Earth-Crisis (part one)

February 2, 2010
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The television flickered, the Russian Premier making his speech. Conrad sat on the sofa, Sylvia beside him. Both very eagerly awaiting the Premier’s plan to air.

"Comrades! Your days of scrambling for scraps will end! The oil has stopped flowing, and America has fallen, along with its allies! No longer must we worry about another adversary! We are the most powerful nation on Earth! We will dominate the world! We will have our reigns stretch across every single continent on this planet! We will have the Lunar Corporation, and their resources!”

“All you must do is sacrifice yourself for Mother Russia! Fight along side your comrades! Fight for your children! Fight for your grandchildren! Fight... For... The Motherland! We have no enemies! We will rule the world!” The Premier stopped speaking and signaled something to the camera man. The screen flickered and switched to a montage of Russia’s less repaired areas.

Conrad shifted uneasily. “I don’t know if the Premier knows what he’s saying, world domination and all that. Doesn’t that sound a bit like a cliché?” Conrad knew he would be the one to go to war. Sylvia was a woman, and Russia would not allow a woman into the army.

“So what? Russia is the only standing, developed country on Earth? Who’s to stop us?” Sylvia exclaimed.

“But, Sylvia… I-I worry that you will get hurt without me there to help.”

“Who would want to hurt me? Everything will get better if we succeed.”

“Just because we go to war doesn’t mean that everyone will assume that we will succeed. Sylvia, we must win the war first, even if it only takes a year or two.”

“Then stand here and watch while all of your comrades fight for you! Conrad, how can you stand here and watch while all of Russia fights for you!”

“Sylvia, that’s not fair. You know-” Conrad stopped mid-sentence. On the television was a photo. It depicted one of the worst places in Russia. It was the city. It was horrible. Conrad had never seen just how badly the city looked from the sky. It was so blackened and ugly that the orbital satellites showed a brown spot amongst all the snowy white land. As it zoomed in, he saw in more and more detail just how horrifying the city looked from above. The Premier seemed serious about world domination. “If that’s what it takes to save Russia… I will do it. For you, Sylvia,”

At that, Conrad left. He climbed into his half-track and drove off.

Sylvia pulled out a communicator, convinced that Conrad was going to be gone a while.

“Hello? – Yes, this is Sylvia Kurkov. – I need to speak with the CEO immediately."

Conrad finally saw the camp. He stopped at the blockade and turned off his half-track. A soldier armed with a rifle came up. “You here to sign up?” He asked.

“Yes,” Conrad replied.

“Follow me, sir.” The soldier escorted Conrad into the camp HQ.

After and awkward silence, Conrad said, “Nice place you got here.”

“Well it keeps you warm, but trust me when I say it’s a shack,” The soldier replied.

“Well, a shack's fine. I’m from Moscow.”
“Moscow, that sad city? Then you must live in a worse shack. This would be a mansion for you.”

“Well, it’s not as bad on the inside as it looks on the outside.”

“What, this place?”

“No, I mean Moscow.”

“Moscow is a pile of rubble. How can it be better than a pile of rubble?”

“Because the buildings are still decent to live in, decent enough for us at least.”

“Well I’d better go back to watch. Go to that door and take your left.”

Conrad listened to the soldier and went to the door and to his left. The room was filled with smoke from the officers' cigars. As he entered the office he saw a distinguished man with his feet at the desk.

As the officer riffled through his papers, he looked up at Conrad, a cigar in his mouth. “Conrad…” He said, his accent thick. After searching the papers he stopped. He took the cigar out of his mouth and said, his eyebrow raised, “Conrad Kurkov, yes?”

“Yes, sir”
“And you wish to join in on the fun?”

“Of course, sir.”

“If you can make it through training, you’ll be out of here by... Hmm... Next month. Unless you stay for extra training. ”I’ll stay for that”. I will go fetch your papers. Wait here.”

Sylvia sat in the shuttle, in the middle of a conversation with the CEO. “They plan on attacking soon. I just hope it doesn’t go too far,” she said.

“The States will stop them. Eurasia is just too weak to go against those machines,” replied the CEO.

"I don't know... Are you sure that the UCS has enough resources stockpiled? You do realize that Premier Gretzky has a huge amount of manufacturing prowess, right?"

"Well, the States aren't exactly limited to resources. Remember, they are all machines."

"I know, it's so hard to comprehend. An army of robots? What a scary thing to face." Sylvia paused for a moment, "Of course, why would we be worried? We live on the Moon!"

"The States are very resourceful. If they cared to take us out, they would find a way to do so very quickly."

"Well, as far as I can tell, they don't have any reason. Unless they want an ally, I don't see why they would even bother with us. We aren't a threat. At least, as long as we remain commercial."

"I'm sure the rumors have gotten out by now. You stated yourself, the Premier plans on going after us soon. I don't think it's just coincidence that he wants to go after a corporation that is secretly planning on going military."

"Premier Gretzky isn't very smart, though. We've seen him in action before... All flash, little substance. So no results"

"That wasn't even a war, Sylvia. It was a petty argument that turned into a fire-fight. I guess you didn't see the massive amounts of tanks sitting in his streets. Remember, Russia and their allies are the only developed countries still standing. He doesn't have any other enemies right now."

"The UCS and us. That's it? Well, I'm sure that Jackal Tech will help, if we get involved. You know how Mr. Powers is. Too bad he kept underground, though. I guess it's only reasonable that his plan is secretive, too."

"What plan?"

"The Mars Colony, remember? You briefed us all on it last week."

"Oh, yes. I guess I'm just getting too old for this. Even with modern technology, 48 years is just not a person’s prime."

The pilot interrupted, "We are landing. Grab your seat belts."

Conrad arrived at the training camp, anxious for his first military experience. He rode through a security gate and was led to a an office. The man at the desk spoke.

"You must be Kurkov, our newest member! I am Colonel Dimitri. You will start training immediately. Here is a standard issue Eurasian Dynasty military training outfit." Conrad put on the outfit and observed its light red color with gold stars on the shoulders.
"The regular outfits are dark green to represent the Dynasty colors, but red is for trainees." Dimitri said. Conrad was escorted to his room, where three columns of bunk beds with footlockers were housed. The guard pointed out his bed and said,

"Get some rest; you'll need it for tomorrow's training."

Conrad was startled to hear a bugle. He dressed up and stood at perfect attention. I can't wait to see what our new squad leader is like, he thought. The door opened, and a man with amber hair and tan skin entered.

"I am Sargent Smith." He spoke with a slightly exaggerated Eurasian accent. "You will take orders directly from me. For now, get to know each other. Be ready to start training at 0700 hours. Dismissed!" Conrad started to scout out the other trainees so he could try to make some friends. One young man stood out.

"Hey there! I'm Conrad," he said. The young boy turned around, smiling.

"I'm Ivan.” “so why did you join Ivan?” “I joined because it's my family tradition. Every man goes to the army. I was even born in an army hospital. Like my father always said about our family, 'You were born in the army, and you will die in the army.'" Suddenly, Sergeant Smith burst through the doors and said, "After some deliberation I have decided to set up our ranks; I have chosen Cadet Kurkov to fill the role of Cadet Officer."

"Really, me?" Conrad replied.

"Yes. You had the highest score on the test of all of your members. Your job will be to keep the rest of these unruly cadets in line when I'm not around, understand? You are in charge making sure that all of the cadets keep the quarters clean, and you are to ration the food as necessary. Also, you will write me a report on the progress of the cadets each week."

Conrad did good for the first few weeks. He even got an early promotion to Sergeant. He made friends with most of the cadets and even the quiet Reznov. After a while he had the top scores in ranged combat and strategic tactics. Everything was looking up for Conrad until one day about a month into his training…

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