To understand who he was, you have to go back to another time. When the world was powered by the black fuel. And the desert sprouted great cities of pipe and steel. Gone now, swept away. For reasons long forgotten, two mighty warrior tribes went to war and touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel they were nothing. They built a house of straw. The thundering machines sputtered and stopped. Their leaders talked and talked and talked. But nothing could stem the avalanche. Their world crumbled. The cities exploded. A whirlwind of looting, a firestorm of fear. Men began to feed on men.
My life fades. The vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of chaos. Ruined dreams. This wasted land. -The Road Warrior
The Huey named Paranoid Amnesiac was on its final mission. It thundered over the jungle just above the tree line machine guns blaring into the brush. Inside the copter 12 battle hardened men were about to descend into the heart of darkness. Explosions rocked the skyline. There was no turning back. There was no coming back. This was the Kansas Wasteland and once you entered there was only one way out, and that was in a body bag with a tag on your toe. With your dog tags shredded about your neck and your testicles in your teeth. Hell was a more inhabitable place. The chopper was too low for flak but that didn't shield them from small arms fire. Bullets clinked through the floor of the chopper where the men sat sitting on their helmets. The smell of napalm and mustard gas greeted them as they approached their destination. They were headed for a clearing just at the beginning of Trench land. Smoke and fire drifted into the sky from the trenches. The shelling never stopped and everywhere the soldiers scrambled like insects.
And the Change had already begun. Only one side of human still clung to the tattered shreds of their humanity. The other side had already begun their descent into devolution. Thousands of would be Goblins crawled about the trenches and tunneled through the ground behind the human lines. The age of Tunnel rats had come.
The mood on the helicopter was grim as the platoon looked out upon the chaotic explosive atmosphere surrounding them. Hope was forsaken in that eerie wasteland. The Morning Star had come and gone but his rival never showed his face. This was war.
"Fuck Blue Skelton, I never should have joined Warlord Incorporated." Griffin said.
"At least the pay is good." Corporal Atard said.
"What good is money if you aren't alive to spend it?" Griffin shouted over the obnoxious purr of the engines.
"Don't be so negative we might survive." Corporal Atard said.
"There ain't no coming back man there ain't no coming back." The crazy machine gunner rambled.
"Yeah no shit man, we aren't called the Kamikaze Korp for nothing." Griffin Said.
Out the blue, a jovial Asian turned from the copilot seat. "You've got the best weaponry and armor of anyone in the Wasteland boys so chin up. And look on the bright side. I'll be with you ever step of the way."
"Thats a load of shit Blue, you'll duck out the minute the shit gets thick just like you always do." Griffin said.
Blue scowled. "Only if I have something more important to attend to and besides discretion is the better part of valor. You have about thirty seconds to realize that or your gonna get yourself killed first thing."
Griffin gulped Blue Skelton was not someone you wanted to make angry especially when they were about to step down onto his home turf. He decided to keep his mouth shut.
"Like I said boys, Don't worry I'll be fighting right there with you.
The chopper roared over the last of the enchanted forest and the barren clearing
in front of the trenches came rumbling into site. Almost immediately tracer fire struck the side of the chopper and the pilot of the chopper made its way towards its final resting places
"Stow your guns and sheath your swords men. Its about to get hot and hairy."
The platoon hit the ground running for their very lives. A wave of black putrid arrows came crashing down around them. As soon as the crew reached a safe distance the chopper exploded. Like I said there was no going back. Flying machines were becoming a rarity. They were only used in the direst of need. But this was one of those moments of great urgency. Blue Skelton was firing his twin pistols as he ran hitting everything he aimed at. He seemed to be impervious to bullets and he shimmered in and out of focus. What was most peculiar was how out of place he looked wearing a tuxedo upon the ragged battlefield. He dropped nimbly into the trenches just as explosions. The rest of the platoon dove in head first. Most them had already pissed their pants from the horror. No amount of fighting and
"We need to get some dragons in this motherfucker." Blue said thoughtfully.
"NO way the last thing we need in this mess is a dragon." Tak said.
"Still they can kill a lot of people in a hurry." Blue said.
"Yeah but they don't care who they kill. Everything tastes good to them." Tak replied
"True." Blue replied.
"Ok gentlemen time to part company I'm going right with whoever wants to come the rest of you are going left. But regardless, welcome to the wasteland I hope you enjoy your stay."
"No volunteers? Ok I'll go right all by myself."
Blue Skelton ran down the trenches and disappeared into the battle. The platoon never saw him again. The remainder huddled up against the front side of the trench with two men guarding both directions. The goblins saw the assault rifles and guns in their hands and made the platoon their primary the target. The very air popped and whistled as shells came down around them.
"We got to move and move soon." Corporal Atard said.
"Which direction do you think we should go sarge?" Tak said.
"Well I'm not going right that is for damn sure." Sergeant Slinkie said. "Move out lets head left."
"Where the fuck do we sleep in this place." Tak asked.
"I'm not sure if sleep is even an option at this point."
"We'll we'd better report to whoever or whatever the fuck is on our side before we do anything. I feel like a chicken with his head cut off at this point." Sergeant Slinkie said.
Makeshift rockets were landing all around them as the Goblin artillery attempted to blast them off the hell. The world was collapsing around them. The last fires of the napalm were burning out and soon the world would be covered in darkness. The fuel of the dinosaurs had run out. But the platoon still had the sparkle of life left in their eyes. If they had known what they would become they would have ended it right there with a shotgun blast to their head. But a soldier does not give up that easily. It was their destiny to become the walking dead. The republic had fallen although there was one legion who still fought a battle of futility. But unfortunately they were busy fighting off the hordes of the dark lord.
"Alright Able Company, lets get the hell out of this murder hole. Switch your guns to single fire and make your shots count. Something tells me ammo is pretty hard to find here. Our ingenuity is our advantage. Single file staggered and watch your feet. Move!" Sergeant Slinkie yelled.
As they were leaving Griffin grumbled once more. "Shit Nam was paradise compared to this place."
"Shut up soldier."
It was difficult for them to keep their mind on the events at hand and all of them were wondering if they had made a big mistake. In the split second they had to gather their thoughts they thought back to what had transpired over the passage of the previous months. They tried to remember what need had brought them here. But the shockwave of reality brought them back into focus as a gas shrapnel rained overhead. The company hit the deck before moving onward. War comes in snapshots.
They were the last of a dying breed. A small band of Vietnam mercenaries feeding off the old world. Unfortunately they were thrown into the new world much sooner than they would have liked. They would have been better off running drugs in the jungles of Cambodia but plague and pestilence ravaged the Eastern world as it did in many other places. Humans fought over the last inhabitable regions of the Earth and so they made their way to hell at the hands of their mysterious employer. They made one last with for the simple life before they ran into battle.
And it did not take them long to find it. The Goblin tunnels now extended behind human lines. The lines were about to fall. But that was why Able Company was there. They were to stem the tide of slaughter and equalize the conflict. They were an antithesis. They had all come from different places but now they were all together brooding in the dark. The trench came to an intersection. Disenchanted goblins were lurking just around the bend. Slaughter peaked his head out from behind the corner and was met with a hail of arrows hitting the sandbags with a thud. The arrows of the goblins were black and burnt. They had become the ugliness of mankind.
"Tak, lob a grenade theirs too many of them."
Tak pulled out one of the incendiaries and lobbed it over the breach. The ears of the platoon complained as a massive explosion of flame charred both Goblin and sandbag. But the plasma was short lived and time to move was at hand. A couple of grunts rolled out from the safety and shot the unharmed goblins in the head.
[To Be Continued]
Photo Credit Karl Richardson