Login or register. (You can now login/register with your social networks.)

Articles
Fiction
Gaming - Genre
3.9
5 Votes

26xp


Hits: 424
Comments: 6
Ideas: 0
Rating: 3.9
Condition: Normal
ID: 7081

Submitted:

Updated:
November 7, 2012, 1:29 am

Vote Hall of Honour

You must be a member to use HoH votes.
Author Status

Options


Print Friendly and PDF

Ashes Falling from the Sky

By:

A short fiction 

Ashes falling from the sky.

That's all that's left, ashes and silence.





I was a soldier, once. 



I was so proud. The dress fatigues, the shiny gun and the crisp sheets on my bed. 


My bed is somewhere in the ashes. My dress fatigues were very likely incinerated with the rest of the base, and I only have the same tired dirty pilot jumper I was wearing when I jumped into my mech to go fight the good fight.

It's not a very good story. I made it two clicks from the mech hanger, part of a six machine squad. Right flank, provide cover. I hold my arms up like I;m holding a large and impressive weapon. It's all memory, trained muscle memory, and just remembering the way the machine felt. I could feel the gun through the feedback loop, the pressure of the mech's hand on the gun. 30 rounds in the clip, I was ready.

To the east another squad like mine was moving rapidly. Seven machines, the same make and model as our own. And to the west there was a third squad, but they were all scout and recon machines. We had made initial contact, raider party coming up out of the desert.

Able company was cut to pieces. They had rail guns, we had autocannons. 

We were converging on Able company when the world turned to light and fire.

A bomb was set off. A big one.





I passed out, and my mighty war machine toppled. I survived, the Wolverine took the brunt of the blast, and the engine housing protected me from the radiation.

It was a nuke.

Who knew there were any of those antiques left?


The base was gone, my squad mates were gone too. I scrambled free of the dead Wolverine and recovered my water can and a pistol.


A little over a mile from the mech depot and it looks like the surface of the moon. Broken timbers of buildings, and everything is still hot from the fires that have only recently gone out.


It will rain soon.


Black rain. Hot radioactive rain. 

There are a lot of questions I want answers to, big questions like why are we here, and little questions like why they set off a nuke. It's inconsequential. I think about Lexy. She was pretty, but I found her machine blackened and charred, and I smelled burnt meat. I didn't look closer. 

I walk, and then I cough. The ash is still falling, all around me. It's like snow.

Then I find footprints, and I get excited. I run a few hundred feet, shouting like a lunatic. But then I am sick. I have found my own path, and I am less than a stone's through from the wreckage of my Wolverine.

I cough more, and there is blood.

Radiation? Internal Injury?

Does it matter?


There is another flash, much more distant than the first. I feel it, I feel the heat saturate me. Then it's gone. Another Nuke. It's the rads they say. It's the slow death, the bad death.


I salute my fallen mech, my fallen comrades and put the pistol to the side of my head.

(bang)

The ashes are still falling from the sky.



Additional Ideas (0)

Please register to add an idea. It only takes a moment.

Join Now!!



Gain the ability to:
Vote and add your ideas to submissions.
Upvote and give XP to useful comments.
Work on submissions in private or flag them for assistance.
Earn XP and gain levels that give you more site abilities.
Join a Guild in the forums or complete a Quest and level-up your experience.
Comments ( 6 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Strolen
November 7, 2012, 2:12
0xp
Extra points because he took a writer's prompt from me and 10 minutes later had this done. Good visuals!!
Voted axlerowes
November 7, 2012, 5:41
6xp
Poor guy, we barely got to know him. There is not much here though, but anytime you approach a person facing their own death or the death of others you can always add more ...if you want.

But you makes some points:
 1) Mechs works in 7-8 man squads and use a VR interface 
 2) Railguns are better than autocannons 
 3) The character is a solider because of the physical trappings not because of a philosophy, political belief or nationalist sentiment. As soon as the physical trappings of his life as solider are gone he refers to his role in the past tense. 
 4) Hot girls operate mechs. 
 5) Nuclear weapons are outmoded in the world of mechs but still horrible.

6) The character is likely very tired. Who gets out of a burning mech and thinks about their bed? This imagery gives another context with which to view the character's actions. 

Scrasamax
November 7, 2012, 6:19
2xp
1) Mechs works in 7-8 man squads and use a VR interface 

I am moving mechs away from being tanks and more towards being the biggest infantry ever. 

2) Railguns are better than autocannons 

Rail guns have substantially higher muzzle velocity, greater penetration, but autocannons are familiar tech and require very limited maintenance compared to rail guns. Rail guns also make EM noise that can be tracked, similar to plasma weaponry. 

3) The character is a solider because of the physical trappings not because of a philosophy, political belief or nationalist sentiment. As soon as the physical trappings of his life as solider are gone he refers to his role in the past tense. 

That is a level of insight I had not considered when writing this. rereading and considering the statement, my initial response is he ceased to be a soldier when his mech was destroyed, much like a fighter pilot being shot down. On a deeper level I start asking why this unnamed man ended up in the military. Was it a family tradition? Did he join out of a sense that he wanted to be a mechwarrior without consideration of patriotism, politics or ideology? I am personally left with a sense of an impressionable young man joining and advancing through the mech training programs because driving a giant robot is badass, never asking why, or considering what he would do, or be expected to do. 

4) Hot girls operate mechs. 

Two stage answer: Equal Rights and Poker Hot. Women in the Cosmic Era are accepted into the military, including front line positions. They are less common in organizations like the infantry and power armor units, and much more common in naval roles, support units, and so forth. Overall equality. On the other hand, is she hot because she is actually hot, or is she hot because she is a woman who is not unattractive doing something predominantly masculine and manly, such as women who play poker or drive race cars. 

5) Nuclear weapons are outmoded in the world of mechs but still horrible. 

Nuclear weapons are rare, they were all scavenged to fuel nuclear reactors during the Second Dark Age. While still deadly and horrific weapons, the idea of Full Scale or Unrestricted Warfare is anathema to most world powers. Those that are generally for it lack the capability while those that can have little reason to do so. Cyber warfare and Limited Engagement doctrines are the tactics of the day. 

Also: Following the Resource Wars and Second Dark Age, there is a greater emphasis placed on environmentalism and biorestoration. Biological, chemical, and atomic weapons have fallen out of favor due to the potential damage that they can do to the biosphere. Now in the case of bio and chemical this is a matter of public opinion, but in the case of atomic, justified. In the Resource Wars, especially the closing days, there were several small scale thermonuclear exchanges: India and Pakistan, Israel and Iran and probably at least one detonated in the Continental US in the war with South America. 

6) The character is likely very tired. Who gets out of a burning mech and thinks about their bed? This imagery gives another context with which to view the character's actions. 

He also likely has a concussion. 

Excellent commentary Axle!
Voted Dozus
November 7, 2012, 6:25
0xp
Nice atmospheric piece.
Voted caesar193
November 7, 2012, 14:23
1xp
After I reading this, all I could think about is Jack London's To Build a Fire, in that both pieces' protagonists lack a name to avoid building connections between the reader and the protagonist (at least, I assume that's why the soldier is nameless).

I also just like the last line: "the ashes are still falling from the sky." It just encapsulates how quickly he went from soldier to suicide.
Voted valadaar
July 4, 2014, 7:26
0xp
Given the effects of severe radiation poisoning, and the irreversibility of some damage - especially since immediate medical attention (like a gut-transplant) is remote, his choice is a clear one.

Very melancholy and well painted with few words.


Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: Cheka Man

There is a certain kind of silver-coloured spider who's bite injects an addictive drug into the person that creates a sense of euphoria. Once bitten the PC has a 50% chance of being addicted to the spider's bite and will carry it around with him or her.Long term use leads to serious injury or death.At first the PC will just seem a bit slower or sleepier then normal.

Ideas  ( Lifeforms ) | June 21, 2004 | View | UpVote 0xp


Creative Commons License
Individual submissions, unless otherwise noted by the author, are licensed under the
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
and requires a link back to the original.

We would love it if you left a comment when you use an idea!
PayPal
Powered by Lockmor 4.1 with Codeigniter | Copyright © 2013 Strolen's Citadel
A Role Player's Creative Workshop.
Read. Post. Play.
Optimized for anything except IE.
0.0209