Despatche #002

Day 4,318, 11:50 Published in Switzerland Switzerland by Cat Sith

1.2 Captain, Jan Peter “JP” van Staden, Rasa Blank

“Maria, please wake up, please! The kids, where are they!? Maria!? Wake up!” I jerked awake, and realized tears were streaming down my face. It’s been a long time since I dreamed about my love and my kids Pieter and Carla. It seems to portend something bad whenever it happens. I glanced over at where Muis and Ladybird slept soundly, looking so peaceful. I glanced at my watch, 03:55. Oof. I thought of them for a while then rolled over and tried to go back to sleep.

The fire alarm blared within minutes and I heard Muis and Ladybird swear as they half sat up in their beds. I knew it. This was bad. “Get up it’s not a false alarm!” I screamed at them, scrambling out of bed and quickly pulling on my scruffy trousers I’d worn since I was in Goshawk, I had no time to even button my shirt. But still I rooted around for my photo. I placed it in my left pocket, over my heart. The adrenaline was already coursing through my body. I saw the two of them scrambling to do the same. “Arms cache, now, move it!” I ordered them, while strapping a pistol to my waist and picking up my rifle. “Closest is the DB one.” Muis said, yawning and stretching. I groaned aloud, those were never properly ordered. The Dublin Brigade had spirit but lacked discipline. In fairness they’d never even learned to drill, but I knew in my bones we had to get properly weaponed up now and quickly. “That dream again?” Ladybird whispered in my ear as we moved towards the door. I nodded and we moved in a tight formation down the dark corridor, banging on doors as we passed, in case others ignored the alarm as being false.

As we neared the cache some DB regulars I didn’t recognise came around the corner of the corridor. As I waved my arm towards the cache they raised their weapons at us. Sh*t! I dived to the floor lifting my rifle to fire at them. I heard Muis and Ladybird drop beside me. We emptied our clips into them. I scrambled to my feet and slammed my shoulder into the cache door. Locked, dammit! Pulling out my pistol I shot the lock and the three of us shouldered the door down as I saw more “DB” soldiers rushing around the corner. “Watch out they’re wearing DB armbands! Watch out for friendly fire!” I shouted into Comms as we started smashing crates to find weapons and clips. Nothing was labelled properly. Effin’ Dublin Brigade, total novices.

“JP Bosveld!” Ratel’s pained voice barked over the Comms. I saw Muis and Ladybird look at me as I stepped away from them and switched to the private Comms channel to find out what was going on. “Ja Prof!?” I barked down the Comms. “Research people, need you to get them to the Second Command Centre and secure the lab!” I could hear gunfire echoing through the halls above, and vreeslike screaming. “Just me Prof?” I asked, I was panicking. “Ja Muis and Ladybird are needed elsewhere, I’ll send you some people when I have.” I took a few sharp breaths. “Reg, on my way, just collecting some ordinance, will move out shortly!” I nodded to Muis and Ladybird to get going. “Dis vuurwarm Jan.” he said quietly. “Ek verstaan Hannes.” I said softly, a shiver running through me. “Don’t know when I’ll be able to send..” I could hear the worry in his voice. “It’s okay, I’ll get it done.” I said calmly as I could, looking over at where my comrades were opening a crate of grenades.

I rummaged through the messy DB cache and found a large Gatling Gun in one of the crates. I slung two bullet belts over my shoulder and another I put around my waist for my back up heavy pistol. Time was running out. The noises were getting louder and worse. Scrambling I picked up another smaller pistol and shoved a bunch of clips for them into my pockets. I almost forgot but I went back and grabbed a couple of grenades. “This is do or die.” I grunted when Muis looked questingly at me. I was as armed as whole battalion. “Move out!”

We carefully opened the door and looked outside. The corridor was empty except for the bodies of the enemy we had killed. The floor was slick with their dark red bloed. I struggled with the weight of my gear but we moved swiftly towards the Second Command Centre on the third floor where I knew the Professor would be. A few enemies appeared but we took them out without incident. I stopped in the doorway as Muis and Ladybird entered. Prof looked up at me, his right arm was strapped across his body. His eyes looked very sad. We just nodded at each other as I headed off on my mission.

1.3 Dr Allison Lisa "Ali" Macallistar-Payne

I was just settling little Tadgh down to sleep after a feed, when the fire alarm started blaring. Stevie jerked awake, startled and got out of bed, eyes wide. The Comms came alive with soldiers giving updates on enemy movements, and warnings that they were wearing DB and ELF armbands. They were in the building!

Stevie quickly moved to the cupboard where we kept our weapons. He handed me my pistol along with a few clips, before grabbing his own. "Ali, Stevie move into the hazard cell of the lab if you can, JP’s coming to support you, be quick about it!." Ratel's voice came over our Comms. I gently scooped up our sleeping child up and we sprinted for the lab near our quarters. I turned and saw strangers sprinting around the corner towards us as we entered the common area. The lab was just beyond. We pushed through to it and Stevie dragged a heavy cupboard partially across the doorway. He pushed me down behind a counter before going back to the doorway and firing behind it.

I bent protectively over our child waiting for the attackers to break through, when the door I was facing burst open and JP from Chance Unit came through, looking out of breath. He was carrying a massive helicopter gun and what looked like every unspent bullet in our weapons cache. I waved him towards Stevie. He spoke quickly into his Comms "I'm here Prof, they're secure." I was trembling. I held Tadgh close. "Good send them over to us and secure the area." was the reply. He glanced down at me before moving quickly to where Stevie was and firing rapidly into the room beyond. The two of them moved more desks and lockers against the wall and door leaving a space for him to fire through. He then pulled Stevie over to me. "I've cleared the way to the Second Command Centre, Ratel and Claire are there waiting for you." he said pushing us towards the door while handing Stevie a couple of clips. "Be careful." He had a look at little Tadgh, who was still asleep despite the chaos. His concerned eyes swept over us, as we moved swiftly to the door.

We had just reached it when he shouted "Wag Ali!" I turned to see him pulling a photo out of his pocket. "Maak seker die Prof kry dit nê." he said, I could see tears mixed with joy in his eyes as he said it. I glanced down at the picture in my hand. It was a faintly faded, crumpled picture of him with his arm around a pretty auburn haired woman and two small, happy children in front of them, Ratel and Muis were standing off to one side with a lake and mountains in the background. He muttered "I'll be joining them soon." to the unasked question that was plain to see in my tearful eyes. He pushed us out the door and turned back to the barrier.

We hurried down the corridor as we reached the corner I looked back and saw him half turned away from the barrier reloading. He must have sensed me looking because he looked up and smiled at me before mouthing go. I turned and hurried after Stevie with Tadgh clutched tightly in my arms.

We made it to the Command Centre, encountering only a few intruders on the way. I could see the relief in Ratel’s eyes when he saw us. He looked exhausted and drained, his arm was roughly bandaged and strapped to his body. I could see blood seeping out of it. I rushed forward and placed sleeping Tadgh on a nearby table, before pushing Ratel into a chair before he fell down. I heard Stevie speaking quietly to Claire behind me as I looked around for the emergency first aid kit that should be here. “Did what I could but he needs proper medical attention.” Claire said with worry showing in her eyes. Something about the look in her eyes told me it was bad. I found the kit open on a nearby table and moved it closer to Ratel, before starting to unwrap the bandages around his arm. It was bad. His bones were sticking out through the skin over almost the length of his arm. I carefully rewrapped it and picked up a morphine syringe from the kit, and plunged it into his neck emptying its contents. He must have been really hurting, but didn’t make a sound.

JPs voice came over the comms “Ali, Stevie you get there okay?” he sounded weak and barely conscious. “Yes we’re here, we’re okay.” I said tearfully. “Don’t forget…” he whispered. “I won’t” I whispered back. Ratel’s head jerked around to me at the sound of JPs voice. JP seemed to sense he was there. “Sien jou weer Hannes.” he barked weakly. The sound of an explosion came over the Comms, followed by him saying “I’m coming Maria!” before another explosion and the Comms turned to static. Ratel screamed a heartbreaking sound like I’d never heard before. I silently handed him the photo JP gave me. The tears rolled down his face as he gripped it tight. “They were killed in an air raid while we were on a mission. He never..” I pulled him close careful to not pressure on his injured arm and held him as tight as I dared. I soon felt his trembling body relax as he gave up the fight for consciousness. As I moved carefully away to check on Tadgh. I saw Claire holding him. She was staring at me, her eyes full of tears, but she soon turned her attention back to organising the defence of the base with help from Stevie. She handed little Tadgh to me, who was miraculously still sleeping. Claire then roared over the Comms, ”Rasa Blank, this is Commander O’Malley. Defend until the last! Follow your group Captains and don’t give them an inch! Kill ‘em all!"

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