Orange red light broke through the holes in the fuselage of the ER-450 assault helicopter with dancing rays illuminating the dim interior and reaching Ryan’s face. On the left and right sides of the center of the helicopter’s cabin were rows of seats for soldiers. Above each seat, there were harnesses attached to metal pipes, which fixed the shoulders and were connected in the center near the abdomen. They kept the human body in place during flights to prevent them from falling out of place in case of turbulence. The soldier, whose body the harness pressed in the opposite direction, almost completely crushing the shoulder joints and pressing the stomach under the very base of the chest, hung forward between the metal tubes from under which blood flowed down the sleeves of the uniform. The visor in the combat helmet was lowered down and blood was dripping from under the helmet. A few seats from where Ryan was, there were several more bodies on the seats, puddles of blood and urine formed on the floor, which flowed from the corpses, on the floor, there were chaotically severed body parts and the corpses of other soldiers.
The emergency sound sounded disgusting and the light bulb seemed to be spinning madly, giving everything a red light. Outside came the sounds of explosions, gunshots from energy rifles, shouts and screams of people, sounds of hover tanks and helicopter gunships. Somewhere out there, outside this steel grave, a terrible battle was going on.
There was a deafening explosion, somewhere very close and a row of crackling sounds from the shrapnel that went into the fuselage.
“We are going down, we are going down!“, Ryan shouted out sharply, coming to his senses, not yet realizing what had happened and that except for him there was no one alive in the helicopter anymore.
He looked around and realized that everyone except him was dead. Not thinking long, he first decided to unfasten the harness holding him up to free himself from the death grip, but it did not give in. Catching his breath, a little, Ryan grabbed the harness with his hands as tight as possible and with all his strength, fell on them with emphasis forward to lift and free his body. He pushed his arms as hard as he could, experiencing severe pain and resistance in his left arm. The sleeve of his uniform was cut with something sharp and blood oozed from under the fabric. His hand was cut almost to the bone, so this fight with a harness was difficult. He clenched his teeth, making a furious growl, Ryan slowly but surely removed the harness and at the moment when it no longer held his body, he fell forward onto the floor. During the time of the descent, he managed to put his hands forward so as not to fall face first into a bloody puddle. Standing on his knees and leaning with his hands, he caught his breath a little, lifting his head, he noticed that the orange red light that oozed into the cabin was coming from the fire outside the helicopter. After a short pause, Ryan got up from his knees, his eyes found the cabin and he moved towards it.
Both pilots were dead, the body of the left pilot was shattered by fragments of the windshield, he looked more like a large oozing carcass of meat in a torn form from which pieces of glass were sticking out in all directions, the head of the right pilot was smashed by a piece of the blade that had flown in. Ryan pushed the right-side pilot’s body away, during which the head, nailed to the back wall, remained in its place and behind the seat, he opened the emergency first aid box to take the SB clotting gel, capsules with stimulants, decontamination gel and vacuum bandage. Taking out everything he needed from the box, he went back to the cabin, sat down and rolled up his torn sleeve and began to work on the cut on his arm. First, he decided to process it with SB, this gel was one of the latest medical developments, it clotted blood very quickly even in cases where a person had hemophilia, but had a side effect, with very frequent use, the blood began to thicken in the body, leading to problems with blood circulation, as a result of which a person began to suffer from severe pain and then died in terrible agony.
“It sucks, I never thought it would come to this,” Ryan thought to himself. He didn’t like all these new medical inventions, because he knew that all of them always have side effects, which, as a result, make a person’s condition even worse, not right away of course, over time, as a slow acting poison that spreads through the body for one purpose, to bring the carrier maximum pain and suffering, but he had no other choice now. He understood they had fallen somewhere in the middle of the battlefield and he had to get out and get on his own at any cost.
He applied SB along the entire cut, from the elbow almost to the very base of his hand, a strange tightening, as if fishing hooks were stuck in the skin and began to pull the skin in different directions, it started all over his arm. He had never experienced such a feeling before, so he clenched his teeth because of that. “Damn, it hurts » it flashed through his head. Strange and painful sensations gripped his mind, everything went dark a little, a damn emergency sound sounded annoying and disgusting in his ears, the red light of a lamp flickered through the darkness, the sounds from outside turned into a general hum which started to hurt his head and he wanted to turn it off as soon as possible. Fortunately, the strange painful sensation did not last long, the blood clotted in one minute, as promised in all the promotional materials. But for Ryan, this minute passed almost like an hour, an hour of unseen pain before under the annoying emergency sounds, red lights rushing through the cabin and sound from outside, an entire hour in a strange carnival of pain and suffering in hell. Unclenching his teeth, he took a decontamination gel to treat everything around the cut, then he took a vacuum bandage, it was another medical find, it contained microscopic elements that were activated when the bandage was wrapped around the wound and tightened as much as possible to displace air from under it, after that the bandage was almost impossible to remove until the microscopic elements come out of compression and the bandage again becomes soft. Finished with the cut, Ryan quickly examined himself to determine if there were still deep wounds.
After making sure that nothing else was damaged except his arm, he took his energy machinegun, which was attached to the right side of the seat on which he had previously set and attached it behind his back to magnets that were placed over the Kevlar chest armor. He set down next to the body of a soldier whose body was hanging between the harness attached to metal pipes. It was his friend, Brad, with whom they had been in a lot of battles together and with whom they had served since the beginning of their military service. After honoring his friend with a minute of silence, Ryan stood up and moved, stepping over the corpses on the floor, to the dashboard at the end of the helicopter to open the rear hatch.
Getting out of the helicopter, he realized that the helicopter went down into a deep ravine, on top of which everything was engulfed in fire. The shrapnel that went into the fuselage of the helicopter were from the blown hover tank, which blazed with orange red and blue flames and hung over the helicopter. Soldiers’ bodies were scattered along the bottom of the ravine. “Ours should be on the north side,” Ryan thought. He began moving in that direction along the bottom of the ravine to a place where he could get to the top to understand where he was now and orient himself on the ground.
The moon shone a cold light on the bottom of the ravine. He was slowly sneaking through the bodies to the right place, when suddenly he heard the sound of the approaching hover tank, not knowing it was his own or not, he fell to the ground among the corpses and laid low. The sound was coming closer and closer, after which, almost at the edge of the ravine, the tank began to turn around so that the blue purple light from the rear energy turbines at the base of the tank illuminated the ravine. The noise from the turbines stunned Ryan, but he was lying still, so as not to give himself away Completing the turn, the tank began to move away in an unknown direction. When the sounds became almost inaudible, Ryan climbed up and, in a half-bent state continued his way. When he got there, he looked up and started climbing up and grabbing the ground with his hands. The ground was a little wet and so his legs periodically slipped off promising to slip, but at the right moment, he managed to cling tightly enough to the ground with his fingers to hold on. When Ryan got to the top, he immediately took out the binoculars in his pouch on his left hip, which had the functions of improving visibility at night and approaching the viewing distance, and fell on the ground, putting the binoculars against his eyes, he began to scan the area in front of him. He saw in front of him were mostly broken hover tanks, the wreckage of helicopter gunships and, bodies of soldiers, both their own and the enemy’s, burning ruins of farmhouses and in the distance the hover tanks were moving towards a small hill on the north side, just where he needed to go. “Strange,” he thought to himself, it seemed to him that the battle was going very close to the ravine, at least the sounds of the battle were heard clearly enough, but the battle was going over the hill above the line of which was visible a glow of fire and flashes. The hill was not very far away but still, the sounds could not reach the crash site as loudly and distinctly as he heard them. This moment surprised him a little, but he decided not to pay much attention to it, after all, he survived the crash of the helicopter and perhaps the sounds he heard were the sounds of battle before the helicopter was shot down and they reverberated like a phantom in his ears and head. He put the binoculars back in his pouch, got up from the ground, realizing that there was no obvious danger for him nearby and started moving towards the hill.
Continuing his way, he was sneaking past the wreckage of equipment, ruins and bodies. He already didn’t remember exactly what kind of war it was, who attacked whom and why. This war seemed to last forever and he already didn’t pay attention to the questions “Who? Why? For what reason?” He knew that he was a soldier and it was his duty to defend his country, which had external enemies. True, there have always been enemies, it is difficult to say when the last time there was a peaceful time on Earth that no one fought with anyone, since 2001, over the past seventy-four years, wars on Earth have not stopped. There have always been enemies threatening the security of his country and it was always necessary to defend it. Of course, he periodically asked himself the question “Why don’t countries want a truce, do they benefit from these constant wars, civilian casualties, hundreds and thousands of dead soldiers?” But nobody could give him an answer to this question, so he suppressed it within himself and just kept doing his duty.
After a while, Ryan got to his intended goal, climbed up the hill, took out his binoculars and laid down to understand what was happening. He started looking through the binoculars to see where his troops were. After a few minutes of studying the battlefield, he froze in perplexity, his hands froze in one position, he began to press the binoculars harder and harder against his eyes, not understanding what he was seeing.
At first sight, he saw a typical battlefield, typical for him because, in twenty years of service, he was already used to seeing the armies pounding on each other, explosions of equipment, helicopter gunships circling, bombings, hundreds of killed soldiers and in general, such a picture could hardly surprise such an experienced warrior that he was. But there was something different here, it was different from anything he had seen before. Using the binocular approach function, he saw that there was something strange on the backs of the soldiers, black substances that like leeches sucked on their bodies and sat on them, their tentacles clasped the rib cages and as if a vice was squeezing the black brown liquid oozed from under the tentacles, but it didn’t flow down as it should be according to the laws of physics, instead, this liquid making a few drops down, suddenly began to rise sharply up somewhere in the middle of the black substance sitting on their backs.
The tentacles also covered the heads of the soldiers, one fat thick one went in the center of the head from it as if someone’s palm with five fingers grabbed the head, there were five branches, two branches went straight into the ears, two more crawled straight into the eyes and one more crawled into the nose and from under each one oozed this strange black brown liquid which moved to the middle of this inexplicable black substance. Approximately in the middle of the substance, from where the black brown liquid was moving to, Ryan was able to see one big black thick thread, similar to a huge cable that was going up somewhere, but he couldn’t see where yet.
Then his gaze fell on the hover tanks on which, as if a huge, disgusting, black bee, sat a black substance. It didn’t look like the one that he saw on the backs of the soldiers, it was many times larger, completely covering the upper part of the hover tank. Its paws, if they could be called that, squeezed the entire tank under the large body of the substance, crawling into all sorts of places of the tank and from underneath of them a black brown liquid was oozing just as well, which moved to the same cable on the back if the back is the right word, of this black substance. Ryan was struck by a helicopter gunship, on which a black substance was also seated, but it was already medium size, slightly smaller than the one on the tank, and was spread under the blades of the helicopter, as if a lazy squid was spreading on the surface, a strange cable from it went a little up and to the side. Ryan couldn’t see where all those cables were going, there was not enough range on the binoculars.
He decided to get as close as possible so that the range of vision of the binoculars would be enough to see where the cables were going. Slowly and carefully, he crawled forward along the top of the hill. Having approached a safe distance, at least he thought it was safe, he again put the binoculars to his eyes, found the nearest soldier with a black substance on his back with his gaze and began to guide the binoculars from the place from which the cable came out.
“What the hell is that?“, Ryan thought to himself. He managed to see the cable with his eyes to the place where they all were reaching. It was a huge black, mucous hand of an equally huge giant. This black giant no longer looked like a leech or a bee or squid. It looked like a human figure, a huge figure, very perverted and ugly. The hands of this giant looked as if they had partially peeled off the skin and part of the muscles underneath it, partially exposing the bones, but everything consisted of black heavy mucus that looked remotely like oil but denser, so the hands of this creature as a whole looked like a torn mess of black mucus. The giant’s legs were similar to human ones, but they ended at the place where the feet should begin, if compared with the structure of the human body, the general appearance of the legs, like the hands, looked like a torn mess of black slime. The chest looked as if the human ribs and the cervix connecting them broke through the skin was sticking out bleedingly outward, only instead of blood it was all black mucus. In its hands, this monster held cables that stretched from soldiers and tanks on the ground, as if they were many leashes, and this is the master who walks his dogs. The cables from the helicopters ran straight to the giant’s chest and connected all at one point in the center. In the usual sense, this giant didn’t have a head, instead of it, many other cables went up from the conventional neck that went far beyond the clouds and there was no way to see where they were leading. This giant moved very slowly, leading his dogs ahead. From the other side of the battlefield, from the one where the enemy army was located, another such giant was walking, leading his pack of dogs into battle. Ryan was numb, he couldn’t budge, what he saw didn’t fit in his head, it all looked like some kind of crazy scene, it looked like the armies were fighting each other under the leadership of huge puppeteers who completely controlled their actions.
Ryan removed the binoculars from his eyes, lowered his head, burying his face in the ground and closed his eyes hoping that it was just a horrible and incomprehensible hallucination, maybe he injured his head in the crash of the helicopter and it all seemed to him that now he could put his thoughts in order, open his eyes and see the typical battlefield where there are none of these strange black substances. His attempts were interrupted by a loud explosion and the sound of a helicopter gunship falling, he opened his eyes, but it was already too late, the helicopter was shot down right above the place from which Ryan was watching this whole monstrous picture, and exactly at the moment when he opened his eyes, the burning helicopter crashed right on him, smearing his body with a pile of burning metal.
Ryan opened his eyes sharply. Light from the advertising screens on the neighboring building broke through the rays between the lines of blinds, illuminated the dark bedroom and fell on his face, which dripped sweat. “It was a dream,” he realized by wiping the sweat off his face with his hand. Although the dream was strange and rather frightening, Ryan refrained from screaming and abrupt movements so as not to wake his wife sleeping next to him. He slowly looked at his wife, circled the bedroom, rolled onto his side to face the window and stared at the advertising screen, which was partially visible between the lines of the blinds. A commercial for the new mega hit of 2075, “Thinking is Harm”, was shown on the screen with the dates of its premiere on all of the screens in the country. This commercial did not cause Ryan any joy or anger, he is already used to the fact that the media industry has long been promoting the most stupid and primitive texts and stories in all areas, fooling people of all ages, making everyone as stupid as possible, ready to joyfully scream and drool over any vulgarity, idiocy and government speeches.
After watching for a while, a commercial that looked more like a video from a madhouse used for brainwashing, he closed his eyes and fell asleep.