Chapter 2:Of blood and battle
We stand at attention, waiting for our orders. Commander Barca gives them to us, and by the look of him I can tell he got just as little sleep as his soldiers. His speech, like his personality, is to the point and avoids unneeded pomp.
"Loyal soldiers, it is unfair to ask you to go back into the fight so soon; if there was any other way or if the the situation were not so dire I wouldn't dare. But the situation is dire, and we will have a lot of fighting before us if our banner is to be victorious. I can promise this, I will continue to lead anyone willing to follow me until the breath is gone from my body. Are you with me?"
We all bellowed our response, "TO TRAITORS NEVER YIELD! TO TRAITORS NEVER YIELD!"
Commander Barca simply says, "Then the sword is drawn."
The marching was only metaphorical, as we got into transport trucks which drove us to the battlefield for deployment. The smell of the air, of the trees, the seasons, of district 2; these smells provide no comfort because they remind me only of all that was lost by the fires of rebellion.
We ride the trucks until we reach the battlefield; a small border hamlet being assaulted by ornery rebels. It does not take long to for Commander Barca to give his soldiers the orders: kill. With fully loaded automatic machine guns, fixed with bayonets at the top, we move quickly to flank the rebels from the left. I, like the others, advance in a running pace. I see three rebel soldiers running down a dirt pathway but I do not open fire.
I am so close and surprise them so well that I am able to slide the bayonet into the chest of the first rebel and in a fluid motion swing the butt of my gun sideways into the head of the second rebel, using the sideways swing to pull the bayonet out of the bloody chest. The third rebel, probably a raw recruit, foolishly decides to male a run for it instead of fighting or surrendering. All I have to do is open fire on the poor bastard. The blood fluids gush out of his chest on the opposite side of the impact point, painting his grey uniform red. I almost do not notice the rebel about to smash my brains in with a hammer.
When I do notice, I hear a rebel skull pop and feel the brains land on my shoulder. I turn around and see a Peacekeeper holding his pistol out from his arm. His voice reveals him to be Montgomery.
Together Montgomery and I cut down the side path and join the others at the hamlet crossroads where the rebels have tried to dig in. Down the main road, probably transported in armored trucks, come several german shepherds bound towards the enemy. The dogs are faster than the rebel reaction time, vicious enough to charge head on, and their size ensures the rebels will have to adjust their gunfire to get them.
In the confusion of the rebels, we all charge forward. We chant our battle cry as we advance from three sides. Some of the twenty or so rebels still alive outright start fleeing, but it is not a full route yet.
"TO TRAITORS NEVER YIELD! TO TRAITORS NEVER YIELD!"
The rebels are so panicked that they do not start firing at us until we are within stabbing range. In in melee we are able to stab and butcher the rebels to a man. Roast were cut, lungs impaled, hearts torn to a bloody ribbon in the literal sense.
Now that the skirmish is over, helpers bring in the few surviving war dogs or separate the bodies of loyalists from the those of rebels. As for the soldiers, we do not have a terribly long time to rest.
"Loyal soldiers, those rebels we just killed were an advance company; the main force will be arriving in thirty minutes. Set up defenses and take up positions; we're gonna give these sons of bitches a welcome they'll never forget."
We take this time to make the hamlet a temporary castle. Barb wire winds in rolls across the streets to prevent the rebels from reaching the sandbag barriers being set up to provide some form of cover. Behind these sandbags we set up mounted machine guns, mounted flamethrowers, poison gas nozzles, and mortars. Upon the roofs of the houses and cabins sit snipers patiently awaiting their prey like fishermen on a lazy lake, sitting next to them are rocket launcher peacekeepers ready to blast any armored vehicles. The peacekeepers and loyalist militiamen use this time to reload our guns and take up position in the houses or the sandbags. As a final touch, the Panem national flag is hung from the flag pole and files majestically in the breeze. Now we lie in wait for the enemy.
First, two district 13 motorized bikes drive up the road with machine gunners riding in ... buckets on wheels that appear to be attached to the left sides. We are able to completely mow down both the drivers and the gunners of these vehicles before either of them can focus on us. Immediately behind them are the rebel machine gun infantry mixed in with continental rebels who were obviously handed machine guns just before deployment. Both types of rebel dies instantly and piles up onto the road in heaps.
This is not to say that it is easy for us either; I see quite a few brave peacekeepers or loyalist militiamen fall never to rise again.
I felt my heart stop with cold fear as a grenade flew into not only my position, but also my lap! I did not know what to do, but I was lucky; the grenade was a dud. Just to be on the safe side, I throw it back towards e enemy where it still does not explode.
Though the rebels attack in a constant stream, this fighting is comparatively light to a District 4 or District 8. An armored car bearing the District 13 seal drives up, but the machine gunner on top is felled by our sniper. A rocket launcher hits the windshield and explodes on impact, throwing the car back and crushing the rebels who were unlucky enough to be directly behind it.
Once the rebels are close, we release what remains of the german shepherd unit. Being trained not to attack someone dressed in white, they rush past us and jump over the sandbag wall. The rebels are distracted by the dogs, so all the rocket launcher peacekeepers concentrate their fire on them.
Within half an hour, all the rebels are killed so efficiently that their bits can not be told apart. While I feel sorry for the dogs, I can comfort myself with the knowledge that they would have died sooner or later and that this way they at least went painlessly.
When I look around, all I can see is rubble and ruin: what had once been a peaceful hamlet was utterly decimated. The few houses that remain standing are charred walls and a skeletal frame. Mangled corpses lie in bloodied and mud-soaked piles, some still clutching weapons while others are limp. Dead peacekeepers and loyalist militiamen lie in various postmortem positions on and around the sandbag wall. A grim vapor rises from ground in some places, and the hollow breeze is unable to shake the hamlet of the death and despair that shakes it. The national standard still flies from the crossroads flagpole.
A whole rebel company of soldiers tried to break us, and our flag is still there. The banner of the Peacekeepers, of the Capitol, of the three loyal districts, of Panem; the flag is still there.