Satritcal look at a future war, from one combatants point of view
There is a ringing in my ears. Or is it a buzzing instead? I'm not really sure. There also seems to be popping. Like pop-corn in a kitchen far away. How would I know what that sounded like though? I've never heard that for real.
I try to open my eyes, but I can't. What the hell is wrong with me? The popping begins to get louder, the buzzing becomes quieter, to be replaced by whizzing and zipping whooshes of brief noise, screams from near and far, thuds, bangs, booms. I feel like I am laying on a surface that is being pounded with giant hammers. I know my eyes are open, because I am conscious of blinking them forcefully. But all I can see is a dark blurry red smear.
Other senses start to come back to me. Smell, touch, taste. Pain. Is pain a sense? It is now...
What smells like an abattoir mixed with a bonfire makes me cough, and I realise that I can taste that smell too somehow. I run my tongue around my mouth, and a loose tooth sends lightening bolts of pain through my face. I realise that the warm liquid in my mouth is my own blood. Blood. Is that what's on my face? Is that why I can't see? I raise my hands to my face, still a little confused as to just what the fuck is going on.
Fingertips find the edges of protective goggles, held onto my head with elastic banding. I pull them down my face, and instantly wish I hadn't.
Sight. The last sense to return. And it brings back the memory of the last 20 seconds of my life..........
I am a 'Hound'. A 'War-Dog'. Some old earth writer or poet had written a line, something along the lines of “Cry Havoc!, and let slip the Dogs of War!”. That had been nearly eight hundred years ago. I wonder if he knew how long lasting that little sentence would be?
But I digress dear reader. How remiss of me. Perhaps I should explain, bring you up to speed as it were? At least, I can try. I am no oracle of knowledge, no sage of wisdom. Although, I would like to think I am smarter than most of my kind...
What is a 'War-Dog'?!, I hear you ask. Quite simply, we are the armed force combatants of our time. The resultant offspring of genetic experiments to find the most capable soldiers.
After the wars of the mid 21st century, with half the worlds population gone, resources depleted, lands and oceans polluted, some bright spark had the idea of using the technology behind cloning to make soldiers, so that in future wars, the countries of the world would not need to send their young to fight and die. Instead, they could send a clone. Thousands of clones. Hundreds of thousands. If they all die? Its ok, they were clones....
That was how it began. Nearly three hundred years ago. Oh, I didn't mention that? The year is 2456.
Lets try and wrap up nearly four hundred years in a paragraph...
2048, war breaks out between the American colonies, the European Federation, and the Middle Eastern Alliance. Three years later, a few nuclear bombs, a few biological weapons, and half the world is uninhabitable. But that's ok. Half the world population is gone too. New governments rise, old arguments are forgotten for the time being. Science takes leaps forwards, colonies are put on the moon, then Mars. Over about a hundred years everyone seems to be getting along fine. Planets are being colonised by settlers sent on ships that use some form of pulse light engine (don't ask, I am not an engineer..). A journey that would take 50 years can now be made in 5. But the stresses mean you need to go into a stasis sleep until you get to where you're going. Anyway. New worlds are colonised, and of course, old arguments start to become new arguments. By 2290, what had been small divisions in the new worlds had escalated into almost full scale wars. Again though, the reluctance to send people to die results in the creation of armies of clones. Only now, instead of it being one country versus another, its one planet against another planet...over time, more care was given to the creation of clones. At least, by our side. The great politician Erasmus Crane passed a mandate that clone soldiers should be treated fairly, and not just be expendable. Better equipment was developed, lessons were learned and put into practice for future created clones. By the time I was slid out of a birthing chamber, clones had evolved, as it were. We had been augmented by genetic selectivity, growth hormones and subliminal teaching methods so that by the time we had been out of the tube for just 6 months, we were stronger, faster, more intelligent than the average human that if we stood next to, looked exactly alike.
Which, brings us to the here and now. 2456. August 25th. The place? The strategically vital moon of Robaan, around the strategically vital planet of Kansd. At least that's what the top brass would have us believe. Maybe on a map-desk with the view point a few thousand feet above ground level, you do get to see the bigger picture. Unfortunately, at ground level, or to be more precise, crawling on the ground level, the most strategically important part of this moon, is that bit of rubble/earth/tree/rock that is the only barrier between you and the fucker trying to shoot you.
My unit had been on the ground for almost 2 months. This wasn't our first foray into combat. Our battle honours were long and extensive. We had fought in some of the worst combat ever seen. And we had survived.
But then, today happened, and now all bets are off.
My name is Merlin. I am a section leader in Charlie Company of the 143rd Ranger Regiment.