Chapter 18, DebriefMature

Chapter Eighteen


September 5th 2134, Moscow, Russia

4:34 P.M.

            Vapor Team casually walked the streets of Moscow heading west. A few squads of FK soldiers were positioned on each street to keep them secure. They all stared in awe and respect at Vapor Team, every now and then saluting them too. They walked in a bitter sweet mood. They were glad the war was finally over, and that the Russian dictator was no more. The loss of Corpus however, took a huge toll on their spirits. In his mind, Connor gave Corpus the same respect the Designated Marksmen gave each other in death. Rest in peace Corpus, our brother. You will be honored in our hearts forever. They walked for an hour, trying to find General Clay to give him the good news in person. They heard the loud roar of jetpacks falling down behind them.

            "Smokey!" they heard a voice call out. Connor stopped in his tracks and smiled. He turned around to find James land right at his feet. The other thirty DMs landed behind him and saluted Connor. Connor saluted back. "Man, when the hallways behind us collapsed and left you trapped in that hangar, we thought it was over, especially when the hospital erupted in a fiery inferno shortly afterward. We had to use out jetpacks to fly high up above the hospital before it went off."

            "Come on, you know no one can kill us," Connor bragged. "But do you know where the General is?"

            "Yeah, he's at the city's western edge, so you're going the right way," James replied.

            "Good," Connor said, then laid his hand on James' shoulder. "James, you're in charge of the Designated Marksmen again. Help the rest of our army mop up the remaining Red Legion resistance. This is where we separate again."

            "Copy that Smokey," James acknowledged with a nod.

            "Hey, what happened to Luther, that injured soldier that we put in your care while you were defending the hospital?" John asked.

            "Oh, he was taken by medics when reinforcements arrived that relieved us and the Colonel," James answered.

            "What about Nellon?" Dale wondered.

            "See, you really do care," Nellon joked from behind Vapor Team. Dale, John, and Arden turned and faced west again to find Nellon standing with her weight on one foot and her arms crossed. "When the hospital began to self-destruct, and when you guys all ran down that hallway, me and the rest of the standard soldiers ran back the way we came. A couple got caught in the middle of an explosion, but aside from that we made it to the elevator shafts and got back to the ground floor from there. Then we ran our asses as far away from the hospital as we could. Good thing too, cause when that thing went off it engulfed the entire hospital square."

            "Nice," John commented.

            "Can you take us to Clay?" Arden asked.

            "Yep. No doubt he wants to see you," Nellon replied.

            "Gotta go James," Connor said. "Lead them on."

            James nodded, then turned to face the DMs and addressed them assertively, "Alright Marksmen! Let's head east and take care of the rest of the Red Legion resistance. Move out!" They activated their jetpacks and flew eastward across the city, and were eventually out of sight. Vapor Team followed Nellon west until they came upon a large group of FK soldiers huddled around a temporary command post on a four lane road near the western edge of the city. Clay was in the center of the command post.

            "Reporting in sir!" John proclaimed as they approached Clay. When they reached him, they saluted him. "Mission accomplished." Clay saluted back, then clasped his hands behind him in a sophisticated posture.

            "Well done Vapor Team," Clay praised.

            "The dictator is buried under a heap of rubble," Arden remarked.

            "The Elite Blade's birthplace has been leveled," Connor added.

            "Those android assassins no longer have a place to return home for new assignments," Dale said.

            "We've won," John proclaimed.

            "I knew you wouldn't disappoint Vapor," Clay said. "You all, every one of you, Vapor, Nellon, Corpus, and the rest of the Marksmen truly played the largest role in our victory. I couldn't be more proud of you, and I'll see to it you all receive the commendations you deserve. Because of you," Clay paused and looked around him. "Because of everyone here! We have ushered in a peace that mankind has never experienced! A one world with a perfect balance of government, and understanding among citizens! Be proud of your service gentlemen! You all have achieved the greatest victory that not Democracy has ever reached, but the whole world!"

            All of the soldiers around them cheered heartily. Vapor Team remained silent, slightly skeptical about how productive the new world was going to be. This skepticism was uprooted in no small part to what the Russian dictator had said to them in the RL command center. Vapor Team glanced at each other solemnly, knowing that they were thinking the same things. For the time being however, they pushed aside any uncertainty about the one world, and about what the dictator had said. It didn't matter anyways. What's done is done, Vapor Team thought. They noticed Clay turn back and face them.

            "We, Democracy, every citizen in the world has a hard task ahead of us now, possibly harder than coping with the war to get to even get to where we are today," Clay continued. "Our political leaders need to get started on new legislations right away. The citizens of the world are going to need temporary food and shelter until we can repair all of the damage that this war has caused, both physically and economically. The Freedom Knight army will be there every step of the way to help and protect society in preparation for the new world until society has stabilized, and the only kind of armed forces we'll need is a global police force."

            "Yes sir," John acknowledged. Somehow, Clay knew that Vapor Team was troubled. He stepped closer to them and lowered his voice.

            "Speak freely men, what's on your mind?" Clay asked.

            "Well, speaking freely," John started.

            "We aren't sure how, efficient, the new world is going to be," Dale continued off of John's beginning.

            "Yeah," Connor agreed. "How can we, or how can anyone be sure that this one world government won't turn corrupt and become just as bad as a Socialist, Communist regime?"

            "We don't want to have fought this war, just to find out that it was all in vain," Arden added. "There's a reason why it took a few thousand years of history to achieve a one world society, because it's never been seen fit to work before."

            "I understand your concerns Vapor, believe me," Clay empathized. "But at this point, there's nothing that any of us can do to stop the one world government. It's my duty to carry out the military wishes of our political leaders. I have to trust that the government will not turn corrupt. However, if it does, Vapor Team, you will be the ones to correct its mistake."

            They all paused for a brief moment, then John gave a remark, "Understood sir."

            "But things probably won't ever reach that point," Clay backpedaled in order to add some levity to the chat. "Right now, let's just finish off these pathetic Communists."

            "Yes sir," Vapor Team responded. The rest of the day wore on with scattered fighting around the eastern portions of the city. Nine o-clock rolled around and every Red Legion soldier had either been killed, or surrendered. Communist political leaders aside from the deceased dictator were rounded up and brought to Democratic political leaders in order to begin coordination of reconstruction and new governmental integration.

            A week went by. All of the civilians that inhabited Moscow and other Communist cities were released from their offsite temporary relocation areas, and returned to their cities. Arden was reunited with his father, and he spent three days on requested to leave to spend the time with him. Vapor Team eventually found themselves on a troop carrying ship back to the United States. Arden's father had chosen to stay in Moscow and help with the reconstruction. They made port at a military shipyard in New York. From there, they were flown to Houston Texas, and checked in at the Freedom Knight headquarters. Days of paperwork and reports followed. Months passed them by. The world was adapting to the new world better than they expected. Reconstruction efforts were started early. The economy was shifty for a while. However, as jobs began reopening and marketing flourished after a few months of preparation, the economy stabilized.

            Four years passed by. Vapor Team had spent the entire time assisting in rebuilding the world's society. They ended up traveling to every continent on the globe, helping wherever and whenever needed. At last, the world was stable, peaceful, and content. Vapor Team once again found themselves in Houston Texas, this time granted with a longer than average break from their military service. They hadn't kept contact with Nellon or Luther, or even the Designated Marksmen. After finding an apartment and becoming roommates as well as brothers-in-arms, Vapor Team decided to go clear their minds from the previous years of war and reconstruction. They visited a local bar.

            "I'll take a vodka martini," Dale told the bartender.

            "Cuba libre for me," Arden said. "And can me and Shad- uh, Dale here, share a basket of nachos?"

            "I'll just have a strawberry smoothie," Connor requested.

            "Apple juice, please," John added. The bartender got to work on their drinks and nachos. Connor glared at Arden.

            "Still not used to calling each other by our real names yet huh?" Connor asked him.

            "Heh, not yet no," Arden replied with a smile.

            "You know this is just like old times," Dale remarked. "Just us four hanging out and being guys."

            "Yup," John agreed. "Those days where we would play videogames and watch action movies and play with our toy BB guns and eat at that taco place almost every night." They all laughed. The bartender dropped off their drinks and nachos. Dale and Arden instantly dug in to the nachos. John and Connor glanced at each other and shook their heads, then sipped their drinks.

            "I wonder what's next on our military service path," Connor said as he leaned back in his chair and rested his hands in his clasped hands behind him.

            "Who knows," John remarked. "We already have been in service far longer than most intend to stay. We might just be asked to be relieved."

            "I don't wanna be relieved," Dale added with his mouth full.

            "Me neither," Arden agreed. "War is kind of the only life we know now."

            "But theoretically, there won't be any more wars right?" Connor questioned.

            "Please," John chastised. "For as long as humanity exists, there will always be conflict."

            "Well we've got some time before we have to worry about orders any time soon," Arden assured them. Their conversations seemed to split between John and Connor, and Arden and Dale.

            "I'm sorry you never got to find your girlfriend," John said to Connor sympathetically. "I know you loved her a lot."

            "Yeah," Connor said in a low voice. "I could moan and groan, and cry myself to sleep, but I'm just gonna quote some Tennyson instead."

            "'Tis better to have love and lost than never to have loved at all?" John said, hoping it was the right phrase.

            "Yup," Connor confirmed. "I loved her more than anything in the world, but I know she's watching over me from Heaven, and she's proud of what we've done. I'll see her again, eventually," Connor comforted himself and managed a smile. "What about you and Dale? Aren't you guys going to visit your family? They're only a few hours away."

            "Yeah, we probably will," John said. "It's been a while, we should all see our families. They all live close by."

            "That sounds good," Connor agreed with a nod.

            "Uh yeah, can't really do that completely," Arden butted in. "My dad's kind of in Moscow."

            "You still got your mom moron," Dale added. "How's your dad doing though by the way?"

            "He's good, and I'm proud of him that he wanted to stay and help out over there," Arden replied.

            "That's cool," Connor nodded. John suddenly smiled really wide and glared at Dale.

            "What?" Dale questioned John.

            "Whatever happened to your girlfriend Dale? Nellon?" John asked jokingly.

            "Dude, shut up," Dale laughed. "You know she's not my girlfriend. Even if she was, you shouldn't be feeling so smart, cause out of all four of us, who's the one who hasn't ever had a girlfriend yet?"

            "Oh! Burn," Arden remarked. John shook his head and smiled.

            "Hey, did you guys hear about the new space station they're going to be building?" Connor asked.

            "I did," Dale answered.

            "Me too," John replied.

            "Not me, what space station?" Arden questioned.

            "It's supposed to be a large ring-like station that simulates natural earthly processes," Connor informed. "They're calling it our first advancement in to the next frontier, which is of course, space. They're also naming it the Roman I. It's supposed to be a symbol of unity and peace and prosperity among all of us. People who have the money are already applying to live on it."

            "Wow, that's incredible," Arden said rather amazed.

            "It really is," Connor agreed. "It's a symbol of peace and good times to come for the rest of Earth's time too."

            "A toast, to years of good times in this new world," John suggested as he raised his apple juice in front of him.

            "Sounds good to me," Connor clinked his smoothie on John's glass.

            "Sure," Arden agreed, raising his glass too.

            Dale chuckled and shook his head, "You weirdos." They all laughed and drank their beverages.

            Another month passed by. After visiting their families and enjoying their downtime, Vapor Team returned to Freedom Knight headquarters. They were invited in to General Clay's office for an important briefing.

The End

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