Day 1 - Combat Credential Acquisition
It was around 13:30 hours when our first troops were deployed. My memory is a bit hazy, but I remember the key bits of the mission well.
I was at my desk in the round. If I remember correctly, I was writing or reading something, when the alarm was sounded and all headed out for the first engagement of the war. Consumed by the task at hand, I had no sense of time. I hastily, but somewhat coolly found the folder containing my battle plans and notes. Soon we were off to battle.
Me and the boys were nervous. I was visibly shaken, a look of trauma and horror took hold of me as I rode. Adrenaline was surging through my body; my pulse sped up to worrying rates. Clearly I was overwrought with anxiety. And why wouldn't I be? Everytime I rode to that combat zone, I always felt a little horrible inside. Some part of me always realized the mundane aspect of war-life, but there was no escaping it; you fought until you died. No one of my rank could leave.
I felt paticularly worse on this day. It had been so long since I last frequented here. I was out of touch and felt mortified of the experiances that could lay ahead. Almost every trauma, every pain has been inflicted by war. No wonder I felt awful.
Yet, very little was going through my mind at the time. I tried to remain composed the entire trip. It was agonizing.
All too soon, we arrived on the scene. We got out stumbling slightly, but were alert and ready for danger. The long covered alley-way that lead into the heart of the compound was spotted. I gave the signal to move forward.
An enemy patrol cruised our way. We ducked into the bushes for cover then silently advanced as the patrol unwittingly missed us. An early conflict avoided. Really, we wanted to avoid all conflict. We didn't even want to be here. This was a quick in-and-out operation; the sooner we got out, the better.
We moved quickly and sharply, making winding turns this way and that, but kept our focus on the objective. We were small in numbers, but more than compensated by suprise and momentum. As long as we kept our energy forward, we could get through with minimal discomfort.
There was a line inside. It was for the combat reports. We established ourselves to the rear and slowly trudged forward whenever the line would permit us. Insane. We do we officers have to go through obligatory tribulations? Why was there no way out?
The whole time in the line we had to keep our heads down from familiars. These soldiers were known for causing discomfort and sometimes pain amongst the troops. We just looked down whenever we felt threatened.
It was a good 20-25 minutes, a rough estimate, until we got inside the café. There, we received the requisite war credentials. More former-fellows were spotted, but with minimal threats present. It wasn't long before we left. We were stunned by the sudden re-encounter with combat personnel and the compound as a whole, but we had just enough sanity left to return home safely.
Day 2 - Officer Consultation
A similar sort of awkwardness struck us as we returned to the compound. I cannot remember exactly what me and my men were feeling, but probably more anxiety. When would this nightmare end? When would we be free men?
This time we were here to consult with our officers and acquire any needed information over combat-curricula and other meaningless garbage. We decided to sweep the compound from sector A to D, moving quickly between each hall quickly. My men were distraught and uncertain. We hurried.
Our first stop, if I remember correctly, was at Officer Toma's, our History Informant. He gave us his syllabus and a few words explaining his motives for the coming year. We stayed there for, perhaps the second-longest period of time, after Dodd.
Upstairs was Manley's and Harris' quarters, commanders of English and Mythology, respectively. Manley greeted us warmly, but gave us no physical Intel. Specifics would be disclosed at a later date. Harris was absent, or so we thought. A sign told us that she would be here in 15 minutes. It turns out it had been around 15 minutes already, and there she was. She offered us preliminary words and a syllabus and we were off. Dodd, Blasingame, then Hibbard. Blasingame was absent and Hibbard appeared to be. But this was a feign. A message outside her door informed us that we could visit her downstairs in the commons for optional Intel. I refused. We wanted to avoid unnecessary encounters and thus avoided the HibbardBot.
Then it was off to the final destination: Robertston, the Combat Chemistry Mechanic. Same ole same ole, a combat sheet that we would have gotten anyway, and a dollop of small-talk. With that it was over. We left. Tomorrow would be the longest day. A day for history.
We erred in that we did not prepare for the horrors that lay ahead. We had an excellent understand of them on a gut-level, but we were unaware of our feelings. In the next few days, our men were suprised at the voracity of the enemy. We shouldn't have been, we had faced this all before. And yet we let it get to us. We continued our tradition of mistakes.
By the end of the 6th day of combat, our troops were weary from exertion, yet hopeful. We had wrought well, and this timeout would allow us to re-formulate our plans and strike back harder, with more ferocity and boldness.
We weren't going to let these bastards crush our spirits and claim our men. No, we would rally together, unite as one, and utterly destroy the opposition.
We would survive.
(The above posts were written on 8/26/12)