December 19th, 3014, Alfons Schuster, a Private of the 4th Brigade of the German-Russian joint military attempt at taking the Irkutsk Oblast to secure a front for their country’s western borders from ever expanding Asian communist beliefs as well as to take away Irkutsk’s ability to supply fuel and coal to their communist brethren, the Chinese. The operation was dubbed; ‘Operation Baulking Red’. The operation failed spectacularly as our aerial attempt at taking the coal mines and oil fields were shredded due to unprecedented enemy 155mm anti-aerial guns, died during an escape attempt after Operation Baulking Red.
The Brigade was scattered, each men for their own. The unforgiving cold and barren winter night of a Siberian December proved to be the downfall of the 4th Brigade. The dark night proved to be excellent cover, even for our standard-issue night vision goggles. We tried to stay in packs, but the Siberian snipers were used to hunting in the dark. Each of our comrades fell down one by one by a bullet to the head. The deep snow didn’t help either, we’d each plunge our feet deep enough into the snow and hope that our feet don’t get caught in the thickness of the snowfield, and fall prey to the nightly snipers.
We thought that we were in the clear when we finally got out of the forest, we were hindered by a chain-link fence with barbed wires on top of it. We could see search lights from the forest, and the footsteps slightly muffled by the thick snow. One of our brigade members pulled out a pair of wire cutters and started to cut the fence open.
The sound of gunfire erupted, coming from the forest. Then, a firefight. An exchange of gunfire, it lasted for a few minutes, the burst from the gun’s muzzle made it look like, from a distance; fireflies dancing in the cold winter night. But to us all, we all knew that it meant that our end was nigh, but not all, not all but one. A certain Private that goes by the name Jakob Creutzfeldt of the 4th Platoon. None of us really knew how he managed to get himself in uniform, or how he was accepted for duty; but he’s here, and he will spill disaster.
“FIREFLIES!” Screamed Jakob. He rushed into the nightly battlefield without a hint of fear in his eyes, leaving behind a trail of deep footprints embedded upon the snowy battlefield. Some joined into the fray after seeing brave Jakob rushed into his death, while others keep to themselves and try to open the chain-link fence. The chain was then broken down, I remember one calling out for my name. ‘Alfons! Al!’ he said with a shrill voice. Regardless of leaving me however, they continued on and left me behind.
For reasons unknown to me till this moment in my life, I rushed ahead, following behind Jakob and the rest into the firefight. The thick snow weighed me down, I couldn’t even comprehend how Jakob and the rest managed to run that fast into the firefight. I ran and I ran, following the flicking lights of the gun’s muzzle flashes. Then, it all went pass me, my life, my memories, my everything — went away in the flash, as that stray bullet pierced through my left lung. I was instantly incapacitated, an ineffective soldier lying down on the cold, thick snow. My blood decorated the ground with velvet red, almost as if I was lying down on a red carpet, laid especially for me by the God above.
With all my might, I grasped for my dog-tag and held it tight. Didn’t want to die without a name, never wanted to. But then again, once you’re dead, everything happens, but you just won’t be mentioned ever again. A private’s death, a lonesome death that held close to no meaning.
“God forgive me for all my sins.”
One month later, in the Irkutsk Friendship Gulag, a prison labour camp built into, and around a coal mine. The local authorities and military regularly compete in joint practices. The prison’s courtyard consists of Czech Hedgehogs with barbed wires wrapped around them, and scattered concrete roadblocks with mounted machine guns on one side of each roadblock. The exterior has four guard towers made out of concrete with peeled off paint decorating the exterior of it. The interior is not much less worn and more disorganised. A ladder leads to the upper level of the tower where guards can have full vigilance of the entire compound. The towers are also equipped with searchlights and the like. Prisoners seldom peek out of the mines and into the courtyard, note that the courtyard is the only viable way inside the mines, and usually spend their time in the mines to create their own ‘portable sink homes’ using the pickaxes and mine coal for freedom. The prisoners dug a large room, used as their canteen and general recreational area, one man stood around others, more specifically on top of a chair, and started to tell the story of a soldier’s end during the Baulking Red Landings.
“And those were the last words of Alfons Schuster!” Jakob exclaimed.
“And how didja know who and what he said?” A person asked from the crowd of people.
“I dug through his corpse, and I found his dog-tag, and THIS TIN POT!” Jakob answered while pointing his finger to the stainless tin pot on his head, held together with straps and strings to his chin, to resemble a soldier’s helmet. Then, one man joined Jakob out of the fray. He stood on the chair next to him and started to say;
“We should all just get out of here, I don’t care if I die, I JUST CAN’T STAND THIS GUY’S MAD RAMBLINGS!”
“YES WE SHOULD ALL CHARGE OUT OF HERE!” Jakob, for one was enthusiastic about this. He was the first to raise the pickaxe that was tied down to his waist by a detachable line. His pick had a fibreglass handle with a tally etched to it’s head counting up to four. He screamed, jumped down from the chair, and rushed head on to the mouth of the mine, and into the courtyard. The people back inside the mine could hear gunfire, and a whole lot of it. Some stood there, without action, some began to rally morale, and rushed into battle; some others however, rushed on back to their portable sink homes and dug themselves a grave. The cruelty of Siberian prison guards were unimaginable, a riot no less would simply spark anger in the eyes of the Siberian guards, but for Jakob; it was a chance to establish a front by escaping and regrouping with his now-dead-platoon. Some prisoners saw this as an all or nothing chance, for they knew that no matter the amount of coal they mined, they’ll never get to taste the sweet taste of freedom.
Jakob, being the first to come outside, ran to the middle of the courtyard and declared his ‘independence’ from their totalitarian and unjust rule of the gulag. The Irkutsk guards instantly fired their rifles, and sprayed bullets inaccurately towards Jakob’s general location. Upon their fire, Jakob ran to the nearest concrete roadblock and used it has cover from the incoming fire above. The first batch of convicts came out of the mines with burning coal in their hands. Each inmate started to throw the burning coal at the guards, some managed to scorch a guards wrist, some just fell down without hitting anything. The guards withdrawn from the courtyard to the gates, leaving behind suppressing fire to keep the rioting inmates from escaping. The fire from the guard towers ate through the advancing forces, each man after going through the mine entrance died from the bullets sprayed towards the entrance from the towers. Some decided to carry one or two fellow now-dead inmates on their backs as a human shield and started to haul themselves to the prison gates while the guards rearranged their formations.
The Czech hedgehogs scattered though out the compound helped with the advance. Jakob followed his fellow inmates and hauled two dead inmates on his back, and started to run without hesitation towards the gate entrance. Three people managed to make it near enough to the gate entrance, Jakob included, while the rest were still harassed by the machine gun nests on top of the guard towers. Each of them started to climb the tower’s exterior, while dragging along their human shields. The guards on the ground started to notice and began to shoot at them. Their human shield managed hold of their fire, however the human shield’s durability slowly got shredded due to the sheer amount of bullets piercing the corpse. The corpse was barely dangling to the inmates, and with each shot, their grip was getting loose. When the corpse finally fell down, the inmates managed to reach the machine gun nest on the guard tower, and strangled the shooter from behind. T
The machine gun was pined to the ground, and they couldn’t be moved, so the inmates on top of the guard towers had to improvise. On the guard’s uniform, were conventional hand grenades ready for combat use. The inmates and Jakob knew what they were to do. The entrance to the courtyard was a chokehold of the two towers. They had occupied both of them. Jakob screamed to the other side of his tower;
“When the cross, we drop the bombs!”
“Ya idiot! Now they knew the plan!”
The attempt failed, the guards were hesitant to advance and stop the inmates coming out of the mine entrance. The guards withdraw to another front; the parking lot. There, they had established roadblocks using cars, and barb wire defence lines outside of the gate entrance. Jakob threw a live grenade at the wire line, and cleared a path for their advancing forces. The inmates on the left, right and front of the advance were spearheading the advance as human shields for the inmates inside of the formation. Once they managed to cross out of the courtyard entrance, they started to spread and establish a beachhead before the guards could decimate their formation. They used the cars in the parking lot as cover, while Jakob and the two inmates on the other tower fling grenades at the opposing guards. The grenade throws scattered the formation, and the inmates took this chance and hauled themselves out of the parking lot. Jakob and the two other prisoners on the other side of his tower followed suite, and joined their march. Jakob used the confusion and ran across the streets into some rural building complexes.
The show was as thick as he remembered during the Baulking Red landings, deep, and treacherous. Using his ‘superior’ knowledge of the terrain, he climbed the emergency stairs accessible due to the thick snow providing more higher ground. Once he reached the top, he could hear the crackling of the building’s flat concrete roof, suggesting it’s old age or was poorly maintained. Regardless of the hazards however, Jakob ran to the ledge of the building, and jumped to the building next to it, and repeated the process until he reached a bar that was in his line of sign. Jakob climbed down from the ledge, and released his grip to fall down to the ground.
A person came out of the bar through the rear door to check on Jakob. The man had a pin lodged into the left shoulder of his uniform with the writings; ‘The Vino’ and a smeared off golden insignia, while the right side of his arm had a nazi symbol reminiscent of the Third Reich. The man left Jakob there and returned inside the bar. Then, he came back out again and brought a bottle of warm mead.