“What do we say to the Lord of Death?"
George R.R. Martin
Well, I am still alive. Against all reason I am alive and relatively unhurt by the experience. We got word that we had arrived at the destination world and that my team along with the wrench monkeys were being sent in. A suicide mission at best. Land on the homeworld of the enemy and steal some technology. Commander Kodai used the stealth fighter that was attached to our ship to fly in ahead of us and tag all of the enemy emplacements and satellites. Then we came in hot. The Black Tiger Squadron flew support and they died nearly as fast as I expected to. Somehow we made it through and landed. That’s when the fun began.
I realized at some point that all of my prayers had been answered. I was getting my chance to die with a purpose. I was beating the radiation poisoning my veins. We hit the ground hard and fast. The fins were on us in seconds. They came at us by the hundreds and all we could do was run and shoot and keep on running. One by one our numbers were thinned until only half a dozen of us were left alive. John had taken over the mission at some point, I never saw how or questioned why. I just followed orders. I killed and I killed and somehow I survived.
At some point I got hit. As I looked at the explosive darts in my chest I could only think about the things I had failed to do. The next thing I knew I was falling and sliding down a ramp with John on top of me. The darts exploded but my armor ate the blast. It knocked the wind out of me, and both me and John laid on the ground gasping for air. When we recovered we got to our feet and saw burning dinks all around us. I missed how it happened but that crazy Korean wrench monkey gave his life killing a whole squad. We moved forward and saw Pete going toe to toe with a Ripper. It was using a big ass knife and Pete had a steel pipe. They circled and struck and circled and struck and Pete seemed to be winning. Then the Ripper dropped to his knees and we knew it was all over. As Pete raised the pipe for the killing blow, the Ripper lunged forward and put the knife right through Pete’s foot. Pete screamed a sound that was frightening. He then bashed the Ripper’s head. We moved forward and I bandaged Pete’s foot and stopped the bleeding.
We were close to our destination and planted bombs. We busted ass through a bunch more dinks and stole one of their ships. I flew the thing and took us into space. I have never piloted anything in my life but it all seemed quite natural to me. I guess all of those hours on flight simulators has paid off. We made it back to the ship but lost nearly everyone on the mission. We had the cure. I was feeling better already.
The journey home was somber and yet full of excitement. We had won. We had blown the HQ of the enemy to bits, got our cure, and we had won. So why do I feel like crap? Why am I so damned depressed? It was a week later when we made Earth orbit. I was banging Samantha and feeling a bit better when we heard the red alert. I started to suit up and before I was done we heard the Captain issuing the orders to abandon ship. I didn’t know why but assumed it was bad. I grabbed my personal belongings and told Sam to do the same. We ran for the hangars. The wrench monkeys were herding people into ships and we got herded with the rest.
As we descended to the planet I kept my eyes out the windows. I saw the glorious Yamato as it plunged into the giant space fortress and explode. The blast was blinding and when I got my vision back I could see hundreds of alien ships falling towards the planet on fire.
We landed in Jersey and after some debate headed to PA. The Nips left us and headed home. We scavenged some gear and found a place to rest; I even got some new game books. Finally we determined the truth was that we were not on the Earth we knew and loved. We were on another world. An alternate dimension. So the choice was to stay and seek out a new life or use the device and travel to who knows where. Well you know what I did? I chose the adventure. Death may be my god but adventure is my religion. I hope the next world brings us some fun if not another war.