Burying its face beyond the horizon, the sun paved way for neon skies before darkness could start its reign. They all stood in lines so unbent fully loaded. Guns at hand, ammunition around the body and bags on their backs. The atmosphere had no trace of peace, at least not at that time. Their hearts beat to the tune of their national anthem.
‘The legitimate soldier fights, not motivated by the hate of what lies in front of him but by the love of what is behind him.’ Commander Hetfield spoke. ‘In front of our lines will be human beings, made of flesh and blood. They are husbands and fathers. Some fathers will be fighting besides their sons. But behind us, behind us is the only thing we stand for, our beloved country and pride. We wage war, if we don’t kill, we will be killed. This land we don’t belong, fight with your hind eyes open! FOR OUR COUNTRY!’ The soldiers shouted back, ‘WE FIGHT!’
Following that, the advance towards the enemy’s line took form. Commander Hetfield divided the force into five formidable teams. The first troupe was already covering ground ahead of everyone else. It consisted of the most experienced soldiers. A vast grassland it was. They crawled within the grass to reduce visibility. In their movement, they noticed the surface on which they crawled upon was growing weaker- as though lacking support. The sergeant leading the pod gave a signal to halt. Still trying to decipher what was going on, the ground caved in and swallowed all of them alive.
The caving in of the ground called for conception of another strategy. A daunting task to Commander Hetfield was to figure out how to navigate the unfamiliar ground after an incident like that. To save the day, Lieutenant Pitts claimed to understand the terrain of that land. With Lt. Pitts came 35 years of experience. With a green light from Commander Hetfield, Lt. Pitts summoned the second troupe, from which he pointed out ten experienced soldiers and sent them out to scout in pairs.
As these officers ventured out to scout the land, Com. Hetfield got a force ready to advance subject to the report from the scouts. As the first pair approached their designated scouting grounds, a behemoth blast consumed the officers. Instantaneously, two other blasts happened taking down 6 officers. The remaining four officers who were going the furthest distance figured that this may be a case of proximity bombs so they turned to head back to the base. As they tried to head back to the base, the spreading fire caught up with them and consumed them whole. Com. Hetfield had suffered a great hit.
This unfortunate turn of events inspired Lt. Pitts to take matters into his own hands. To the rest of the force and speaks as though to motivate, ”When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.’ He decides to do the survey the environment himself. Com. Hetfield overrules his decision and ask that nothing happens till daybreak.
At daybreak, Lt. Pitts was at it again. He left the set camp before any other officer was awake and searched the land around. Coming back, he met an angry Commander who was ready to send him back home. But the news he bore was a life giving to the force. He had spotted a military base not too far from where they had set camp.
At the word of Com. Hetfield, they all advance towards the base. With a renewed confidence, the force is ready for action. Commander Hetfield led the offense this time. At his command, grenades and explosives were hurled at that base. This attack flattened the whole base. He had already won the war despite the setbacks.
Only then did he realize the pattern the fire took from the base was going to trap them within no time. Reaching for his radio call, he ordered ‘Retreat! I repeat, retreat’. Only those within the range of his voice heard the command. On noticing this, Lt. Shannon spreads the word over the radio. Oddly, no one retreats. The radio signal had been tampered with hence the message couldn’t get across. This caused even more soldiers to fall victim to the reaper; a further hit to Commander Hetfield.
Trying to make it out alive, the sound from engines of choppers cut through the atmosphere. Upon hearing this, Lt. Pitts put on a red cap. This was a move too weird to interpret. Commander Hetfield recognized them as those belonging to the enemy. He knew too well his boys and himself were set up for doom. The soldiers in the choppers opened fire. Commander Hetfield was the first to be hit.
Upon witnessing this, Lt. Shannon asks the officers around him to play dead. They all fell to the ground and were immobile. Lt. Shannon was watching this massacre unfold. After all the shooting and killing, the choppers finally land. The militants from the choppers climb down and load Commander Hetfield’s body to one of their choppers. Lt. Pitts then stands up and walks towards these militants; they salute to each other. Lt. Pitts sheds his uniform. ‘We killed them all!’ He shouts. They all laugh as they leave together. Lt Shannon watches all in disbelief.
‘Did you see that?’ Shannon asks. No reply. He looks back to where he thought other officers were playing dead were. The shock causes him to almost jump out of his skin. As he checks on them, he notices that after playing dead, they all got hit and it was a game no more. There was an exception, there was one who was still alive. Shannon vows to revenge, in respect to his country- Saida, commander Hetfield and all the fallen soldiers. He was empty and cold inside.
Anyone is Lt. Shannon shoes would here these melodies,
‘I believe in nothing, bot the end and not the start.
I believe in nothing, not the earth and not the stars.
I believe in nothing, not the day and not the dark.
I believe in nothing but the beating of our hearts.
I believe in nothing, one hundred suns until we part. (100 suns – 30seconds To Mars)
His flesh and spirit mourned Commander Hetfield. The other surviving soldier was a slave of pain and was drowning in his own blood. Unto death he called for attention. ‘Lt. Please stop my suffering this instant’ He cried out to Lt. Shannon. Without offering a second thought, Shannon sent a bullet straight to his heart. Shannon hurt the more. He hadn’t killed any enemy but one of his own. Tension within him was building steadily as heavy thoughts forced their way out of him. Indeed, war does not determine who is right, it only determines who is left. The only thing left was a beating heart, boiling blood and a soul hungry for revenge.
From a distance, he could hear roaring engines; he knew, conforming to any war protocol, the cleaning team had arrived. If he feigned death at this time he would surely die. He crawled underneath the grass till a safe distance away. These soldiers attended to every dead body by pouring acid on them, thus dissolving them. The anger that boiled within him was utterly indescribable.
Shannon invested his thoughts on trying to device a way out of that place but the terrain was way too unfamiliar for him to navigate. As these soldiers drove away he followed their tracks. He finally found himself on a strip of road not worthy to be called tarmac.
After moments of walking, he saw a lit-up place. It was a petrol station. Shannon saw an attendant there. He asked to be assisted with a phone; the attendant was kind enough to lend him one. Shannon contacted Arin and gave details pertaining to his location. Arin then asked to speak to the attendant. After the attendant was done with the call, he asked Shannon to follow him. Shannon was given clothes to change into. Fifteen minutes later, a Ford Raptor pulled over at the petrol station. It was Arin. Lt. Shannon got in.
Without exchanging any pleasantries, Arin asks
‘Sir, what happened?’
‘Son, too much tension between Saida and Wadia. Our president refused to renew the oil supply agreement to Wadia. Due to increased threats from Wadia’s militia groups, we deported all its refugees. Two weeks later, the ambassador of Wadia to Saida was assassinated. Wadia’s government went on to assume that it was Saida’s government that took out their ambassador. To retaliate, Wadia dropped a bomb on our airport. Our commander in Chief then gave the declaration of war. Lt. Pitts sold out and now I’m here!
This was followed by Silence. Then Arin commented, ‘Sir, only the dead have seen the end of war.’ As he spoke, he was driving into a military-like base.
Without wasting time, Arin took Lt. Shannon to their boss. They commonly called him General.
‘General, for a long time I have been promising to bring a war tactician. Here is one. He just quit the military to join us. For a long time you have wanted to wage war against Wadia’s forces. This is the guy you need.’
The General examines Lt. Shannon then strikes a conversation with him.
Lt. Shannon: Sir Yes sir
General: What was your rank?
Lt. Shannon: A lieutenant Sir
General: Are you ready for war?
Lt. Shannon: Sir yes sir!
General: What is your philosophy of war?
Lt. Shannon: Sir, if you win, you need not explain. If you lose, you should not be there to explain, Sir!
General: Hmm, you may go.
Lt. Shannon got a quick approval subject to being introduced by Arin. Arin was a member of Saida’s Armed Forces Fighting Battalion. However, he seemed more of an informant than a fighter so the Authority sent him across the boarders to join a militia group and serve as the Forces spy.
Lt. Shannon came at a time when the militia was about to cause unrest in Wadia owing to the government’s poor decision making. Being a Lieutenant made him a very special asset. General Shinoda gave the command that all information be provided to him as he would be the lead tactician in taking down the government through attacking the country’s Department of Defence.
He was made to know that the military base was just about 15 kilometres from where the base was. To Lt. Shannon’s attention came the knowledge of an underground pathway linking the two bases. The main aim for this was an escape route and an access to the Wadia’s barracks water lines.
Upon visiting the tunnel, Lt. Shannon requested for two metric tons of butane gas. Normally, ordering huge amounts would cause trouble but General Shinoda was well connected. This wasn’t a problem to him. Lt. Shannon further requested to find out at what time most of barracks do laundry or any activities that had the use of water. Tuck was contacted and he gave the time 1727 hours.
Tuck was a mole in Wadia’s Armed Forces working for General Shinoda.
General Shinoda asked Lt. Shannon if he was ready to launch offence. The response was affirmative. Knowing that everything else was ready, General Shinoda decided to destabilize the army. He asked his hacking team to get into the military’s system to retrieve any sensitive information. To follow this attack was the leakage of all the dirty personal files linked to the top ranked officials in Wadia’s army to the internet and media. This forced five commanders and three generals to step aside as investigations had to be done.
That night, Arin and a group of other militia men raided a charnel house to steal bodies. The bodies were dressed them to resemble Wadia’s military. Following the dressing, was the loading of bodies onto the choppers. Was all hell about to break loose? No way! All hell was still, no activity was on. No one down there knew from which demon such ideas came from. Heaven interceded.
The following morning, Arin and Lt. Shannon were up early. They seemed jovial and engaged in a conversation. Tension was not theirs to behold.
‘Lt. Shannon, how are you today sir?’ Arin asked
“I am like this, yourself son?” Shannon answered.
‘I am well. Sir, at one army base, the annual trip to the rifle range had been cancelled for the second year in a row, but the semi-annual physical fitness test was still on as planned. One soldier missed, “Does it bother anyone else that the army seem not to care how well we can shoot, but they are extremely interested in how fast we can run?” Arin narrated.
“Son that is very irrelevant information. However, I have booked next week Friday 0347hours to try and laugh at your story.” Lt. Shannon replied.
Then through Lt. Shannon came the order from General Shinoda to release the choppers. Tuck was also informed that the choppers were coming that way. Floating 60 meters above the ground, these choppers ran through the barracks dumping dead bodies. As these bodies fell, some burst, some broke necks but most had a stench- a stench that spelled terror. This threw Wadia’s army under Major General Adair into confusion.
The next day, Shannon sends a group of technicians down the tunnel to redirect the water supply to the barracks. Two activities had to be done, the first one was to redirect the water supply and the second was to connect the gas pipes to the water pipes heading for the barracks. This has to be done in the fastest way possible to avoid any alarms. The team goes down the tunnel with a horse pipe and a gas pipe. How were they going to deal with the pressure with which the water is flowing? That was a 30centimetre radius pipe. They had their tools ready but did not know how to start.
With this dilemma, they contact Lt. Shannon asking for the way forward as this was his idea. Lt. Shannon reaches out to General Shinoda requesting for permission to engage the hacking team. Getting the greenlight, he gives the order for the team to hack into Wadia Water Distribution Company. This gave them control, consequently, they stopped the pumping of water towards the barracks to allow for the exchange to happen. All the team has is just 6 minutes. Against the clock they start working. At the fourth minute, they are done with redirecting the water and now focus their attention on connecting the gas pipes to the waterline. Very weird techniques I must say!
Water redirection and gas connection was done just about a kilometre to the barracks. The team installs a valve and close it then start to pump the gas.
7 hours later, expecting the water supply to start running out, General Shinoda dispatches five trucks. Two stopped five minutes away from the barracks main entry, three stopped 7 minutes away from the barrack’s alternative gates. They were waiting on Tuck for the word that water had run out. Additionally, Tuck was charged with the responsibility of opening the valve to allow the butane to flow into tanks. The instruction to him was, after 30 minutes of the valve being opened he should send communicate.
Finally came the green light from Tuck.
The first truck approached the barracks gate normally. They presented fake papers which claimed their presence in the barracks was as a result of the water problem which they were to fix. Upon clearance, they drove in. The second truck was 67 meters behind the first one. After the first truck was well into the barracks, the driver to the second truck drove at full speed and in full swing towards the gate. He crushed right through the gate sparking alarms. Wasting no time, the gate keepers open fire at the truck. The militia men burst out of the truck container, slaying the gate keepers to take their breaths away. Indeed, life is not the amounts of breath you take, but the moments that take your breath away- like in this case.
My sixteen locked and loaded
All fear has been avoided,
You say the words and my weapon is drawn
This one could be my last time
Some people call it “war crime”
I may be staring down a lethal sight (Danger line Avenged Sevenfold
Lt. Shannon on the other hand was monitoring the flow of gas. The other three trucks had also forcefully entered the barracks. The ambush was on. Gunshots were the music of the moment. Lt. Shannon turned to General Shinoda and said, “Its time”. Smiling, General Shinoda gave the order for the release of choppers as air support. They say the perfect war strategy is the element of surprise. Wasn’t it enough trouble for Major General Adair’s men that foot militants had caught them by surprise? How much worse was it going to be now that the attack was being reinforced on air?
Major General Adair gave the order for tanks to be engaged in this ambush. He further called for support from Wadia’s Air force. The tanks came in handy as it was able to shoot down two choppers. However, this did not help the situation as one of the choppers landed on a water tank which at that instance was butane filled causing a huge blast. Considering the gas was already flowing through the pipes to the homes in this barracks, the fire from the blown up tank followed the path through the pipes setting houses ablaze!
The other choppers dropped grenades and other explosives on the remaining water tanks. This didn’t help the situation in the barracks. It was then that the air force started to arrive to the scene. Hell, they made it uglier. They shot down all the choppers. Though that’s all they could do as the damage had already been done. General Shinoda’s men had overrun the barracks.
Tuck then ran to Major General Adair and Lt. Pitts in a bid to get them to safety. He led them to tunnel. ‘Sirs, this is a good hiding place and also an escape route. It will keep the both of you safe and alive.’ They knew they had cheated death, so they had a reason to fear the same. This offer was their second chance to life. Wasn’t their acceptance to this offer an irony? They say the fear of death emanates from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.
Tuck sent a signal to General Shinoda to show that all was going according to the plan. This allowed the General and Lt. Shannon to relax. Sauntering, they had a conversation of their own kind.
‘A good tactician you are, son.’ Commended General Shinoda.
‘Much appreciated sir.’ responded Lt. Shannon. Then silence took over for a while.
‘Sir There was this general called Baldwin.’ Lt. Shannon spoke. ‘He had barely arrived in the forward area when a sniper’s bullet removed a button from his shirt. He threw himself to the ground in terror. His men stood around him with the greatest unconcern. The general yelled at the passing Sergeant, “Hey! Isn’t someone going to kill that damned sniper?” The sergeant looked at the general and replied, ‘I guess not general. We are scared that if we kill him the enemy will replace him with somebody who really knows how to shoot.’ Then Lt. Shannon grinned.
‘Son that is very irrelevant information. However, I have booked next week Frida 0348 hours to try and find the funny in your story.’ responded General Shinoda.
To end that awkward conversation was a proximity signal from Tuck. They stood still. Took out their guns and were ready for action. Then came footsteps. Then Tuck’s voice. Silence.
‘Young man, how was this tunnel built without my word?’ General Adair questioned. Tuck remained silent. ‘Who are you?’ He further interrogated. Tuck still offered no reply.
‘Sir, your questions will be answered soon enough. For now, get to safety first.’ Tuck finally replied
‘What is you rank young man’ General Adair asked.
‘Enough of the questions!’ Came General Shinoda’s voice. ‘On your knees gentlemen!’ He further ordered shooting both M. General Adair and Lt. Pitts on their feet. Lt. Shannon cuffed both of them. Lt. Tuck was in too much pain to look up to see who these men were. All these men were walking the same tunnel, but from different ends.
Pitts and Adair were taken in as prisoners of war. Trouble was brewing for Arin and Lt. Shannon for if Pitts spoke, then it would come to knowledge of the General that he was sleeping in the same bed with the enemy. The thought of this put the taste of death on the tongues of these two. Thinking fast, Arin moves to use his connections to get rid of General Adair. Shannon delayed the general in order to buy time before he went to talk these prisoners of war.
45 minutes later, Arin lets Lt. Shannon know that everything is set. This news allows for breathing space for Lt. Shannon. 10 minutes later, General Shinoda and Lt. Shannon are called to have a meal. There was a lot of tension in the atmosphere. Lt. Shannon was rather uneasy. The only advantage he had was that his experience with life had taught him how to act calm even when the situation was thick. Keep calm and be composed for even in the worst of situations, opportunity shall still be found.
Following the meal, General Shinoda asked to rest for a while. He went to his quarters to sleep. Normally, he would wake up after an hour. Four hours later, he still was sleeping. Most of the camp thought it was the after effects of a heavy day. Those who knew him too well decided to go and check on him. To their shock, the found him still and dead. This news paralyzed the whole camp.
Every one at that camp knew that Arin was very close to the General. Taking advantage of this, Arin tells the whole camp that the General knew he was going to die and for that reason, he brought in Lt. Shannon, his step son, to take over. The whole camp then pays homage to the fallen General and pledge allegiance to Lt. Shannon. Following this, Lt. Shannon goes ahead to mention that he and General Shinoda had agreed to move the whole force to Saida after the attack on the military barracks. This would guarantee everyone safety from any attacks.
As was protocol, out of the country, Arin should communicate on behalf of the force if not the General himself. Through Arin, Lt. Shannon gave the news that the traitor Lt. Pitts and M. General Adair had been captured. He also communicated about the five hundred men at camp. This presented itself as an opportunity for Saida to deal with the militia group once and for all. In bits, they were all transferred to Saida’s Department of Defence.
Lt. Shannon surrendered General Adair to the government but requested to deal with Pitts. To deal with the militia group, he created a drill. In this drill, one had to jump into a water tunnel which would land them into a pool of water where they had to swim and get out within a certain amount of time. As General Shinoda’s men jumped in they found themselves in a much larger tank filled with water. They all drowned to death.
He then took Pitts to the well-known torture chamber.
‘Can’t you feel the poison rising out of the morning and clear through the night,
you can feel my strength destroy you straight to the heart from the venomous bite. Sidewinder- Avenged Sevenfold
Pitts was treated to an electric chair. Shannon made sure Pitt’s feet were in a bucket of water too. Before anything else, he spoke. ‘Lt. Pitts, ha-ha. It is forbidden to kill. Therefore, all murderers must be punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets. You didn’t finish you work!’ He then injected just enough current to electrocute him but not to kill him. This procedure was carried out repeatedly for 53 minutes.
Pitts cried out, but just like Sodom and Gomorrah his sins had caused the cup of the wrath of God to overflow. There was no mercy for him.
Shannon then placed a plastic bag over Pitts head. He filled it with water. This was a drowning mechanism. Only that Pitts was not allowed to die, that would be too soon. Every time he swallowed enough water to pass out, the water was drained and he was resuscitated and the same procedure was repeated. ‘You have to pay the price for your betrayal!’ Shannon yelled. This methodical breaking down of a man’s soul went on for 127 minutes. Not that the water was clean.
‘Please Shannon! This is enough torture! Just let me go back to my family, do not kill me this way!’ Cried out Pitts.
‘When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.’ Mocked Shannon.
Ignoring his pleas, Pitts was put onto a steel bed without a mattress or anything of the sort. He was spread out with his hands and feet being tied to different corners of the bed. He was naked. The bed was heated till the steel was red hot, then an electric current was also passed through it. Pitts was there screaming, crying and begging for forgiveness. All these happened in a measure that would not kill him. For his wounds, he was dipped in a pool of salty water.
They say betrayal is sweet, but its fruits are a poison that brings suffering that a man should never know.
Later, he was sentenced to life imprisonment to an absolute solitary confinement prison. The prison had one room only, located on an island. No one was allowed to visit him.
A week later, due to bringing down both the military and militia group of a country they considered an enemy- Wadia, Shannon was given a medal of honour by Major General Lewter.
‘War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all. But I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I only love that which they defend. Lt. Shannon stood alone to defend this country and today, we honour him!’ Then came the round of applause.
Saida’s President honoured him as well.
‘What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we done for others and the world remains immortal. We honour you Lt. Shannon.’ The president spoke.
After this honour, he broke the president hands and shot Major General Letter’s foot.
He was taken to a mental asylum for rehabilitation of the psychological effects of war.
A hero of war
Is that what they see
Just medals and scars
So damn proud of me
And I brought home that flag
Now it gathers dust
But it’s a flag that I love
It’s the only flag I trust Hero of War Rise Against
No copyright infringement intended on the use of the songs or image used above. All rights are to the singers of the same. To listen to those songs just click on them.
The Art work is by Mario Sanchez Nevado. To check out more of his work click here