“I just gave up one day. Around the time the news about toxic shock came out. I thought, Fuck me, man, I give up. Come and get me.”
Death. I often contemplate dieing and death. This war has changed me. It has made me harder, angrier, and more resigned to the fact that I and everyone I love will die. It isn’t a matter of how but when. Realizing this fact of life has made me lose my fear of Death. I don’t worry about it like I use to. These days I pray for it. I pray that when it comes, that is will be a good death. That it will have meaning and serve some purpose. I pray that I will die winning this war. All of those years I sat at home praying for war and now I got one and I am not lucky enough to be fighting the damned spics or an honorable enemy like the Russians. No I am stuck fighting god damned aliens. Being born of the forth of July did not prepare me for living through Independence Day.
Now my death is near and it sucks. “Lethal dose of radiation poisoning” is what the doc told me. Not just me, but Corey, John, Sam, Pete, and Jessica. We all have maybe a year with the drugs they gave us but cancer is killing is quick. Death. It gets us all and this is not a good death. This is the death that cowards deserve, not people like us. I am pissed. I asked the doc about the how it will go and she told me that the drugs they had given us slow the effects and reduce the overall pain. We get a dose every day. Miss one dose and you will likely die within 48 hours. I have noticed over the past few months that I am weaker, more tired, and wake up every morning with an infernal cough that lasts for half an hour or so. The cough is sometimes bloody. My nose bleeds seem almost daily. Diarrhea is constant and my stomach never stops hurting.
I suppose I should record the how this all came to be. We were in the secret lab of Dr. Tempus, Jessica’s father. I had found a remote control that opened a portal to another place. John fell in and I followed to rescue him. One by one everyone joined us. A suicidal bunch we are. We found ourselves in a dessert. Not like the Sahara but dried cracked mud for as far as we could see with occasional tree trunks that had been burned with intense heat. The temperature was comfortable if not chilly. We could see a mountain to the North and started heading for it. It was alot further away that we ever could have realized. Three days we walked and our food ran out. Our water ran out. We were dieing slowly. Exhaustion was eating away at us and we were not talking.
I think it was Jessica that saw it first. A fireball in the sky. It got bigger and bigger and then just as it seemed it was going to hit us, it struck the ground a few hundred yards away. We were knocked off of our feet and then rubble and debris fell upon us battering our aching bodies. We got up and found a crater, 40 yards across. John went in and yelled that it was a meteor, or maybe a bio-organic pod. Pete and John started cracking jokes about Superman. We all smiled. Then the rock started releasing gas. We retreated as the gas crept along the ground. Pete took a wind reading and we moved up wind from the crater. What happened next was insane. A giant robot stood up and Jet fighters showed up and started fighting it. We ran. When we got captured by the Japanese Army, we didn’t even fight back. We were out of our element and couldn’t understand anything except that they had lots of guns and they were all pointed at us.
After getting tied up and taken back to their base, we went through decontamination. Then we got shots and pills. Then a doc told us we were dead men walking. I felt like rolling over and shooting myself in the face. I got to experience a transmat that took me to the other side of the world and now I was going to die of radiation poisoning. How fucked up is that. Radiation as a killer is worse than nearly anything I can imagine. We were assured we would live for a while. Several months of living in slums we learned the culture and language. Japanese really isn’t that hard. We were treated well because they thought we were US Army Special Forces sent to help them fight the dinks. I didn’t correct them. Finally we heard the news of a radiation cure. The Japanese government had found a cure but it would require astronauts to go get it. They wanted 2,000 volunteers. We all signed up.
A little historical note is important here. The Nips got hit by the Dinks differently and worse than we did. The dinks have been dropping radioactive meteors and nuclear bombs all over Japan. This caused all of Japans nuclear reactors to meltdown and turned the entire island into a radioactive dessert. In one year they went from thriving to barely surviving. Somehow their navy was able to fight back. The dinks didn’t invade here like they did us. They just bombed and sent in giant robots. It seems to me that the aliens hitting this part of the world are a different breed than the few we encountered in America. Based on my understanding of things, the entire population of Japan has received lethal doses of radiation and is dying. The Navy had something called scramjets that they have been using to battle the dinks in the upper atmosphere but it seems they have lost nearly every engagement. Still they continue to fight.
Several months of training and we learned the jobs we would do. My training consisted of a small amount of technical stuff, learning the layout of a ship and how to deal with things like decompression, and lots and lots and lots of close quarters tactics classes. We worked for weeks in the class and then in the corridors of an old ship, running through anti-boarding actions. I learned SWAT-like tactics for clearing a room, hostage rescue, and all out assault. I really likes the MED-7. That is the Military Explosive Device # 7. A grenade that is kind of a blend of the Dink’s Plasma grenade and a flashbang. It explodes four seconds after it is armed and gives off a deafening sound and 200,000 lumens of bright light. In addition to this, it lights everything within 2 meters of the blast on fire. The only thing I don’t like about it is that once armed it sticks to the first thing it hits. I got to use a whole bunch of these bad boys in training and can’t wait to hit a ripper in the chest with one.
Following training I was put into the Elite Tactical Unit or “Kamikaze Squad” as everyone called them. John, Corey, and Pete went to the hangers as technicians. Jessica got a spot on the bridge and Sam was sent to the kitchens. The ship was like a WWII battleship. It was big and cramped and had two hangers housing 16 fighters each. When it came time to launch we learned the name of the ship. Cosmoship Yamato. I nearly shit myself. Then we got out uniforms and I saw the traditional uniform of the anime of the same name. I guess the Japanese do have a sense of humor.
We launched and after dozens of battles we are half way to our destination. only 844 of the original crew are still alive. Half have died of the radiation sickness. The rest due to dink attacks. It is strange fighting dinks in space. My job is with guns so I never fight, we train and wait for our chance. Finally it came. A planetside mission.
The ship’s food stored had been hit by a missile and we were low on food. The planet we were orbiting had animals. We were going hunting. Fourteen volunteers. Six from the suicide squad and eight others which happened to be Pete and Corey’s squad. On the way down to the planet we were cramped into a Armored landing craft. It was good seeing my friends but John started posturing and acting like I was the enemy. I was about to ask him what the fucking deal was when he cold cocked me and dropped me into darkness. When I awoke, the entire compartment was covered in unconscious and barely moving people. Some slanty eyed Korean piece of shit from John’s squad was the only one standing. I learned later that our two squads had a hell of a fist fight. I have no idea how or why it started, only that my good friend hit me for no fucking reason. I confronted him about it and he blabbered some nonsense. I think he was still reeling from the fight. I was pissed and punched him. He pulled a gun on me. Then the Sarge stepped in and broke it all up. Good thing to. I was ready to shoot him too. This is what dieing does to people. Everyone of us in that ship was dieing. We were all dead men walking and we knew it. It makes you lose your sense of focus. It makes to into an idiot.
I was very excited. We were on another planet. How fucking cool is that? We were astronauts and we had traveled to another planet. I have always wanted to see another planet and I was getting my chance. It was just like a sci-fi book. I forgot about the fight and started enjoying myself. This was fucking cool and I was having the time of my life.
The hunt went well and we killed a bunch of herd animals. The meat tasted strange but it was food. John’s squad heard screaming and went to investigate. I took Kotimo and followed. We found a cave and heard what appeared to a women screaming. We went in. Just me, John and Corey. Inside we found a spider the size of a god damned truck. It went for John. Corey shouted a warning and John dodged. Then we opened fire. It leapt at me and Corey and we stood like rocks firing on full auto. At some point our guns ran out of ammo and we discovered it was dead. I think I pissed myself.
We didn’t die today so maybe tomorrow will be our chance. In the meanwhile I need to plan the next game of Dungeons and Dragons. I got a good group of guys interested in playing and when they can make, John, Pete, and Corey will sometimes join us. I am preparing to run Expedition to Castle Ravenloft and am going to make it with a real twist. Instead of Strahd the evil vampire, it will be Strahd that is asking for help dealing with witches. Then if the players succeed, Strahd won’t become the vampire but if they fail, he will and they will have to come back to destroy him. I need to sleep, this day has been long and my jaw is killing me. Fucking John needs to snap out of his craziness. It’s almost like he is drunk. I am getting to bed.