maandag 8 augustus 2011

Sickness

Beste Lezer,

Het is een tijdje stil geweest hier, maar nu plaats ik dan eindelijk weer eens een stukje. Verlaten is nog steeds volop in ontwikkeling, maar zal binnenkort beschikbaar zijn. Hoe en wat ik dat verder ga regelen hoort u later nog.
Nu dan terug naar het verhaal dat nu geplaatst wordt. Het gaat hier om een verhaal dat ik geschreven heb voor mijn Minor English Proficiency III: Creative Writing. Het is logischerwijs dus ook in het Engels geschreven en ik hoop dat dat geen bezwaren op gaat leveren. Hoe dan ook, bij deze!


Sickness

The first bullet left the barrel with an enormous amount of noise that bounced through the quiet streets. It met silence when it struck the captain’s shoulder. The second bullet had the same effect when hitting a sergeant’s cheek. The third struck the lieutenant-colonel in the chest and changed the country forever. Moments of silence passed; the only sound being shells ejected from the barrels of their rifles and hitting the rooftops. Moments of silence before the Empire’s troops panicked and all hell broke loose.

Colonel Emerson ran a hand through his hair and along his stubble as the command vehicle shook heavily, trying to cross the field. The grim city lay only a kilometre ahead, a few lights flickering, but mostly dark and Emerson knew that he had to act fast to prevent the city from being not only dark, but dead as well. The command vehicle ran on tracks and its engine, which was soundproofed to allow for communication, purred like a kitten. A very large and loud kitten, but still.

“Report.” The command vehicle had reached the outskirts of the city and was ploughing through backyards. Emerson pushed his headset against his ear and closed his eyes to focus on the stream of information that was being fed to him. The driver confirmed their coordinates and asked for instructions. “Take us in, corporal.”
Emerson looked away from the screen that showed him what his drivers saw. It made his brain think they were moving forward while his body felt the side ward movement. His motion sickness was having a field day. He mumbled: “Not even my command.” The headset came back alive. “Contact five, check, ten throwers, please advise.”
“Do not engage. Repeat, NOT engage. The commodore will take care of them. Avoid contact, fall back when needed.” The colonel tapped the side of his headset “Sierra November One, this is Sierra Echo One, what’s your status?” Emerson waited five seconds and then repeated the message. “Sierra November One, this is..”
“Sierra Echo, we have multiple contacts. Shrubs are in position. Ready to engage, waiting for green light.”
“Negative. Use darkness. Repeat, use darkness. Confirm.”
“Confirmed. Using darkness” Emerson tapped the headset and started giving more orders.
“This is Sierra Echo One. All units, go dark.” The vehicle shook heavily for a moment before going silent. The lights went out and a small red light bulb gave the command unit an eerie appearance.

Lieutenant-Colonel Rodriguez was studying the orbital images his sensor supplied him with. As XO, with the Colonel down on the planet, he was in command of Endeavour and with that he was responsible for the safety of the men and women below. The images were promising. There were some troop concentrations, but they were rebels. He held very little doubt as to who would win this conflict. The roughly 1200 poorly trained rebels or the 250 elite SSEALSs that were currently deployed.
“Sierra Echo One, this is X-ray Oscar. We have troop concentrations one click from your locations. Stand-by for air support, move in on my mark.”
He had already given the order to open the fighter bay doors and it didn’t take long for the bombers to blast into space. They joined formation and dove into the atmosphere.
“Helm, bring us into sync with the city.” Rodriguez did not want to leave anything to chance. He would raze the city if that was what it took to get his people out.

The vehicle started shaking again and Emerson felt his breakfast, rations, protesting from inside. He opened the hatch above him and got up. The air was filled with the smell of fumes, but the sky was clear. He could see the bombers approaching, without any fear for the non-existent anti-air. His vehicle’s engine growled loudly as the bombers flew over them, a screeching sound announcing their arrival. The tails started to glow; weapons charging. They fired, the colonel heard the explosives, but was unable to see them.
“Sierra Echo One, this is X-ray Oscar, you have a go!” The colonel sat down, closed the hatch and tapped the headset. “Sierra November One, this is Sierra Echo One, move in, you are weapons free.” He flipped a switch and continued speaking “All units, this is Sierra Echo One, move in.” He flipped the switch again “corporal, let’s go.”

The commodore was leaning over a dust drawing one of his shrubs made on the floor of an abandoned store. He knelt and was using his finger to explain his orders when the go order came over the radio. He nodded to the shrub, the pet name the SSEALs gave to their snipers, and waited for him to leave the store. He turned to his officers. “Let’s get these bastards.”

Rodriguez stepped onto the tactical platform, a screen lying on the floor displaying the tactical situation below. The tags, two letters and a number, depicting the call signs started moving further into the city. "Sierra Echo One, you have heat signs at two o’clock. Bombers are circling to provide support."
"Copy that X-ray Oscar. We're good for now."

The commodore heard the sounds of asphalt crumbling and tearing underneath the tracks. "All shrubs, you are weapons free. Take out those throwers." Woods had to wait two seconds before hearing the first shot. A scream rolled through the streets. Good set of lungs. Too bad he couldn't use them anymore. Several shots followed before he raised his hands and ordered his men to move forward. They would go door to door, two blocks east and two blocks west of the main street. "Shrubs, provide cover, standby for movement." Woods got up and ran towards the crossing. He dared to take a peek but quickly withdrew his head hearing the bullets hit the wall. "Sierra Echo One, we could use some of your firepower here"
"Understood, stand clear" Woods could hear more asphalt tearing as one of the tanks turned, rolled onto the crossing and took out the building at the end of the block. Woods took another peek, but was forced back again.

"Echo One, this is going to take forever. We should just pave them. They'll be shot anyway."
"Sierra One, you are to clear those buildings. We are taking this city in one piece! Now move out!"
"Yes sir!" Woods cursed. Outranked by an Air Force colonel. On the ship, fine, but this was not his ship.
"X-ray Oscar, this is Sierra November One."
"Go ahead Sierra One."
"What's our status up ahead?"
"A few spots. No confirmation on friend or foe" the commodore sighed. There was no friend or foe in this hellhole. Just foes. Nasty rebels.
"Understood Oscar, requesting sorties on those targets"
"Denied Sierra One." Woods sighed and cursed again.
"Sierra November One out." The commodore flipped the switch on his radio. "All Sierra November units, this is Sierra November One, no more surprises. Take out everything that moves,” he turned off the radio. Any civilian that wanted to leave should have done so last night. They knew what was coming.
"Corporal," Emerson looked up from his tactical screen, "go into formation." He looked back down "All units, Echo One, move into formation, execute 'Liberating dawn.'"
Two days. Two days filled with bullet holes. No window had survived the surrounding of parliament. A title the building no longer deserved. Emerson stood behind the command vehicle, binoculars dangling around his neck. "How far along are we commodore?"
"They seem to have retreated from the outer rooms. They still have views over the field though, we've lost twelve men in the last assault. The engine in one of your tanks broke down. The crew thinks they can fix it, but not while under fire."
"Leave it. Do your shrubs have any visuals?"
"There's some movement from time to time."
"Officers meeting?"
"Scum meeting, yes sir"
"Take em out."
"Then storm?"
"No, just take out the officers. We'll see what happens after they lose their command."
"Sir." The commodore saluted, and started giving his orders.
"Colonel, we've got scum on the move."
"Open fire." Emerson started counting. He reached six before the first shot; he was at thirteen when the last echo faded. Silence as the country changed.
"Get down!" The corporal threw himself on top of the colonel just as a mortar struck the building behind them. Debris struck the command vehicle. The colonel felt the rubble on his skin as if it were a drum roll.

"Colonel?" Both the commodore and the corporal helped Emerson on his feet. "You ok, sir?" Emerson brushed of the dirt, gave a quick nod and stuck a finger in his ear; trying to get the rest of his hearing back.
"Commander, get the XO, tell him to take out that mortar." Woods turned around and contacted the Endeavour.
"Rodriguez, take out that building!"
"Commander, my orders are.."
"These are your orders!"
"Colonel.."
"Emerson just had a near miss, he couldn't talk to you if he wanted to. Now do as I say!"
"Aye sir, taking out the building."
Rodriguez got down from the platform and walked over to his chair. “Fire control, prepare to bombard the building”
“Preparing.” A major began working behind his station. Outside, underneath the ship a hatch opened, a slight gloom fought against the darkness of space as weapons started charging. “Target acquired. Awaiting orders.”
“Fire!” Rodriguez looked at the view screen in front of him, “transfer tactical to the centre screen.”
If it not were for the vacuum, a dark humming could be heard outside. Coils spun, capacitors charged. The massive ship trembled when the round left the barrel, rushing into the atmosphere, leaving a bright yellow trail in its wake.

Emerson was looking up at the sky when he saw the round entering and it took him a second to realize what was happening. He turned to Woods, grabbed the commodore’s jacket and yelled: “Are you insane? What did you do?!” He threw himself against his vehicle and waited for the shock wave. He tapped the head set, “Down!” The vehicle shook, as the colonel saw the commodore being swept away by the shock wave. Emerson looked up and saw what was left of parliament, left of democracy, and left of freedom. He tapped the head set. “Rodriguez” but could not finish. He threw up.

Geen opmerkingen:

Een reactie posten