ENDGAME CONFLICT II?
The eighth entry in the diary of Jesse Charleston Maith
6 January 15 N.G….I don’t even know what time anymore!
It’s been 24 hours since we left the New Alaskan Capitol complex.
We lost many, and I lost a friend.
If there is a God, I hope he is taking good care of Zachary.
Right now, I’d like to believe it, not only because I realize those that perished will be remembered fondly, but those that survived, including Sarah, my cousins, and the rest of the Four, were given a second chance at life.
We arrived at our tented infirmary on the outskirts of Seattle at sunrise. After 1200, when the doctors released me from the emergency unit, the first person I saw was Matt. We hugged like two tight-rope walkers that slipped off and clung to it, and cried for almost a half hour straight.
A while later, Mary, on crutches with her left arm in a sling, joined us, and we embraced and exchanged I love you’s. We expressed how grateful we were for each other and for enduring this experience.
Then, Matt being Matt, he declared this the greatest moment in the history of the Maith Youth Comradeship.
For the last eight, ten, whatever hours, besides meals, I checked in on the surviving members of the Four and the rest of my platoon mates. They are doing well, thank Joshua. Aside from that, Sarah and I held each other and cried. Our embraces were like wrapping ourselves around a blanket made of the finest materials money can buy, but the warmth we felt was priceless.
I can’t believe we’re going to get married!
I sure as hell never thought I’d be saying that at age 15. Who knew the happiest moment of my life so far would take place amidst a military battle?!
But these are extraordinary times.
Yes, we accomplished our mission. We killed George Fetisov.
However, as we were being airlifted out of the Cave, I couldn’t stop flashing back to the sight of Fetisov, his glasses snapped in half and detached from his ears, cuts all over his coma-white face as 140 worked tirelessly to extract his corpse from under hundreds of pounds of concrete.
I didn’t feel validated, righteous.
I felt… conflicted.
How did he know my name?!
He knew my father?!
Why did he “stop” the battle to have a private word with me?
What was with all the cryptic remarks about you-know-who?!
I’m not relieved that the man responsible for my aunt’s death is now dead himself. The fact he expressed remorse; I couldn’t tell if he just using a brilliant political-psychological tactic, or if he genuinely felt guilty. We’ll never know.
What resonates with me the most are these words: are you prepared to tolerate or accept what Stewart is going to do to you and your people? What exactly does that mean?
Is more going on beyond what Sarah and I have seen on the Project? What else is Stewart hiding? Are we actually done fighting New Alaska, even though Fetisov is dead?
Is Stewart… seeking revenge on Russia and China?!
Endgame Conflict II?!
This leads me to my last thought of the night. About an hour ago, the same mysterious anonymous figure that gave a speech at our boot camp graduation gave us a congratulatory speech. In it, that obnoxious robotic voice stressed, and I mean stressed, for us to be ready for the next battle, and that it could happen; days, weeks, months, or even years from now.
I guess peace or death really is an illusion.
Did we really accomplish anything by ousting him? Was this all just to satisfy Stewart’s ego? Was it all a cover for something else? Was it for Project Miracle?
I’m going insane just thinking about this. I just want to go home. Agent X teased a special event in New York after our arrival, probably a ticker tape parade or something. That would be cool, I guess.
Be free. I hope.