Chapter 3:A special mission
The leaves crunch underneath the heel and toe of my boots as I walk with my unit through the forest. We need to remain hidden for now because that's what our orders were.
We are no longer at the hamlet; an even bigger rebel army was on its way there and the damage to the hamlet destroyed most of the strategic value. We blew up the rest of the buildings and left some land mines and antipersonnel mines to slow the rebels before falling back.
Now my unit, along with another unit, are marching in the woods on the fringe of a battle. It is not a skirmish like the one in the hamlet; there is probably a whole peacekeeper legion battling with twice as many rebels. The peacekeepers are dug in, better armed, and in closed formation, making this battle is pretty even as it is. However, the rebels do not know that two peacekeeper units are laying in wait.
We reach the clearing where the battle is raging, and we can see that we are behind enemy line. The commander leading the assault, who is not commander Barca (Commander Barca is in the battle with the main army), tells me to take my quarter of the unit and find the rebel camp at can not be far away. He then leads the rest on a charge at the enemy rear.
I lead my unit away from the battle a bit, until we find what we are looking for. Before us is enough tents to house over half the pre-uprising population of District 12. There are only about forty camp assistants present, so there is not much resistance. Of the forty rebel camp assistants, only sixteen have the brains to surrender peacefully and not try to fight off machine gun armed Peacekeepers with pots and pans. I have four peacekeepers immobilize them; two to focus their guns on them and two to tie them to trees and tie their jaws shut to prevent them from screaming for help without suffocating them. Then the fun begins.
Since the battle is far enough from the road that driving is out of the question, and since the trees prevent hovercraft landing, it is necessary for the rebels to set up camp in the woods. Destroying the rebel camp will cripple this particular rebel force no matter how the battle goes; if they loose then reinforcing rebels can not use the camp, if they win they will loose all their supplies and be forced to make the ling trek back to the road without food or raincoats. The fact that there were already cooking fires set is extremely helpful.
We pile the tent canvases onto the campfires in such a way that the fires are not smothered before they can ignite the canvases. Next we pile the rebels beds, personal belongings chests, and clothes (as well as the corpses of the twenty four camp assistants) onto the now enormous bonfires. Finally, we pile the munitions crates near the fires and lay a trail of lighter fluid to the crates that cause the gas soaked munitions to turn info firework shows. The sixteen prisoners tied to the trees are helpless as they are forced to bare witness to the logistic destruction of their force. All in all, the whole thing took all of two hours.
The only thing we do not burn are the strategic papers in the commanding officers tent: we can use that information. We are about to leave to join the battle when I hear something coming.
We all run to a hiding place and watch as several rebel soldiers, about ten seven percent of the rebels I saw on the battlefield sprint with terror to what used to be the camp. The ensuing conversation makes it clear that I have no envy not pity for the rebel soldiers.
"Lieutenant, I ... think we ... lost them. How man- AAAHHHH!" The reaction of the District 13 private can only be described as horror."
"What the blazes is the matt-" The rebel lieutenant is speechless for a moment, before exploding into a blinding rage. During this, he faLos to his knees, starts screaming, and even flings off his helmet and begins to tare out his hair out.
When he is done, he decides to execute ten of the surviving sixteen camp assistants with his combat knife. To say it is gruesome would be an understatement, almost as much an understatement as saying that his decision to mutilate the last six by removing their tongues, ears, noses, or eyes is cruel. We do not stay to watch, but head back to join the rest of the peacekeeper legion.
When we get back, we find the field scattered with dead bodies. The dead loyalist soldiers and peacekeepers are loaded up in trucks to be returned to grieving families, the bodies of dead rebels are stripped of all valuables before being piled onto a smoldering pyre. The smoke of burning corpses is just as bitter as it is sour. When mixed with the metallic sourness of spilt blood, the smell is enough to make a less experienced person vomit. My stomach does not even begin to stir.
Commander Barca walks up to and greets me, his torn uniform and bloody bayonet hint to a hard battle.
"Ah, Major Hardley. It is good to see you are still among the living. I presume your raiding mission was successful?"
"Yes it was sir, the rebels don't even have a single tent left after we got done with them."
"While there are some men hunting down the cowards, but for the most part we killed them. But that's not to say this was easy; a lot of good men lost their lives in the battle."
It is good to know the last rebels are being rounded up; I hope the sadistic rebel lieutenant gets a bullet between the eyes. But I can see that the fight was indeed a vicious one.
"But not in vain."
"Yes, not in vain."