Twenty-Five Days Of Christmas: A Christmas Tale, Chapter One

“Get down! Get down!” My commanders were so calm, so collected. So cool under pressure. “The less of a target you are, the fewer casualties we will have!”

It was amazing! I had correctly judged my most capable lieutenants. And I was along for the ride, to observe and to help fight this war. My troops were just as capable, handling every obstacle with ease.

Since our first offensive, we had taken a fourth of the city back. Now, we were striking Athern & Hannesy. Not to mention the rest of the corporations in that ring of power. It was the corporate Hospitals and the pharma-lords, as I liked to call them. Pharmaceuticals had become big business in the late twentieth century. These companies, and their paid doctors, were able to manufacture illnesses for totally unnecessary drugs. This had created a drug reliant society that wanted something to take care of everything, even if it was an imaginary illness.

The hospitals first went to for-profit status, then were slowly gobbled up by the pharmaceutical companies. Becoming dens of crime in the name of research. Their mistakes, they murdered. Their ‘successes’, they released upon an unsuspecting public.

Now, it was some of these ‘successes’ we were having to fight. Mutated beyond human recognition, they were little more than simple-minded monstrosities. No, not monstrosities. Rather, pitiful gen-alt doppelgangers of humanity.

I only prayed that death comes quick for them as we cut through them. God! What a waste! And to think that this was their plan for all of mankind!

I wondered how many of these had been homeless or poor before becoming…whatever those things were. All I knew was that they were no longer human. And I pitied them. More than anything else.

But pity was no reason to stop fighting them. Even though they did not know what they were doing, they were still the enemy. And this was a horrible, horrible nightmare.

“Get down!” the order came again. This time, it was followed by the searing sound of a plasma bolt. Damn! I just hoped that no one was struck. Otherwise, they had been disintegrated on impact. “Stay down!”

I lobbed an ion grenade. “Hit the deck!!!” Everyone flattened out as it remained in the air. I looked up to see it land at the gen-alt’s feet. It looked down. I put my head down.

A sudden sizzling sound, followed by a ‘Fwip’ sound, let me know that it went off. Poor creature. Didn’t have a chance in hell. And neither did anything immediately in front of its position.

The acrid smell of burnt flesh filled the air. The high pitched screams of a dozen more gen-alts whose limbs had been disintegrated in the blast. The main target, though, was completely gone. Weapon and all.

My commander looked at me. “Thanks, Private, for taking out the plasma weapon. You just opened up the way for us.”

I saluted. After all, I was just another soldier. That had been my rule. As long as they were still alive to command, I was to be addressed as a Private. I fully trusted my Lieutenants. My commanding officers.

We moved forward. My offensive move really had opened up a way into the next sector. In fact, it had removed half the gen-alt army that stood in our way. I shook my head. What a waste.

As we went into the next sector, we passed a corpse with the whole front burned away. The stench was horrendous. Had I not been a soldier who’d had previous combat experience, I would have retched. And many of those behind me did.

Our demolition expert set the charges as we went. Room by room, we readied the building for the biggest implosion yet. We had finally cleared away all the gen-alts and were now running into cyborg and mech-tech soldiers. And the sec-bots. Always with the sec-bots.

Sec-bots. Better known as security androids, sec-droids, mechanical security, and other less repeatable names. Mech-techs. These were the precursor to the cyborgs. Humans with mechanical additions. More human than robotics. I think they once called these bionics.

Basically, they were simply human soldiers enhanced with either a cybernetic armor, or with added mechanical appendages, such as additional arms, legs, or even weapons grafted into their bodies through bio-cybernetics. Freaks by any other name were still freaks. I could tell that most of these were, or had been, mercenaries. They knew how to fight.

A cyborg noticed that I was also a cyborg. Or, at least, I was in his book. And the mech-techs also noticed that I seemed to be like them. Both stopped fighting. the first to notice inspected me. “What is your name?” his voice, no longer human, had a metallic sound. “And serial number?”

I smiled. ” Private Daniel Hargis. And you?”

He remained emotionless. “You are no private, Sir. You are Colonel Daniel Hargis. Serial number 00010009212. I am Lieutenant Jim Fielding. Serial Number 11121314450001.” He saluted. “I served under you in the last war. Permission to join your cause.”

I saluted him back, respectfully. “You are correct. But at the moment, I am a simple private.” I placed my hand on his shoulder. “I will confer with my commanding officer about you joining.”

He relaxed and smiled, somewhat…if you could call it a smile. “If you agree, the mech-techs will also join. No need for any more bloodshed.”

My lieutenant walked by. “Any who want to join our ranks are welcome, as long as your programming is not set to infiltrate and destroy.”

The cyborg saluted. “We weren’t implanted with the loyalty chip, sir. nor were we programmed to do sabotage. We are mere security.”

My Lieutenant smiled. “Have the mech-techs get the workers out of here. Even the scientists and research teams. You cyborgs will help us advance deeper into the compound.”

The cyborg nodded. “Yes, Sir!”

He clanged off to relay the orders. I watched him go. The lieutenant looked at me. “We were lucky to have you with us, sir.”

I smiled. “Maybe. But he almost blew it for me. If those cameras had been working, I would have been betrayed.”