PDA

View Full Version : Guardian Angel (content warning)



CyberWar
June 22nd, 2015, 04:55 AM
"I love the smell of burning napalm in the morning." The most famous quote from some Yank war film, Apocalypse Now, if I'm not mistaken.

Hollywood screenwriters do seem to have a thing for corny lines, trying to cast their characters as macho badasses, a more presentable way of describing cold-blooded sociopaths who apparently find massacring their enemies amusing, constantly cracking cynical one-liners like this. Maybe it wouldn't be such a big issue if their adversaries were at least somewhat challenging, not just a horde of anonymous pathetic goons with a bad case of Stormtrooper syndrome, existing solely for the purpose to be slaughtered in scores by the film's protagonist.

Since the protagonist is traditionally American, fighting for American values and way of life against whoever is the most politically convenient to be cast as the villains at the time, all these action films lead me to wonder how much is all that vaunted freedom and democracy really worth, if the protagonists who represent these values need such pathetic foes to prevail.

Which is a rather unusual revelation from someone who smokes cigars and wears a headscarf all the time explicitly because that's what machinegunners do in American war films.

---

Anyway, the reason I've even come to think of napalm, it's smell and role in Hollywood catchphrases is my present situation, when air is full of burnt napalm fumes. It's not a smell even a hardcore badass action hero would find agreeable, especially when also admixed with the distinct stenches of burning rubber, metal, hair and human flesh.

No matter how much I might hate our enemies, seeing them on the receiving end of a napalm strike still always gives me chills. From all the countless forms of death that modern weaponry can bring, napalm is clearly the nastiest way to go, with the potential exception of white phosphorus. Unlike typically shown in films, people engulfed by flames usually don't shriek horribly for a prolonged time, certainly no more than one long ghastly howl that the air left in their lungs allows them. Once they take their next breath, the fire burns their vocal cords and instantly swells their lungs, so the poor bastards can't in fact utter a single sound as they burn up and must hence meet their demise mute. One can only imagine the agony they must be enduring in those last moments.

Those who only get splashed by napalm on a part of their bodies, however, do scream a lot, and horribly so, but not always - sometimes the adrenaline rush and/or shock keeps them silent as well, at least until they manage to put out the fire and come back to their senses with the stricken parts often charred down to the bone. Medics say that third and fourth-degree burns do not hurt, all the nerve endings being burnt to crisp, and victims of severe burns in fact feel like freezing. Still, the edges of the burns that still retain their senses obviously hurt like hell, not to mention the shock and horror of seeing your own body so disfigured, with crispy skin sloughing off in large sheets, so the poor bastards befallen to such fate still cry and moan as woefully as tormented souls in hell.

Spending several years out in this world of piss and shit has evidently fucked up my head beyond repair. To my own shock and disgust, I've come to find the screams of people burning alive somewhat... sexually arousing. It's not like I get an instant hard-on whenever I see some poor Russkie meet his maker in flames, but I do get the proverbial butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling, that distinct sense of excitement that you usually get before fucking.

---

We walk carefully, hugging the soot-stained, still hot walls. The street is filled with acrid smoke, rubble and charred bodies, flames still weakly licking some of them. The corpses, burnt beyond all recognition, seem to snarl at us hideously, the white of their teeth standing out on their black charred faces, permanently exposed and frozen in horrid grin. Many have contorted into fetal position - when the human body burns, the muscles dry out and shrink, oftentimes contorting the body into this primordial posture

"Watch your step and don't touch nothing!" Archer reminds us. Although the napalm has stopped burning for some time already, there's still a lot of boiling-hot black, sticky tar-like polystyrene slurry stuck everywhere. At least I think it's polystyrene - I used to make Molotovs by dissolving styrofoam in gasoline back in high-school for Friday night "bombing runs" with my skinhead friends. I know that one form of napalm uses the exact same composition, the difference being largely in the quality of ingredients. I also know I don't want this shit to stick anywhere on me in any amount - I still have a scar on my left pinky left there by just a small burning drop from a poorly-sealed Molotov.

There's a certain advantage in not having to worry about collateral damage. This used to be an industrial district, and any civvies who might have been around here in better times are long gone. Now it's just Ivans and us, duking it out over the ruins. This place resembles Stalingrad if anything, thankfully minus the freezing cold.

The Russians we're fighting here seem to be outclassed by us in many respects, which is something that we as a second-rate unit of reservists from a small and militarily-feeble country don't get to say often. The lads stationed here against us seem to be mostly conscripts and reservists, 18 or 19-year-old boys and older men in their 50's as their NCOs and officers. Unlike the regular Russian army units which are outfitted with the latest gear, these chaps still make do with older Soviet-era equipment, only their uniforms, helmets and flak jackets being up to date. Which is good news for us - the brass has finally deemed it necessary to outfit us with some new gear for the planned offensive to push the Russians out of Germany.

I've finally gotten my hands on an MG3 of the latest modification. Basically a modernized variant of the legendary MG42, a.k.a. Hitler's Buzzsaw, it purrs in my hands like a kitty whenever I depress the trigger. And, by all gods, does this kitty pack a bite too - I could hardly believe the ease with which it can cut a man literally in two when I first used it, something you'd normally expect from a .50 or a Minigun. The lads laugh that I've found a new love, remarking that I was smiling for a first time in months after my first combat run with it.

If there is one thing about Russians I respect, it is their tenacity. They might not be very smart or imaginative, at least as far as our current opposition is concerned, traditionally relying on numbers and brute force, and they might not be very motivated to fight either, but it's been almost four years now, and we have yet to meet a Russian unit that would not put up a tough fight, be they hardcore VDV paratroopers whom even the best Yank units don't take lightly, or second-rate reservists like the ones currently facing us here. I think it's not because of the inherent toughness or better training of the Russian soldier, but rather because of the system he has grown up in. When you are accustomed to being treated like shit, like an expendable state property from birth, you don't really come to value your life like Westerners do. The Russian military culture only enhances this sense of expendability. You come to think of yourself as nothing better than a worthless expendable number on a paper, and have nothing left to lose except the chance to at least die with dignity which has been denied to you your whole life. Unlike the lot of us Westerners, most Russians here probably don't expect to ever see their homes again, and most indeed won't, but that is exactly what keeps them consistently wanting to go out with a bang rather than whimper.

That my assessment is probably true was attested some weeks ago by an incident recounted by a captain from the 2nd Battalion, who told of his interactions with a group of Russian POWs he and some of his men were tasked to escort to the nearest POW camp. When the prisoners learned they were to be escorted by Latvians, he said, the lot of them were terrified by the mere suggestion. The captain made some inquiries after a friendly chat and treating the Ivans to smokes and some chow, much to their surprise. In the end, he learned that they had been told by their officers that Latvians harbor a particularly vicious hatred for Russians, and would torture and kill them with special cruelty upon capture. Afterwards, he noticed one prisoner crying and asked him what was wrong. The young lad, no older than 18 or 19, replied that this is his first time in service when someone has treated him like a human being, and a supposedly-sworn enemy at that.

---

A bullet impacting the wall inches above my head ends my reflections on the nature of our incinerated adversaries. Apparently t

"CONTACT!" I scream, dropping to the ground behind a pile of rubble, everyone else following the suit and hitting the deck or dodging inside the buildings. There's a particularly hideous corpse lying just an arm's reach away from me, the molten remains of it's helmet fused to it's charred, horribly-grinning head, bits of burnt uniform melded into what's left of the poor bastard's skin. The ground about me is still hot and slick with something black and oily, most probably human grease from this and other nearby corpses. A few years ago, at the start of the war, I'd probably puke my guts out upon such sights and feel that itching tingle of disgust in every part of my body to have come in contact with corpse-fat for weeks afterwards. Now it barely even registers in my head as a fact. I guess a man can get used to pretty much anything with enough repeated exposure.

Several bursts of automatic gunfire throw dirt and bits of concrete on my back before a heavy machine gun starts to bark, raking our positions and tearing uncomfortably large holes in the concrete and brick walls surrounding us. I immediately recognize the distinct sound of the piece - it's a Dushka, the DShKM heavy machine gun. Even though Russians have newer, better pieces like Kord or NSV these days, Dushka is still what it is - a 12.7 mm heavy machinegun, as good for her designed purpose of fucking people up as any piece of her calibre. No wonder the Ivan gunners have named her their dushka - "sweetheart". I manage to peek over the rubble pile for long enough to see that the enemy has entrenched in the ruined building at the end of the street, their HMG positioned in a hole in the wall behind sandbags, before more suppressive fire forces me back into cover.

Normally we would pop smoke and "zipper" out under these circumstances, but not today. Today the Yanks air-dropped several tonnes of napalm on Russian positions, forcing upon us the indelicacy of watching men flail and writhe in the flames like worms. Today we are driving out the Ivans from here once and for all. And most importantly, today we will succeed, because today we have our very own busty little guardian angel going by the name of Katti on our side.

Katti is one of the few survivors from the Recon Company, a short, busty, pale-skinned chestnut-haired little devil with eyes of an eagle, nerves of steel, and, at least in my personal opinion, the second best-looking ass in the battalion after Beast's. Ukrainian by birth, Katti hates Russians like plague, having double the reason to do so after what they have done to both her ancestral land and the land that she and us call home. Since most of our battalion's early demise from the Russian airstrike in the opening hours of the war, Katti is officially the best shot of the 19th Motorized, carrying with pride the battalion's only true sniper rifle, an M24 SWS that only a select few of us ever got to shoot before the war. We used to have a saying that one can only truly call himself a veteran of the battalion after having fired our M24 at least once before reaching retirement age. Katti keeps a kill tally in the form of incisions on her gun's stock. Last I checked, it was 56 a week ago, and since she's made it her business to flatline at least one Ivan a day with it lately, I have no doubt that count will reach 100 by the end of the month.

But today, Katti is on overwatch with a different, much more potent piece. Just as I'm about to pull back into cover, the Dushka's fire abruptly ceases as I see the helmet of her operator behind explode into a puff of blood and gore, the distinct crack of 12.7 mm anti-personnel rifle reaching my ears an instant later. There's a grain silo some 300 metres behind our current position, it's massive concrete walls being practically impervious to anything short of air-dropped bunker busters, as the many pockmarks left on it by artillery shells attest. It is an ideal overwatch point especially now that pretty much everything in the immediate vicinity has been reduced to a height of less than three stories. The 1st Battalion lost quite a few good lads driving the Russians out of it yesterday. Now Katti makes good use of the place by thinning the Russian population with her newest toy - a Hecate II anti-material rifle. We used to have Hecates back home, but they were few and assigned to other battalions. I never even got to see a Hecate until recently, when Beast procured one for us along with a plethora of other equipment including my current MG.

The second or two before someone replaces the fallen gunner is all we need.

"Suppress and advance!" Archer shouts, leading by example and leaning out of cover to open up with his G36KV. I set up behind the rubble pile and open up.

My piece roars to life, spewing a torrent of lead at rate of 1200 rounds per minute. The lack of adjustable fire rate is one thing I loathe about MG3 over my old gas-operated Ksp58B - consequently, this thing invariably eats up insane amounts of ammunition very quickly, and I haven't yet adjusted to my new companion's appetite. The wall behind which our enemies have taken position literally disappears behind the flurry of dust and debris that my gun is tearing up, and our inexperienced enemy is visibly distraught, covering and blindly firing potshots in our direction.

A small explosion strikes the wall at second-story level, near a small window where I remember seeing muzzle flashes just moments ago, tearing a head-sized hole in the concrete and most probably ruining the day of whoever was hiding behind that wall big time. Again, the crack of the Hecate reaches my ears.

I grab my MG and run for the next position, having spotted a slab of concrete conveniently laying side-up a dozen paces ahead. A few enemy rounds whizz by a bit too close for comfort before I hit the deck and start setting up again.

The Dushka roars back to life for a moment, only to be silenced again by Katti, this time permanently as I hear the gunner's shriek of agony along with a metallic clang and see sparks, bits and parts fly off the Russian machine gun. I let loose two more bursts into the opening as the lads close in on the Russian-held building.

By now we are close enough to hear our enemies shout commands and curses inside the building, and discern the occasional face that appears in windows and holes in the wall to shoot back at us, only to be swiftly suppressed. From what I see, these poor suckers are no different from the ones lying about burnt to crisp behind us - young boys fresh out of high school, into the uniform after a few months of boot camp and off to the meat grinder.

Katz pops a Forty inside the silenced MG position from his underbarrel grenade launcher, podstvol, as the Russians call it and we also have come to call it for a lack of a conveniently-short term in our language. The 40-millimetre grenade is deceptively small and innocuous-looking, but a single well-placed shot with one can take out an entire squad or more, depending on how many are present in proximity. Screams and profanities erupting from the inside along with a cloud of dust and dirt indicate he's scored at least one hit.

"Frag'em!" Archer commands. Hog, Fender and Sparks pull out hand grenades, neatly tucked in special pockets on their tactical vests. As they pull out the pins and release the levers, they hold them for a second or two before flinging them inside through the nearest openings. "Cooking off" grenades is a dangerous business, as I've amply witnessed, and the regs are strongly against it for a good reason, plenty of guys having blown up themselves and their mates by getting shot just as they are about to throw an armed frag with less than two seconds left on the fuse. Then again, few grunts these days give a damn about the regs out in the field, finding it preferable to take a certain risk that invariably comes with handling grenades over having them tossed back in their faces.

More explosions inside. Dust obscurs everything while I run to the wall where the rest of my mates are.

"Stack up!" Archer gestures to the rest of us and towards the empty door frame towards the left. Now comes the part that I hate the most. Even though I'm a rather bulky man, I've never been very good at close combat. Sure, by now I have picked up a thing or two about close quarters combat, but I still prefer to avoid it where possible. One thing is shooting people up from a distance, but facing a head's length taller Ivan at arm's reach distance charging at you with an entrenching shovel and screaming bloody murder isn't exactly a comforting thought whenever you are about to cut around the next corner inside a house. Russians do have a natural aptitude for brutal close-up brawls regardless of their training, I have to credit that.

Still, I should have thought of that back when I picked the job and enlisted. I sling my MG on my back and switch to my back-up piece, the trusty M/45 submachine gun. Crude and simple, the venerable M/45 has served us well since the first day. While we do have the more sophisticated MP5's in the company's disposal as well, added there days before the war started, most of us prefer the rugged reliability of the M/45, with the exception of Sparks, who favours the MP's selective-fire feature and safer construction. M/45 only has what, four moving parts, making it a pleasure to clean, and it rarely if ever jams in the high-dirt environment that modern urban combat tends to be. MP5 is, after all, more of a police weapon, meant for fights in relatively-untrashed environment which this clearly isn't.

I do a quick check of my gear to make sure nothing is loose, and that the big khukri knife strapped to my left shoulder slides out of it's sheath comfortably, should I require it's use. I remember picking it off a dead Gurkha soldier a year ago. While I don't approve of looting corpses, much less stripping a fallen warrior of his prized trademark weapon, to my excuse I really needed a knife at the moment, so hopefully that fallen Gurkha and whatever war god his folk pray to will go easy on me for taking that knife when I meet them in the world beyond.

"Ready!"

We wait for a few more seconds as Bravo and Delta squads pull up to the building, followed by more from the Infantry Company. Squaddies synchronize their plan of action, communicating their intents with gestures.

"Well, what are you waiting for, boys?! The Ivans will die of old age waiting for you!" we hear Sarge bellow from behind. He's leading the Infantry boys today.

"You hear the man, gents..." Archer smiles and gestures to proceed inside.

---

Inside the building, the place is a bloody mess. There's a shitload of empty shells and much blood, so we have to watch our step. I and Katz step in the room where the Dushka was emplaced. And there it still is, it's whole receiver carved out and trashed by Katti's shot. Two of the gunners lie dead just next to it, one missing his head, bits of which appear to be strewn on the floor around, and the other lying face down next to the gun, the liberal amount of blood on the floor indicating a solid hit. There are ammunition crates, various personal articles, and a few more bodies further down in the room, their multitude of wounds evidently coming from grenade shrapnel. So far, there's no trace of life here.

"Clear!" Katz reports. Reporting status clear is another thing I hate about clearing buildings - every time you miss something and the room turns out to be anything else than truly clear, people end up hurt or dead, and that remains on you. So just to be sure, I pop a round in the face of every dead Russian in the room, save for the headless machinegunner, who is pretty obviously going nowhere else than six feet under.

"The fuck did you do that for?!" Katz seems genuinely distraught.

"Just to make sure," I reply indifferently, "Now it's clear for sure!"

An explosion, deafening noise of automatic gunfire, screams and curses from the hallway to our left, where the infantry platoon has entered the building seems to indicate they've encountered resistence. We move swiftly to their aid - as swiftly as possible, given the number of rooms we have to check along the way. Most are empty, stashed with various supplies, others have sleeping bags on the floor. From the looks of it, the place seems to have been a sort of staging point for the Ivans, most of whom now lie outside burnt to crisp.

As we approach the enemy-held room down the hallway, lads from the infantry on the other end gesture us to stay back. I see two of them wounded, a trail of blood from pulling them back leading to where they were hit, apparently as they tried to enter the room.

Archer gestures us inside the room next to the occupied one.

"What shall we do?" Sparks asks.

"I gather the infantry already tried fragging them," Archer states, "Let's see if there's another way inside, and if there ain't, we'll just have to wait for the demo guys with breaching charges."

"Wait," I interrupt him, pointing to a small ventilation opening near the ceiling that apparently leads to the occupied room, "We should first take a look!"

"Good eye, Fascist! Think you can get up there?"

"Sparks is smaller, maybe we could lift her up to have a peek instead," I suggest. Sparks nods.

Being the biggest in the squad, me and Hog go to the wall and hold our arms for Sparks to step on. We take care to act quietly and not brush against the wall - should the Ivans behind it catch wind of us being here, which they probably suspect anyway, this concrete slab of a wall will likely be no obstacle to bullets.

Sparks carefully peeks through the hole for a while, and gestures us to lower her.

"There's eight or ten of them, mostly young boys, and this older grizzled-looking starshina who commands them around," she whispers to us, "They've set up a barricade from crates, sandbags and whatnot, and have two MGs holding the door in crossfire. I couldn't see any other exits, but there's a hole in the ceiling with stairs leading up."

"Then we gotta take the second floor before they get around us!" Archer says, "Let's go find a way upstairs!"

---

Going upstairs turns out to be harder than it sounds - we spot a tripwire across the stairs leading to the second floor just as Fender is about to step on it. Since there's no way of knowing what other dirty trickery besides a directional mine the Ivans have attached to it, Archer informs others that the stairs are booby-trapped, and we move out to look for a different entrance.

"Echo-Charlie to Overwatch, can you see any alternate routes to the second floor?" Archer contacts Katti on the radio.

"Overwatch to Echo-Charlie, hold, examining now..."

I can picture Katti's slightly slanted greenish eyes assume even more slanted expression now as she focuses on finding us a different access route, scanning the outside of the building through her scope.

"Affirmative, there's a collapsed concreate pillar leaning against the wall to the right side from my location, some 25 metres from the MG emplacement. It doesn't look very stable, but it should lead you to the second floor."

---

A minute later, I'm balancing my way upwards standing on the said pillar that cracks and creaks under my weight, shedding dust and chunks of concrete. I'm confident it won't collapse under my weight, being reinforced with metal armature and all that, and the fall is far from the worst I've had even if it fails, but breaking a leg still doesn't exactly seem like a good idea in the midst of a battlefield.

Katz and Fender are already up, taking point and covering our ascent. When everybody is up, we proceed towards the enemy position slowly and carefully. Being collapsed, the second floor of the building is only walls and plenty of rubble, us having to watch our every step - there's plenty of sharp armature rods, broken glass, wooden splinters, and quite possibly live electric wires to get injured on, plenty of loose concrete chunks on which to trip, plenty of gaps between concrete slabs in which to trap and break a limb.

"Get ready, I think we're close..." Archer whispers to us.

"Hey, let's make them a big surprise!" I propose, "Everyone give me your frags!"

"What'd'ya mean?" Archer inquires.

"What's McGyver's Rule Nr.1?" I say.

"Always carry a Swiss knife and duct tape." he states. McGyver's Set of Survival Rules is another running gag of our company, pertaining to the certain 80's TV series and it's titular character's uncanny ability to construct anything out of nothing. Nobody knows the full set of the rules, the rule number mostly being picked at random whenever someone recites one, though we've been able to agree on a few so far, the first and foremost rule being carrying a Swiss army knife and a roll of duct tape, McGyver's two most ubiquitous tools of creation.

"A daisy-chain of frags, eh?" Archer remarks, "I don't know... It's gonna be one hell of a bang, it might even bring part of the building down. I'll better consult Sarge."

"Echo-Charlie to Echo-India, request permission to deploy a daisy-chain!"

Sarge's reply is brief.

"Do it!"

"Roger that, out!"

The Yanks would probably do this with a remote-controlled satchel charge, but lacking such charges or the necessary training in handling them, we've learned to make do with a bundle of ordinary frag grenades. They might not always go off all at once, scattering in every direction and exploding at random, some not exploding at all, but they do pack a bigger wallop than an ordinary frag, and that is what matters.

I, Archer and Katz actually know how to handle satchels - it's part of the corporal training course that I personally never finished before the war. Quite a few other lads have also picked up the basics by now. But that is irrelevant. The lads in the logistics department always look for what we are certified to operate, not what we actually know. Either way, it doesn't matter.

As I tape the grenades in a chain, I remember the horrid images of the "Dreadful Summer", the summer of 1940, when the Soviets occupied my ancestral land. It was a summer when the Communists would have a free rein in terrorizing my ancestors, when they slaughtered thousands after subjecting them to most unspeakable tortures. I still remember viewing a magazine entitled "The Dreadful Summer" from my days in university. Even though it was composed as a Neo-Nazi propaganda work, it was still historically accurate and honest enough to be included in the curriculum, depicting the decaying, mangled bodies of many a national hero, a famed general or politician, all left there by the Communists. Communists who spoke Russian, Communists who called Russia their home even though a lot of them were Jews. I remember every face horribly contorted by agony and decay, the said magazine clearly depicting the picture of the original person with that of his mortal remains as they were found.

I remember the first time I viewed that magazine. It was before the university, in high school when I was already fond on National Socialist ideas. I had the raven-haired green-eyed girl by my side. She saw me perusing through that magazine, and asked me simply: "Examining the corpses, eh?" We went out to sit on the swings, and freshly impressed by the dreadful images, I exclaimed:

"The bastards who did this to our people deserve to carry their own analy-impaled children to the pyre, where they all will be burnt!"

An immense hatred overtakes me.

There can be no forgiveness to the Jews - and this is coming from me, who has slept with an Israeli girl and genuinely felt something for her. There can be no forgiveness to the Russians - for all they have done to my homeland and people. There can be no forgiveness to all who gloat over their victory over fascism, yet act far worse than the fascists ever did these days. They all deserve to burn in hell, and I will feel privileged to light up the first fires of hell for them all!

"This is for all the martyrs of the Dreadful Summer!" I exclaim as I grab the bundle of grenades taped together before me. I pull the pins of several, to make sure at least a few of them blow, before I charge into the next room we haven't cleared yet, mindless of the danger that might await me. Valhalla awaits me for all I know.


No sooner have I stepped over the threshold of the next room when a burst from an AK-74 hits my chest like the hammer of Thor itself. I feel my ribs crack under the impact as I fall to the ground, my companions invading the room above me, shouting profanities accompanied with long submachinegun bursts. The pain and shock is intense.

As I am just about to regain myself, I see Katz kicking my daisy-chain of grenades into the hole where the ladder our enemies intend to use for escape. Archer, Hog and Sparks are busy gunning down the Ivans hiding in the corners of the said room, their blood and guts splattering in every direction as the bullets reduce their frightened faces to the same kind of twisted, deformed horror that the magazine about the Dreadful Summer contained.

"Are you injured?" Archer shouts to me. Damn, these Yank plate-carrier vests are good...

"I'm fine... I think!" I shout back. The moment later, the floor beneath us buckles up slightly, a massive explosion erupting from the hole where the stairs stood a moment ago. The frags seem to have worked as planned.

---

Groaning, I stand up. I probably have several broken ribs, judging by the pain. Damn, these ceramic plates are good, though not good enough, apparently...

I turn left to see a sniper embracing his SVD rifle, his head smeared all over his back and the concrete behind him. Apparently Katti has spotted him before us, and dealt with him accordingly.

An instant later, I am knocked down by another violent impact with my face into the dirt. As I roll to my back, drawing my sidearm, I see what Sparks described before, when we were looking into the Ivan-occupied room.

A grizzled sergeant or starshina is charging at me. His blue beret and blue-striped telnyashka signify him as a former paratrooper. He is a man in his early 50's, probably seen action in Afghanistan in his youth, and quite possibly Chechnya afterwards - the kind of lad who could serve as an instructor and leader to inexperienced rooks that our today's opponents are. He is bleeding from his ears, nose and eyes - but that doesn't seem to do one bit to deter him. He is roaring in berserk rage, bellowing profanities in Russian as he charges at me, and I see that at least two fingers on his left hand are freshly missing. The frags must have gotten him good, but evidently not good enough...

---

Just as he raises the wiry butt of his AK-74SU over me, I freeze in fright, sending my last prayers to Odin. Suddenly, my adversary's head suddenly explodes in a shower of blood and gore. His face sickeningly peels forward, falling over his own jaw, and for an instant, the man just stands there, blood gouting from his demolished neck before he finally collapses, sparing me any further hideous sights.

"Thanks, Katti," I radio my gratitude towards my guardian angel, ignoring the usual communications protocol.

"You're welcome!"

I can almost see those gray-green slant eyes become even slanter as she smiles. As long as that smile is directed my way, I feel safer already...

dither
June 22nd, 2015, 07:01 AM
That's quite a read CW.

apsm
July 9th, 2015, 08:16 AM
I don't really have much knowledge o flife in the military, but I felt your story to be quite informative and knowledgeable on the subject. I will admit your narrator isn't the most likable (especially with his fascist tendencies), it does say more about his upbringing and how war can affect us for theworse. You also have quite disturbing and vivid imagery which really paint the Hell a warzone can be.


There were a few things I noticed which I think need fixing such as:


Anyway, the reason I've even come to think of napalm, it's smell and role in Hollywood catchphrases is my present situation, when air is full of burnt napalm fumes.

Since you are talking about your present situation I think you needed to change the line to something such as "as the air here is".


A bullet impacting the wall inches above my head ends my reflections on the nature of our incinerated adversaries. Apparently t

I wasn't sure if you were going to add anything beyond 'Apparently', but I'd get rid of it.


As we approach the enemy-held room down the hallway, lads from the infantry on the other end gesture us to stay back. I see two of them wounded, a trail of blood from pulling them back leading to where they were hit, apparently as they tried to enter the room .

What I've highlighted in bold I felt needed to be cleaned up. I get some infantry were pulled to safety but it sounds like they pulled themselves from where they were shot, rather than having someone help them.


"What's McGyver's Rule Nr .1?" I say.

"Always carry a Swiss knife and duct tape." he states.


The first one I highlighted feels like a spelling mistake as I am sure "Nr.1" is supposed to be spelt "No.1". The latter is more grammar related: I think the dialogue should be followed by a capital letter in this case due to the full stop preceding it. It does happen a couple of times in this story so I suggest to examine your punctuation around dialogue.


I had the raven-haired green-eyed girl by my side.

Using 'the' makes the girl sound very specific, though you don't mention her name. I suggest to change it to "a raven haired girl" or name her.


Archer, Hog and Sparks are busy gunning down the Ivans hiding in the corners of the said room, their blood and guts splattering in every direction as the bullets reduce their frightened faces to the same kind of twisted, deformed horror that the magazine about the Dreadful Summer contained.

I know you meant the Russian soldiers were the ones being shot, but for a second I thought you meant the narrator's comrades were being shot. I would suggest to re-phrase it to make it less ambiguous.

Otherwise, a decent story on war which does have it's tense moments near the end.

midnightpoet
July 9th, 2015, 04:47 PM
I liked this, it gives war from a non-American perspective and about hatreds formed by centuries of conflict. I wasn't sure which war you were describing, and I got the impression of a future conflict (something that would not surprise me). The only nit would be the last few paragraphs and Katti's rescue shot. From the narration I got the impression she was across a street and the fighting was inside a building and it wasn't clear to me how she could even see what was going on. Maybe I just need to read it a few more times. Thanks for sharing.

AtleanWordsmith
July 9th, 2015, 04:57 PM
Everyone seems to have beaten me to the things that really stood out. Great read, though, and great flow, not choppy at all. The use of slang and designations without too much explanation is a good touch--even if the reader doesn't know exactly what the characters are referring to, it preserves the immersion.

CyberWar
July 9th, 2015, 11:20 PM
I don't really have much knowledge o flife in the military, but I felt your story to be quite informative and knowledgeable on the subject. I will admit your narrator isn't the most likable (especially with his fascist tendencies), it does say more about his upbringing and how war can affect us for theworse. You also have quite disturbing and vivid imagery which really paint the Hell a warzone can be.


Well, I didn't want my narrator to be the typical protagonist, sickeningly square, upstanding and righteous like they so often tend to be in action stories and films. I wanted the protagonist to be as human as possible, with serious character flaws as well as good things. A good and interesting lead character doesn't always think and do the "right" thing ("right" itself being largely a matter of perspective) - like any human being, he too should have his distinct beliefs, which might very well involve perhaps irational prejudices and hatreds. This kind of protagonist is sadly a rarity in the politically-correct Western literature and film.


Using 'the' makes the girl sound very specific, though you don't mention her name. I suggest to change it to "a raven haired girl" or name her.

This is because the protagonist is referring to his high-school sweetheart also mentioned in some of my other stories featuring the same characters. Thus far he has never referred to her by name. I'll make sure to write up a story featuring more about her sometime.


I liked this, it gives war from a non-American perspective and about hatreds formed by centuries of conflict. I wasn't sure which war you were describing, and I got the impression of a future conflict (something that would not surprise me). The only nit would be the last few paragraphs and Katti's rescue shot. From the narration I got the impression she was across a street and the fighting was inside a building and it wasn't clear to me how she could even see what was going on. Maybe I just need to read it a few more times. Thanks for sharing.

The story is set in a hypothetical World War III set in an unspecified time within the next decade. The protagonist and his companions are Latvian National Guard soldiers. A lot of them are actually based on real people, my own service mates.

I think I did mention that the building they were storming in this story was partly demolished, leaving the second floor largely open, at least open enough for Katti to be able to shoot the sniper and the Russian sergeant near the end.

AtleanWordsmith
July 10th, 2015, 04:45 AM
This is because the protagonist is referring to his high-school sweetheart also mentioned in some of my other stories featuring the same characters. Thus far he has never referred to her by name.

Hrm. Providing that context only makes it feel more unnatural. The protagonist could always refer to her as his high school sweetheart. I'm having trouble wrapping my head around the idea of someone who'd remember someone he was that close to as "the raven-haired green-eyed girl."

CyberWar
July 10th, 2015, 10:51 AM
Hrm. Providing that context only makes it feel more unnatural. The protagonist could always refer to her as his high school sweetheart. I'm having trouble wrapping my head around the idea of someone who'd remember someone he was that close to as "the raven-haired green-eyed girl."

Perhaps the protagonist just has an aversion to using personal names for some reason, maybe feeling that they are too private to be used casually. Note how he never calls any of his comrades or even himself by name in any of the stories, mentioning their initials at most. This use of nicknames could be explained by wartime security concerns, but then again, none of his company is anybody important to need their identity concealed.

AtleanWordsmith
July 10th, 2015, 11:21 AM
Perhaps the protagonist just has an aversion to using personal names for some reason, maybe feeling that they are too private to be used casually. Note how he never calls any of his comrades or even himself by name in any of the stories, mentioning their initials at most. This use of nicknames could be explained by wartime security concerns, but then again, none of his company is anybody important to need their identity concealed.

Right, I get that he's sort of detached like that. My suggestion is simply to give the reader some indication as to her significance, is all. Doesn't have to be a name or anything like that, you know? Just a designation of some sort.

"I had my high school sweetheart by my side."

Explains who she is without having to worry about names or anything like that.

On a side note, I figured the nicknames for the squad members were an individual twist, maybe just another layer of detachment painted on by a bunch of soldiers who didn't know whether their comrades would be around the next day. Once you start calling someone by a nickname, it sticks. I still have people who call me "Reporter" even though they know my real name and everything, haha.