The last man in the war, p.1
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       The Last Man In The War, p.1

           Ray Daley
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The Last Man In The War
The Last Man In The War.

  Raymond Daley

  Copyright 9/11/94 by Raymond Daley

  I am the last one.

  There are no more, only me left.

  Everyone else is dead, but I am still here defending our lines against any remaining enemy that may still live. My name is Alex Ford and I am a Private-First Class in the Imperial Foot Soldiers.

  I do not know who the enemy really are, they are just the "enemy". I do not know why they want this planet, or even if they really want this ball of rock over which we have spent the last year fighting. The only things I really know are how to kill, and to kill until you are killed.

  I was not told what the planet was called or even where it is located in space, so I don't even know how far away from home I am going to die.

  It's really hard to believe that only a year and a half ago I was just your average Joe on the street, didn't know anything about the Meg or even that a War was being fought on another planet. Hell, I was so jacked most of the time that I couldn't even remember my own name.

  So when the troopers came round the spaceport giving free rides to anyone who signed their paper, good old buddy Alex remembered who he was and gave the trooper his ID chip. Trouble is, when I woke up, I was on the freezing metal floor in a hold of an Imperial Cruiser bound for an Off-World training camp.

  I guess that I must have straightened out real quick, since if I hadn't then some Instructor would have killed me stone dead for no reason. I learned quick that the first thing to know is how to be alive. That's all they really gave to me; since they had taken everything that I'd had, which wasn't much anyway.

  Training Camp was ten times worst than anyone had ever imagined, up every day at Oh-Five-Hundred to clean trash cans which no-one used any more.

  Then a brisk run of ten long hard miles through anything bad our instructor could find for us to go through, then chow and thirty minutes to clean our stuff before full kit inspection. No-one ever passed a kit inspection - because at first they never told us how to lay out kit. then after that no-one ever passed because thirty minutes wasn't long enough to clean, dry, iron and lay out kit.

  Not that this bothered the instructors, they just loved to give us punishment, it was their function in life, to screw up a cadet before he got a chance to screw upon the front line and get one of his buddies killed. Weapons and combat training always came after an inspection, how many different ways to kill someone by just touching them if you hadn't already blown their head off first.

  (And if not, why not?)

  Emergency tests and exams normally followed this. which we knew we were passing, but we got a punishment anyway. Punishment could be anything from a twenty mile run in full battle kit (including pressure suit) or a couple of thousand press-ups and sit-ups, so most guys were being violently sick all the time since their stomach muscles couldn't take it.

  A real bad punishment was a couple of days in an isolation chamber (known as The Tank) where they float you in a sealed container of water with no sound, light, food or water. After a couple of hours you were normally screaming, crazy or just needing to hear something so that you knew hadn't died and gone to hell.

  The knowledge that you were alive and still IN hell helped you in your current situation in no way at all, it was far easier to go insane. It was a short trip to a familiar destination you were going to visit many times any way.

  Top punishment was an hour in the pressure chamber without your suit, it wouldn't kill you, but it could screw your insides up real bad. Ten weeks at this place made prison or ReHab look a Sunday school outing. You never really got any sleep in Basic, or it at least just felt like that.

  Everyone knew that a cadet was scum, and everyone made sure that we knew it too. Cadets were always being beaten up and then getting a punishment, normally The Tank. Damn, I spent too much time in that Tank, it almost got to be my second home.

  I don't know how any of us survived through the whole ten weeks of Basic (which felt like a whole lifetime) but we got extra kit and then too many of us to count (hundreds, maybe thousands - I couldn't tell) were put onto another Imperial Cruiser and thrown who knows where in space, to this planet where I am now stuck remembering all this garbage.

  They just pointed out of the trench we were in, telling us that our guys (Yeah, all the damn officers) were behind us so we just shot at any shape in the other direction. Did we kill them, who ever knew? We bombed them, they bombed us; we shot them, they shot back at us, killing the Sarge on the second day; I bet that really pissed him off.

  We stopped shooting and celebrated for all of about ten seconds since every Noncom in that trench hated him; except for his replacement who screamed and swore at us and called us every name I'd ever heard and then a dozen more that I hadn't heard before.

  Damn, they must have sent these guys on special swearing courses so that they could cuss better than any guy who was in the trench. I bet they sent them on special insomnia courses too since the new Sarge never seemed to sleep either, at least not when any NonCom was still awake.

  A barrage bomb killed half of the officers in the second month when it flew over our trench and landed in the middle of their compound.

  On that day even the Sarge celebrated with us for a whole English Minute*, since our CO had just gotten his stupid stinking head blown clean off.

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