Nothing to Say
When I won that lottery, I had no idea that I would end up here. I walked into that warehouse and stepped into that machine and only then did they tell me that I was going to be meeting a rich bastard that loved to do terrible things to girls. The only reason I went through with this prize is that I thought I could visit Japan with the money they gave me. Enough to be a millionaire for a few days. Getting onto that plane with him and sitting next to him on that flight to New Jersey was the worst time of my life. He actually tried to start a conversation with me. Being antisocial for most of my life paid off then.
"Hello young man, it seems you and I will be spending this flight together. Is there any program you want me to put up for you?"
"Are you sure? I-"
I put my headphones on and was very grateful when he kept to himself for the next hour. I could have gone the whole trip without saying another word to the scumbag if an air marshal hadn't gotten up out of his seat and come over to us.
"Young man, I'm going to have to ask you to remove yourself from this seat. You can go ahead and take mine."
"And who would you be?" Jeffrey Epstein asked.
The marshal flashed his badge and I accidentally let a groan out. Epstein laughed at this.
"Not a fan of law enforcement young man? Don't worry, I'm sure this marshal is here to make sure nobody tries anything to me. I've been getting a couple of death threats lately."
As I was getting up, Epstein added "This one letter really caught my attention. It said that somebody that jail time is too good for me. The letter mentioned that they would love to sneak inside my cell using a guard uniform as a disguise and place their hands on my neck, squeezing as hard as possible. Course, I don't see why I would be going behind bars anytime soon."
"Weren't you already convicted of being a dirtbag once?"
I didn't cover my mouth after saying that. Part of me was grateful that the air marshal was here to separate me from a lowlife like this. The other part of me wanted to grab the marshal's gun and shoot Epstein in the foot. If the letter he was talking about held any truth to it, then I was just told of who was the killer of one of the lowest humans in history.
"Can I see that letter?"
"Sure..." Epstein was now eyeing me carefully after my statement.
"How come you have it on you?"
"I was going to talk to my lawyer in New York City about this and how likely my odds are of being convicted a second time. Tell me, young man, would you like to see me behind bars?"
"Maybe. Maybe not. So long asshole."
I pocketed the letter and left before Epstein or the marshal could stop me. I didn't look back. I barely knew the guy and I had no interest in knowing anymore about him. When I sat down in my new seat which conveniently had nobody sitting next to me, I checked the letter. The address on it was from Japan. I made a decision to get to know this sender when I arrived in the island nation. My seat was many rows in front of Epstein's, so he was marched past me to the police officers that were waiting on the tarmac. Despite being pushed forward by the air marshal, he stopped and turned toward me. I couldn't hide the smirk on my face when I saw the handcuffs on his wrists.
"You knew. Somehow you knew."
"I barely know you old man and I don't want to get to know you. Hope you enjoy the next month and four days."
"Month and four days? What makes you say that?"
"I have a feeling you won't be staying behind bars after that time. And you no longer have to worry about people coming to get you."
"If that is the case, I'll be sure to get that letter back from you when I'm released. That is theft you-"
"Don't call me that. Now get the hell out of my life because I don't give a shit about you."
Seeing that gaping look from Epstein's face was pretty satisfying. I spent most of my next flight to SeaTac and then to Tokyo watching movies and playing games on my devices. I only spent a minute wondering whether Epstein would remember what I said on August 10th.
"Well, I'll be sure to celebrate my birthday on the 12th with the sender of this letter. We'll both have reason to celebrate." I said to myself.
Happy New Year? BAH!
Private Nakamura was spending New Years Eve at the hospital, but due to being in the Japanese Self-Defense Force which gets no action at all, he wasn't inside nursing a bullet wound. The private was holding his jaw and flipping his finger at an air force pilot when a nurse finally came to see him.
"Finally, I wasn't sure if anybody would fix this jaw for me at-ARGH!" screamed the soldier as his other hand flew up to support the first one.
"Private, you only have yourself to blame for being in this mess. If you had just stayed quiet instead of joining that argument, you wouldn't have been hit at all." scolded the nurse.
"I couldn't just sit there while wanting to announce my opinion to those clowns! I-"
"You do realize that your health insurance in the self-defense force only pays for injuries on-duty? Since you were in the mess hall after your guard shift, the money for this appointment is coming straight from you private."
"Wha-The price for being here is going to leave me with barely enough to spend for my mother's birthday! Look, can't you take an "IOU" or something please? I'm begging you-"
"Sorry lad, but those are the rules."
An hour later, Nakamura left the hospital with his jaw feeling better, but anger boiling in his heart. He was mad that this was happening to him just because he wanted to object to how an air force pilot was talking about being born to immigrant parents. He had just felt he needed to speak up and had been surprised when he got a fist to the mouth.
"This has been such a fun year. I've been discriminated for being a soldier in a pacifist nation, people degrade me just because my parents were immigrants, and to top it all off the budget cuts to the SDF have left me with barely enough money to make it through next year. I just-I can't take this anymore!"
The next step Nakamura made ended with him stepping on something. He picked it up and examined the item closely.
"Heh, here I am hating my life and I come across this thing. Its like the world wants me to...well, I'll give until 12 to finally make the decision."
At 11:55 PM in a bar, Nakamura quietly pulls out the object he acquired from his pocket: A small pocketknife.
"Almost time. Almost time to end it all. Almost...can I go through with this? I mean, I'm talking about ending my own life here. Sure, its sucky and all that, but...can I do it?"
Five minutes later, Nakamura throws down the knife. He walks out as celebrations break out all over the world. One other patron whispers to the bartender after Nakamura is gone.
"Did that guy actually have a knife? Was he going to kill himself?"
"Looks like. He didn't stab himself, so I guess he chickened out. Lets not worry about him and focus on celebrating the new year!"
Screams start to echo from outside the bar and people rush outside to see what is happening. A crowd forms around a body on the ground. Nakamura lies there unconcius, blood seeping out from his slit wrists. Minutes later, an amubulance arrives. Paramedics rush the soldier inside and drive off, hoping and praying that they make it to the hospital on time.
A Cold and Warm World
Hello ladies and gentlemen. I'm honored to be on this stage to speak to the world. Now, I'm not really much of an extroverted individual, but lets just say that I gained motivation to go through with this. This part of my life was just dropped onto my lap before I could realize what was going on. I mean, this is really the first time something easy has ever happened to me. I wanted so much to let the world know who I am because I always thought I was going to be a nobody. The reason for this thought to live in my mind is that nothing was ever easy for me in my life. Yes, most famous people have rough lives and many even go through near death experiences, but I just felt like life didn't even want me to go anywhere. I procrastinated for a chunk of my life and avoided getting a driver's license and a job until the last moment, so you can say that karma was striking, but even before those times in my life, I couldn't even do a project without having to balance a lot of stuff. My parents would try their best to help me, but there was only so much they could do. The internet is so vast that I could never really find the answer to my problems. My introverted attitude led to me having no friends to turn to at all when I had a problem. So go on and accuse me for sounding selfish with this statement, but if I was to ask any of the gods from all religions to make my life easier, I would pray for that wish to come true. Sometimes life seems so hard that I would contemplate leaving this life since it seemed like there was no way for me to go forward. A large reason why I could never go through with such an action is that my funeral would cost a lot of money which would just become a problem for everybody I leave behind. There are many people out there that have lives worse than mine where they must fight to survive and steal to have a future, but I am always asking myself why I feel like I'm always facing a wall. Is it just because I'm living a middle class life that I can never get one easy thing to happen to me? I'm sorry, but if that is the case than life is just a mess that would not be worth living. Thank you for your time ladies and gentlemen.
"No...Please...Stay away from me...NO!"
The cloaked man ignores the bearded security guard and slams an axe into his gut. The security guard screams in pure agony, his arms stretched towards the ceiling. His fingers flick around for a moment, then they fall with the arms as the guard breathes his last breath.
"Because the death of law and order led to the death of everyone I cared about."
The cloaked man walks away, leaving the bleeding corpse on the floor. He comes outside of an office complex into an empty street. No cars or people are anywhere on it, just quiet buildings and the lights providing sight in the dark of the night. The man hears a ring and pulls a phone out of his pocket, an IPhone SE and answers without even checking the caller ID.
"Yeah, who is it?"
"I hear that you've been in the business because of some...changes done to the police force a decade ago, right?" asked a female voice.
"Yeah. My sister was in the force and she always responded to our neighborhood. Then, the force was disbanded due to brutality and corruption in multiple police forces. Everything was fine for a few years. All those services were able to lower the crime rate. Not as many psychos were running around and gangs were losing members due to desperation being removed as a motviation to turn to a life of crime. And of course somebody had to come along and...and..."
"Essentially, you blame the removal-well, replacement of the police force for the deaths of your family and friends, right?"
"Is there a point to this lady? I've been doing these killer jobs for a year. Unless you are a customer, don't call me again. I hate having my time be wasted."
"Lets just say that you and I have a mutual foe, a foe that neither of us would mind seeing go away for good."
"Oh really? Then go on and tell me who this guy is and how much you'll pay for me to kill him."
"Didn't you hear me the first time? We will both be happy to see this loser leave this world behind forever. I could use some help to ensure this rival leaves a certain economic race I'm in with him and you will be able to extract some payment for the deaths you feel should never have happened."
"What do you take me for, a psychic? Just tell me who you want me to terminate."
"You sure are pretty clueless for an assassin. What do you know about the boss of the company Security for All?"
The cloaked man freezes and frowns when he hears this. He clenches his fist and takes a deep breath before resuming his conversation.
"Give me the time and place. I assure you that low down piece of-Look, he will be dead. I swear my life on it."
Four hours later in Capitol Hill of Seattle, Washington, a rally was being held near what was formerly the 3rd Police Precint in the city. On a podium surrounded by hundreds of people was Porter Alexander.
"Thank you everybody! A decade ago, the police force was removed and no longer were the innocent thrown under the bus by those that were supposed to "protect" us! Now, all of our social services are able to address issues such as mental conditions and financial difficulties that the regular person undergoes! Our new justice system rehabilitates those that do wrong instead of punishing them and forcing them to return to a life of crime! We have nearly reached a society without any crime at all!"
The crowd cheers and whistles at the man. Porter Alexander was the head of Security for All, a security company that had filled the void of the police force. Security companies had mantained protection of government facilities and public locations using nonlethal weaponry. Not one criminal taken into custody by the company had ever been killed or unfairly treated. The service of the company was quite affordable and had led to Security for All having the best reviews in the United States.
"In one month, I will open branches of a company born out of the abolishment of the police in 50 other nations! Security for All will truly protect citizens all over the world!"
As the crowd's cheers echo through the streets of Seattle, the cloaked man sets up a sniper rifle on the Space Needle. He takes aim at security company leader...from almost 5 miles away. Next to him is a cloaked woman who whistles when she sees the assassin taking aim.
"Are you seriously going to take the shot from here? I mean, killing him where a movement was able to make a strong statement to end the need of police departments would be symbolic, but we're miles away!"
"Lady, the only thing I'm going to tell you is that I will be the one who puts an end to that man."
"So tell me, what did the local Security for All manager in your state say to you when you asked why they never showed up in your city?"
"Simple. City leaders along with a majority of the residents didn't line up with certain political ideas."
"Seriously? Just because most people weren't 'politcally correct', they refused to protect you?"
"And the bloody irony is that with such little law enforcement, we would have no choice but to have our own weapons to defend ourselves. Of course, the law states that you can't have any gun except for a hunting one. And thus you need a hunting permit to get one, which my family had no reason to get because none of us were hunters."
"Wow, I did not see that coming. A few of our laws end up countering others. Huh."
"And because of that, my family is dead. Since the criminal who murdered them all died at my hand years ago, there is only one person left for me to satisfy my hunger."
"I don't really hear a lot of people call their desire for revenge a 'hunger'. And most people try to be less than a mile away from their target when they snipe them. How are you going to-"
"Shut up. He's finally on the move."
Down below at Capitol Hill, Porter leaves the podium and is escorted to a humvee. He gets inside and the humvee drives down a road towards the Space Needle.
"Er dude, don't tell me you actually knew he was coming down this road." said the lady.
"Porter ticked off the army when he bought out most of the companies supplying them. Of course, it wouldn't have been so easu for him if the military wasn't always getting civilians caught up in battle. Anyways though, I have a friend who the army sent into the company to try and find anything fishy. He gave me the details about the convoy with the boss."
"Wait, the military sent somebody to spy on a security company just 'hoping' that he finds something illegal going on? That sounds-"
"Damn glad the target is sitting right next to his driver. I've waited years for this moment."
The humvee rolls down the road as Porter pulls out his phone.
"Hey honey! Things have been going well for me! Making the world a better place sure is a long job. It sure is easier without having to help the politically incorrect in this world! No, it isn't wrong because who in their right mind is going to help their enemies? So a few good people have to suffer, better a few sacrifices than-"
The driver yelps a a bullet crashes through the front window, slamming into the head of Porter. The humvee comes to an abrupt stop as the cloaked duo head for the elevator to reach ground floor.
"So, you really did it. Say, I've heard of you using a sniper rifle before. Where did you get it?"
"I took it from a guard I had killed right before you called me. I never take anything from the people I kill, but when you told me about that low down piece of filth, this ws a chance I wasn't going to miss."
A dirty street in Seattle. This is where I made my entry into Limbo. This is where I wait to see if I'm going to finally move on or if I am going to live my life looking back on when I stabbed myself in the chest with my katana. When most people ask about why I did what I did, I'll be sure to tell them that it wasn't because I had no friends. Sure I was lonely for much of my life. I never knew what it was like to truly hang out with real friends. And sure I never did get a girlfriend who I could fall in love with. But honestly, that loneliness was voluntary. I wasn't hurt badly by this. People will be surprised to learn that I just lost faith in the famous "American Dream". So many brave souls gave up their lives for a country representing freedom and equality, yet innocent people are killed every day in crimes and the politicians could never agree on anything. They were always at each other's throats, always having their own plans behind the scenes. I figured I could at least move to a country my family had roots in, Japan. The crime rate was quite low and political parties were not as badly divided as they are in America. And yet the so called "Land of the Free" robbed me of this chance to escape from the "Land of the Enslaved". More American military bases were added into Japan and suddenly, American flags were being hoisted above Japanese cities. I saw on the news the meaning for these changes. Japan had agreed to become a vassal state to the United States of America. Japan was still independent, but it may as well have been a part of the nation. That was it. There was no escape from the arms of capitalists and corrupt people. Any chance of a truly peaceful life was torn away from me. I figured that I could at least die like a true Japanese via "Seppuku". That is why I'm bleeding out in some blasted street in Seattle, a prime example of the so-called United States of America. Honestly, I hope I do die here. It will be a pain having to try and kill myself again if I fail.
One Shot, One Kill
I am unique. I always have been. When most people hear the word loner, they view it as somebody who is shy and doesn’t know how to start a conversation. In my case though, I stay away from people because I don’t want anybody slowing me down. I go out of my way to steer clear of other folks. When I joined the planet’s military, I signed up to be a sniper. My instructors were surprised when I refused to be a part of a sniper team or to even be assigned to a squad. They eventually came around to my way of thinking after my first battle against pirates from a nearby star system. Without being tied down by anybody, I was able to move across the battlefield quickly, taking out multiple enemy officers while dragging injured soldiers to safety. My superiors allowed me to become an independent soldier in the army and for a month I kept doing what I do. Now, our army was being deployed to put down a terroist organization in the only colony our planet has. The colony was on a moon in another star system. The planet that it circled was completly uninhabitable and the only other objects orbiting the system’s sun were a bunch of asteroids. Except for the planet, the moon was quite lonely for being the only other place to exist. The terroists were a group of people that hated colonization to the extent of taking up arms against their own government. What was really annoying to the politicians was that they had gone out of their way to colonize a world uninhabated and where the wildlife would be unharmed, only to still be facing criticism after everything they had done. When we began our landing on the colony, I was sitting in a transport with 20 other soldiers. I was doing my routine check on my gun when some newbie sergeant popped up.
"You, which squad are you in?"
"I’m not in a squad sir. I’m a lone sniper. I work alone."
"Hell to that. This army is one fat group. We work together to survive and win. You must have a death wish if-"
"Sir, I just do my job by myself. I never work with anybody. And I'm still alive, aren't-"
It was at that moment some anti-aircraft gun must have hit us with a shell. Because an explosion ripped into our ship and I blacked out. When I woke up, I only found bodies around me. There were too few of them though, so I figured that there were other survivors who left earlier. Honestly, I was only a little mad with this discovery. I simply grabbed my rifle and checked the bodies, just in case anybody else was alive. After I had no results, I grabbed any ammo I knew I could use and followed the tracks of the other survivors. Even I knew there was no way I could survive long out here. I'm a loner, not a hunter. An hour later, I heard screams and rushed to the top of a rock. I saw allies running to a transport while being gunned down by a heavy weapons platoon. The terroists were not holding back any punches. They even had some rockets to take down aircraft or tanks. I aimed my rifle at an officer first and began another killing streak. I was quick with my work. I never bothered trying to aim to kill. I figured that as long as the target is hit, that should be good enough. I avoided the wounded and those that came to their aid. I wasn't taking any chances with the guys armed with the rockets. They all had holes in their heads by the time I was done with them. I noticed that the surviving friendly soldiers were on board the transport now. That was when I realized that they had no idea I was still here. Before I could do anything, the transport was gone. I was stranded on a moon swarming with enemy forces. I truly understood what it meant to be alone. I hid in a cave and in the 3 months that I waged a lone war against the terroists, there were times when I was sure that everybody that knew me hated me for being so cold. I even thought that nobody even remembered me. When I look back on those moments, I'm not as surprised as I would have been before of how hurt I was with those thoughts. Granted, I am human like everybody else, so it is reasonable for me to fall victim to such emotions like everybody else. Finally, the army defeated the terroists, arresting the leaders while sending the followers to prison camps. I had been walking back to my cave after ambushing some terroists that were bullying a few civilians when I heard the sound of fighting. I took a shortcut on a path I was very familiar with and reached my sniping position for a farmer's field. Three terroists had almost wiped out a squad of allies. I saw that only one of the friendly soldiers was still shooting. The rest were either dead or injured. In quick succesion, I killed one of the terroists and injured the others. Inside, I was happy that I was finally saved. But I remained stoic. I may have panicked during my months of isolation, but it was able to toughen me up better than training ever did for me. I was surprised to discover that the soldier I had saved was the sergeant from before. Now though, he had been promoted to captain and had recklessly joined a patrol cleaning up any enemy resistance that remained.
"You? I can't believe you're still alive! After that crash months ago, I was sure that you were dead!"
"I never thought I would see you again. Three months and you're in command of a whole company. The army must be desperate if they promoted you to such a high position."
"Hey, I can't believe you said that to me soldier."
"Captain, you are certainly not the greatest tactical genius. Not even close-"
"I heard that you never talked with anybody. Yet here you are holding a conversation with me."
"Wh-Zip it. Just tell me where I can report in for duty."
"Just head back to town and go for the playground there. HQ is set up at that location. Man, everyone is going to go crazy when they see you."
"What are you talking about? I've been so invisible and unsocial for all my life, I figured that none of you even noticed I was gone."
"Do you know how many lives you saved during your first month? You're a hero. Everybody including the other snipers were so upset months ago because we all thought we would never get to know you. Or thank you."
"Gah-Whatever. Like I care."
"Well, guess I'll be the first one to do it. Thank you for saving my life. Oh, twice I guess. I just realized that you might have been the one that covered me months ago."
"And welcome back soldier."
I turned my head away, blushing a little since no one had ever said anything like that to me before. After that, I started to become a little more willing to work with others, though I still tried to skip out of a group when they started to do something I found uninteresting. In the end though, you could say that I was never the same man ever again, at least in a small way.
How I got here
"Here comes the groom! Here comes the groom!"
"Wallace, you've been singing that for the last two hours! Give it a rest!"
"Sorry Greg, but ever since you called me and said you were getting married, I was singing that in my head! I can't believe that you and Velma are getting married! I still remember it like it was yesterday!"
"Me too Wallace. There I was telling you that I was never going to find love since I was such a loner, than Velma walks right up to my desk and confesses right there!"
"The first day as college seniors! I still remember the exact words she said to you Greg! 'I-I've always wanted to tell you this! I've had a crush on you since freshman year!'"
"It was a punch in the gut for me! A girl confessing that she liked me? I'm surprised I didn't pass out right there!"
"I can't believe you waited until the end of September to answer her! I mean, a whole damn month?"
"I can't believe she was patient for that long. I still remember the smile on her face when I told her I would love to be her boyfriend."
"Hey guys, what are you talking about?"
"Nat, what are you doing here? Shouldn't the bridesmaid be with the bride?"
"Velma just needs a minute to compose herself. Figured she needed some space."
"Well, the answer to your question from earlier is that we are recalling my love life. In fact, I now remember the first heroic thing I did for my girlfriend!"
"I remember too! It was that double date you two did with me and Wallace in December! A runaway car almost hit Velma when we were crossing the street and you shoved her out of the way, taking the hit!"
"I remember Velma crying over you at the hospital despite the fact that Nat was telling her that your injuries were not bad."
"And then I proposed to Velma at graduation."
"Greg, I couldn't believe that you had the guts to do that in front of everybody. I mean, seeing my best pal up on that stage on his knees, I knew that I could never do that."
"Really Wallace? Then how come you proposed to me during that trip we all took to Japan? I mean, you proposed while we were in the air for all the passengers to see!"
"I had to top Greg! I love you after all Nat!"
"Come on, we better hurry before we miss my wedding!"
"Got it Greg!"
A Lovely Virus
Jack wasn't sure if he could keep running anymore. The last few days had been filled with nothing but the need to stay away from other people. At this point, it was hard to tell who was infected and who was not. No visible marks on the skin, no change in the genes of a person. This virus only had one way of showing if it was inside a person. Of course, by the time anyone could realize the truth, they would be infected. The married couples had gone first. None of them stood a chance. If just one of them became infected, they would attack their partner to spread the disease. The rest of their family would fall quickly. Jack was thankful that he had been busy testing a video game for Bandai Namco when his family became infected. Of course, it didn't take long for entire cities to fall to the virus. The police were overrunned and a few military bases were infriltrated by the infected. Jack was heading for his home city, Seattle. Evacuations had occured on the first day of the outbreak, but the government put them to an end when the infected began to sneak in as refugees. Seattle was one of the few cities that had been able to quarintine anybody who was infected. If Jack could make it there and prove he was uninfected, he would be safe.
"HELP!" someone yelled.
Jack had been walking along State Route 99 after reaching Fife, Washington. He was on the homestretch when he saw an Amtrak train sitting in a siding. He could see that a lot of people were on it. The smart thing to do would be to avoid the train altogether, but Jack was concerened with the fact that he had heard a plea for assistance coming from the train.
'No way someone on board is uninfected. The train wouldn't stop unless the virus was declared to be on board. It went into the siding to prevent the virus from reaching anymore cities and everybody on board should now be infected.' thought Jack.
"SOMEBODY HELP ME PLEASE! I CAN'T KEEP THEM BACK MUCH LONGER!" yelled the voice.
"Oh for crying out loud." said Jack as he ran for the train.
Jack had a backpack filled with food and water. The only other object in the pack was a stun baton that had proven useful for he past few days. Jack pulled it out as he reached the door to the passenger car the yells were coming from. Jack forced the door open and entered to see people swarming what looked like the restroom. He charged forward and stunned them all with ease. He knocked on the restroom door.
"Hello? If you're uninfected, come on out! I'm clean as well!" Jack yelled.
"How do I know you are not just one of those people out there?" asked the trapped person.
"Well, I could say the same for you. If you want to stay here, I won't stop you."
"W-Wait! Hold on a second!"
The door opened and on the other side was a young woman. In her pajamas. She must have been sleeping when the outbreak began. Jack raised his hand to his face to block how red it was.
"Lady, please tell me you are not infected."
"Why would I yell for help if I was like these crazy people!?"
"To trick passing folk and infect them."
"How do I know that you are not like these people than?"
"Charlie. Call me Charlie."
"Alright Charlie, I'm heading for Seattle. Its one of the few safe places left. You coming?"
The duo get off the train before passengers from other cars show up. For hours they keep marching with nothing happening. Silence is all that they hear. Finally, Charlie decides to start a conversation.
"Alright Jack, where were you five days ago?"
"Santa Clara, California."
"I was born in Fife. Our Fife. When I was in highschool, most of my family moved to San Diego. I finished my education in Seattle and a week ago went to California to visit my family. They convinced me to do some game testing for Bandai Namco. Just as well that I did because they all got infected when the outbreak began. I had just finished testing the game I was playing when some guy walked into the lobby. He went up to a woman and just kissed her on the lips. No one gave it a second thought, even when the woman tried to resist. People only panicked when both of those folks start kissing other people. It got chaotic. Of course, when I got outside. I saw so much kissing. The next day, I was on a plane to Oregon. I saw on the news about how big this thing was. A global scale pandemic that had infected 80% of the population. People acting way to lovey dovey. Society being disrupted because the infected stop doing their jobs and focus on spreading love everywhere. The plane landed in Oregon and I've been walking alone ever since. How about you?"
"I come from a rich family. I was able to easily afford first class on that train. Everything was going swell and I went to sleep. Next thing I know, I wake up to screams and go outside to see a bunch of people kissing. I ran to the restroom and locked the door. If it wasn't for my phone and the news app on it, I would have thought that everyone on board was just insane. Are they sure that it is a virus?"
"The scientists? Yep. It does some weird thing to the brain that causes a person to want to spread the love by kissing other people. Don't worry. A cure is being mass-produced. But we have to wait since its being used in the Eastern Hemisphere first."
"Seroiusly? By the time they show up, the entire country could be infected. Maybe even the whole continent!"
The next thing Jack knew, a man was on top of him, kissing over and over again. Charlie screamed and pushed the man off Jack. Unfortanetly, Jack kissed her and so, all three people were infected. For the next month, they kept spreading love until they were captured and cured.
The Tiger Sharks and the Great White Sharks have finally come together, no longer competing over hunting areas. The daughters of the leaders are busy leading a hunt for seals.
"Come on guys, they're over there!"
"Faster you lot! Let's show these guys how tigers hunt!"
Neither of the daughters are looking and they end up crashing into each other. The other sharks move to check on them, giving the seals a chance to escape.
"Watch where you are going!"
"Me? I was leading my people! What were you doing?"
"Gosh, I can't believe my dad agreed to work with you Great White Sharks! You guys are always so big that you can never see your surrondings properly!"
"Oh really? Well at least I'm not trying to imitate some stupid land creature! How do we even know tigers exist? It could be something your ancestors made up!"
"Now we're going on about ancestors, huh? Well at least my ancestors were not stupid enough to attack some humans back in 1916! Now humans hate us and love to hunt us down!"
"For the last time, nobody knows what shark it was that attacked those humans! But if I were to guess, it would be a tiger shark that got stupid!"
"That is it! I'm going to tell my dad that this alliance with your people is over!"
"I'm going to tell my dad the same thing!"
Both daughters swim away in a fit. The other sharks all stare at each other, surprised by what they had witnessed.
"You don't think this is going to erupt into something bigger, right?"
"Of course not! This is just a disagreement between girls! I'm sure that this won't get worse!"
"I don't know. Our leader loves his daughter so much. He may actually declare that the treaty should be abolished."
"Well, our leader is very similar, but c'mon! Even if that was to happen, it's not like things could get out of hand!"
A month later, the Tiger and Great White Sharks were fighting a war against each other. Both sides had heavy casulties. The leaders were convinced by their advisors to end the fighting and put together another treaty. However, they still allowed their daughters to lead hunts together.
"Oh no, are those two going to have another argument?"
"No, no, no!"
Stand & Fight! By TK
Airwoman Hoshi patrolled her part of the base´s fence again. She looked outside and saw nothing but sand. That was all she ever did see when she was patrolling every day. The Japanese Self-Defence Force Base in Dijibouti was the most boring post anybody in the Air Force could get. It was bad enough that Hoshi had to be stationed here, but it sucked that she was never going to be a pilot, which had always been her dream. Sometimes, her thoughts would bounce back to her training days.
"Sorry miss, but you are just too short to fly one of these fighters. And that is saying something since all of us Japanese folk are shorter than most other people in the world." a training instructor had said.
"WHAT?! But for all of my life I´ve been telling people that I was going to be in the Air Force! You can´t do this to me!"
"Cadet Hoshi, just because we have a bunch of fighters and bombers does not mean that we only recruit pilots. There are plenty of other positions to take here."
"Can it at least be a combat role? I´ve always imagined fighting the enemies of our island nation!"
To satisfy her request, the training instructor transferred Hoshi to the infantry portion of the air force. Hoshi was able to pass and was excited upon learning where she was going to go.
"Mom, when you get this message, you are going to be so proud of me! I´m being deployed to that base in Africa we have! I´ll be fighting pirates and protecting Japanese ships! This is going to be awesome!" was the text message Hoshi sent the day she was deployed.
Three months later, the airwoman was wishing that she had just joined a different branch of the defence force. By the time Hoshi had arrived at the base, most pirates had been wiped out by other military forces. This left the JSDF with little to do in the region. There were days when Hoshi prayed for an earthquake to happen in some city so that she could be deployed. Anything was better than walking up and down a fence with a Howa Type 64 rifle staring at yellow dirt.
"Hoshi!" came a yell.
The airwoman turned to see her friend and superior officer, Second Lieutenant Takami, running up to greet her. Unlike her, Takami was an airjockey. He piloted an American F-35 Lightning 2 fighter. He was one of the few pilots who had assisted foreign forces in military operations in Africa. He had bombed at least three terroist bunkers and ambushed a column of terroist vehicles. He had become a celebrity on the base.
"Hello airjerky. How are you?" asked Hoshi.
"Hey now, you can´t just call your boss something like that." replied Takami.
"Going to answer my question sir?"
"For the record, I am doing fine. I´m also wondering who is going to be the next nation to call for me. It could be the United States or maybe-"
"I think you are letting the fame get to your head Takami."
"Now now Hoshi, who said there is something wrong with that?"
Before Hoshi could answer, another soldier came running up. He was panting and grabbed Takami by the arm.
"Lieutenant, get in your fighter now!"
"Some terroist cell from Somalia crossed the border soouth of here weeks ago. They´ve now popped up near the American base! Fighters from all nearby bases are scrambling to assist them!"
"Time to be a hero again! Sit back as I save the day Hoshi!"
As the pilot ran off to his jet, Hoshi asked the other soldier a question.
"Do you think any of those terroists will come here?"
"Odds are that they may just ignore us. The American base is the biggest threat to anybody attacking this tiny nation."
"Too bad. I wanted to go and kick some butt. Things have been too quiet for me."
"You sure you really want to fight? I´ve heard stories of soldiers freezing up in battle just because fear takes over."
"Shut up! I've got this!"
Suddenly, an explosion rocks the base hard. The main gate is flaming as armored vehicles roll through it, terroists jumping out and shooting at everyone they find. Soldiers crumble as they are filled with lead while others run to the barracks and armory to find weapons and regroup against the sneaky attack.
"Wh-What is going on?!" asked Hoshi.
"What the? Who are these-GAH!"
The soldier Hoshi was with is shot while the airwoman is forced to run from two terroists. Hoshi tries to avoid getting caught, but the terroists shoot at her and a bullet strikes her leg. She tumbles down and is held at gunpoint by the terroists.
One of the terroists has a beard and wears glasses. The other acts like his superior, yelling at him and pointing at Hoshi. At one point, the two men just stare at the girl and laugh.
'My rifle, where is my rifle?" thought Hoshi.
She spotted her weapon and tried to grab it, only for a boot to stomp on her arm. She screamed, causing the terroists to laugh at her again. They were enjoying this more since Hoshi was a woman.
The airwoman had tears rolling down her cheeks. She had always wanted to be a hero. She never wanted to just die like a common soldier. And yet here she was, moments from death.
"Maybe if I beg, they may let me live. Wait, they'll just make me some slave to be toyed with if they take me as a prisoner. Dammit, I don't want to die here, not in some country far from home!"
The bearded terroist puts his AK-47 right to Hoshi's forehead, his finger on the trigger. Hoshi shut her eyes, bracing for the worst, waiting for death to take her.
Suddenly, two bullets strike the bearded man. As he falls, the other terroist swings his rifle around kill whoever fired the shots. However, a bullet to the skull gets him first. Hoshi stares at the corpses in shock until she sees who fired the shots.
"Are you okay?" asked the bleeding soldier.
"I-I thought you were dead."
"My back sure hurts like hell, but I'll live. C'mon, we need to run to the rear of the base. Orders are to abandon it."
"We're pulling out?"
"Too many of those terroists are attacking. Command is going to order our fighter jockeys in the air to blow this place up."
Hoshi grabs her rifle and stands, giving out a small squeak.
"Are you okay?"
"They got my leg. They almost killed me."
"That is war for you. Here, lean on me. You'll be too slow on your own."
"C'mon! We don't have all day!"
With some reluctance, Hoshi limps over to the soldier and leans on him for support. The two pass by barracks and the mess hall without any encounters with the attackers and are almost to the rear entrance. Then, they see that many of the soldiers are being torn up by a machine gun mounted on a jeep. Every now and then, a soldier shoots the gunner, only for the terroist to be replaced by one of his comrades.
"No one is getting out of here as long as those guys have our people pinned down. Do you have a grenade on you?" asked the injured soldier.
"No! Crap, what are we going to do?" asked Hoshi.
"Well, none of the terroists are paying attention to us. If I can sneak in from the rear, I can eliminate that gunner and use the enemy's weapon against them. Meanwhile, you can make a break for the others and escape."
"Without you? Are you crazy? You'll be killed!"
"I'm bleeding bad. I doubt I would have made it to a hospital."
"Then why did you lie to me?"
"Because I saw that fear that I told you about in your eyes. You were scared. You needed someone by your side. I figured that if I told you I was finished, you would panick. I'm sorry, but you have to go on your own the rest of the way."
"You can't just throw your life away! Let's think about what Takami would do-"
"Do you know how many times during those missions that Takami almost gets shot down. He told me that he always has to keep dodging SAM sites and RPGs. He is surprised that he survivied all of that."
"Then how does he keep going out there with all those rockets being shot at him?"
"Honestly, I don't know. I don't think any soldier knows why they keep going into the field of battle. The fear always hits a person hard in battle. And yet, whenever I get shot at, I just ignore it. Well, no point in boring you any longer. Wait until I reach the truck before you fight your way to the others. I'll cover you."
"Dammit, don't do this!"
Despite Hoshi's pleas, the soldier jogs over to the enemy vehicle. A few men spot him, but are gunned down by the pistol the soldier is wielding. The machine gunner spots the Japanese man and turns to fire. He doesn't get the chance to fire off a shot as a bullet tears through his neck.
"Lucky the others are still defending themselves." thought the soldier.
He shoots the driver of the jeep and climbs on board. He aims at the other terroists and starts firing away, watching men get riddled with bullets. A terroist runs up with a RPG and takes aim at the truck. Before he can fire, his chest gets punched by lead. Behind the injured soldier, a young boy comes out with a grenade and chucks it. The explosive lands between the legs of the soldier, who jumps for it. Just as he lands, the grenade explodes, destroying the machine gun. The soldier tries to get his wits together, but notices that the boy is grabbing his pistol.
'Killed by a kid who doesn't know any better about the people he fights with. Takami is going to be laughing about that after the sorrow passes.' thought the soldier.
"NO YOU DON'T YOU BRAT!"
Hoshi comes running in, gun blazing. Her bullets miss, but the boy is scared off and runs back into the base. Hoshi quickly grabs the soldier and gets him into one of the JSDF vehicles, sitting right next to him. The vehicles pull out of the base just as some fighter jets fly over and fire off missiles that rip the base apart.
As the column makes its way to a river where ships are waiting to pick up the soldiers, Hoshi's injured comrade decides to deal with his curiosity.
"Uh Hoshi, why did you save me back then? I thought you were scared."
"Well, I remembered how I had left you when you got shot. I wasn't thinking much about it then, but I realized how horrible I was leaving you to die. I just couldn't do that again."
"Wow, I never would have thought you would do something like that after you scattered like a rabbit."
"Yea-Wait, what was that?"
"I guess that if I'm alone in battle, my fear may pop up. But when I see somebody else in trouble, I know that I have to help them. It's one of the reasons for why I joined the JSDF."
"Well, from one soldier to another I think you'll save a lot of lives."
"Thanks...Say, I never got your name."
"Call me Bart."
"Wait, you're Bart? The Japanese-American who always keeps rushing into battle headfirst like an idiot?"
"Wha-Hey, what has Takami been telling you about me!?"