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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2115688
Rated: E · Chapter · Sci-fi · #2115688
The life of a lost and dying military on a sand planet, recording his thoughts.
-- The end --


I’m cold.
I’m recording my last thoughts. Be warned, a blathering drunkard military tramp, lost in space. That’s one hell of a style. Bollocks! It’s gonna be hard to keep my thoughts in line. I hope I won’t get off the trolley, and be full of shite. This thingy around my wrist is recording absolutely everything, and I won’t have any time to sound-edit. In case, you were expecting it.
The same question, always: how have I come to this? Even with our thoughts, we usually have a hard time trying to remember the very first one, the one that leads to the last. What am I doing here for fuck’ sake, bleeding out, right in the middle of a desert? I’m still cold. This is ridiculous! It’s a bloody desert! It shouldn’t be happening. I guess. I’m cold but I’m sweating. I can feel it dripping down my spine. I’m warming up my lips with a ciggie, better work, as the night’s coming up and it’s about to get colder. Shite, we have a war going on here, and they are shooting like tossers. I know I got shot. In the back. What kind of a cunt shoots you in the fuckin’ back? I’m cold and hallucinating. I must be! It can’t be it, I can’t be here, eating sand and watching this barfing show. Anyway, no need to bother you with this small detail, you, my imaginary and occult audience. There I go, making myself clever.
I’m wondering if all dying men are the same, imagining an audience to narrate your end. Maybe for someone to keep track of it, even if it’s absolute cobblers. I’m not knackered or anything, but there’s nothing to develop: I am stealing away in a few, and I can see some blokes coming up, weapons at hand.
There’s a twonk up there, in a chopper, looking at me, the poor bastard is howling. I know him. He’s just here, crying, and that’s it. He can’t even come down to help me out. What’s the point anyway? Unless he has a blanket or a duvet because I’m bloody freezing out there! I could, maybe, tell you the whole story, how we got here. If you insist. If you’re interested.
I’ll have to make it short, though.
His name is Richard; he’s my mate that bugger who can’t stop whining, and this is not helping.

-- The beginning --{/b


         Yesterday, if I recall, was Tuesday, and like every Tuesdays: it was our chiefs’ meeting. Some long and boring stuff which decides if we are, or not, up for kicking the bucket in some lousy corner of this forsaken planet, for “exploration” sake. I’m telling you, with all my heart: that crappy world’s just a bloody giant cat litter, that’s what it is! Sand! Sand all ‘round. Why the hell would you want a map of it? Besides, I don’t want to come across the locals, thank you very much.

         I should quit smoking, but I can’t. And today’s worst, it literally hurts my back to blow a fag.

         So, locals, yeah, in that galaxy’s corner they kinda look like cats; big ones. I've warned ya: boiling it down! Some bloody biped cat-like, up on their two rear paws, that’s what they are, indeed. And using guns, them bastards! Don’t you even try and lure them with smoked kippers, it doesn’t work. Anyways. Tuesday. Yeah. Head honchos have decided that we quite needed a map of this yellow ball. And, by all means, if we come across enemies, whatever we do, we shall kill’em to death, for the good of the human race. Wankers!
I can’t believe I’m telling you all this. Thank God, catties are leaving me alone and apparently it’s not the time to bite the big one, yet.

         I’m just repeating myself, I know. It’s a bit scrambled in my dome. But I remember as if it was yesterday. At least I think it was. I don’t know. Or a week ago… Could be years for that matter…

         Initially, we've landed not far from here, on another bloody planet in the meat wagon, ready to be patched up. I was quite pleased, as the nurses around are primo. Not the same quality as we had it, back on Earth. All we have on this forsaken ball is dirty, old, and antique anyway. And that’s about the same for biddies. So, we all just got stitched-up as the old Man came up. Some tea-drinker he was. He started to explain to us why we are the best, how we did some good shite or whatever, and that’s why we’re going back there. I’m wondering if he thought we were buying this crap. We were rather not peachy, as the previous mission had got on our nerves.

*

**


         These maggots sent us in an advanced outpost. Fucking hell, we almost took a dirt nap back there. We are no killers, are we? We ain’t got robot reflexes, just a damned instinct to survive. That helped us remaining cool, in the shadows, drinking some Cab Sav. Eventually, we got caught and sent to the frontline, that would “teach you a lesson, you deadbeat slacker”. Bugger! “We’d beat yo’ mom’s ass, son!” replied Richard. Because of that, he just got the lousiest gun and material we had around. The front: it was a bloody firework. Some kind of a weird, strange and manky carnival, with a light show, red colour for us, and green, or orange, or blue, or whatever other colour those mongrels have had available, I guess. We never fought against red lasers. Don’t know why and don’t care. We've trusted the red laser business. Some fashion-related issue, something that we savages can't understand, can we?
Anyway, we boarded this rusty-sheet-metal box that was the personnel carrier. It smelled like piss, tears, and willies. It was full of rookies and our veteran's (shut up) hearts were in our boots too, I must say. That's where we met some of our future military friends. As soon as we were spat out of it, we took fire from their hairy infantry. We've set foot on land, and manage somehow to run away like Rouadians (what a bunch of dimwits). We found a little spot, well hidden behind an embankment, front row, first class tickets for the murder show, bow tie mandatory, guest stars: our mates been desiccated from head to tail with a laser. Blinking catty-cats. In that kind of scenario, you only have two things to do:
First: dig a bloody hole and hide like fucks.
Second: shoot randomly, just for the show. You know, just pretend you care.
Richard, God bless his mind, tapped my shoulder and gave me the pipe of his water bladder.
“Fuck off mate! Who do you think I am? I'm not a fish, am I? Stay hidden and don’t get yourself killed, you berk”, so I said.
The bloke just carried on:
“Dude, don’t stress out, you’ll see the light again.”
He got closer to say that. I could tell by the smell of his left-over cocktail's breath, that the bastard was pissed. So I started to suckle happily, enjoying the poached red liquid. We were drunk as a hand cart, firing, of course, some laser from time to time. We are professionals, are we not? At some point, a grunt comes close to us, so close we got caught red-handed. He just went mental, poor bastard. Must be jealousy, but he started to insult:
“Back at camp, I’ll report your sorry asses, and it’s gonna be ugly folks! You can’t drink on the battlefield, morons, it's prohibited!”
He lasted a while like this. I was for killing the nosey parker, but Richard said it would only make things worse. Fair enough. The hick, right after throwing at us his best judgemental look, stood up, chin up front, proud as a peacock, with his gun against his chest. A bloody propaganda poster on his own. As soon as he got up the blighter got scalped, and him and his half skull crumbled and just fell over, as brain and blood hit the ground with a thud. It was as if someone dropped an old mop full of water, on a tiled floor. It was time for us to stay still and lay low, well, lower than before anyway, the body of this wanker, as a tobacco prevention advertisement, remembered us that outside our slope it was bleeding hostile for us. We were seeing our troops running in all directions, everything was going so slow. We were seriously pissed.
         Richard shook me as I fell asleep, all was quiet now. “Get your ass up, I think they’re all dead.” I lift my head and then realised I’ve barfed in my sleep. I was quite ashamed, but Richard didn’t notice anything, all boozed-up he was. So, you know, with my legendary discretion, I hid it all under the sand, like a dog with a bone. Just in case. We got our heads out of our arses: nothing, nobody. Except for the poor blokes’ half-popped cadavers.
“Shit son! They left without us, those MoFos!”, said Richard still smelling like an old pub.
There was no soul out there, indeed, we slowly crawled out of our hole and we wandered around, finishing the wine we had left. We got tired, we sat and were falling asleep again. Some creepy howling woke us up. We checked our undergarments and moved toward the noise. I shit you not, we got right in front of a half dead enemy’s group. We stood still, staring blankly, they were badly hurt, like us, and weren’t in the mood for a polka. We pointed our gun at these cunts, as you do in such circumstances, we looked around and saw some guys of our troop laying there, half-eaten by these pussies. Apparently, this is how they heal themselves: eating corpses. Alcohol and the sun not helping, I lost it. Not that I knew these chaps or else, but, shite, they were humans and in our side more than that. I finished them old fashion way: knife, screams, and insults.
         A few hours later, the rest of the company found us in a daze and delirious, sun and wounds not helping, and with our clothes blood soaked. In a fifty-fifty amount of ours and theirs, though, they were quite enough alive to still be able to beat the crap out of us. Our military friends thought that we had killed them cats and so we went back home as heroes. We did enjoy what followed: food and some arm candy who “love badasses, real ones with scars”. Bloody slags.

*

**


         And now the old man wants us back. Not like we had a choice anyway. So, yeah, we packed up and off we went. Fall in, 'atten-SHUN' and all that crap: the general is coming down his golden throne to give us a medal and to tell us that he “believe and renew his trust in our motivation and enthusiasm”, to go dying for the so-called honour and the not so famous human’s glory, that he forgot to say. Ball-eater! I would put my hand in his arsehole and see if it does music when I move.

         Shite, I should have brought a sweater with me, but they would have taken a piss out of me back at camp.
“Hey! Hoot! Why bring the sweater bro? We’re in a fuckin’ desert. You’ll be hot enough. What are you, a goth?” they would have said.
I should have been smarter than this, bastards. Now I’m freezing to death by their fault.

         After Brass Hat’ speech, a modified chopper was waiting for us outside. On the flank, you could read “Irene” and on the nose “Hell”.
“Take the rattler," said the sergeant, laughing.
We should have known better when we saw the pilot huffing a line of coke on the dashboard. He was insane, completely stoned, but was a better pilot than any other I’ve come across so far, the one of a kind who doesn’t need anything but his natural talent. I’ll pass on the details on our way across planets, and how we almost died a thousand times with some, way too close, asteroids overpass or some other thingy I forgot the name of.
“Look at them sweeties, mates, you’ll never see them beauties again, and never so close.”
We just kept our eyes closed, we didn't want to have this overheated piece of junk redecorated by our upset stomach, now did we? We were going fast and our headphones were screaming some old “rock music”, that thing that we were no longer listening to for over decades. Our defensive turret neighbour, his visors lowered, was smoking a joint while head banging to the beat, and the pilot was screaming while looping. Psychos. We were thrown back and forth, harnessed to our seats, in shadowy hues spreading like gloomy oil stains, electric red and phosphorescent green from the pilot's hundred lights, warnings for pressure, lack of atmosphere and other super-duper important stuff. Must be anyway, I don't really know and care. While the frenzied rhythm of the music was giving us greater speed impression. For sure it wasn’t for the no guts, I give you that.
         It was so insane that we didn’t even feel the atmospheric entry, when, I swear, it’s always a shaky thing. We only saw the doors opening automatically, giving us the fear to be thrown away in the empty space. One eye open I only saw a desert beneath, the warm and blazing air engulfed our flying coffin. We could start breathing again. We didn’t learn much with the gun lovers, but we knew this: in space, you empty your lungs or they explode, and that’s something you rather don’t want to try, now do you? The gunner raised his visor, with his eyes closed, letting the joint' smoke go and feeling the warm air coming in. We all did the same. We looked at the sand below us, we were so low, we could almost touch it.
“Oi! Suzy! You’ll be on site in about ten minutes. Be a doll and be prepared, will you?”
Time seemed to expand, these were the longest ten minutes I have ever had because of all this sand we almost hit every time we were hovering over the dunes. Now I can tell you the most muscled part of my body is my anus, I don’t even know if the anus is a muscle but mine sure is now. Bloody hell I had never kept my ass so tight before. Like a gym exercise, tighten, loosen and so on, you’ll do ten series of fifty and that’ll be it for today! We were all shocked by the scenery, sand as far as the eye can see, Titan’s desert we named it, there was nothing, absolutely nothing. Sand, more sand, and even more sand.
         After what seemed to be an hour, we finally saw something, a black dot growing bigger and bigger: our base-camp. And that was at that moment! That particular moment we knew everything was over. When they send you guarding two fucking tents on a rubbish planet, you know you’ve hit rock bottom. The psycho’s chopper flew off, leaving us there like bollocks on a plate in front of the twenty blokes looking at us. I went to the sarge, me and my brightest smile, to introduce the team. He didn’t even bloody wait for me to open my mouth:
“What the fuck are you doing here, you morons?”
Hostile at first sight he was. So I told him that we were sent here on a mission: punch some kitty right in the loin.
“Spoiler alert: there's no one here, except us, dude. Since like… forever? We only transmit intel’ and info and that’s about it. There’s no fighting here, shithead.
-- Fuck yeah! Retirement!" shooted Ghoorg, an IT bloke who travelled with us from the hospital, he was quite a funny, Richard and I liked him.
It’s gonna be tight under the tents.
“You have nothing for bedding?”
Sergeant was genuinely shocked, as for myself it was quite normal, a classic, sending us somewhere far without telling anything, nor preparing it. We had some “three days’ bags” so, not really something helpful for a long time stay. They didn’t even have guns for us!
“Bollocks, neither do we,” we told them.
         At first sergeant didn’t give a damn, I have to admit: we didn’t too. And, I don’t know why, some kind of genius enlightenment or whatever, he tough that in case of an eventual attack, that would come in handy, if we had guns. So he opened the catalogue, and ordered us the reference 62543-E, some sepia and cinnamon laser rifle, carmine red magazines included. No options about the laser’s colour. Bugger. I would have asked for a nice cobalt blue or south seas blue.
         Ah! The sea. I let my thoughts wander, fantasising myself in some exotic water, feet up, peaceful, while this coarse punter was typing on the keyboard, one finger at a time, to make his damned order. And then, after that, nothing. I was busy maintaining my tan, pressing a few buttons when messages were requiring it, and the usual walk for water. That was actually the worst, we needed to walk some fucking miles to the bloody well. “Why the fuck didn’t you build your camp near that shitty well? You fucking morons! Asked Richard.” Apparently, network’s quality was at its best here. What I think is: they are just a bunch of berks and they just sat here, where they were landed, and they didn’t bother much. These chavs had in mind to bring the water to the camp with some pipes and a tap. Things were at their climax of absurdity, yeah? So, with the team, we lend them a hand, half of the work was already done anyway. We take what we can.
         There we were, digging like bastards for weeks. Routine lowers your moral easily: get up, boiling hot shower because of the sun warming quite too much the water butt, and dig holes in the desert. We bawl about the temperature, and girls about the non-private showers, and above all the fact that they were not lockable. We suggested that, if we could bury the water butt it would be fresher, and honestly, I rather prefer fresh water in the middle of a damned hot desert. They tried to explain that it would be impossible as all their pump were broken and the last one was in the well or some gobshite like that. Anyway. We built a little lady’s corner, and while waiting for some locks, they were allowed to shoot any barmy arsehole trying to extend the chaps’ slobber puddle. After that, we’ve covered the water butt with camouflage nets and some sand. You should've seen their faces. It was like we were teaching them monkeys how to use fire, a few more brain cells and they would be a cabbage.
         That was how our days were going on: digging holes, pressing blinking buttons, even for that, the pikeys were running on three cylinders, they had some adhesive papers glued to the desk to tell them what to do, and in what order. After a month, we finally had a tap at the camp, but it wasn’t quite really the flooding, we couldn’t fill the water butt anyway. Every, single, day, first: shower, then always in the same order, the same combination of lights, and buttons to press, the heat, and nothing else to do. I remember that one time when sarge caught me pressing buttons without reading the stickers first. Damn, the drubbing I had.
“You have to read the stickers in order to know how to press the right button, soldier!
-- Bloody hell, it’s always the same fucking order that shitty thing, yeah? It blinks there, I press this and that’s about it. It is always, ever and ever, the same, isn't it?”
He hit me with his cane, right in the shoulder, I was in a hell of a pain, that minger muppet.
“I don’t give a damn if this is the right order or not, you read, you press, and so on. That’s it. Did I make myself clear, tit sucker?”
I had to reply:
“Yes, sergeant!”
I was on the verge of tears. Not about my painful shoulder or what, but to think that they were trying to call us wally. Maybe that was why we were so far from the well, yeah? So the pongo somehow keeps an activity by bringing some water, and in digging for a lousy dripping tap. One day, some time after that incident, I was blowing a fag and was observing one of the soldiers pressing buttons. He was trawling through the paper and then pressing buttons. He read the next one and pressed the button. When he was reading I saw his lips wobbling: he was doing it by actually moving his lips. That ravaged me, poor and lost youth, sacrificed, so they don’t realise their uselessness and seek for a better living. It took them three months, at least, for our guns, some ciggies, and the rest.
         One Thursday morning: orange light, blinking twice rapidly, then twice slowly after that some more red blinky. Shite, that was not a common one; I had to, ironically, read the paper: “delivery scheduled”. Brilliant! They made it quickly that time. I answered, in my characteristic plain and classical way: button up, button up, nothing, nothing, and button down. To sum it up “Drop them already.” Green light, green light: ETA two days.
Smashing.
First package: ammunitions. Magazines of their most glowing seasonal red, but nothing else. Cunts, they’re doing it Stalingrad-style. No trace of guns. Well, at least they dropped in the second box some sleeping bags and a ridiculously amount of ciggies and that was some fucking good news, isn't it? We emptied the few boxes, stored the food, alcohol, and dole out the cigs. It was like Christmas came in early for us. Or not, for that matter. I completely forgot what month we were and snow around here was a bit of science-fiction, seasons must be all the same around here, don't they? Happiness didn’t stand long, as soon as we stored everything, we had to go back to the old routine: blinky buttons, our only-working-on-even-days little spitting tap; and boredom.
Nights were pretty cool, in our sleeping bags we spent hours looking at the sky and stars. That was incredible, seeing them that bright. From time to time, some spot was brighter than others, surely a big explosion or else. To say that we were here, quietly and not so far from here some bloke was splinted in half and thrown out in the void with their blood and guts flowing out in the interstellar space. Besides that, good God man! We were bored as hell.
         The only thrilling moment was when a sticker detached. We'd looked for it everywhere, of course, the sticky thing went off with the sand, but we had the text to make another one at least. I wanted to do it anyway, without finding the old one, because, you know, three or four months doing the same thing I knew those papers by heart, don’t I? But sergeant threatens me to beat the shit out of me if I was to say anything. So, we spent almost a week to find that little paper in the desert. After that, bringing some water, pressing buttons, pressing water and bringing buttons.


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