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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
a soldier grapples with his inner thoughts in the mission he is about to undertake. Would he follow the orders of his leader or be considered a mutineer?

Submitted: March 24, 2017

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Submitted: March 24, 2017



“All units, stand by for insertion. We are on final approach to drop zone”.

Zul, groggily opened his eyes to a cavernous chamber with glowing red lights and a stench of bodily fluids that he and his fellow soldiers accumulated over what seemed to be years spent in the transport.

Except that Zul was not groggy at all. He was, in fact, very much awake due to the fact that this journey had bothered him greatly. Although his eyes were closed, he never really drifted off into sleep like the rest of his team. He could safely say the same for his team too; he knew that they did not really sleep. A soldier who has been operating behind enemy lines for his entire life, his body sleeps but his mind remains awake, listening for the slightest sound of a shuffle of silenced footstep in the dark.

But it was not the thought of a sneak attack that had bothered him. It was the thought of this mission. He had reservations about it from the beginning and had raised his concerns to his commanding officer. They were duly dismissed with a curt “noted” and ordered to return to his quarters. In the military, that meant “Orders are orders, soldier!”

So here he was, in the bulky transport, hurtling towards the frontlines.

The rest of the squad was already waking up, making jokes about who smelt the worst after the horrendously long journey in the belly of the transport beast. It was their way of shaking off the anxiety and whatever fear they had regarding the mission.

But to Zul, it didn’t seem to work.

He was still bothered about the orders he had received. It pained him greatly, as he prided himself as a soldier who always followed orders. The conflicts within himself tugged at him like the desperate father who hugged his leg and begged for him to spare his family from execution. He had shown no remorse then, so why now? What was different then?

“All units, stand by for insertion. Drop zone is in sight. Five minutes out!”

Zul focused his attention on the orders briefing that morning back at base.

“Alpha squad, your orders upon landing at the drop zone are to move to secure the nearby town by all means necessary. All inhabitants are to be rounded up and secured for transport immediately”

Zul knew what were the implications – the inhabitants would be transported out, but what awaited them would be unthinkable. He had heard the rumours, but had never executed such a mission himself. Some would become slaves, and these were probably the lucky ones. Was he a slave master now?

All of a sudden, there was a piercing howl in his mind and a loud voice boomed in the recesses of the chamber as if his thoughts had been betrayed. “Do you doubt the intent of our Leader?” Zul’s squad mates froze, their chatter gave way to silence and they fixed their gaze in his direction, in the same way a pack of wolves smelt prey. Some gave him looks of disgust, others bearing no signs of emotion. They all paused in that moment, scrutinising and evaluating him, as if anticipating a kill order any moment.

Zul cast away the thoughts immediately for fear of his life. The Leader was brutal and relentless, and all the soldiers followed his orders to a tee, as if he controlled their very minds. He just had this uncanny persuasion that could turn friends into enemies without skipping a heartbeat. He prayed that the Leader would not pursue his digression and turned his thoughts elsewhere, pretending as if that moment of wavering never occurred. He did not want to be on the unfortunate receiving end of the Leader’s persuasive abilities in a chamber full of mindless soldiers.

To his relief, the Leader seem to back down and his squad mates reverted to their previous tidings, as if the entire episode did not happen. Transgressions were seldom tolerated, and Zul was relieved that he escaped this incident unscathed.

“All units, stand by for flight orders!”

Zul now steeled his mind, casting away any trepidation or doubt he had. He looked out of the transport as its flaps pulled apart. There it was, the Blue Planet, the only bastion of life in this Supercluster.

Once again, the telepathic mind of the Leader pierced his mind and the minds of all the soldiers with the same message, “Attack now, my soldiers!”

Zul launched himself forth, spreading his wings and retracting his arms and legs into an aerodynamic form. Gravity would do the rest and lead him into the planet’s stratosphere. Beside him were all the soldiers of the Hive, following the collective will of the Leader.

The invasion of Earth had begun.

© Copyright 2019 James Lytian. All rights reserved.

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