Entry XV: The Hard-Fought Battle Won
Location: Southwest Bunker, Fort Jay
Date: Thursday, December 25th, 2003
I was alone again and there were Soviet soldiers everywhere. I was cut off from the main artillery by a large Red force; there was no way I could make it back to Charlie now. I knew Chris had blown up the helipad up the embankment some time ago and was probably already in the interior of the island, heading to Fort Jay where we believed Isabella was being held captive. Fort Jay was made up of four bunkers and she had to be imprisoned in one of them. The Southwest Bunker was the most logical choice since it was the closest to Chris’ last known position. I quietly sneaked my way to the interior of Governor’s Island.
As I reached Fort Jay and its main gate I saw over fifty Freedom Fighters charging across the open field. They must have landed on the other side of the island when the mortars were destroyed. Many of the faces I didn’t recognize but I knew that they were allies. Then my eyes began scanning the faces, I had a nagging feeling that I was missing something. One of the Resistance caught my eye and gave me a big toothy grin. It was Miguel Bishop, he was alive. I gave him a wave as he charged past me and into the crowd of fighters. When I reached the main gate, there were already Red bodies lining the ground. I could tell that someone else had already been here and I hoped that person was Chris.
I entered an enclosed hallway and turned left, heading west in hopes of finding my teammates again. I could hear gunfire up ahead and steeled myself for anything. I then heard voices shouting, one sounded like Kat and then I heard Chris calling out commands. It was them, I sprinted ahead, eager to join the fight. By the time I rounded the corner, the last SAF soldier dropped dead. Chelly heard me approaching and raised her gun but I called out to her just in time. Everyone was relieved to see me and I, them. I told Chris that Charlie and Miguel were alive and leading other teams in the assault of Fort Jay. He informed me that Phil also had organized an additional team which was clearing the perimeter of any hostiles.
With the Southwest Bunker clear, we grabbed what ammo we could, and headed towards the Northwest Bunker. We were greeted by enemy fire at almost every turn. It was especially difficult to fight in the confines of the bunker halls. With a readied rifle, it was almost impossible to turn. Chris and Kat led the way while Steven and I covered our backs. We were nearing the bunker when we heard footsteps approaching us from behind. Steven and I prepared our weapons and waited for an enemy to appear. When they did, we opened fire, the sound of gunfire ringing through the concrete halls. The din threatened to bring with it another headache but I kept my focus and more importantly, my aim. The fighting stopped and four SAF soldiers were dead.
I turned around and was about to rejoin the others when I heard Steven yell for me to get down and then a blast of gunfire. I whipped back and caught Steven in my arms. One of the Reds fired off a single shot before dying. The bullet was meant for me but Steven had jumped in front of it and it had struck him squarely in the chest. I propped his head up with my knee and tried to stop the bleeding but he told me that it was pointless, he was dying. I couldn’t find anything to say as I watched my friend die in my arms. He told me that it was alright and to make sure that everyone’s sacrifices meant something. He made me promise him that I would ensure that their stories wouldn’t be forgotten and that we would do our best to make this country better. I nodded my head and meekly answered him, telling him that I would do my best. Steven Ryan gave me a smile and then with a sigh he was gone. I gently set his head down and put his arms on his chest. I whispered “thank you” and then turned down the hall towards the Northwest Bunker.
Location: Northwest Bunker, Fort Jay
Date: Thursday, December 25th, 2003
By the time I had rejoined the others; they had killed the remaining Reds in the bunker and had freed Isabella. She was injured but not in critical condition. I guess I had almost missed other things because Isabella was in Chris’ arms and they were kissing. After a few awkward moments of silence, Isabella let go of Chris and grabbed a weapon. Chris asked me about Steven and I just shook my head. We stood in silence for a few more moments and then Chris ordered us to move out. As we exited the bunker, Isabella informed us that Colonel Bulba’s office was in the Northeast Bunker. Chris met our eyes and told us that this was the moment that we could end it all. We raised our guns in the air and cheered, ready to follow him into the abyss.
Location: Northeast Bunker, Fort Jay
Date: Thursday, December 25th, 2003
By now, the SAF soldiers were fleeing or surrendering and only a handful had chose to keep fighting. We cut them down easily, almost too easily, that I felt remorse for the enemy I had so vehemently hated. When we reached the Northeast Bunker, it was deserted. We dashed up the stairs and ran onto the roof, hoping to catch Bulba before it was too late. Our hearts sank when Chelly pointed out the outline of a helicopter flying away. I heard Charlie and Miguel call out Chris’ name from below us, Chris waved back, and they saluted. Then, Charlie threw a pack up at Chris and he caught it. When Chris opened it up we all gave a cheer, inside the pack was the Stars and Stripes. He walked over to the flagpole that was directly above Colonel Bulba’s office and lowered the Soviet flag. Then with a cheer from all the Manhattan Resistance fighters, he raised the U.S. flag, announcing our victory to the world.
The sun had started to peek out from behind the horizon when we all gathered at the center of Fort Jay. There were familiar faces and new ones, all streaked with the same stains of sacrifice. We all turned to Chris for final words from our leader. He told us to remain vigilante. Colonel Bulba had escaped and would be back with an even stronger force. He encouraged us to embrace our newfound freedom and to remember all those who gave up their lives so that we might have this opportunity. And lastly, he thanked us for our dedication and for following him through each and every battle. As the group dispersed, Chris and Isabella walked away, embracing each other as they left. We were all going to let the two have their moment alone but Phil came bounding up behind them and slung an arm over each of their shoulders. He told them that he wasn’t going to let them off the hook just yet, that they’d get their moment to smooch, but right now they needed to plan how to rebuild Manhattan.
Date: Thursday, January 1st, 2004
I’m sitting on a rickety wooden chair and using a rickety wood desk to prop up a battered computer with a cracked monitor. The keyboard clunks wildly beneath my fingers in a rhythmic motion until I hit the “t” button, which is stuck and needs to be convinced to type. The room I sit in is dusty with debris everywhere. No matter how hard I try to clean it, dirt seems to magically appear after I’ve finished. The roof is water damaged and the wall is cracked but at least it’s a roof over my head. I left the Manhattan Resistance on Christmas morning, in the capable hands of Chris Stone, Isabella Angelina, and Phil Bagzton.
They had asked me to stay and help them not only rebuild the city but prepare to fight the last remaining pockets of the Soviet Armed Forces in other areas of the state and nation. I had to refuse, much as it broke my heart, for I felt like these people were my family and I had followed Chris for so long that it would be strange to not be by his side. The second concussion did its damage and I was no longer in any condition to fight. Pounding headaches, vertigo, and sensitivity to light and sound were a consistent presence in my daily life. A simple light being turned on or the din from a trashcan being emptied could cripple me for hours. I had a mission of my own though, one that Steven Ryan had assigned to me before he died in my arms. That mission was almost as important as theirs for while they were going to rebuild a new life for Americans, I wanted to preserve the lives that were sacrificed to gain our new freedom.
I wanted to tell the stories of people like Troy Stone, Manny Perez, Billy Hurst, Tony Ramos, Arthur Mays, Nikolay Tarasov, and Steven Ryan. I had become close to each one of them and wanted to ensure that their lives and their deaths would be remembered. We lost each one of them before the final battle of Governor’s Island and I feared that their heroic acts would eventually be forgotten. Then there were those that fell during our final mission. Some made it to the island like Daniil Goldobin, whose body we found near the boat landing when we swept the area after the fighting had stopped. Others like Logan Torres; we never recovered their bodies from the icy waters that surrounded the island.
Then there were fast allies that I trusted my life with but who I knew nothing about. I found out from Charlie Raider that Ken Traynor’s parents were from Brooklyn. So we transported his body and buried him in the mass cemetery in downtown Brooklyn in hopes that even though we didn’t know who his parents were, that his final resting place would be near them. Unfortunately, we knew nothing of Shinji Cortez. He had joined the Resistance after Chris’s television appearance and said little. But he never hesitated when he made the ultimate sacrifice on Governor’s Island. He would be buried along with the hundreds of other brave citizens who fought for freedom.
There were also many stories to tell about the bravery of the men and women who survived the war. Charlie Raider volunteered to travel to New Jersey and take command of the Resistance there. The SAF still had a presence in the area and Charlie was all too happy to root out the remaining Reds. Miguel Bishop left the fight but helped the Resistance in other ways. He set up his own auto shop in Manhattan, repairing everything from military vehicles to radios. Chelly and Ryo Ouma also lent their expertise to the cause; traveling to various cities to restore power.
I hadn’t completely left the Resistance either. When I wasn’t writing the memoirs of the war, I was writing and managing the news programs that were broadcast from the Manhattan TV Station. It was still the best form of communication in this postwar era and no one really had any experience in the news business so I happily lent a hand. Katherine Cutter happened to work at a clinic that was near the TV station, so my work allowed me to see her quite regularly. There was still so much to be done. People were starving, living on the streets, and there were dissenters who chose to loot and vandalize rather than give aid to others.
The war taught me many things about myself and about others. I learned that I had an inner strength I never knew existed and that when my friends were in danger, I could rise to the occasion to help them. I found that people were also much more giving than I ever realized and that a complete stranger would be willing to lay down his or her life to save me. I also witnessed firsthand the strength and resiliency people had when they bonded together for the greater good. And most importantly, I learned that freedom was worth fighting for and that no cost was too high to pay for a better future.
I wasn’t expecting Freedom Fighters to give me much substance to use for this blog. I figured I’d write a short eight to ten entry journal about Chris Stone and his exploits with a real “oorah” attitude. That was true until I really put words to screen and found that I just didn’t have a voice for Chris. I knew what he was like but I didn’t really know him and trying to write about his life in first person didn’t make any sense. That’s when I came up with the idea of a journalist who is an eyewitness to all of these events and documents them. Now, Timothy Murphy doesn’t exist in the game, nor do the rest of Chris’ squad. Only Isabella, Troy, Phil, Mr. Jones, The Kid, and the named Russian characters are present in the game. The nameless NPCs gave me an interesting opportunity to create characters with personalities who could be easily thrown away if I didn’t like them a few entries later. I found out that I actually grew pretty attached to most of them and wanted to get to know them more, which is how the entry “In Remembrance” came to be. Tony’s death also seemed to be a benchmark for this series, before that I kept most of the emotional stuff to a minimum but I wanted the fighting to start taking a toll on Chris and our narrator, Timothy. From the point of Tony’s death forward, what I wrote was completely unplanned which is ironic, because I personally felt like they were some of the better entries of the series. On a different note, most of the Freedom Fighters names were inspired by friends, suggestions from a twitter poll, or names from other video games I was playing at the time of writing. Can you guess which games they were? Timothy Murphy’s name was a nod to my favorite Revolutionary War hero. One last note on Murphy, the dream sequence from “On the Run” came about because I realized that we knew nothing about the narrator and I thought it would be a fun way to get a glimpse of his past life. Was he really planning on proposing before the invasion or was it just a dream? I’m not so sure but I do like the idea of forlorn love.