November 27, 2015

Worth Fighting For - Entry VIII: If at First You Don’t Succeed
Worth Fighting For
Entry VIII: If at First You Don’t Succeed
Location: Manhattan Rebel Base
Date: Monday, October 20th, 2003

Pain. That was the first thing I remembered feeling. Then there was a pounding in my head like a jackhammer and a ringing in my ears that made me feel like I was standing inside of a church bell. I recalled trying to move my limbs and then questioning if I even had limbs. I almost believed that I had no body at all and consisted only of pain. That’s when I heard a voice call my name. As I finally regained my senses, I opened my eyes and saw Kat leaning over me. She told me I had been unconscious for a couple of days and that the explosion didn’t do any real damage but that I’d be groggy for some time. I was confused, I couldn’t think clearly and then it all came back to me. We had destroyed the Manhattan Power Plant and were trying to escape via the monorail tracks, only to have a Soviet tank show up. Tony had stayed behind so that the rest of us could live. Chris and I had been the last ones to reach the tracks and had been caught in the explosive fire from the tank. I muttered Tony’s name and Kat just shook her head solemnly. I knew he was gone but it was still too hard to comprehend.

Then my mind shifted to Chris and I bolted upright in bed only to be hit with a wave of nausea. Kat gently pushed me back down and chided me for trying to sit up in my current state. I grabbed her hand and asked about Chris’ condition. She assured me that he was fine and was already up and walking a bit. Though Chris’ hearing had not recovered yet, he had overcome most of the headaches and nausea that the blast had caused. I relaxed knowing that our leader was still alive because as long as he lived, our hope to reclaim our nation lived on as well.

Location: Manhattan Rebel Base
Date: Thursday, October 23rd, 2003

It had taken me a few more days to recover, and I still wasn’t at one hundred percent. The nausea had passed but I was still touched with throbbing headaches and an annoying drone in my ears. Yet, I wasn’t about to let these minor ailments keep me out of action. I approached our usual meeting room to find Chris, but before I entered I could hear him laughing with Isabella. It was a rare sound indeed, so I left the two alone and decided to talk over our next mission with Phil. We did just that and presented our ideas to Chris and Isabella, once the opportunity presented itself, and got the stamp of approval from them.

We knew from recent scouting reports that the Reds had pooled all their troops to the warehouse district. The POWs were still being held on the east side of the district, heavily guarded by watchtowers and an electrical fence. While we had cut power to the district by destroying the transformer tower, Chelly informed us that Ryo and the prisoners were probably forced to jury-rig a generator to create the electric perimeter. Isabella also had intelligence from Mr. Jones that stated the SAF’s forward operations base was on the west side of the district. Our plan was to split Chris’ team into two separate squads and attack both objectives while Phil’s team worked on getting us an exit. After all, the Manhattan Warehouse District was right in the heart of Soviet controlled territory. We had attacked it once and failed, we all knew that we could not fail again.
Location: Manhattan Warehouse District
Date: Friday, October 24th, 2003

It was barely past midnight when we assembled on the outskirts of the warehouse district. Chris was taking Miguel, Charlie, Daniil, and Nikolay with him to assault the forward operations base to the west. I would be taking Steven, Kat, and Chelly to the east side of the district, with the mission to rescue the POWs held captive there. Before we left for our destination, I had a quick chat with Chelly. I told her that I understood her personal stake in this mission but stressed that she needed to follow commands and work as a team if we were going to be successful. She acknowledged my concerns and I committed that we would rescue her husband and the other imprisoned power plant workers.

We scurried like rats through the labyrinth of the warehouse district, avoiding patrolling soldiers and cargo trucks. It appeared that the Reds were transporting munitions and supplies from other outposts here to the warehouse district. Or maybe it was the other way around; it was hard to tell with all the activity in the district. Either way, we still had our mission and staying hidden from the enemy was imperative. We hadn’t heard any signs of a gunfight so I was optimistic that Chris was succeeding in his mission as well. Granted, my ears still rang with the aftermath of the explosion, that every so often I thought I heard the whizz of bullets only to realize that it was all in my head.

We carried on, still heading west in hopes that we would spot the prisoners before we were spotted by the Reds. Steven was leading the squad while Kat was guarding our backs. Suddenly, Steven signaled us to stop and we all dropped to one knee. He motioned to his ears but I couldn’t hear anything above the hum of my own. It wasn’t until Chelly mouthed the words “fence” to me, that I understood what Steven had heard. Crouching, I slowly inched my way to the edge of the building and peeked out from around the corner. I could see a large fence enclosing five people inside. There were two watchtowers with a soldier in each and four more Reds on the ground. I drew up the plan quickly; Steven and Kat would flank the towers while Chelly and I remained at our current position. Steven and Kat were the better shots and I knew they were the best choice to task with taking care of the watchtowers.

We waited for everyone to get into position. I could see Kat from where Chelly and I were stationed but Steven was out of sight. I counted down with hand signals to try and coordinate our attack as best we could. At the last signal, I rolled out from cover and opened fire. My bullets hit one Red squarely in the chest but only grazed the other. The din of the bullets instigated an extreme pain in my head which caused me to lose balance and soon I had dropped to one knee. I tried to regain my poise and eliminate the Red I had wounded before he did the same to me but my vision was whirling and my shot missed wildly. Kat’s aim was steady though and she was able to take out the Red who was bearing down on me.

We had succeeded in clearing the prisoner camp of SAF soldiers. I motioned for Steven to help Chelly disarm the electric fence and free the prisoners. I tried to regain my footing but stumbled to the ground again. Kat grabbed my arm and helped steady me as the world around me finally stopped spinning. She gave me a concerned look but I waved her off and told her I was fine. The POWs were our main concern now. There were five of them in total, two injured enough that they could not walk on their own. Chelly had an emotional reunion with her husband, Ryo, while Kat and Steven helped the two injured prisoners to their feet. The other two prisoners approached me and introduced themselves as Logan Torres and Arthur Mays. Logan and Arthur were security guards at the power plant before they had been captured. They both picked up guns from the fallen Reds and affirmed to me that they could handle a weapon. Great, we needed the additional firepower. Ryo also armed himself as we prepared to rendezvous with Phil’s team.

I had Steven and Kat run point as Chelly and Ryo helped the injured POWs. I took up the rear with Logan and Arthur. We knew from Mr. Jones’ intelligence reports that there was a sewer entrance not far from our location. Phil’s team should already be there, keeping it clear of enemies for our arrival. Our escape was surprising calm and at one point it felt like I was taking a quiet stroll down the city streets, just like I had done before the Russian invasion. We reached our destination and Phil was there just as planned. As the injured were being helped to safety, I questioned Phil on the other facets of our mission. After all, Chris’ squad should already be assaulting the forward operations base. Phil stated that everything was going smoothly and that he would keep the Reds occupied while my squad regrouped with Chris.

As if appearing on cue, a SAF patrol opened fired on us. We all dove for cover as quickly as we could. I found myself hiding behind a large brick planter box with Phil while the rest of the Resistance members were scattered around us. When there was a break in gunfire, I whipped up over the planter box and shot off a few rounds of my own. My aim was awfully off the mark as my vision once again swirled. I hoped Chris didn’t have the residual symptoms I had, he was a much more effective fighter but even he could not overcome this with sheer will. Phil’s team was quite capable of finding its targets and soon the Reds were being pushed back. I motioned to Phil and pointed back at the warehouse district. He knew what I was thinking and with a sly grin; he jumped out of cover and yelled at his team to “give the Reds everything you’ve got.” I signaled for my squad to follow me as we scurried back towards the warehouse labyrinth.

This time stealth wasn’t the objective but speed was. We needed to rendezvous with Chris and the others before they were overrun. Seconds mattered and I was going to make sure we weren’t late. Soon, we could hear the sounds of a gunfight, no it sounded more like a full blown battle. There must have been over a dozen Reds attacking Chris’s squad and more seemed to pour out of every crevasse in the district. As we raced forward, we all realized that we had flanked the Red soldiers and were in striking position. I could see Chris and Charlie to the left of me as a group of Reds tried to outmaneuver them. I quickly called for Steven to follow me while the rest held their positions. We engaged the Reds and eliminated them proficiently. Chris gave me a slight nod and a smile as we reached his side. I told him that there were three more Freedom Fighters with me and to watch out for them. Chris updated us on the status of their objective, the forward operations base had been destroyed but in doing so, they had drawn the attention of every Red left in the district. I told him that Phil was working on our exit and that we needed to get moving before we were overrun.

I left the safety of the wall that we were using for cover first, spraying bullets as I went along and Chris followed close behind. Then in an instant I heard Chris shouting at me. I didn’t comprehend what he was saying until I saw a grenade roll past me. I was able to find shelter in an alleyway before the blast hit me but the concussive sound triggered a searing headache. Once again my world began to spin like I was in a blender. Every sound seemed to blur together from bullets to people shouting. I staggered out from the alleyway, still trying to collect myself. I remember Chris motioning for me to get down, as I was still standing upright, how I don’t know. But I couldn’t get my mind focused enough to command my body to move. I just stood there, motionless until I felt the hot searing heat of metal as it ripped through my skin. My body dropped to the ground and I felt myself being drawn into the black abyss once more. The last thing I recall thinking was that surely this time I really would die.