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The Squirrel Eradication Force
Jonathan Hayes spun on his heel and fired into the tree canopy. His gun clicked and he swore. Curse these old fashioned weapons! He missed his old Zeta 1269, a sleek electro rifle that had been destroyed when a house he was searching was hit by a rocket during the Third Battle of Durham. The cursed thing almost blew his leg off. The doctors sat him down after he had been rescued from the enemy and told him that he'd never walk again, but he did and when he walked into the Central Federation Command Post his commander nearly had a heart attack.
“They told us you were out of action permanently.” He gasped out staring at Jonathan.
“Well I'm not.” Jonathan had said with a grin, “Now where do you want me? I want to get back out there!”
Jonathan punched a tree remembering when the Generals had called him into the conference room. He had thought that he was going to be promoted or given a medal or some recognition for being injured, captured, tortured, rescued, and then healing in record time.
“Sit down John.” General Lading had said to him looking somber, “Now, I and my colleagues would like you to know that we hold you in the utmost respect and view you as one of our best infiltrators.”
“Thank you sir.” Jonathan had said a little uneasy.
“But, I'm afraid that we have a policy about those who have been captured by the enemy. This policy, which we outlined in Order 6787, states that no one who has been captured by the enemy may serve in battle or on the front lines.”
“What, why?” Jonathan had said trying to keep hold of his temper. “Wait, hold on, I’ve never heard of order 6787!”
“We can’t send anyone who’s been captured. They might have Stockholm Syndrome. I’m sorry” General Grant had said looking down at his hands. “Now, we have reassigned you to the Squirrel Eradication Force.”
“The SEF?!” Jonathan had said leaping up from his chair, “That's a suicide assignment!”
“I never pegged you as a coward Lt. Hayes.” General Smith had said from the corner. Jonathan and Smith had never liked each other.
“I am not a coward!” Jonathan had yelled, “I have no problem dying for my country if it actually accomplished something. The SEF was formed 250 years ago during the Alexendia Epedemic to get rid of the Squirrels who were passing it to humans. Now we have isolated the squirrels so the only people who catch it are the ones who go and find them. It's pointless; no one has lasted more than two years in the Force! It's pointless and suicidal to be on the SEF!”
“That is more than enough Lieutenant!” General Higgins had barked at him, she was the oldest of the generals and the most feared, “You have been assigned to the SEF and you will serve on the SEF and that is it.”
“The matter is closed Lieutenant!”
So Jonathan had reported to the SEF and he had been issued the old fashioned bullet rifle. When he had asked why they only had guns that had been out of date for years he had been told that no one wanted to spend money on the Force so they gave them the oldest rifles they had.
Jonathan heard rustling in the trees behind him. He spun around and fired. He hit the squirrel, Jonathan smiled, he never missed. Blood spurted from the animal's side and it fell from the tree branch it was standing on, down, down, down, down, it fell, smashing into one branch after another. Cuts were appearing all over its tiny body. Johnathan noticed it was very small for a squirrel, maybe it was a baby.
The squirrel's fall finally ended when it smashed into an old tree stump. It smashed through the rotten top and fell onto a pointed part of the stump. It impaled the squirrel trapping it there. The squirrel was still alive but was losing blood quickly.
Jonathan walked over to the stump and peered down. The squirrel was crying as it tried to free itself from the stick. Jonathan pointed his gun at the squirrel, then thought better of it. Why waste bullets? The animal would be dead soon anyway. He banged the butt of his gun against the top of the stump, sending showers of wood chunks down on the Squirrel. One small piece struck the dying animal on the head causing it to pass out. Jonathan nodded, at least the animal wouldn't suffer too much now, and strode off to find some more small rodents to kill.