Birds of War
Orange leaves fluttered in the wind, descending from their trees down to the ground, slowly returning to the Earth. The fields bristled in harmonious waves, dancing to the tune that the wind procured… It was that time of the year to yield the harvest, and yet…
“Are you Mr. Dominguez?” a wrinkled brow could only twitch at the question.
And yet these fools were disrupting the man in the field.
Pulling back the scythe, the lone man stretched back up from his overarching reach, leaning on the scythe whilst observing the men in black suits approaching him. Hidden by shades covered by dirt and dust, he scanned the growing numbers.
A dozen of them…?
He had heard the cars run across his land, but he hadn’t expected the two or three of them to carry so many government officials—No, not government officials. These were much more sinister agents.
Despite this, the lone man simply shrugged, “I think you’re pretty aware of who I am, no? I don’t think you’d come all this way for some idle chatter and beer. What do you want?”
The apparent leader of the grunts stepped forward, and with a slight bow, “You.”
At this, Mr. Dominguez scoffed without hesitation, “You should know I’m retired. In fact, I’m quite done with all of those fools in the Republic. I thought that was pretty apparent with how far off and away I picked my land to be.”
Slightly, albeit in an obscure manner, a smirk appeared on the leader, “That should only emphasize the importance of you coming along with us.”
Finally, Mr. Dominguez narrowed his eyes, sensing that the situation was not something light hearted, “Did another war break out already? I thought we would be fine with those countr-“
“It’s not another war with the Federation or Imperial Isthmus.”
Slightly put off by this, the lone man could only fold his arms and wait to hear more, “Well… Then what? What use could they have of me if it’s not a war with them?”
The man that was clad in black straightened out and let a vicious smirk fully form, “It’s a war that will happen soon… with them.”
This stumped him even more, at which the leader nodded his head towards the East, “They who abandoned us all those years ago. We will go after them next.”
Before Mr. Dominguez could say anything, only a frown could appear on his face, and at this point, he took off his shades to let his amber brown eyes display the sheer skepticism he had of these men in front of him, “So… This whole party you brought along with you was to coerce me to fight a war that hasn’t even happened yet, let alone a war I have any personal involvement in? Really?”
“We were informed of the details of your… eccentrics.”
“What, this?” He refers to his scythe that he had used not even a few minutes ago, “It’s not my fault you folks can’t appreciate some hard work between a man and the earth…” He sucked air in as he continued under his breath, “Kinda like how I had to do your damned dirty work back then.
“So! What is this then? A band of conscripts to force me into that organization again, or is this a tried and true attempt of ‘recruiting’ me into the military?”
At this, the leader let out a full-on smile, devoid of any empathy, and only sheer bloodlust, “Why not both? Mr. Dominguez, you must understand, this newfound threat has been an upcoming problem for so long, that we’ve even decided to merge the two forces together.”
Mr. Dominguez wrinkled his brows upon hearing this, his doubt rising steadily, “You’re going to look me in the eye and tell me the Republic’s Shadow Council agreed to join with the proper Republic Military Command? Just what kind of…?”
“Now then, what will it be, Mr. Dominguez… Will you go with us peacefully, or… shall we treat you to the monsters you’ve helped create?”
At this, the agents behind the leader procured their weapons of choice, some with swords, others with daggers and knives; most of them held melee weapons, since guns were meaningless against this lone man on the field.
In this moment, Mr. Dominguez could only sigh, taking off the wide brimmed hat he was wearing and setting it next to his scythe, “So be it. Let’s go.”
“I couldn’t hope for a better resolution,” while this was spoken with a voice filled with confidence, a slight cold sweat had appeared on the small of his back from the pressure that he felt in the moment of consideration…
Mr. Dominguez exchanged his farming attire to his more formal suit, with long greyish slacks complemented by a scarlet red vest and a silver laced white suit jacket covering it. Sitting next to the other agents in the slick, tinted car; he stood out like royalty—even though they were from the same blood and work.
Once in the car, the entire convoy relaxed slightly, as the rest of the journey back to the Capital should be easier. Mr. Dominguez could only sit idly in his seat… Unless he could ask some questions.
“So why now? Weren’t we aware of their total societal collapse over five decades ago?”
The leader, who was in the front passenger seat, replied, clearly more amicable now that the initial situation faded away, “We simply didn’t have the cohesion for it. During that time… hmm, that would’ve put you in your early childhood, so you might not remember anything about what it was like. The Republic had its own issues, not to mention the Plague’s repercussions across the Western World… Looking back to then, even the war we’ve just gotten out of seems like child play.”
A sneer could be heard from Mr. Dominguez, “It’s only been less than 5 years, and you’re already looking at it like it’s in a history book. This is what’s wrong with the Shadow Council and their lackeys.”
“Careful, one could say you’re biting the hand that provides.”
A scoff ended the conversation for the remainder of the journey. It was about noon when the convoy departed, but at this point, the sun was approaching the horizon, nearing the end of the day when the convoy finally reached the destination—at the least, the outskirts of the Capitol of the Continental Republic.
Here, any normal citizen would gasp at the sheer glamor of the city. Bustling traffic intertwining through the towering metallic skyscrapers, the lackeys of companies, both big and small, offering products and entertainment that would fulfill any ordinary man’s fantastical dreams. The Capitol being called the shining beacon of market and technology could be considered even an understatement.
However for Mr. Dominguez, he could only feel an emerging headache.
“Long ass delays, shouting from the delusional young lads… Even prostitutes?! Why are we here again?!?!”
The agents sitting next to him could be seen to visibly shake from the anger and frustration being let out, but the leader stood firmly, “What else? To be there for the occasion.”
“Oh right, you’re a country bumpkin now, you probably didn’t hear at all. The Shadow Council’s president is being recognized as an official military leader by the current President of the Republic. It’s something you can’t miss out on, to be sure.”
No wonder this city is filled with even more repugnancies, Mr. Dominguez could only sigh in defeat. Still though, even he had to admit the technical marvels and economical prowess the Republic possessed, that was on display for all to see.
A few hours go by, and finally the convoy reached the Palace, where the occasion was supposedly to take place. At this time, the agents rapidly bailed out of the car, scattering to let the leader and Mr. Dominguez be alone. Not for any particular reason other than…
As the leader stepped out with a slight blush across his face, “… What do you mean the X-Bird project wasn’t a complete waste of time? They defunded that project years ago…”
“Look, all I’m saying is we should’ve developed that plane more thoroughly! It would’ve worked, and we could’ve possessed the pinnacle of the skies!”
“I’d rather we refund the super hero program…”
“Hah? Isn’t that what we are? Fool, I’ll have you kno-“
Mr. Dominguez slightly drunken rant was interrupted by a fanfare from within the building, it resonated throughout the entire courtyard, and even throughout the streets. For a moment, it seemed even the Capitol stood silent after the bellow, before things resumed normally.
The two men straightened themselves out, letting their mental states cool.
“Well. We’re here now, shall we head in?”
“What, you think I’m going to back out now, in your dreams Old Man.”
The leader took strides and quickly ended up at the entrance into the Palace, with Mr. Dominguez quickly on his heels. Inside, the enormous lobby held grand, golden chandeliers in place, with a flight of stairs symmetrically running along the walls up to a balcony that also supported a double door that presumably went into the rest of the Palace. Here, once again, Mr. Dominguez could only be slightly annoyed at the bustle of the crowd within.
“… I really do hate politics.”
“I know you do, Mr. Doming- well, we’re here now, so how about it, Hugo?”
Mr. Dominguez could only chuckle to himself, “Hmph, sure thing Old Man. If you’re willing to be familiar with me here, then perhaps what you said is true…”
“What, that the two forces are joining? You came all this way while not entirely believing that?”
“That’s a surprise to you? I’ve always been someone who goes off of premonition rather than facts.”
The leader, named Old Man, could only sigh in slight frustration, “Whatever, suit yourself Hugo. When this is done, it’s back to Hell.”
“Well…” Hugo could only shrug, “Maybe it’s for the best, but if you came all the way out for me, I can’t let you down.”
“Fine then, both of us go back to Hell.”
Hugo chuckled as the lights dimmed, and the double doors were highlighted with spotlight beams. A slight drumroll began with a moment of nothing happening; until finally, the doors slammed open, and a lean, flamboyant man dressed in all white and gold appeared, energetically waving to the crowd below him, and even blowing a few air kisses.
“Blech, so much theatrics for such a little thing as coming through doors.”
“Quiet now, he’s going to shake the entire country, no, the entire world with his announcement. Best to not make too much of a complaint.”
“I’ll make sure the complaint makes it to his very desk!”
A slight harsh hush came over the duo as the drumroll simmered to a complete stop, and the man on the balcony began.
“My adoring citizens, I, John Hudson appreciate you all coming and enjoying the banquet and festival. Truly, it gives no greater joy than to see the people, yes, the people!... Getting to enjoy life as if they were royalty themselves. After such a long war, even now, it is good to let us celebrate even the small things in life!”
“… Whew, I stand corrected. This is too much theatrics.”
“However, now, we stand on a very dangerous precipice, on the verge of total collapse. Much like the Eastern world!”
A hushed gasp slightly came over the crowd. For the President of the Republic to say such words, what could it have been?
“We face a constant struggle of sustaining ourselves. Unemployment has gone up, taxes are rising, and all the while, the people are slowly but surely losing their way of life! This is simply treacherous, and something must be done!
“As such, I have gotten together with the leaders of this wonderful nation, and, with the other nations as well, to devise a plan!”
Suddenly, Hugo’s face paled to a complete sheet of white, barely able to stand, … the other nations? His eyes darted to the Old Man that was next to him a mere minute ago, but there was no one there he was familiar with. A cold sweat broke out, and it took everything he had to steel himself.
“… The Eastern World is vast, and most likely still ripe with resources we still haven’t tapped into! It is now our time to push outward and into the world that we were isolated from all those years ago. It is time, we, the Western World, united and sought to take what is rightfully ours!
“And so! Without further ado, we have some significant individuals to introduce to you all, for the sake of our very survival!”
With this declaration, the doors slammed open again, and three other people came out.
One was brandished in a green shimmering dress, that fell down over her entire body as if water, ending all the way to the ground, with a few inches dragging across the ground. Her ebony skin highlighted with gold on her lips and eyelids. She was Maun Tane, the Chancellor of the Andes Regime.
Flanking her on the right side was a shorter, pudgy fellow who could be described best by his colorful outfit, a plaid tailcoat along with his beige pants, vest and top hat. A beard commanded his lower face, and albeit peppered with white hairs, he was vibrantly in command of his immediate presence. He was Auro Bore, the President of the Northern Lights Federation.
On the other side of the President of the Continental Republic was another woman with a yellow crescent buckle holding two parts of her dress together at the right shoulder. Her brownish color was peppered with freckles and was a peerless beauty across the entire Western World, without a doubt, even in Hugo’s mind. She was Sula Isma, the crowned princess of the Isthmus Empire.
Maun, Auro, and Sula… Standing side by side with John… It sent trembles down Hugo, against all of his will and desire to keep the peace.
What is this… Just, what is this?! His eyes wildly fluctuated, and the sweat began to pour out.
John spoke again, “These quite remarkable individuals and I, are all intent on joining together in arms to reach the same common goal. I’d like to extend a welcome to the stage, those who had fought in the previous war, as to amend these wounds once and for all.”
This was why I was brought here. Immediately, Hugo could only admit defeat in his heart. That damned Old Man tricked me…
A spotlight immediately turned on, one after another. Until four of them shone down into the lobby, revealing four individuals that felt desperately trapped.
War torn heroes, war criminals… Unsung victims, and rampant rodents. Many people held different names for these four.
However, one thing stood true.
They were the Birds of War. Individuals who tactfully fought for their respective sides, destroying and pillaging whenever they could, however they could.
One of them was none other than Hugo Dominguez, the Warbird of the Continental Republic.
Silently sighing, he resigned himself to stepping forward and up towards the balcony. Soon, the other three did so as well.
Oh well, let’s get this over with.
He stood by John’s side, almost paling the size of him by standing next to him. However, he simply stood there. Glancing through his peripherals, he also noticed the other three. Without really discerning much, he could tell two of them were also like him, and the other one was…
“These great Birds of War! They shall stand with us here, to cement our peace and commitment to our people!”
Simultaneously, the four leaders saluted in their respective manners and praised,
“Hail the West!”
After the occasion, Hugo ended up in one of the side rooms that had a small balcony outlooking to the courtyard. It was well past the sunset, and the sky bristled with stars. Once again, a beautiful sight, if not for the groans and aches of a lone man.
“I can’t believe you did this.”
Hugo spoke flatly, as the Old Man entered the room.
He could only shrug and smile, “Even I amaze myself with my work sometimes.”
“No, really. I can’t believe this is even happening.”
“Why is that?”
Hugo turned around from his view of the city scape, and glanced at the old man, still in his black tidy suit, “Why is that? Why is that?! We waged war for over a decade with them, and we’re expected to go ‘understandable, have a nice alliance?!’”
The Old Man responded seriously, “Yes.”
“How is that going to work? I can’t even believe the Birds of War were allowed in the Palace, let alone the other leaders of those ridiculous countries! Why are we doing this?!”
“You already know this.”
“To fight the Eastern World, I know! For God’s sake, if I knew this was how it would go, I would’ve just stayed at the field!”
“You know full well, that one man can’t change the course of History.”
“Heh, I can certainly hope to. Anyways, what’s with you? I thought you said they would announce the Shadow Council?”
The Old Man could only slyly smile, “Once an old fox-“
“Always an old fox, yeah, yeah. Next thing you’re going to tell me, I have to go to boot camp.”
“Well you do.”
“And with a very special group of individuals, at that.”
“… … Huh??”
“’Warbirds go to prepare the new generation for the next war!’ Or something like that.”
“… … Wait are you telling m-“
“In one month’s time, you’ll be at the Unionized Military Center of Joint Operations (UMCJO), and you’ll be conducting training operations alongside the other Birds.”
“… … @#!& you, Old Man!”
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