War Machine

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We Get Shot Down In A Wasteland

I leaned my head against Anna as dense metropolitan area of Mexico City disappeared into a thick cloud of smoke, radiation, and dust. We were still inside the radiation zone, but it was getting better with every mile that passed. This was the biggest nuke since the Tzar Nuke, equaling to a staggering 72 kilotons of TNT. We were now a bit more than 100 miles away from the detonation. We took off our helmets as the air cleared, breathing in the semi-fresh air, that was a mistake.

I held onto Anna and the steel pole as a RPG hit the tail, blowing it clean off. The heli spun out of control, the pilot yelled for us to brace as we neared the ground, finally hitting it in a fireball. The suit took most of the heat, though my neck burned as I was thrown a couple meters from the heli. The world went dark as my head struck a rock, knocking me unconscious. I was woken up by Anna shaking me frantically, thinking I was dead.

I mumbled incoherently, causing her to sigh with relief. I raised my head and looked around at the wreckage all around us, and the bodies that littered the area. I sat up and tried to stand, needing help from Anna, we walked over to all the bodies, checking if they were alive. Finally we were done, confirming that Glenn, Mary, Dylan, and Camille were alive. We were startled as one of the combat squad guys gasped and started wriggling around. He was laying in a pool of blood, and more started pumping out of his leg as he made his heart pump harder.

We rushed to him, trying to hold him down as Dylan struggled to bandage his leg. He passed out half way through, letting us bandage the leg without worrying that we were going to get sucker punched. We leaned back, sucking in air, we were too weak to deal with the combat tanks. Mary had gone off to check if any of our packs had made it out, and to scavenge for rifles and ammunition. She came back with a sniper rifle, three carbines, and one pistol.

She laid them on the ground and went to scavenge some more, later coming back with ammunition, MREs, and other miscellaneous things. We counted the bullets and MREs, finally coming to 500 rounds for the carbines and 50 for the sniper rifle. We only had about ten MREs and were a few hundred miles from San Antonio, Texas. Either there was animals that would come or we were fucked, hopefully the former. There was a mountain range more or less west, where the land seemed to become a bit more green.

There was also the tops of a town poking up towards that way too, we knew it probably had been abandoned, as most small towns had been after the disaster. The air grew colder as it turned to night; we made a small fire in a gully and prepped to start the trek the next day. We made a sort of sled for the combat guy, who we were trying to learn the name of, as the suit didn't provide one. That was just in case we were captured. We pulled off the top part of the suit and got him into a loose tan shirt.

We tore some cloth up and made makeshift packs, and loaded up everything that could be useful. Finally we fell asleep until the sun poked its head up over the horizon. Anna woke me up with a kiss, making me smile. We woke the others up from their sleeping bags, and checked up on the soldier. He seemed to be stable, but we still had to wait until we finished the trek for the day.

We put everything left over in the packs, and made sure there was no sign that we had been there. We set our direction and set off, passing the town, and cresting the mountain range. It had turned dark again, we set up another campground and checked on the soldier. He was fine, and Anna spoon fed him some mush made out of part of an MRE. It was probably disgusting, but we couldn't complain, as it was all we had. We made a camp fire and rationed out MREs, eating in silence, finally we went to bed, tired from the long trek, and thinking about the trek the next day.

I was woken up by a small rustling sound, just a couple feet away from mine and Anna's sleeping bag. I laid still, and inched my hand towards the carbine. The rustling stopped, and a low growl came from whatever it was, I heard it pounce, as I sat up and whipped around, firing the rifle twice. Thank God the carbine had a suppressor on it, or else I would've deafened Anna and myself. I was tackled by a large mass of thick fur, I panicked as I struggled to get out from under it. I relaxed as it didn't move, just laid on me with dead weight.

The others were up by now and scrambling around to defend themselves. Anna screamed as she could see my arms poking out from under the animal. She frantically lifted the animal slightly to reveal my face, and showing that I was live. She sighed with relief and enlisted the help of Glenn and Dylan to lift it off me. It splattered me with blood from the two bullet holes in its chest.

I grinned as I realized I had struck its heart, a fucking good shot if you ask me. Anna hugged me tightly, crying softly, I reassured her that everything was fine, and we helped the others prepare the animal. We were all to tired to remember the name for the animal, or to worry about the toxins that would surely be inside a predatory animal. We had learned how to hunt, stalk, trap, and prepare animals for food and clothing in our wilderness survival class. It was a mandatory class for everyone, and lasted about a year and a half.

We smoked the meat and had a plate full of meat, it was sort of gross and tasteless, but it was good protein. We kept one of us on watch, for animals and humans alike. I was restless, as I still had adrenaline in me, so I took the first three hour watch. Then as Mary took over I fell into a deep sleep. Again I was woken up by a kiss from Anna, and we packed up the smoked meat and the pelt.

We were probably going to get food poisoning and other diseases, so we needed to hurry to our destination. We hiked and hiked until we came upon a town, we searched for a good hiding spot, as it grew dark again. We set up camp in one of the taller buildings, with one of us on the sniper rifle. We soon fell asleep again after eating through the rest of the MREs and a little of the meat. We woke up in the morning and followed the road north, making camp in another town.

We continued like this until we reached the Texas border, by now the scenery had changed quite a lot and we were close to San Antonio. We heard helicopter blades whirring in the distance as entered another town. We ran to cover as Anna grabbed the sniper and scoped in on the noise. She told us that it was our heli's and they seemed to be in a search formation, we walked out onto the street and shot a flare that we had found in a town a ways back. It arced almost directly in front of the formation, making them diverge a bit.

They blew past us, causing us to lose hope, but they suddenly circled around, with a gunner hanging out partially. We waved our arms and jumped up and down, finally the gunner seemed to speak to the pilot, and the formation abruptly stopped in their tracks and began to descend. We crouched as they came down a few meters away, for fear of being knocked over. We were weak with hunger and fatigue, we had lost the wounded soldier a few days before. We were battered and almost broken, mentally and physically.

The gunners rushed out and helped us to the helis, making sure we were secure. Anna snuck her hand into mine as we lifted off, I glanced at her, smiling softly. She leaned her head against my shoulder, and I could see the others having similar interactions. It was finally over, and we were done with Mexico. I looked out the side, and out onto the landscape that rushed below us, we seemed to still be going to San Antonio.

We fell asleep to be woken up as the helis landed on the asphalt on the military airport. The press happened to be there, chattering excitedly to see us, holding up newspapers. I snatched one, still nervous around people that weren't in a uniform I recognized. I read the headline, SOLDIERS MISSING FOR WEEKS AFTER OP. I was shocked, I had lost track of the days after the fifth one.

Two officers strode up to us and led us to a barracks off to the side, where we dropped everything and went to shower. We were so tire we didn't bother to sort into different showers, we just all stripped and scrubbed ourselves furiously. Finally we dressed in fresh uniforms, and fell asleep. We were startled awake by the lights being turned on, and followed the discipline we were taught. We lumped up and stood at attention as the officers stepped to the side of the door, revealing the Dean.

He waved nonchalantly at us, signalling for us to be at ease. We followed him with our eyes, but we didn't move an inch, we started to speak, but I tuned out. He finished and nodded at one of the officers, who spoke into a radio. Soon after cooks rolled in selves of food, but warned us to ration the food, so we wouldn't get sick. We dug into the food ravenously, almost making the cooks take a step back from our eagerness.

We soon finished and changed into a new uniform, and walked out onto the tarmac. The crowd roared, cheering and yelling at us, we looked around wearily, seeing shadows flittering around, catching our eyes. I shook my head and focused back on the private jet that was parked in front of us, ready to go. We boarded and waited for the plane to take off, gripping our arm rests as the plane lifted into the air. Anna reached out and held onto my arm, I glanced at her, she was staring out the window, emptily.

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