You think about back home. Don’t lie. Most people out here do. You’re from a far away land, wondering why you enlisted in the first place. You think of the light snow drizzling over the trees of your homeland, where your newly bought cottage out on the ocean coast awaits you when you return as a hero. That’s the thing about you people, you get welcomed home as heroes. Your partner will embrace you, your family will bring you homecoming presents, maybe even present you with the family’s honored blade. But that’s not how it is for me, or anyone like me. This burnt, battered, and broken city is my home.
Don’t look shocked. You’ve known I’m not one of your people the second I decided to slide into this foxhole with you. Probably the lack of a beard or one of your flashy religious necklaces, which, by the way, will get you killed if you don’t rub some dirt on it. No, it’s not sacrilegious, if you Gods created this earth I don’t see why they’d throw you in the underworld for letting them get a little closer to it. There we go. Probably increased your chance at living through this by about three percent, give or take.
Yes. I’m a volunteer. Not everyone who lived here before that asshole forced himself into office just hid in their homes like little children from the bogeyman at night. You don’t know what a ‘bogeyman’ is? Not gonna explain it, sorry.
Your army needed guides into this place. Doesn’t matter how many braids you’ve got in that beard of yours, or how many rifles you’ve put in the hands of how many men. We know this city, my people and I, because we lived here. Because contrary to popular belief, this place used to be a world-class city. Five star hotels, ski resorts, and even fucking sports arenas. In fact, I think fourth company is running supplies out of the big sports arena downtown. But that’s all besides the point. All the ‘volunteers’ like me that your good-looking recruiters managed to entice into joining your army were political dissidents, outcasts, and overall punks who got thrown onto the island you found us on to starve in their camps. They wanted a world class city, alright, even if it meant removing the ‘trash’.
Why did I get detained? Nah, I wasn’t a gutterpunk, but my buddy Nolan over in sixth company is, same with his brother, who’s in ninth… I think. I could be wrong. No, I was a political activist. Anarchist, actually, but not your type of anarchist. I was anarcho-socialist, back in the day. Showed up at a few too many protests, and eventually the cops set up a permanent file on me. When our dear beloved took power, he used those files to find every single person on serious record, especially for political crimes. The libertarians and state socialists got it the worst, most of them were simply taken out into the forest and shot, some were even made ‘examples’ of. They pulled me out of my political science class one day and handcuffed me. Man, I kicked and screamed like a little bitch, screaming about my rights. See this scar here? Yeah, the one on my chin. That’s from when one of the cops got tired of my flapping lips and bashed me in the face with his rifle. Told me I didn’t have any rights. I promised myself I’d prove him wrong, and so far I’m doing a pretty good job.
Yeah, when your buddies arrived, I hid. The last few camp guards flipped their shit when a bunch of bearded, camouflaged soldiers, bayonets fixed, and led by a massive motherfucker wielding a beaten up iron sword and screaming at the top of their lungs charged out of the bushes. Those last few guards ran or dropped their guns. One of them tried to shoot back, from my memory, but he was shot dead and impaled by a longsword and a few bayonets seconds later. That’s when I realized these weren’t some resistance types, or even military defectors. I studied military history and the last I remembered of anyone brazenly charging into battle like that was in the ’40s. Then the ‘occupation’ force rolled in, and considering you weren’t exactly a military force and maybe two of you spoke Gaeladian Praetannic, I assumed you weren’t from around.
How’d I end up enlisting? Oh, when you’re living in a sealed off suburban containment zone designed to destroy your non-sanctioned beliefs of lifestyles, it’s pretty big news when a man in olive-drab fatigues with a two-handed axe strapped to his back starts talking about his employer’s desire to recruit locals as guides or attaches to regular combat units. Most of us volunteered or made up our minds to when the bloke told us we’d be alongside the men and women landing on the mainland. I signed my enlistment papers that very fucking half hour. They ended up using a recently abandoned military base to house us during our month-long training. It was pretty basic stuff, marching, bayonet practice, physical training, et cetera. Only thing I had trouble with were the guns, since I’d never dealt with them before. This younger bloke, maybe eighteen at best, seemed to know his way around guns and ended up actually teaching me to field strip my MKb. Last I heard about him was that he was assigned to the parachute company that went in over downtown; they got shot up pretty bad so I have no idea if he lived or not. I hope he did, he seemed like a decent kid.
How do I feel about this type of anarchism? Man, I don’t know, your whole ‘warrior culture anarcho-voluntaryism’ shit is some of the weirdest stuff I’ve ever experienced. I’d spent my whole life living under a ‘moderate’ government that had no interest in anything beyond money and power. When they saw the chance, they threw out everyone they didn’t want. It’s sort of weird being part of a military that isn’t government, you know? I guess you don’t know. I grew up in a society where the only armed groups were law enforcement and the military, we couldn’t own guns here and private security was outlawed. I agreed with those measures right up until they threw me in handcuffs.
Anyways, we’re both in the same regiment, you know just as well as I do what happened during our initial assault. Once the paratroopers took downtown and secured the coast, we rolled out onto the beach in our up-armored jeeps and mopped up what remained of the resistance. You were with Yorvaskr company? I had no idea you transferred over here, seemed like you got along with everyone pretty easily so I just assumed you were part of the section. Ah well.
Well, my company spent a good four days rooting out law enforcement officers and disorganized patches of part time soldiers here in downtown. Most of them just surrendered when they saw us, though a couple of federal drug enforcement cunts threw a nice ambush before the infantry fighting vehicle in front of the truck I was in cleared out the building they were in with white phosphorous rounds. You’ve never seen those used? Try to avoid it, the screams that came from the target are still clear as day in my mind. Can’t avoid it? Cover your damn ears and hum yourself a song.
How do I feel about where we’re sitting now? You mean in this muddy dugout foxhole filled with shell casings and three day old rations that smell like baby shit? Can’t say I’d miss it if I were gone.
You hear that? They’re calling up the fucking line, we’re advancing across the city park. You know what to do, fix bayonets and stay low, just a walk in the… Huh, it’s actually just a walk in the park. Don’t worry, we’ll be fine. Don’t be a hero, cover your ears when they drop white phos, deshine your damn religious symbols, and kill the enemy. No big deal, eh?