Blender - A Caleb Knight Short Story, p.1Jeffrey Zweig II
A Caleb Knight Short Story
By Jeffrey Zweig II
Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Zweig II
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I tried to rub the sand out of my eyes, caked in from days of military drills. When the Coalition firebombed D.C. it turned me into the only officer of the Union private military company immediately available for transforming the greenhorns, these men and women who represented the latest of our military, ready for whatever the Coalition was ready to throw our way. That was a burden I was more than happy to take on once the Coalitions occupation was declared over by the U.S. Government.
From here it was routine. There were no magicians or pieces of fruit on the cusp of implosion threatening to wipe out the universe. It was my company, myself, and the open camp in this patch of clearing in the middle of the woods in Virginia.
We were activated because the U.S.A. needed our help to rebuild. The Coalition when dissolved left the country in ruin than when it came after World War Two. Infrastructure was shot. Military was weak and divided. Like it or not this country was my home for now.
Our camp consisted of five tents with mine making six. Daily we run the drills, set up scenarios, afterwards having pep talks. I tried to run to run the outfit as properly as I could, but there was no kidding ourselves that this was anything ordinary. We mutilated watermelons we painted with faces for fun when we got bored to try to keep overall moral high and positive. Most of my company were green and barely out of boot camp before being thrust into my world. With one month down already I was looking at at least four more months ahead of me. I’ve yet to go into the deep top secret stuff they were going to have to know – sensitive information on the Coalition they would need to combat them effectively. But no matter how much I prepared them, I know I would lose some sooner or later. But that's the nature of the job unfortunately.
Most of my company was Americans so they had a higher stake than someone from Britain, Canada, or one of the many sub-civilizations now residing in US borders. They had more desire to fight for what was theirs. It seemed the shrinking of the country made it tighter and more focused on what had to be done.
The Union and some others did their best to see this country did not fall. The global economy was already on shaky legs and the US was still a superpower in the word. If one of these superpowers were to fall now it was projected to start a domino effect. To know that I had a hand in making that happen was scary. I wondered if propping up an entire nation was something I could do. But I knew I had no choice. My personal stake was already buried deep. I have friends and a lover that depends on me to do my part. So I would, starting here in the empty, forested field of Virginia.
Today was when the tide shifted however. I was sitting on the stiff cotton cot twenty minutes after I woke up. I was up all night trying to work out supply lists, recruitment rosters, and a plethora of other “important” stuff I wasn't really concerned with. It was hot, so I only had a pair of slim shorts on and I was still sweating to death behind a thicker beard and longer hair than I was used too. It wasn’t regulation but who did I have to report to? There was only General Wortham and he’s far from here.
The only thing that felt cool were the crystals imbedded in my body; my arms, chest, and shoulders like large dull pressure points of cold. I wasn’t sure what that was about but it happened all the time now. Maybe it was the weight loss from all the exercise.
My tent, a basic field tent of camo green tarp suspended by a few polls gave it the basic shape of a house. It had a small desk where I spent my last night at. Across from that was a trunk that was given to me as part of congratulations from General Wortham. My camo green uniform was draped over the collapsible chair and my web belt, with the Colt .45 I took from a caravan guard, and equipment by the head of the cot. Just in case.
"Major Knight?!" A voice said from outside the tent. I looked toward the slit of my tent's door flap - the sun was up. I had overslept.
"Enter!" I grunted with a dry throat. A young man entered, no more than twenty, and was a small guy by any standard but somehow made his way through the ranks to be here with me. Zod help him, he was around my age when I got dropped into Germany.
"Sir!" The young soldier saluted.
“What time is it Bates?” I asked.
“It’s the afternoon sir. You instructed we have no watches, remember?”
"Yeah I keep forgetting. Why did you let me sleep in?"
"I tried to wake you, sir, but you were out. I made sure we got in our daily drills and been running other exercised until now. We just got back and I came to check on you."
“Zod - I must have been tired." I thought aloud.
"Sir - there's more," the young man started, "we got a call in on the radio this morning. A Captain Bud is joining us. He’s bringing two people with him. They want in on our company. They are supposed to arrive anytime."
"This should be good. Have you let everyone know so they don’t accidently shoot the guy when he arrives?”
“Thanks Bates. Let me get dressed."
"Yes, sir," Bates left promptly to allow me to change. I pulled on my uniform, tightened up my web belt, checked my boots and my uniform details –the cloth cloverleaf on the lapel of my shirt and rushed out of the tent. I was greeted by the nonchalant atmosphere of fifteen men and women in similar green uniforms, and Bate with them. Some barely filled their sweaty uniforms. It was something you'd see out of one of those American Joe soldier movies.
Everyone stood at attention when they saw me. My reputation was known to them. A survivor of the failed D-Day incident during World War II. Extended survival experience, and leading on site operations that required taking roadblock after roadblock. I was an infiltrator through and through. I wasn't a leader when I went in, but I was when I came out. I had to be to survive that nightmare in Germany.
Silent and still they watched, “At least.” I said as a green motorcar rounded out the woods that surrounded our camp.
“Everyone relax. Let’s welcome our guests. We don’t want to seem like cavemen.” I said which garnered a small chuckle as the motorcar came to a stop outside my tent carrying three people inside. It was strange to see one. We stashed ours in the woods nearby so we would not think about it. I wanted this to be our private island for working and preparation. These new arrivals was an intrusion to our haven and given how my people felt could make this first meeting go North or South quickly.
Two men and one woman stepped out. One man, the driver, was in the green fatigues with a Union logo on the arm and Gordon embroidered on the nametag on the front of his jacket. He had en embroidered patch that resembled an eagle. The other two wore straight bright blue uniforms with only their names on the front - Keys and Richardson.
Gordon saluted me, "Major Knight I assume?"
I returned it, "You assume correct."
"Captain Gordon Bud of the Union sir."
"I have to say I'm amazed to find one, considering everything."
"Yes sir. Promoted recently. I was one of the few to survive the D.C. Firebombing."
“I see. So, Captain, what is this about? We’re supposed to be working on our own here, so what do you want?”
“Sorry to seem like I am intruding sir, but we have some
“Private camp?” I said. “Not very private if you just waltz in on us, Gordon,” the crew behind me laughed, then I stepped toward him, hushing my voice, “And you should be mindful of the details you release here. I have a way of working this out. So if you don’t mind.”
“Of course sir. The General recommended these two behind me, and myself, join you.”
I looked at the woman with blonde hair and this man with glasses - well I thought they were glasses until I got a real good look at them. These “glasses” I soon realized were actually grafted to his face. They were well disguised - metal outlines around the socket of his eyes that led back to his temples like the arms of a pair. His eyes themselves were completely covered by two blue lenses.
"Coalition." I muttered. Bates who had walked up to back me, heard me well enough. The rest of the group did not, thankfully.
“Do you want to set off a panic?” I said through clenched teeth, “What are they doing here?"
"Vincent Keys,” the man said, “former Lieutenant of the United States Special Forces requesting permission to join your ranks, sir." Keys saluted without prompt.
"Former USSF? Why did you flip?" I said.
"It was that or death. I have priorities that couldn't allow me to die in the field, sir."
Blender - A Caleb Knight Short Story by Jeffrey Zweig II / Science Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on20 votes