Promise Me

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic
A story about a soldier in future times fighting for Earth against aliens who wish to oppress humans, while battling with memories of his wife and daughter he left on Earth, who he promised he would come back to.

Submitted: April 17, 2013

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Submitted: April 17, 2013

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Jack pulled the magazine from his rifle,  trying to judge how many rounds are left. He frowned slightly, noticing there isn't enough to last the battle, but they were pressed for ammunition. He shoved he magazine back in before aiming down its scope, trying to find targets. His platoon had been under fire for almost three days now, and the losses were devastating  The compound under fire was FOB Hotel-114, the last remaining outpost on the planet of Kirosa. More than that, the brass had made it clear that if the Terran Republic loses this outpost, they lose the war against the Neer, and if they lose the war against the Neer they lose their freedom. Jack sighed heavily as he wiped sweat from his brow, grabbing his flask and shaking it. Empty. Two full enemy platoons had breached the outer compound walls, and Jack's platoon wasn't even at squad strength. Low on food, water, sleep and hope Kilo Platoon - or what's left of it - knew this was the last stand. Sitting against a low wall, Jack tossed his now empty rifle to the side, picking up his half-loaded pistol from the ground beside him. As he was about to pop up and take a few shots, he saw a rocket fire into the air. It took a moment to realize, but when the rocket slowed down in mid-air, Jack realized what it was. "Holy shit, Vulture! SCATTER!" he yelled at the top of his lungs, jumping to his feet and dashing for the compound itself. He looked back as he was running just in time to see the Vulture Anti-Infantry Rocket crashing down to the planet, landing on top of three of his pinned-down squad members. The explosion, for the size of the rocket, was massive, blowing Jack off his feet. As he laid on the ground, shell-shocked from the missile that had just killed three of his closest friends, he saw two squads of enemies advancing past the inner wall of the compound and into the building itself. Jack tried to pull himself to his feet, gasping as he felt a sharp pain in his leg. Looking down, he noticed the entire back of his leg burned black, so all he could do was crawl towards his fallen pistol. He heard gunfire from inside the compound, which only made him more desperate, but as he was about to reach for his gun he felt someone kick him in the stomach. As Jack rolled onto his back, clutching his stomach, he looked up and saw what could only be a Neer officer.
"You have lost the war, Terran," the officer said, looking down and resting the barrel of his rifle against Jack's forehead. "Your friends are dead, and Earth now belongs to the Neer Republic. Surrender, and your life will be spared,"
"You can go fuck yourself... You... Nngh... You fucking lizard," Jack spat out, his entire body in pain. As he looked up at the Neer, he noticed the trigger slowly starting to move. Jack closed his eyes, and he never even heard the bang.
 
Jack gasped, jumping slightly and sitting upright in his bed. He looked around, panting loudly, trying to see in the darkness. As he calmed down, he wiped the sweat from his forehead and looked down at his wife, Emily. Emily stirred slightly, turning towards Jack and smiling sympathetically. "Another nightmare?" she asked, putting her hand on his cheek. Jack just nodded, avoiding eye contact. It had been almost fifteen years since he lost his platoon on Kirosa. "I'm sorry, my love, I wish I could help," Emily sat up in bed, her long black hair falling behind her shoulders as she wrapped her arms around his neck. Jack smiled slightly, kissing her cheek. "It's all right. I'm all right. It happened so long ago. I've gotten over the PTSD, but... I want to go back to--"
"No. We talked about this, Jack," She cut him off, letting go of him and turning towards him. "It's too dangerous!"
"I know it's dangerous, dove, but I just... I can't do this job any more. All the rookies at boot-camp know what happened, they don't fear me for the right reasons. I need to turn them into soldiers, and I need to scare them more than the enemy, but they're scared of me because I got my unit killed. They think I'm weak, that I'll make them weak,"
"That's not true, honey. They know you're strong. They know what happened wasn't your fault. We were too spread out, and your outpost was understaffed. There was nothing you could have done,"
"I wish I could believe that. But... I need to do this. I'm sorry. I need to go back out there and show them what I can do, so they respect me again,"
"And if you die?" Emily said, a slight panic in her voice. "What happens if you die, Jack? What happens to me? To Naomi?"
"I won't die, I promise,"
"Don't you dare promise me that, Jack! I believed you thirteen years ago, and you were dead. For two weeks, you were dead. I had to mourn an empty coffin!"
"I'm not nineteen any more, it won't happe--"
"Yes, it will! Jack, you're strong, and you're a  great warrior, but you're not a god. If you die, I'll be by myself,"
"I'll always be with you, and I'll always love you, while I'm alive and when I'm dead," Jack leaned in to kiss his wife, but she just turned her head.
"What good is your love when you're not here to tell it to me every morning? What good is it when you're in the ground? Our daughter is nine years old, do you want her to grow up without a father?"
"I'll make sure you're looked aft--" Jack couldn't finish your sentence before Emily slapped him angrily.
"Do you think this is about money, Jack? I don't care about the money. All Naomi and I want is you. If you're dead, I'll lose my entire life. Naomi will grow up thinking her father loved killing people more than he loved her daughter,"
"I'll come back. I will," Jack put his arms around Emily, holding her close, hearing her starting to cry.
"What if you don't? What will I do? Please... Jack, please don't go..."
"I... I'm sorry... I love you. You're everything to me, Emily. But I have to go,"
 
Jack checked his magazine for the sixth time before putting his gun down next to him, picking up his helmet and holding it in his hands, looking at his own reflection in the visor. He thought about the last time he saw his wife. Jack held her for what felt like an eternity, with Naomi holding onto his leg. "Please don't go, daddy," she said over and over, tears streaming down her face. Jack would tell her he has to, barely believing it himself. "Jack, please. Don't do this, there's still time to come home. Don't leave us," Emily said into his neck, her tears dripping onto his uniform. "I'm sorry, my dove. I have to go. But I'll be back," He said, giving her a final kiss on the cheek before letting go. He dropped to his knees and hugged his daughter, smiling with watery eyes as she cried. He put his hands on her shoulder and wiped away her tears, looking her in the eyes. "Daddy will be back. I just have to go fight some bad guys for a few months. When I come back, I'll get you the biggest ice-cream you can imagine. How does that sound?" A single tear rolled down his cheek and Naomi nodded slowly, not  wanting her daddy to go. He turned to his wife again and smiled slightly. "I'll be back" he whispered.
"Promise me, Jack. Promise me you'll be back. In eighteen months, I want you here by my side again. We just down a deposit for that house we liked, and the skycar is nearly paid off, and--"
"I promise. I promise I'll be back,"
"I'm holding you too that, mister," She said sadly, forcing a slight smile.
"I wouldn't have it any other way, my love," Jack said, leaning in and giving her a deep kiss before picking up his duffel bag, ruffling Naomi's hair before starting to walk towards the ground-to-space transport. He could hear the two most important people in his life cry behind him, and he's sure he heard Naomi yell "Daddy, no!" as he got into the transport. He didn't want to look back. If he did, he might change his mind. Jack sighed and turned the helmet around, putting it on his head and securing it. It had been almost three months, and he was heading towards Choran, the planet that has seen the heaviest fighting. Three years since the Terrans had rebelled again, and they barely got anywhere. Choran, however, was supposed to be a turning point; the planet was in the centre of Neer supply lines. Cutting it off would leave seven systems exposed to Terran invasion, and the twelve remaining Neer systems would be without supplies from the outer republic. Jack was the leader of Delta Squad, which belonged to 6th Platoon, 25th Company, 222nd Battalion. His entire battalion was being sent to assault a large Neer outpost, which would leave the capital city exposed from the East. His platoon, specifically, was tasked with capturing a small town just west of the outpost to act as a supply line into the city once the siege started. "All right, soldiers, we're entering the AA hotzone, ETA to insertion point ten minutes," Jack said as he stood up, his rifle on his shoulder. "If anyone has any questions, or need to take a shit, I'd suggest you do it now because once we land there won't be any ti--" He was cut off by a large explosion, and the entire transport shook. The cabin lights turned red, and Jack could smell smoke coming from the engine. "Fuck! We took a grazing hit, engines are non-responsive, hull is cracked, and I'm pretty sure the fuel tank is on fire," the pilot said as the transport started losing altitude.
"Can you land it?" Jack yelled from the back
"Ha! "Can I land it", he asks. Sir, I flew during the first war, I evaded AI-assisted AA guns, I'm pretty sure I can... Oh fuck... Incoming!" the entire backside of the transport was suddenly blown off,  killing three men. "What the FUCK just happened?!" Jack screamed, grabbing hold of a rail, looking over the pilot's shoulder.
"We took a direct hit from an RPG. We're going down, fast. I can't control it. Brace yourselves!" The pilot said frantically. Jack looked back, noticing that one of his men was slumped forward in his chair. Holding onto rails on the roof, Jack slowly moved towards the soldier, sitting down next to him. He lifted his squad-mate's head, but all the saw when looking at him was a completely red visor. He sighed heavily, looking at the remaining five soldiers. "We still have a job to do, men. We can't let their losses be in vain. We get to the rendezvous point and meet up with the rest of the platoon and secure that town. Understood?" He said, barely believing his words himself. His men nodded, but Jack could see they were unsure. He was, too. Suddenly, with a large crash, the transport came to a halt.
 
Jack grunted, opening his eyes. He was laying on the ground, a few meters away from the transport shuttle. He sat upright, coughing before taking off his helmet and spitting out blood... And three of his teeth. He noticed two other soldiers sitting by the shuttle, checking their weapons. "Sta... Status report," Jack said weakly, struggling to get up. One of the soldiers, Benjamin Taylor, rushed over to help Jack up. "Sir. We lost two more men, and the pilot. It's just us left. Me and Johnny here pulled you and another guy from the craft, but he died a few minutes ago," Taylor said walking back over to where he was sitting.
"J... Just us?" Jack picked up his rifle with a grunt, limping over to the other two soldiers. "Shit. This isn't going good. I hope... The other squads had better luck. Come on, we still have a job to do. Check mags and head out,"
"What? Sir, we're down to three men. You can't possibly expe--"
"Expect what? For you to do your job? Fall in line, we're heading out,"
"With all due respect, sir, we have no desire to die today. We saw another three transports go down, and that's after we crashed. Who knows if ANYONE is left?"
"If there is, we do our job with what we have,"
"We have nothing!"
"That's sir, to you. And if we having nothing, we make due. We do our duty, and if you're not ready to die you shouldn't have become a soldier. Now fall the fuck in line or I'll have you court-marshalled, and you'll WISH you were dead,"
"I... Yes, sir," Benjamin sighed heavily and grabbed his rifle, standing up and following Jack towards a small farm. As they neared the farm, they noticed the lights inside were on. Jack motioned for his men to crouch as they kept moving towards it, stopping by a fence. "All right, from here I can see about... Two buildings. It shouldn't take long to clear, but we need to make sure there aren't any Neer soldiers here. Keep it low and move quick, got it?" Jack whispered, scanning the farm. If he had his helmet, he could use the internal binoculars, but the helmet was in pieces. As the group made their way towards the farm, Jack could see the town, their objective, in the distance, a bright orange glow was visible on the horizon, and flashes of light could be seen. Jack smiled slightly, knowing this meant that more survived and were carrying out the mission. Jack noticed a blood stain on the wall through a window. Red blood, not Neer blue. "Hold. I... I think this was a human farm. See that stain? They must have thought they were spies and executed them. Fucking bastards. Taylor, take Stevens and clear those two buildings there, I'll take this one," he whispered to them, reaching the door to the first building. Pressing his body against the wall, Jack peeked through a window before turning and kicking the door in. With his gun raised, he slowly started walking into the first room. He turned his face up in disgust as he immediately saw the body of an old human woman, probably in her 80s, slumped against the wall, a small hole in her forehead. Neer Nailgun. Jack spat on the ground as he realized this was done by an execution team who wanted to impose fear, not by justified soldiers trying to protect their people. He proceeded into the next room, finding two more bodies - a child and a mother. Jack stopped for a second, lowering his gun as his mind wanders to his own daughter and wife. He couldn't help but remember the day his daughter was born. He and Emily were having dinner at a formal restaurant with some people from her work. They were talking about stocks, or golfing, or some other topic Jack didn't really care about. He and Emily were in their own world, whispering and giggling to each other, only responding to the waiter or when a question was thrown specifically at them. As they were eating starters, Emily started complaining about cramps, but insisted she was fine. Jack always loved how strong she was. During the middle of the meal, as Jack and Emily shared a plate of spaghetti, Emily suddenly dropped her fork. She gave a little yelp, looking at Jack slightly panicked. Jack thought she was choking at first, and he himself nearly choked when he heard her whisper "I think the baby's coming," Jack was always fine under fire, doing well against an enemy, and he had never panicked in his life as much as he did then. But he was never as excited, either. He practically carried Emily to the skycar, going way over the speed limit. By the time they got to the hospital, Emily was screaming her lungs out, and every attempt to calm her down resulted in her snapping at him. "Sir? The buildings were clear" Taylor said, walking into the room and looking at the bodies. "What the fuck..."
"Uh, yeah. This one's not clear yet. Head out to the last building. I'll check the back rooms," Jack said, slightly confused as he snapped out of his daydream.
"You, uh, you okay, sir?" Taylor asked, a slight frown across his face.
"Yeah, fine. Just catching my breath." Jack said hoarsely, starting to doubt if coming was a mistake or not. What if he did die? What if he never got to see the woman he loves or his beautiful daughter again? He shook his head, waving Taylor off, dismissing the thoughts quickly as he walked out of the room and into the last one in the house quickly. A bedroom with two beds, one for the child and one for the parents. Jack thought the grandmother probably lived in one of the other buildings. As he was about to turn and leave, he heard a faint whimper coming from inside a closet. Raising his gun, Jack slowly started walking towards the closet, reaching out with one hand and pulling it open. A bathroom. Jack couldn't help but give a small chuckle, as he always thought these bathrooms hidden in closets were useless, and now it probably saved someone's life when the Neer came. As he moved into the bathroom, he noticed a Neer man in the bathtub, clutching his knees. A sudden flash of anger came over Jack, and he gripped his rifle tightly. "Who the FUCK are you? Did you kill these people? ANSWER ME!" The man yelped, obviously snapping out of a daydream. He stared at Jack, holding his hands in front of his face as if trying to protect himself. "Please,
 he said in a thick Neer accent, his voice hoarse. "Please don't hurt me,"
"Who the fuck are you?!" Jack said again, shoving his gun in the man's face.
"No, no please! My name is Bakar, I live here,"
"Bullshit, I saw the human corpses out there. This is a human's home. Did you kill them?!" Jack grabbed the man's arm, pulling him onto the floor out of the tub.
"Ah! No! I didn't! I loved them!"
"Bullshit!"
"Please! I... I was in here when the executioners came! I... I hid."
"Who are you? Did you know these people?"
"Y... Yes. I am ma... I WAS married to the woman who lived here. She moved here with her baby and mother a few years ago, and--"
"I don't give a shit about your life story, tell me why you're in here,"
"I told you! When the men came, I was here, and I knew they wouldn't find me."
"You hid while your family was being murdered? What kind of a man are you?! How could you just let them d--"
"I was scared!" The man cried out as tears streamed down his cheek. "I didn't know what else to do,"
"You're not a man. You're pathetic! I should... I should just--" Without thinking, Jack pulled the trigger on his rifle, shooting the man in the face. Jack jumped slightly, as if he didn't expect it. "Oh shit!" He said, gasping as the Neer slumped to the side, half of his face blown off. Jack backed away slowly, swallowing heavy before storming out of the room. He stopped by the bedroom window, noticing Taylor running across the courtyard from the barn, probably responding to the gunshot. Jack sighed, not in the mood to explain himself - not even sure if he was able to. As Jack was about to head to the front door, he noticed a small flash against the darkness of night. A second later, the barn was utterly destroyed, exploding with a massive boom. Jack ducked low, swearing as he dashed for the front door. He ran outside, seeing two or three Neer vehicles rushing towards them from down the road. That could only mean they have the situation in the town under control and were cleaning up the crash sites for survivors. Taylor was standing in the courtyard with his hands on his head, yelling for Stevens, who was likely still in the barn. "Taylor! Get your ass inside, they're going to be here any second!" Jack shouted, seeing the Neer vehicles nearing them. Just as he was about to run and get Taylor, a LMG on one of the vehicles started opening fire, sending large .60 calibre rounds flying through Taylor. A second later, Taylor slumped to the ground and the LMG turned to open fire on Jack, who ducked inside the house. The machine gun shot holes through the walls, completely destroying the interior of the house. Jack dashed for the kitchen, ducking and trying to avoid getting shot. He ducked behind the fridge, sitting there for a few seconds as he heard the trucks pull up. The machine gun finally stopped when the front of the house collapsed, bringing down half the roof and the entire front wall. Jack peeked around the fridge, noticing a group of Neer heading towards the building. He poked his rifle around the corner and opened fire, taking down three Neer soldiers as the others - at least ten - scurried for cover. A few seconds later, they opened fire on jack, who was protected well enough by the fridge. Every time there was a pause in the fire, when they were likely reloading, Jack would pop out and take out one or two Neer soldiers. This pattern continued for at least ten minutes, until he took out six of them, and was out of ammo. Jack reached for his handgun, sighing heavily, looking up at the stars through a hole in what little of the roof remains, wondering what Emily and Naomi were doing at this moment. "I... I'm sorry, Emily. I'm so sorry, Naomi. I think... I'm going to break the promise. I'm so sorry. Please forgive me. I love you both," He whispered to himself before popping out and firing at the Neer. He hit one and dashed for the bedroom, ducking behind a small section of the wall that still remained. Jack looked around for any way to gain the advantage, occasionally leaning and firing his handgun at the Neer. Just as he was about to take a shot at an exposed Neer soldier, though, his gun clicked. Out of ammo. Jack swore, feeling for ammunition in his pocket. Just as he found a magazine and looked up, however, he saw a Neer soldier right next to him, who hit him with the butt of his rifle. The last thing Jack heard was the crunch of his nose breaking before he passed out.
Jack woke up on the bed of the house, a meter away from where he was knocked out.
 
The Neer soldiers noticed him waking up, and the apparent leader of the group walked over confidently and hit him in the face. "That's for my men, you human bastard," he shouted, grabbing Jack by his collar. "You're going to tell me everything I want to know, human, before I lose my patience and decide to make you bleed your disgusting red blood,"
"You... Can go fuck yourself, you scaly son of a whore," Jack struggled to say, spitting blood into the Neer's face. The Neer hit Jack again, harder this time, before pulling his knife and thrusting it into Jack's shoulder without hesitation. "I warned you. Now, tell me something that's worth your life," he said, giving the blade a twist. Jack screamed out in agony, grabbing the Neer's coat as a plead. "Tell me now," the Neer said, twisting the blade on every word.
"Oh fuck, stop!" Jack cried out, blood pooling around his wound and slowly running onto the bed.
"So you'll tell me?"
"There's nothing I can tell you!"
"Don't lie to me, human!" The Neer pulled the blade and shoved it into Jack's upper arm, shredding through bone and muscle. "Tell me NOW!"
"I... The... N..." Jack was unable to form a coherent sentence through his cries of pain, clutching his torturer's collar.
"Sir... He's useless to us. We should move on, there are other areas we should clear before the fleet arrives and blow their out the sky. We'll have more work to do then," another Neer said, obviously mocking Jack with details of the coming human defeat.
"Yes... You're right. Get to the vehicles, I'll catch up," the Neer officer said. His lackeys nodded before heading to their trucks. "Now, human, it seems we have the place to ourselves. I've always hated your kind," the officer said, twisting the blade as he pulling it from Jack's arm. Jack, at this point, could only cry out, unable to form words. The Neer officer raised Jack's arm, and grabbing his forearm and upper arm, breaking it by the elbow in one motion. Jack screamed at the top of his lungs, pulling his legs up and trying to get the torturer off of him. His captor let go of Jack's arm, putting his blade at his throat. "I hope you've made peace with your god, human," he hissed through his teeth before slitting Jack's windpipe.


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