February 26, 2016

Worth Fighting For - Entry IX: In Remembrance

Worth Fighting For
Entry IX: In Remembrance
Location: Manhattan Rebel Base
Date: Monday, October 27th, 2003

Once again I found myself waking up to the sensation of pain. This time it was more than just my head but my left shoulder and right leg as well. I opened my eyes and saw Kat looking down at me. Déjà vu all over again, I thought to myself. I asked her what I had missed and if everyone was okay. She told me that I had been out for three days and a lot of things had happened. Chris and Steven were able to drag me out safely. Phil had cleared the way for our escape and almost everyone made it back. I gave her a concerned look and she only shook her head. Arthur was shot in the back as we were escaping and was killed. Logan and Ryo had taken his death pretty hard but were physically fine. Everyone else made it out with minimal injuries as well.

The news didn’t get any better. When we returned back to base, the SAFN was reporting that they had captured the Brooklyn Rebel Base, and with it, Troy Stone. Chris had arrived in time to see the Russian news network showing Troy’s torture. They even forced Troy to make a public address denouncing the Freedom Phantom and all those in the Manhattan Resistance. Instead, he refused and called for every American to stand up and fight against the Russian invaders. He had cried out for Chris to stay strong and continue fighting no matter what. That “no matter what” happened moments later when General Tatarin executed Troy Stone live on television. I couldn’t believe it; we had sacrificed so much to retake Brooklyn, only to lose it now. Kat reassured me that Chris, Isabella, Phil, and Mr. Jones were all working on a strategy to, her voice trailed off. She knew just as I did that we were at the end of our rope and running out of options.

Location: Manhattan Rebel Base
Date: Tuesday, October 28th, 2003

With the assistance of Kat, I was able to hobble my way to the command center where Chris, Isabella, Phil, and Mr. Jones were waiting. They had come up with the basis of a plan and wanted my opinion. Mr. Jones was able to procure schematics of Governor’s Island Naval Base, the headquarters for General Tatarin and the brain center of the Soviet Armed Forces. He felt that the only way for us to turn the tide was to assassinate Tatarin. Phil was all for this plan, he wanted revenge for the murders of Troy and every Freedom Fighter we lost at the Brooklyn Rebel Base but Isabella cautioned patience. After all, this was Governor’s Island, highly protected by the Reds best soldiers and weapons.

I suggested a surgical strike. If Mr. Jones’ intel was correct, we would be able to sneak a small team onto the island without alerting the patrols. Isabella supported my suggestion, stating that we had been successful using this tactic before. We were no army, but a small highly skilled team could successfully complete the mission. Phil instantly volunteered but was vetoed by Mr. Jones. Phil was exasperated by this and demanded to know why he couldn’t go but Mr. Jones flatly stated that Chris needed to go alone. We all looked at him in shock but he seemed to ignore our concern and continued outlining his plan. If we sent Chris with a large boat filled with even a handful of fighters, they would instantly draw the attention of the Reds. But Chris was the best sniper we had and if he went alone, along with the best sniper rifle we had, he would be able to locate Tatarin and assassinate him before anyone even knew he was there.

Phil was the first to speak, calling it a suicide mission. Isabella agreed that sending in one operative alone left little room for mistakes. I also voiced dissent stating that he would have no back up if he got into trouble let alone extracting him safely if he succeeded. It was Chris who subdued our concerns and stated that he agreed with Mr. Jones’ plan. We were all hesitant but we knew there was no changing Chris’ mind once he had made a decision. We nodded our agreement with reluctance and the others began working on the minute details of the operation. Chris took me aside to thank me for my help and to wish me a speedy recovery. I could only voice my displeasure that I would not be able to help him this time around. I shook his hand before I left, thinking in the back of my mind that I might not ever see him again.

Location: Manhattan Rebel Base
Date: Sunday, November 2nd, 2003

Chris Stone, the feared Freedom Phantom, had already departed for Governor’s Island. There was a solemn air around the base as everyone knew how dire a mission he was on. The details weren’t widely shared but we all knew that Chris was going in alone, via boat, would try to breach the perimeter of the naval yard and slowly work his way to a sniping position near the barracks. There was always a helicopter patrolling the base as well as half a dozen large watchtowers encircling the entire base. It was a daunting task but if anyone could succeed, it would be Chris. This mission was imperative as well; the death of General Tatarin would cause a power vacuum within the Soviet hierarchy that could lead to a possible collapse altogether. All we could do was wait and watch SAFN for any reports on Chris’ success or worse, his failure.

I couldn’t just sit around and wait for news though, I had to do something. A lot of people were in low spirits so I hoped that I could try and take their minds off of everything, at least for a time. I sought out my fellow teammates, hoping to chat with them for a while. It surprised me how little I knew about all of them even though I trusted each and every one of them with my life. My journalistic instincts had been replaced with a fighter’s will but now that I had time to spare, I felt compelled to document as much as I could about these people who were writing history in front of my very eyes.

I spotted Charlie Raider in our weapons area, taking apart a rifle and cleaning it. She was the first freed POW to join Chris’ team. Phil and Miguel had rescued her near the Brooklyn Hotel and she didn’t waste any time in joining us at the Brooklyn Harbor to fight. She was injured during that mission as well and was sidelined for some time because of it. When she had finally healed, Chris’ team was already in the field so she helped out with Phil’s team until she could rejoin us on our first mission to the Manhattan Warehouse District.

I didn’t know much about her except that she was extremely good with a gun. We started to chat and I began asking what her life was like before the invasion. She was hesitant to answer at first, maybe because she didn’t want to think about the past or maybe she couldn’t remember it in detail. My own past seemed more like a dream than a life I had lived. She told me she was the youngest and only girl in her family. Her three brothers made sure that she was as tough and rumble as they were. When she was old enough, she worked at her family’s restaurant as a waitress and then as a bartender. I didn’t ask if her family members were still alive, it was an impossible question to answer for so many here.

I asked if she had known Manny Perez and Tony Ramos long. They were both POWs in the same camp she was at and were also rescued by Phil and Miguel. Manny was killed by machine gun fire at the Brooklyn Fire Station. Tony was the latest team member we lost, when he sacrificed himself so that we could escape the Manhattan Power Plant. She shook her head and said that she had never met them before. Charlie didn’t know much about them either. She thought Manny was an electrician and was married but she wasn’t sure. She told me Tony had mentioned a sister a few times and how he worked at the same office as her. Lawyer, accountant, maybe a tax consultant, something “corporate like,” Charlie answered. It was saddening to realize how little we knew about our fellow freedom fighters. We had fought together for months and I was there when both of them made the ultimate sacrifice. I would make sure that what we did know about them would not be forgotten, that they were heroes.

I found Steven, Daniil, and Nikolay playing a game of basketball, or at least something like it since they only had a trashcan and a deflated soccer ball. They asked if I wanted to join and I shook my head, I was still too sore to do anything that rigorous. I did stay to watch the “game” and participate in the small stalk. Steven Ryan was the other POW from Charlie’s group. He was the last prisoner to be brought into the camp before they were rescued so he didn’t even know any of their names when he joined us. The only thing I knew about Steven was that he was from the West Coast and was an only child. Other than that, he was pretty mum about his past life.

Daniil Goldobin and Nikolay Tarasov were quite the talkers though. They were SAF soldiers about to be executed before Chris intervened. We found them near the Brooklyn Hotel and they were instrumental in helping us accomplish our mission. We were wary of them at first but they quickly proved their loyalty. Though Daniil and Nikolay weren’t siblings, they had grown up together, went to school together, played on the same hockey team, and enlisted at the same time. They thought their cause was just until they saw the brutality of the invasion. When they were ordered to kill innocent children, they had refused, which was when they were sentenced to death. Daniil and Nikolay both had a love of mobster movies and would often quote various lines, in their thick Russian accents. Neither one were very homesick, stating that there wasn’t much of a home to go back to.

I found Miguel Bishop reading a book a few yards from the others. I went over to him and inquired if he would be willing to answer a few questions. He set the book down and gave me his undivided attention. Miguel, along with Billy Hurst, was the first Resistance member to follow Chris. They helped us take over the Brooklyn Post Office early in the war. Billy was killed during our failed attempt to free the POWs in the Manhattan Warehouse District. His death had hit us all very hard. I asked Miguel what he did before the invasion and how he knew Billy. Miguel answered that he and Billy had run an auto repair garage together. They both met when they were in college and both had a love of cars. They decided to put aside their initial plans, Manny was to be a computer tech and Billy a dentist, and start a business of their own. I laughed when I heard that Billy was originally going to be a dentist. Miguel chuckled too, stating that Billy used to get queasy when he saw needles.

Chelly Ouma, Ryo Ouma, and Logan Torres were eating at the cantina. I approached the group and said my condolences for Arthur Mays. Logan thanked me and told me that he had been Arthur’s partner for three years. The two of them were security guards for the power plant. I asked Logan if he knew much about Arthur’s life before the war and he told me that Arthur was divorced and only saw his daughter every other weekend. Arthur was also a big sports fan so the two of them used to watch the games often. Logan told me that Arthur was the only person he considered to be family. Chelly and Ryo Ouma were both power plant workers and had just recently gotten married. They were planning on taking their honeymoon the week after we were invaded. Both had family in the Midwest who they hoped to try and locate when this was over. As they talked about their family, I couldn't help but think this war was never going to end.

I went to Phil’s tent to see if I could find him but he wasn’t there. When I came out, I ran into Katherine Cutter, and she asked if I needed any help. I asked her if she knew where Phil was but she only shrugged. Phil wasn’t the type that could sit still, especially if he was worried, so we both knew he was out making trouble somewhere. I then asked Kat if she had some time to talk. She said yes and we proceeded to sit down near the makeshift basketball court to watch the game. I first met Kat during the Manhattan Movie Theater operation when she was a member of Phil’s team and was assigned to assist Chris with the navigation of the area. She was so effective that after the mission, she was permanently assigned to our team and had been with us ever since.

I posed a few questions about her life before the invasion. She was the oldest of three girls and was tasked with taking care of her sisters while their mother worked. That responsibility instilled a need to help people so when she graduated from high school, she went to college to study nursing. I asked her how she got roped in with Phil and she chuckled. She was an aid worker at one of the civilian camps and had helped a member of Phil’s team. He had asked her to join the Resistance to provide medical support but soon she had proven herself as a capable fighter too. She stated that she had been following him around since then but was happy to help Chris and myself out now. I was about to query further when I heard Chelly shouting for us to hurry to the television.

The familiar voice of Tatiana Kempinski crackled over the speakers and static filled images of Governor’s Island appeared on the screen. She reported the tragic news that General Tatarin had been assassinated by the Freedom Phantom on Governor’s Island. We all cheered but then fell silent as we listened for more information. She stated that the Freedom Phantom had escaped but that the Resistance had been defeated and the SAF had achieved ultimate victory. We all looked at each other trying to understand what she was saying. Then the feed cut to an image of Colonel Bulba as he made an acceptance speech, becoming the new leader of the Soviet Armed Forces. It was the first time we had seen Colonel Bulba on television but not the first time I had seen him for I knew him by another name, Mr. Jones.

The shock was only momentary because before I could reveal who he really was to everyone, a loud explosion rocked the base. The SAFN news feed cut out and we were all stunned by blast. That was when I realized what was happening, I shouted at everyone to grab a weapon and flee the base, we were under direct attack. Mr. Jones was a traitor; he had been playing us this entire time. The Soviets knew our exact location and had been waiting for the opportune moment to kill us off. Bulba had checkmated us, not only did he orchestrate Chris killing off his rival, but now he would look like a hero to his people for eliminating the entire Resistance. I wasn’t about to let that happen.

We scattered like leaves in the wind, racing to grab weapons and gear as the Reds broke through the tunnels. I saw Logan, Chelly, and Ryo make it out one exit before the Reds descended down the same path. Kat, Daniil, and Steven were with me heading for a northern exit. I whipped my head in every direction to see if I could spot Charlie and Miguel but to no avail. I noticed we were missing another member of our team, Nikolay wasn’t with us. I searched until I finally spied him near the weapons area; he was holding a large wooden crate. I heard Daniil screaming for him to run but Nikolay just gave him a sad little smile. It was then I realized what he was holding, a crate filled with grenades. He had one in his hand and waited for the Reds to approach him before he dropped it at his feet. It only took a few seconds, the blast dropped me to my knees and slammed my head against the concrete floor. Kat had to practically pick me up to get me moving again. When I looked back at our base, all I could see was black smoke seeping through the place we called home. There was nothing left we could do; we were now fugitives on the run.