Operation Lion Shield
Corporal Adrian Dewitt.
March 30th, 1925.
Operation Lion Shield
For as long as I could remember, we've been at war…Countless wars amid ourselves, British, Germans, French, Russians…People dividing themselves with ethnic barriers, when really…we were all humans.
Pointless wars for pointless ambitions, yet I partook in them, not for love...Not for honour, but for humanity's survival.
War…War is what begun my tale.
"Adrian, wake the Hell up." A looming voice demanded from above.
"W-why"I sluggishly replied, my eyes still opening sleepily.
"We've got fire watch, mate." The voice evidently belonged to Alex, a lad within my unit.
"Already?" I sighed. Without haste, I hurried up, stretching my cold limbs as I sat upright upon my bunk.
"C'mon, you lazy bastard, before the Captain gives us scouting duty." Alex warned. I reached for the bolt action rifle carefully tucked beneath my cot, holstering the strap onto my shoulder. I lumbered forward, grabbing my helmet from a rack next to the door, placing the heavy steel over my head.
"Gotta protect that brain of yours, mate...Not that you'd need it out here, or anything." He laughed.
"Says the bloke that got stuck here alongside me." He smirked, "touché, Adrian. Fair enough, let's get going."
I shadowed his movements alongside the narrow entrance of the bunker. I felt the shivers of the night strike me, it's unforgiving breeze flowing against my fingertips. I looked up to the Moon, seeing only the brilliant glimmers of the loneliest stars illuminating the sleepy Heavens.
"It's beautiful." I smiled in thought, almost as if I was a small child. "It's…a pity that so many must die on a night like this" I signed heavily with remorse. I continued ambling behind him with the cries of dying Marines singing distressingly throughout the hollow darkness, indirect artillery strikes drumming the battlegrounds alongside their echoes.
We arrived shortly to our guard post. Alex climbed up the ladder, but I was distracted by the destruction that loomed in the distance, bearing witness to this once proud land, a land known as France...
Paris was a beautiful city, so much culture, and grace flowed through her once historically rich streets, now laid ravaged by the corruption of man's hatred. Once a city of love...Now casted into the shadow of despair, "The Broken City of Love." A regrettable name for such a gorgeous utopia, yet so dreadfully appropriate. I myself had always wanted to visit upon my own, to gain it's influences for my own tales, to see the paintings of the past, and live the dream of an adventurer...Yet, here I was, amidst a battalion of Marines, desperately trying to liberate this God forsaken Hellhole...
I quicken my hands to the steel bars of the ladder, and began to climb, until I heard the weeps of a boy behind me. I released the bars, and turned to face the eyes of a young Marine, perhaps only seventeen...Just two years short of myself. His face full of sorrow cowered back down away from me. He began scribbling away in his Journal, his tears fell upon the pages as he wrote of his ordeals. His boyish pale face covered with dirt, and grime.
"Hey, lad. Are you alright?" I asked with concern.
"Of-of-course I...I just have dirt in my eyes, that's all." He murmured. His diamond blue eyes continuously wept as he spoke.
"Nonsense, lad. Something's distressing you, plain and simple." I peered over to the watch he held closely.
"A friend of yours?" I speculated. He looked down to the watch, and stayed silent momentarily, lingering to reply.
"No...Sir, it was my brother's." He paused. "Shot dead yesterday while retrieving a wounded officer upon the fields…Gave it to me the day before as a birthday gift." His voice withered in grief. Struggling to look me in the eyes."Christ, lad. That's rough…What's your name by the way?" I asked out of curiosity."It's Thomas Knight…Or simply Tommy." He hesitated for a moment. "He used to call me Tom-tom when we were kids." He smiled at the memory. I kneeled beside him, and locked eyes with the poor boy. "Your brother, he did not die in vain. Bloody Hell...He sounded like a hero to me, and I envy that." I lit a cigarette for him, and placed it in his hand. "You stay strong, Thomas. He'd want you too." He gave me a boyish stare, thus, a smile was forced upon a face. "I will."
"Adrian, get your arse up here!" Alex shouted. "Hold up, you impatient bastard!" I laughed. I grasped the ladder once more with both hands, and began ascending upwards. Something...was happening, I felt it in my gut. I held my breath, and stood quiet upon the ladder, just enough time to hear the cries of an artillery round sail above me, ramming into the guard tower's central box, exploding into a brilliant ball of flame and Hellfire. I fell upon the ground...and laid there. I had believed I was dead, as the fire hung above me, with a horrid ringing in my ears. My limbs struggled to rise once more, my movement completely uncontrolled...It was unbearable. Marines rushed to my aid, dragging me out from underneath the burning wreckage. My hearing recovered quickly. "Adrian, please. Are you alright?" Thomas repeatedly asked, hovering above with a worried stare in his eyes. I coughed painfully. "Y-yeah."He, and another Marine pulled me up. "Christ, I coughed once more. I glared at the rubble of the box, still struggling to speak. "Did...Alex?" Thomas sighed, and shook his head, his face full of sorrow... I sighed, and continued looking at the destruction, eyeing a fragment of his uniform still attached to the bloodied box. "Rest in Paradise, friend..." I whispered.
The hymn of sirens begun to thunder all around us, alerting of the Soviet's offense. "They're a tad bit late." I grunted Thomas, and I looked at each other one last time. "Stay safe, Thomas." I patted his shoulder. "You too...Adrian." He smiled. He waved goodbye as he began jogging in the opposite direction. Stomping military boots rushed past me within the narrow trench, blood and mud splashing against their pant legs. A Marine howled from across the line, "Adrian, over here!" I rushed forward to the platoon of Marines standing anxiously against the Trench wall. "You alright to fight, mate? Saw that bloody explosion from over here." I breathed heavily, "Yeah, I'll be fine…It'd be nice to get a shot or two back at these bastards."
A scout stood upon the ledge of the trench, looking through an old rusty telescope. "Red Army forces coming this way!" I peered over the trench, seeing a cloud of darken smoke concealing their advance. Black dots began lining up in formation barely visible within the mist."Hey, get down before you get your blood brains blown out!" I hollered to him. "Wai-" He stopped mid-sentence as an incendiary round pierced through his thick bronze chest plate, scorching its way through his torso. Blood surged from his mouth as he fell from the ledge. "Jesus Christ! We need a Corpsman!" A voice screamed as he rushed towards him. Fire-teams scrambled to get into their positions, rushing past me hastily.
I threw myself against the protection of the trench wall. I ran my fingers across the cocking mechanism, pulled, released, and made sure it received the ammunition within the chamber. I inched my eyes above the wall, and scanned the battlefield which was ravaged by craters, engraved within the Earth's surface as if a scar.
I've fought in many battles prior of this; The defense of Warsaw, the Fall of Berlin. Hell, even in Wintherthur. Yet today, I felt oddly different, overwhelmed by this feeling of despair, fearing as if this was to be my demise. Was I, this experienced corporal afraid of one particular battle? My heart pounded in synchronization with the fatally close explosions. Indeed, I was afraid, but in my quick realization, I knew that I had no reason to fear...for I am apart of the most courageous company of men bestowed by God himself to wield as the King's blade.' 'I shall not be afraid, I must fight by example, and my example is defiance against those that opposed my brothers in arms.' I had a bullet for each and every one of my foes, in my realization, I was a devil, a devil whom casted himself in his own Hell and despair, forever in affliction, I as a man was a creation of war, for I was death's hand, thus did I do the bidding of the Reaper, and that I did well...
I held my rifle tightly within my hands, alongside the array of Marines that stood in formation. We aimed our guns down range, each rifle rifle welding an alloyed bayonet powered by voltage charge, literally striking down any and all. I watched anxiously as the tiny dark figures began storming from out of the smoke, alongside them were heavily armored tanks providing them cover. "Where the Hell is our armor!" A Marine whined. "What armor?" Another laughed sarcastically. At 500 feet, they began firing upon us. "Fire!" Our officer roared, thus beginning the retaliation, bullets sailed from both sides of the field.
Several rounds flew past my head, missing me by mere millimeters...Unfortunately, they blasted through a Marine's skull beside me, splattering the poor bloke's blood across my uniform as if I was a paint canvas. "Christ Almighty!" I recoiled, soaked in the man's blood. I cursed, and began wildly firing down No man's land. Shot after shot, kill after kill, bullets scrambling their brains as they fumbled to the ground.
The shrilling shriek of tank cannons whistled through the night air. Projectiles sped toward us, catching ill fated men off guard, engulfing them in the explosion. Dozens of men fell from the blast, others such as myself dropped face first into the gut, and mud mixture, holding our helmets tightly as blood, and gore rained down upon us. I looked to my left, and right seeing the limbs of deceased Marines decorate us, and the trench itself. My stomach turned, no man deserved this demise...Not this, this was ghastly to say the least...
"On your feet!" A voice of fearsome importance ordered. I gradually gazed up, and saw him...Commander Jack Churchill. "Sir!" I retorted. He stared down upon me like a Heavenly being sent from God himself, smiling with the Union jack waving proudly behind him as rain drenched it's beautiful emblem. Felt surreal, yet greatly iconic. "Isn't it a bit hard to kill commies laying down, lads?" I climbed back to my feet, grabbing onto the wall for support, ignoring the aches of my body for the glory of my heart.
The horror which I felt dwell within my heart had promptly vanished while in his presence. The howls of artillery seemingly became nothing, but mere background noise compared to him. He cleared his throat, gazed about, and began speaking with a gruff firm voice, grasping the ears of the men within the trench. "Lads, it's been an honour leading the most outstanding unit in all of the Naval Assault Corps, you as Marines stand here, defiant against the threat of a hundred marching crimsons, ready to give your life for the Commonwealth, and the Empire of Britain, against this heinous adversary, this foe that knows no bounds to it's evils, to it's vile ways. It's up to us to secure, and preserve our Empire's freedom. Now...What do you say lads, how about we give these buggers a run for their money?
We stood steadily against the trench wall as the Soviets approached further to our line. Thus, he barked the order."Fix bayonets, For King, and Country!" Filling the Midnight breeze with tremendous courage. Hundred of Marines hurried themselves out of our only barrier of protection, and into the direction of the dimmest of battles, charging headfirst with bayonets directed towards our foes like ancient spears of warfare. I bolted zealously across the blood stained dirt, adrenaline pumping through my veins, diminishing all fear, only the desire to slaughter.
I charged dauntlessly through a barrage of bullets reaching my target of choice...I thrust through his darken steel armor plating, cutting clear through the flesh. He gasped for air as I jolted the rifle from his stomach, and repeatedly rammed it into his chest. His screams swept through the air, as I twisted the blade deeper, widening the wound. His voice full of despair as he desperately fought to reach for the blade lodged inches into his chest, having no strength to pull away. I jerked the rifle back, as the life began departing from his body, leaving blood pouring from his wound, resembling red wine spilling from a bottle. He stumbled backwards, and tumbled onto the ground, clutching his bloodied chest left to die in agony.
Hell surrounded me, as my brothers and foes alike died in droves. Death, and despair flown through the air, as he harvested the souls of the deceased from all around. I was blind momentarily as my goggles were coated of blood, and mud, forcing me to wipe my visor in the middle of combat. As soon as I could see once more, I caught glimpse of Thomas fumbling to the ground with his hands grasping his stomach. "Tommy!" I cracked in fear. I quickly darted to him, shooting a Soviet hovering above him with malicious intent, and bashing the butt of my rifle through the face of another that stood in my path.
I plummeted next to him, cutting my knees against the battlefield's rocky terrain, grasping his bloodied hand into mine as he laid flat against the Earth's cold soil. His helmet...loomed above his young face, full of pain and torment. His tears slid gently down the shadows that masked his eyes, rolling down each of his shallow cheeks..."Adrian?" He painfully whimpered."Yes, Thomas, it's me bud...I'm here for you mate..." I softly said to the dying boy."I..I'm...I'mma be with my...brother soon." He cracked a sly smiled upon his face as he choked with blood dripping from his pale lips. His breathing became erratic as I found his wound, only inches away from his heart. His scarlet coated hand tightly clenched the beautifully made watch from earlier. "Pl-please take it..." He paused mid sentence as he spat blood upon himself coughing uncontrollably. I wiped his face with my torn sleeve, as he struggled to speak once more. "Ta-take it with you...and never let it go." I held his frail weaken dying hand, and quietly I vowed "I promise, I shall. . .Tommy, always will I hold it dearly to me.""It was an...honour Adrian." He uttered faintly beneath his breath.
His once youthful skin turned white as snow, his warm touch cold as steel...The last fragment of his soul departed as he emitted his final breath, forever vanishing from this Hell on Earth. I tilted his burnt helmet to see his eyes once more to see what once was, all that would grow to be, every opportunity, envious potentials. . .Abandoning his diamond blue eyes Forever gone from this life. "Be with the Angels now, boy... " I mourned.
I quivered in fury, suffocated and engulfed in what I could only describe as a demonic wrath. I held Thomas' Watch within my hand, and gradually I clenched my knife in the other. I stood slowly in the midst of combat, whereas yelling, cursing, and screaming appeared from every direction like an orchestra of anarchy. I was submerged within the center, my mind losing all control as if I was a man transforming into a beast, a vengeful beast that lusted after blood. I held my knife tightly to the point of my hand bleeding, and without warning the flame within me exploded like a phoenix emerging from the ashes of the ruins.
I cornered the nearest Red, and slit his jugular with the edge of my blade, his fresh warm blood dripping upon the cold soil.
Another ambushed me from the side. Without hesitation, I jolted my blade into his face, shredding it into two as I torn upwards splitting his skull in half. An onlooker intending to avenge his comrades rushed, and slashed my arm with his bayonet. I stood unfazed by the pain as the demon within me continued to flourish it's control. He jabbed once more, yet this time I seized his rifle from his hands. Horrified by my torturous retribution, he fled for safety.
"No you don't, you bastard." I growled, as I torn the bayonet from the barrel of his rifle, and tossed the twelve inch blade into the back of his knee, knocking him to the ground, dust swirling about as he fell to the dirt.
I quickly tackled him, and twisted his body to face me, forcing him to lock eyes upon me. I rose his rifle above his face, grinning maliciously. He pleaded in Russian, begging for his life. "Nyet...!" I laughed, there was no remorse left to be spared...The monster in me thrived for vengeance, for Thomas... I began clobbering his face with the rifle's stock, each bash against his helmet causing crackles to the hard darken steel. I struck continuously, smashing his face into blood and gore, demolishing his entire head. I held the rifle up, with it's nearly broken stock painted in gray matter.
I stood smirking from the mangled corpse, bathed in blood. I tossed the broken rifle aside, and pulled my pistol from it's holstered, and began firing point blank at Soviet troops. "Die, all of you, DIE!" I barked. I inspired fear, I inspired death. There was no light that Night, only darkness. Artillery shells hailed from the sky, slamming against the ground beside me. I flew against the ground, stealing the air from within my lungs. My eyes blurred as I laid upon the dirt helplessly. I struggled, and screamed to myself "Get up, Adrian, c'mon!" All that came out from my mouth was agonizing wheezing. I laid there silently, and in pain.
I tilted my head sideways anticipating Death's cold embrace. Soldiers all around me continued to fall one by one, men frantically ripping one another to pieces like tribal warriors, which essentially what we seemed to be to a grand scale...
Soviet battleships rose from the Horizon, sailing swiftly through the clouds, while Marine armored forces poured the trenches like fire ants protecting their nest.
It was then...It happened, the occurrence which morphed the world around me, the siege which ended my reality.
The Heavens began burning...
I stared, awestruck by the brilliant array of stars which gathered in formation, descending from the Heavens as if a gift by God himself. They accelerated spiraling at light speeds towards the Battlefield, then...One by one, they separated from formation, and proceeded on their own individual journey. "Bloody Hell..." I muttered. Each struck a vessel like a bolt of lightning, impacting the ships hulls, causing indescribable destruction to the immense warships. The ship fell like burning clouds, one collapsed into another, igniting a magnificent explosion of catastrophic inferno. The crews on board fell from their flying fortresses, screaming as they fell to the ground in quick succession. The Soviets upon the ground were terrified, absolutely baffled as their most advanced warships stumbled from the Heavens. Why wouldn't they though...This was unfathomable, not even the Empire could manage such a staggering offensive at this scale...
"Shit." I coughed as I laid upon the ground wounded, looking upon the fleet of ships ravaged in flames, simply littering the battlefield, engulfed within a fire of Hell, corpses charred beside their ruins...
The firing ceased, infantrymen of both sides stood side by side to stare upon this tradgy. Creatures...What I could only describe as gigantic anonymous figures of darkness emerged from the fleets' wreckage, revealing their true identities.
Ghastly...armored beasts, twice the size of a regular man, their grossest armor black, bulky, and misshapen, their red eyes hosted the stare of malevolency. Marines, and Soviets encircled the creatures, forming firing lines against them.
My pessimism saw the horrors that would come, fearing for my life, and too injured to fight, I did not desire the death from a monster's hands. I dug my fingers into the dirt, and crawled inch by inch, grunting with each pull until I stumbled upon a crater to take refuge within.
Beastly screeches pierced my ears as they began their assault. Gunshots rattled, and disembodied screams commenced in both English, and Russian alike. Screams of both languages pleading for mercy, and crying in agony, begging for their lives... These soldiers...Artists, writers, farmers, fathers, brothers, uncles, clerks, all dying in droves, and I could do absolutely nothing, but lay there.
I curled up within the crater silently listening for what lingered onto be forever. I dared not move fearing of the repercussions of doing so...Laying there, listening to the muffled screams of my friends sinking into my head haunting me as I continued to survive the onslaught.
Hours went by as I laid there isolated in my own despair. The screams were no more, signaling my safe passage out of my crater. I sat upright, and hesitated for a moment. "Was it truly safe?" I thought. Regardless of the possibility, I had to escape...I began my ascend from the hole, digging my hands into the steep hole's walls, pulling myself further from the ditch. I felt my hands grasp the surface, and thus I pulled myself outwards onto the ground. I rolled upon my back breathing heavily as I rested. My wounds ached from hours prior. The air smelt of death, and the sky was full of black.
"What the Hell happened?" I whispered as I sat upon my knees. I slowly rose to my feet, and gazed upon the graveyard that scrawled on for miles on end. Hundreds of soulless corpses left scattered across No Man's Land, some limbless, some bathed in blood, and others barely even recognizable...Disfigured to the point of even resembling a human.
"I was the last one?" I thought in fear, baffled by my own survival...
Tunes of familiarity sung off in the distance, Bagpipes..."Will Ye No' Come Back Again" eerily filling the air. This was played as a tribute to the fallen, those that would not return home from war. It was evident someone was alive...I limped forward through the valley of corpses, sourcing the location of music, clenching my side in agony as I trekked in it's direction like a beacon of hope. Upon a Hill stood Churchill, stained in blood, yet surprisingly very alive. I violently coughed as I stared up at him. He halted immediately, and looked down upon me with glee. "A soul still persists?" I nodded, sadden yet delighted. He smiled. . . "You're a victory in my book, lad." He ran down the hill, and quickly assisted me to a bunker, providing first aid.
"Commander. . .What was that we witnessed?" I choked as he tended to my wounds. "I'm not sure, lad. Mechanical demons of some sort. Torn through two companies of the toughest Soviet, and Royal troops. I don't know exactly what they are, but they piss me off." He spat off in the other direction. "Do we still have reserves coming?" I asked. "Not positive...Communications seem like our optimal choice at the moment." He gestured to me "Follow me, we'll check the radios." He assisted me off the table, and thus I followed him to the Radio bunker down the base
"Corporal, see if you can get a signal." He suggested as he dug through old notes, and letters on the Intel chart." I approached the radio beacon, and began flickering through radio frequencies. Each one told a different tale, some were silent, others requesting for reinforcements, others were just full of gunfire...I managed to find the Royal Command station, and thus I began speaking loudly through the microphone. "This is Corporal Dewitt, of the 7th Naval Assault Corps, Charlie Company, we were...attacked by unknown hostiles, killed the Reds, killed our men. Can anyone read me?"
The line was ghostly silent for the moment, then a voice arose from the other end sobbing,
"Everyone is killing each other!" Everyone is dead!" He cried frantically. "They've massacred everything!" I replied back to the radio operator, "Get to safety, help will come!" I reassured. "It's too late..." He began screaming over the line, I quickly pulled the screaming radio away from ear, as his cries became blood curdling. "Shit!" I shouted as I smashed my fist into the table. I turned to the Commander, and took a step back, taking a deep breath. "Commander, we're on our own."
The Sun rose as I stood silently upon the hill that watched over the Paris outskirts, hundreds of fires ascended across the city's architecture, torching it's mighty accomplishments, and past. It rained once more, as it did the day before.
The cold liquid fell upon my bloodied, and bruised skin, each drip stinging my wounds. It seemed that each droplet was an endeavor by God to cleanse me of blood, pain, and sin, yet no matter how much wept, Blood flourished through my hands forever stained, pain which engraved my heart dreadfully reigned, and sin casted itself upon my soul permanently chained
I stared over to Churchill, standing proudly beside me, harboring an expressionless face. A scar scrawled down his eye, with blood coating his trench coat. He was calm, but I cannot understand why...Perhaps it was his years of experience that have prided him to now show despair in the ruinous of situations, perhaps he was insane. Either way, he was admirable for his survival skills. I spoke up, resuming my role as a Marine, "Commander, what are my orders?" I spoken, deepening my voice. He smiled "What's your name Corporal?" I kept speaking in the same soldierly tone "Adrian, Adrian Dewitt, sir."
He gestured his hand towards me, as if he wanted me to shake it. I extended my hand out, and accepted his, shaking happily. "Well, Adrian. My name's Jack, and I'd prefer if you call me that for now, and with that, I shall refer to you simply as Adrian." He winked. He looked to the side, facing the ravaged battlefield. "Adrian, I don't know why you survived, or why I survived, but obviously fate has something in stored for the two of us, and I think it'd be wise to take that as an opportunity to do some Royal Infantry style justice upon these villainous atrocities"
"We have a war to fight, lad, a new one, and we're going to give it our best shot."
God Cried that fateful day, pouring upon us his sorrow filled tears as he watched his creations murder one another, in an act of self-destruction. No matter how much he wept, blood still stained this weary land.