The following passage is based upon the events that befell Platoon 106 on November seventeenth twenty hundred and four. While the events that follow are all partially true, the names have been removed to do honor to those who fought bravely.
I had been pinned down in the lab for hours. Nobody was saying it, but I could read it on their faces. The silence had grown ever since the raging war of wind and rain had started outside. We were refugees, huddling in the last bastion of warmth and safety. Out there it was every dog for himself, but inside only the cold uneasy silence and the tense faces. I wanted to comfort them, to tell them that it would be alright; soon the troops would withdraw and the sun would come out again. Like a commander lying to his troops by telling them it would be alright in front of almost certain doom.
If only I had come better prepared, I needed some sort of cover. A bedroll, fry pan, even a plastic bag would give me enough time to make a break for alpha bravo. The only thing I had with me was my lucky thermos, and I don't think the enemy was after a stiff drink.
Fortunately I had a contact on the outside, he was feeding me information on the battle waging outside. The message omg flashed upon the screen, this was military code stating that important information would soon follow. The message confirmed what I had been suspecting all along, HQ says the battle will wage on deep into the early morning hours. The message lol quickly followed, indicating the end of transmission. I turned to face the others, those brave soldiers who remained focused on the terminals in front of them. How would I break the news to them? Reinforcements weren't coming, there wasn't going to be a quarter, this would most surely be the end. I couldn't bring myself to break their spirit, those brave soldiers of platoon 106.
"We're breaking out," A soldier informed us, entering the room in full gear. A couple of good old boys from across the way had managed to smuggle down a vehicle, they were going to make a run for it. They offered me a seat, but I politely refused. It was obvious suicide to try to drive a platoon through this. We would be like sitting ducks out there, fresh meat for the enemy. No thank you, I'd rather go out on my feet than trapped beneath the burning remains of a metal casket. There was no point in trying to reason with them, they had made up their minds. Some people just can't stand the wait, for them waiting here was like already being dead.
There weren't many of us left now what men didn't drive off in the jeep had spread out. Night had fallen, but the battle outside still waged on. The shells and bullets bounced off the roof with a loud clatter, I cranked the music on my headphones up louder and tried to make contact with any friendlys who might have more news on the battle. Just then JP walked through the lab door. His platoon had been pinned down as well. In the chaos heíd been separated from his squad and had made his way to the safety of the bunker. He'd been searching for his crew but none of them had surfaced. One could only hope they had found shelter somewhere, behind a rock or in a foxhole; but we all knew the odds of surviving the onslaught.
JP told us of a nearby shelter, a place where we could get a warm meal. He wanted to go there to try and find some more of his missing men. Just fine, I thought. It was about time one of these nuggets came up with a plan. To be quite honest I was a little bit frightened, who knew what I might find on the other side of those doors. Perhaps hell had finally opened up and released an army of undead to feast upon the brains of the living. Calm down I thought, this isn't Wisconsin. It was time to leave; I was beginning to get the fear. It wouldn't be long no before I would run screaming into the night, embracing death like a mosquito making its kamikaze run at a Zapper 5000.
When we opened the doors, the turmoil had let up very little. I tip-toed across the ground carefully.
"Watch out for the sink-holes," I warned him. "the groundís probably covered in them."
"It's not the sink-holes you have to worry about." JP smirked. "Itís the napalm. Just a taste of that stuff will eat the meat straight off your bones, leaving nothing behind but a grinning skeleton."
This thought was not very heartening. We reached the bunker safely, inside there were warm lights and people were talking casually. It was like as if we'd stepped into another place, perhaps another time. The people in here seemed oblivious to what was happening outside, laughing, carousing, it was as if we had entered the restaurant at the end of the world.
We grabbed a quick meal, but I didn't want to stay for long. The people here made me uneasy; it was as if they spoke another language. They talked of things that didn't make sense and places that didn't exist. Yet this was all somehow important to them. It didn't make sense to me at all. I tried to listen, tried to draw some purpose behind their conversation, but every time I interjected they merely laughed and continued talking amongst themselves.
Who are these people? I thought to myself. Had I somehow lost touch with reality or perhaps somehow reality had finally moved on to newer and better things. I didn't feel crazy, nigh I felt saner than I had ever been. I'm not going crazy, I thought to myself. I'm becoming sane in a crazy world. I quickly signaled to JP that it was time to leave.
I was glad to be out of that place, to have returned once again into the warm grip of chaos. We skirted past the next shelter, hardly even stopping to look around. We were close now; I could almost smell the warm cup of hot-chocolate that would be waiting for me upon my return. One more shelter to go through, and then the final march towards home.
The last shelter was decorated differently than your typical bunker. Soldiers sat upon fancy couches sitting upon patterned carpet and the silence was heavy. They were obviously foreigners. I tried shouting at them in a simple language that they might understand, attempting to portray to them the seriousness of the situation.
"Look sharp boys, it's a flood out there." I commanded. "Round up Noah, tell him to start working on that ark. There isn't much time!"
The people merely stared back at me with a cold glare of death. I had apparently offended their culture in some way. It was fine with me; let the bastards drown in the flood; that would show them.
We were almost there; one last clearing and we were home free.
"Be careful of snipers." I whispered to JP. "Every time you think you're home free, BANG! You find yourself holding the bloody remains of your own kneecap." We quickly scanned the treetops, but we saw no movement. I started walking down the pathway, but John grabbed me by the arm.
"Don't take that way." He warned. "That's just what they are expecting you to do. They probably have the whole place rigged with mines."
The thought had escaped me, I was glad to be in battle with a man of such honor. If I were to die fighting, I would want it to be with someone I could trust. Soon I would be up for reassignment and I would be leaving this crazy world behind. I sure wouldn't miss the front, but I would miss fighting alongside the men. Someday we'll look back on all this; we'll look back on it and laugh. Sucking down sweet tea provided by good old Uncle Sam we may finally realize, that it takes a time of fear and loathing, to bring out the true hero in all of us.