Squad Riot (2008-03-15)

CD5K > FU > DWB > fab > squadriot

This was written for an assignment to create a narrative based on one of several pictures. I chose a group photo of armored police.

Oh, my head. What happened?
All I can see through my helmet’s bloodstained and shattered visor is smoke seeping through the gaping holes in the sunlit walls. Where am I?
"Tabitha.. Are you okay, Tabitha?"
Bony fingers wrap themselves around my shoulders as a dark figure draws closer. Is that you, Death?
"Come on, Tabitha. It’s time to go."
Well, I’ve lived a good life.
Wait, what about the others?

My uniform gently clings to me as I wearily rise to my feet. Dark and mysterious, the black shadow idly wanders into a doorway of light, myself close behind.
When I could see again, I noticed I was now standing atop a grassy hill intersected by a river. As a cool spring breeze blows past, a young girl with long, black hair and torn clothing springs from the nearby forest and runs for all she is worth toward the bridge behind me.. beyond which lay Malistan...

In that instant by which I recognized the scene, the world halted itself; time froze in place. The little girl was myself, when I was a mere 12 years old, fleeing from my homeland of Gravadistan to escape being prosecuted for my religious beliefs.. or, to be more accurate, the lack thereof.

Growing up in the monarchic state of Gravadistan was absolute hell for my family and I. The clergy, a neurotic parasite infesting the mind of the government, was in complete control of all internal affairs. Religion was law. Believing in any form of science was not only looked down upon as blasphemy, it was viable grounds for public execution. My father, Joshua Moroko, a science minister working for the Gravadistan Association for the Advancement of Scientific Knowledge and Experimentation, was beheaded for this reason when I was but four years old. For the first time, I understood why GAASKE was commonly referred to as CASKET.
Despite this and several more hardships, I didn’t decide to flee to greener pastures until the police eventually came for my mother as well.

Running across the border alongside my former self, I come face-to-face with the shadowy figure, who is standing outside the immigration office. He again retreats into a doorway of blinding light, and my overpowering sense of curiosity and wonder again compel me to follow.

After being sworn in as a Malistanian citizen and placed in a foster home in Beria City, Luviga, I was taken under the wing of a group of ideologists and bright minds under the name Samford’s Axe. The Axe was one of three major affiliations in Beria City pushing for government reforms in a country of civil unrest. Decades of lack of social progression had left the majority of Malistan and its citizens on the brink of civil war. Groups and the small-scale warfare between them spread like wildfire across every shore. Beria City was home to the Eyes of Liberty, a right-wing group carrying Socialist beliefs, Samford’s Axe, a group of prodigies named after the city’s founder, Samford Andrews, and the Silver Bullets, a shock-and-awe reformist party that commonly held protests in Malistania D.F. The Military Emergency Response and Containment Squadron police force and its members commonly quelled uprisings between these groups.

The group which holds the most concern with the MERCS regiments is the Eyes of Liberty, who, it seems, would do nothing short of assassination to achieve their goals.

When I again regained my eyesight, the vision before me was that of my sixteen-year-old self, working as a junior operative of MERCS-51. Extremely focused on the task at hand, I effortlessly relayed commands and data to the active squadron from the safety of an armored surveillance van while they stopped a minor shootout between the Eyes of Liberty and the Silver Bullets.

This particular small-scale battle comes to mind clearer than any of the others I assisted with as a junior operative for one simple reason: Hijacked helicopter. The Eyes of Liberty managed to get one of their members in the air, where he proceeded to grapple with a MERCS helicopter pilot before tossing him to the ground. None of the active MERCS-51 operatives were carrying anything with sufficient firepower to punch through its reinforced windows, so I took it upon myself to grab the sniper rifle on the rack behind me and see if I could manage to crash-land the craft in the ocean. While I was no marksman when it came to aerial targets, the shot did manage to scare the hijacker into landing the chopper and surrendering.

As the squadron surrounds the helicopter, the deathlike shadow again slinks into a doorway of light. Curious as to where all of this is really leading me, I follow it into what I hope is the last doorway.

After quite a while of being surrounded by the dazzling white light, it fades once more, this time revealing the raid on the Eyes of Liberty Headquarters that had taken place just before I awoke in this dreamlike state. Myself and four other members of MERCS-51, joined by volunteers from Samford’s Axe and the Silver Bullets, awaited the order to storm the abandoned apartment building.

"Squadron 51, you are clear to proceed with mission objectives."
Everything that followed was a haze of adrenaline, shouting, and discharged bullets.

Huh? What?
Who’s there?
"Tabitha! Wake up, Tabitha!"
Jolting upright with a start, I find myself back in my own shoes.
"She’s ok!"
"Damn, you scared the hell out of us, girl!"

What had happened, I was then informed, was that a projectile grenade had slammed into my helmet, shattering the visor and knocking me unconscious before bouncing into an unmanned hallway and detonating.

The raid was now over, and we had won, despite heavy resistance. Minimal casualties were suffered by both sides, and the leader of the EoL was in our custody by the time we were ready to leave the building.

Standing afterwards alongside the Axe and Silver Bullets participants, talks of peace and cooperation rose up among them.
"You know, I used to think that every Axe member was just a young fool with his head in the clouds, but now I can see that couldn’t be farther from the truth."
"Likewise. We’re not so different after all."

Indeed, none of us were quite unlike each other.
As I stepped out of the now-evacuated headquarters with an extreme sense of satisfaction, I hoped that the citizens of Malistan had turned a new leaf; that this was the end of fighting, and the beginning of collaboration; the end of doubt, and the beginning of hope...

Only time will tell.


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Copyright 2016 Bytemoth - CC BY-SA 4.0 - http://fu.cd5k.net/dwb/

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