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Survive and Evade: The Story of A Lost Survivor
“I’m sorry, sir!” screamed the loadmaster, “We can’t dodge them any longer! You are our last hope. We are dropping you off, and you’ll have to find your way to the base. Marine One will keep on going, so they can’t track your location. Best of luck. Sir, can you do me a favor?”
“Go ahead,” the General replied.
“Tell my family I love them; I don’t think I’ll make it back on this one.”
“I will. Thank you, for what you have done for your country and for me.”
“I would do it a thousand times over.”
It had only been a few hours since the incident. Yesterday was the president’s first day back in office after a hard-fought re-election campaign. Just an hour after stepping into the White House, the attack occurred. Somehow, an IED was smuggled into the West Wing of the building and was detonated. Fortunately, the explosion didn’t do significant amounts of damage, and nobody was killed. The bomb was not put in a general area; it was placed in the floor beneath the president’s desk. The office’s blast shielding saved the president’s life, yet she was still severely injured from the blast. In the aftermath of the attack, the Secret Service focused on evacuating the president to a safe place for surgery, Camp David. There was one problem; the nuclear football was left behind.
Once the dreadful mistake was realized, the nuclear football was found. Yet there still remained the problem of transporting it to Camp David. The president required the football since there had just been an attack on her country. A car ride would take too long, so the Marine One helicopter was called in.
General Norman Harold, the infamous American general, was now entrusted with transporting the nuclear football more than 50 miles to the president.
The general yearned to shove the loadmaster out of the cargo door to safety, but he knew that with one parachute available, he himself was the only one who could escape.
“It was an honor serving with you,” replied the general. Then with a quick salute, he was out the cargo door.
Tossed like a ragdoll, the general struggled to stay in control and remember when to pull his chute. He had no choice but to jump out of the helicopter at its full speed, 183 mph. Flight training was more than thirty years ago, yet suddenly it all came rushing back to him.
“Three seconds till chute pull. Just three more seconds,” muttered the general, yet he couldn’t hear himself in the howling winds.
“One-one thousand...” the wind tore into Norman’s exposed skin like a thousand tiny needles. In the dead of night, Norman was swirling through the sky unknown about whether the tree-littered ground was rushing up to meet and consume him. The clouds soaked him in tiny water droplets spraying his body with condensation. The shrieks of the winds were persistent and ear-shattering. A speck in the sky, Norman had no control; all he could see was his demise on the canopy floor.
“Two-one thousand...” now the General forced himself to shove the fear out of his mind. He was parachuting into a forest full of unknown combatants that, if they got their hands on him, would wreak havoc on the world. Nighttime was advantageous to Norman because it would be more challenging for the terrorists to locate him. His next job was to scan for the base. It was the only place of safety in the dark wilderness.
“Three-one thousand! Pull the chute!”
The pain of the jolt shot right through the General's body. His shoulders felt as if they were going to be ripped from his torso. With Norman’s timing, he had around 5 seconds of air-time before landing; this was perfect since no one could see where he went down. However, now he was all alone on a moonless night. All alone in a land full of hostiles. All alone in a forest of unknown creatures and dangers. All alone in his responsibility of keeping the world safe. All alone.
Norman had landed near a river basin and was approximately fifteen miles away from Camp David. The river was tempting with its water and smooth pathways, but the General knew better; he knew that the terrorists would be looking for him there first. On this dark and dreary night, light meant being revealed, and this would lead to possibilities that the general himself could not even fathom. Any indication of light entailed near certain death and the failure of his mission. Billions of lives counted on him not making a mistake. Norman remained close to the trees as he tried to reach the base. This protected him from being spotted as he inched his way along.
Suddenly, a half-hour after the landing, the light of a handheld radio broke the darkness, forcing Norman to dive for cover into the nearest shrub.
Then a voice cried out, “The chute has been found; he is detached, and no information is found relating to his current heading.”
“Keep looking for him, he couldn't have traveled far; he’s probably injured.”
The General couldn’t believe it; if it had not been for the stray light, he would have walked straight into an enemy camp.
The general couldn’t move for there were enemies all around him. While he tried his best to maintain silence, a thought broke into his head.
What am I even doing here, I’m just an old unarmed man being chased after by dozens of men half my age. If they can hospitalize the most important woman in the world, what chance do I have? I’m tired, weak, and am surrounded. I have no hope to survive.
Then, another thought crossed his mind. Norman had been working for decades, working his way up the ranks, and was entrusted with the lives of seven billion people. Was he really going to jeopardize their lives because he felt a little tired and elderly? Was he going to risk the Earth and all of its inhabitants because he had little hope? Norman decided that no matter what happened, or how wretched the odds were, he was going to do anything to protect the football, not for his life, but for the lives of humanity.
A shrill scream broke the silence and stopped the General's heart, “Halt!”
Norman broke out into a sprint. He wasn’t going to go down without a fight. Sprinting through the forest, Norman could see the lights of the enemies’ flashlights in front of him and heard the crunching of leaves and twigs behind him. He was being surrounded. Now, with the nuclear football on his back, Norman put up his fists, ready to fight to his last breath.
“Stop! United States Marines!” everybody froze, and the flashlights stood still. The Marines were rescuing him!
“General Norman, I’m right in front of you,” stated a Marine, “We were dispatched by Marine One to search for you in the forest; it was their last call. I see now their deaths were not in vain; you are going to Camp David. You can take a rest now, sir. You are now under the protection of the U.S. military.”
On hearing that, General Norman fell to his knees in relief.