. He knew English, which wasn’t uncommon. What went for Americans before the war also applied to the Chinese.
“Looks like your luck has ended Sergeant,” he noticed my rank patch, “Do you have any last words before I kill you for the trouble you’ve caused us?”
“Yea. Could you get me up on my feet? I’d like to die with some dignity.” I said to the Chinese regular. He had a smile on his face and had an expression that signified that he respected me somewhat. Even if I had killed six of his buddies earlier, and caused another squad of regulars to fall to their deaths, he still liked me… sort of… He was going to kill me, so probably not. He picked me back up and turned me away from him and put my hands on the back of my head.
I had no plan this time and it looked like my luck had run out. I just hoped that it wasn’t going to hurt and that what I had done that day mattered somehow. Then, I heard the click of the button on his RI-04 ION rifle, that distinctive charge sound that the gun makes when it’s ready to fire, and that final BANG!
Captain Jeremy Exile had been separated from his fellow soldiers a while ago, and was moving behind enemy lines. He was used to being in this position as the first half of his military career consisted mostly of Black Operations. Things had all gone to hell, and he was still baffled as to how he continued to live. As he was walking through downtown San Diego, he was still checking the bullet holes in his uniform. He was utterly astounded that he had survived, and without any scars. He had his weapons back, and he knew that he would have to make it out of the city so he could get his squad of “Archangels” together. What a stupid fucking name, he thought. First, he would need a vehicle, but more importantly – and much more difficult to find in this bombed-out, urban wasteland – a working vehicle. Everything in San Diego was blown to pieces or fried from local EMP blasts. The only vehicles up and running in the area were the military vehicles brought from outside San Diego. I could get myself one of those ION humvees that the Chinese have, but he didn’t know where he could get his hands on one of them without bringing a whole lot of attention to himself.
He was walking through downtown San Diego and was hurting all over. He had been heading towards the border to where the Mexican and American defenses were holding. However, he knew that there would be American scouts, snipers, and small squads. There would have to be small skirmishers to test and pick at the Chinese front lines for weaknesses and possible strategic advantages. He was hoping that he could find a friendly face among all the ones that would possibly kill him, but it would be difficult to find such a face.
He headed through the street, but off onto the sidewalk. He needed to stay close to the walls in order to present less of a target to would be snipers. However, he was thinking that he could be a little more reckless now because of how he cheated death. He could not get himself to walk in the middle of the street just yet, but something in him was telling him that he was something more than he had previously thought. He was an exceptional soldier to begin with but he felt somewhat invincible after his previous altercation in which he had survived.
He was jogging up the sidewalk on his way to the border at a brisk pace, but then he heard firing off to the east. It sounded like ION rounds and he knew he should stay clear. He started getting low and keeping off the main roads, but then he heard gas-powered reports of an American rifle. There was a friend and he or she was in trouble.
He picked up his pace, cocked his MP37A submachine gun with a shotgun under-mount attachment, and headed towards the gunfire. Whoever was causing that racket was in some serious shit. The ION rounds firing sounded sporadic and intense while the American rifle shots sounded more controlled. They were fired in short bursts as to increase accuracy. This soldier must be trained Exile thought. This was all the more reason to run as hard as he could towards the commotion. The aid of just one soldier straight out of basic could be beneficial, but with the help of a marine or even a ranger and they could make a dangerous team.
He weaved his way through damaged buildings and shops to the increasing sound of gunfire and the all-too-familiar shrieks of ION rounds. Captain Exile caught a glimpse of a group of Chinese regulars as he entered in the back door of a street-side shop. The front of the store was on what used to be a main road and the large windows in the front of the store must have held some valuables of some kind. Exile ducked behind the main counter as more Chinese troops ran by the front of the store. Exile couldn’t afford to blow his cover now, Even if I might be invincible, he thought. He brought the gun up over the counter and aimed through the red-dot-sight out towards passing Chinese regulars. His HUD adapted the red-dot-sight into his visor where the laser pinpoint had taken its place in the center of the “screen”. An ammo counter appeared at the bottom of the visor and the HUD started tagging enemies that were nearby. His HUD also pointed out that his shield was fully charged again, which would be most helpful. The word “Hunter” was etched along the side of his gun and he remembered what it represented.
After the regulars passed him by, he continued his path toward the gunfire. He left the store through the front door and looked around to make sure he was safe. He headed right, down the road about a block or so behind the Chinese soldiers. He kept cover behind destroyed cars and moved up in a regimented pace. He then noticed some of the regulars split from the larger group and continue down another street. There were pockets of continuous firefights that could be heard from Exile’s position. However, they were out of his line of sight and sounded very far off. The gunfire that he was interested in was intensifying and then it all stopped. The gunfire had ceased but he kept moving toward the original sound.
Captain Exile was getting disturbed by the lack of any noise whatsoever and so he quickened his pace to his destination. He couldn’t explain why he kept on going; the soldier was probably as good as dead now. He felt he owed it to his fellow comrade-in-arms at this point because he was just so close. He rounded the corner where the building was and all of sudden a loud, deafening explosion came from the building. The explosion knocked him backwards onto his ass and he tried to get up. The building was a good fifty feet away but the blast still had a concussive effect from where he was standing. As he stood back up, he saw the building begin to collapse. “Son of a bitch…” he said to himself as the thing started falling down to the left and hit another fairly large, modern edifice. What was left after the fact was a lot of rubble and debris. Exile went to what was left of the building and found only a number of Chinese soldiers crushed or shot. He decided to go and look into the other building that looked like a hotel. The former hotel was daunting in its size, which is no wonder that it shrugged off the last structure as if it was nothing.
He headed back out to the street he was just on and made for the front of the hotel. As he turned the corner he spotted someone dart from the lobby area and further down the street away from his position. He had an American uniform on. That was a pleasant sight. If he called out to him, he could risk both of their lives. He decided to try and catch up with him. The unknown soldier was about a hundred yards away from him and seemed to be unarmed. Exile tried to follow him, but this guy was getting reckless and erratic in his decisions. He probably just barely escaped that collapsing building. The soldier was running in the middle of the street and Exile knew it would cost him. Exile was keeping off the main road and keeping close to walls and cars. He knew these parts well, but it seemed that the other soldier did not.
The American stopped all of a sudden as he attempted to go around a corner and then immediately turned as ION gunfire followed him. A whole squad of Chinese regulars was at his heels at this point and being almost a football field away from Exile, he was screwed. The unnamed soldier ran quickly into an alley and disappeared. Exile abandoned his cover and threw himself double-time to his objective. He wanted this soldier to live. He put this much effort in thus far, why not? He headed down another street parallel to where the other American would be running. He kept up a quick pace and then hooked a right down another street where he saw the soldier run across the street and then smashed through the back door of some unknown building. Exile headed in his direction after the regulars had passed through the door after the mysterious soldier. Exile then took a left down another alleyway to be parallel still from where the other soldier should have run. He headed around the corner, stopped and quickly took cover behind a car in front of him.
The other American was bleeding from nose and his was propped up against the front of the store he tried to escape through. He was surrounded by seven Chinese regulars and all of them had guns trained on his head. They were going to execute him. He must’ve pissed them off pretty bad, Exile thought. Exile knew he couldn’t use his submachine gun because the weapon had too high of a spread and he couldn’t risk the life of the other soldier. Captain Exile took out his “Desert Eagle” or DE77C, which was a more advanced firearm than its ancestor. It still had enough firepower to completely blow through a fully-charged Heavy Combat Shield in one shot. However, the descendent to the original “Desert Eagle” was much more accurate and had much better range. Most specialists used this as their sidearm because of its usefulness and killing power on the field.
Exile cocked back the hammer on his sidearm and readied himself for the fight that was ahead. He decided to shoot the man to the other American’s immediate right. If the man he was about to save was worth his salt, after the first shot was fired he would try and take out the man right in front of him. If not, the next round was going to have that Chinese regular’s name on it. Exile heard the charge of an ION rifle and got up from behind the car and fired his shot at his first target. His man went down after a perfect shot between his eyes. And just as he thought the other American screamed and jumped towards the Chinese soldier that just stood him up to execute him after the shot was fired. He pushed the gun the Chinese soldier had off to his left and the regular pulled the trigger. The Chinese regular hit one of his squad mates with the stray fire and some of it just barely missed Exile. Exile jumped to his left out of cover and reacted accordingly with a few more well-placed shots to the heads of three more Chinese soldiers. The other American managed to knock the executioner’s gun away and then proceeded to take out his combat knife. The Chinese regular tried to prevent him from ramming the knife home through his chest. His actions failed as the American broke the regular’s wrist and drove the knife through his executioner’s heart.
The other two Chinese soldiers realized what was happening and fired towards Exile with poorly placed and hurried shots. Exile took cover anyway and fired at another Chinese regular who was out of cover and hit him in the chest with a .50 caliber round. The last one managed to get behind another destroyed car opposite of Exile. Exile had emptied one of his clips and went for the reload. He was clipped by an ION round but it had only taken off a fraction of his shield. The other American rose back up and grabbed the ION rifle from the Chinese soldier he just killed. He then stood up and got in Exile’s line-of-fire. The unfamiliar soldier then unloaded the clip of the ION rifle into position of the Chinese soldier and slowly walked toward him, screaming obscenities along the way. Exile had his gun ready to fire, but he couldn’t see around this idiot’s body. The Chinese regular was smoked out of cover by the constant fire and was hit by a number of ION rounds to the center-of-mass.
When the gunfire subsided, the other American looked toward Exile and gave him a smile as if Exile was his guardian angel. Exile didn’t know what to think of this kid, but he already wanted to criticize his combat methods. Standing in the middle of a firefight and presenting that big of a target to the enemy is a well-known no-go. There were enough soldiers pretending to be heroes already and this war didn’t need another getting himself killed. However, some part of Exile wanted to congratulate the young soldier in his bravery and gung-ho attitude. Whatever he thought, he came this far to see who this man was that gave the Chinese a run for their money, he might as well get to know the man. He walked over to the soldier and saw that the young man noticed he was of a superior rank. The younger soldier then stopped, saluted and said “Thank you, Captain.”
“At ease, Sergeant.” He saw his sergeant-rank patch. “You’re going to get me killed with that salute in a combat zone. What’s your name?” Exile asked as he moved the two of them off of the road.
“Mark Snyder, sir.”