2247hrs, PST, 5 January 15 N.G.
The time had arrived.
Operation Seattle Slewfoot was given full authorization by the Ultimate Minister to begin.
At the deepest depths of Puget Sound, within the cramped confines of an invisibility-cloaked ballistic missile submarine made of reinforced steel, a final briefing was being conducted by General Adam McFerry, the mission’s squad leader, a steroid-infused brute of unnatural build, addressed Platoon 809, seated to his right, and Platoon 104, to his left.
“Soldiers!” McFerry grunted in a gravelly drawl out of the former Southern United States. “Tango 809 squadron will run point! Commander Maith will lead Platoon 809 and Platoon 104 Team Beta through the deepest pipe of the Seattle Sewage system at 100 meters below the surface!”
Team Beta comprised five of the most athletically flexible and strategy-adept privates of Platoon 104. They sat and watched as General McFerry weaved his hands around the infrared holographic images.
“From there,” McFerry continued, “Platoon 809 and the Beta squadron will navigate a one-mile stretch of the tunnels, then skim the perimeter until you reach Pipe Charlie, which you’ll see in this image here!”
Jesse closed his eyes and zoned out, engaging in mental gymnastics to prepare himself for battle. He thought about his aunt and his parents, picturing each of them giving him encouragement and motivational cliches.
Mary, meanwhile, hyperventilated. She understood Basic training is far and away different from live military combat. In her life, she has read up to thousands of comic books and seen a similar amount of movies and TV shows portraying armed conflict. Now that she was going to live it, the concept of maintaining a docile and levelheaded demeanor became foreign.
Sarah felt the opposite. She felt prepared. She feared nothing. Her mental motivational tactic comprised of gritting her teeth and reciting “YOU CAN DO THIS.”
As for Matt, he was the most uneasy of any member of the platoons, but for a different reason: he couldn’t come up with a joke for the occasion. Deep down, he knew McFerry would feed him to the sharks if he cracked one, but jokes were the only way he could handle adverse situations.
But, after a thought raced through his mind, Matt let out a chuckle. A loud one.
McFerry stopped his speech and eyed up Matt the way a defensive football player views a loose ball after a fumble.
“DO YOU FIND SOMETHING FUNNY, PRIVATE MAITH?!” McFerry roared.
“SIR! NO SIR!” Matt barked.
“YOU MAGGOT!” McFerry replied, “YOUR ASS MAY BE A PILE OF SHARK POOP IN THE NEXT HOUR! YOU’RE LUCKY I GAVE YOU A GENERIC NICKNAME TO DISTINGUISH YOU FROM YOUR SQUAD LEADER! NOW PAY ATTENTION, THE REST OF YOU!”
Matt sighed in relief, while his sister and his cousins silently chuckled and forcibly prevented themselves from smirking.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” McFerry continued, “Divine Air Force strikes have already taken out ninety percent of strategic outposts and trade routes within a hundred-mile radius of Seattle! This means we only have one shot at completing this mission, and it’s tonight! The Divine Army is on standby for reinforcements, but you people are our front line! Your country is proud of you, and it will be even prouder should you complete your task! I want to drink the blood of George Fetisov and spit it out on his rotting corpse, and I know the rest of you do, too! Let’s make it happen!”
“SIR, YES SIR!” the troops of Platoons 809 and 140 screamed in unison.