A Series of Lies

March 16, 2011
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The men cursed under their breath as the Hummer jerked up and down going over the dirt trail. They were all part of the 32nd squad in the Irish Federation Military Corps. One of the men, carrying a submachine gun, checked his watch, grumbling. It read 0600//03//30//2021. The man groaned impatiently; he wanted to get this over with and get back to the Federation. The bumps stopped, as the Hummer convoy had turned onto a paved road. They were in the middle of the ruined zone in Paris.

The French government, being allies with the Irish Federation (what used to be Britain and Ireland), had had a sudden revolt beginning with a tragic bombing of the Eiffel Tower, Paris’ most significant landmark. The common minority that was very discriminated against, the Slavics, had started to fight back; the common people that were Slavic were either sent to concentration camps or killed. The French forces could not handle the size of the insurgency, and needed help from the Irish Federation. However, this had all happened 5 years before, and now all of the Slavics were in hiding, only attacking in guerilla ambushes. The Irish Federation had used the insurgency as a spearhead for their forces to essentially occupy the land just to show their power for some ulterior motive. Most of the soldiers were being killed and the government was beginning to become humiliated, and so it began strip bombings. This plan failed, and the French government eventually fell apart, causing France to become a no-man’s-land.

Sgt. Hancock tried to keep his platoon in line on the convoy. They were all irritable, as they had only gotten a few hours of sleep the night before after drilling all day. However, they were headed to their last post at an improvised helostation, and after a week, they would get to go home. Sgt. Hancock was a 32-year old military veteran having served in Bangladesh and Libya, and he hadn’t seen his wife in a year. He sent her letters every week and a picture of where he was, but he always felt it wasn’t enough. He absentmindedly flipped the safety bolt back and forth, while some of the men whistled at a Playboy magazine.

Sgt. Hancock could almost see some of the synthetic trees out of the window, but they passed by quickly. He saw they were going through what may have been an old neighborhood, with a playground next to a yellow brick house. Suddenly, there was a loud thump, and screams followed. The sergeant yelled in a panicky voice to bail out, but it was too late. The last thing Sgt. Hancock saw was soldiers getting up out of the sand with camouflage shouting French, one with a shoulder-mounted rocket launcher, and his world seemed to turn upside down. He lay amid the wreckage of the Hummer, seeing a Slav climb over the wreckage and pick up one of his recruits. The Slav dragged the young man out, and blood from the nub where the man’s leg used to be dripped on Sgt. Hancock’s face. Sgt. Hancock was picked up roughly by his armpits, and he saw the total devastation as he was being dragged towards the yellow house. The entire convoy, 5 hummers and a tank, were either lying charred on the ground or completely gone. The Slavs whispered amongst themselves, and the door to the house shut behind him. He was dragged down a few stairs into what appeared to be a storage room lined with improvised explosive devices and automatic weapons. The Slavs let go of him, and the last thing he saw was the butt of a rifle coming towards his face before his world went black.
The days after that blended into each other. He wasn’t sure what time it was, what day it was, or even what year. He was kept in a prison cell underground, he didn’t know where. All he wore was a pair of boxers and a torn t-shirt, and he never saw anything but his cell. He went to the bathroom in a bedpan, and he slept on a blood-crusted towel. Every now and then they came for someone, and he could hear their whimpers before they took them away. He didn’t know where they went and he didn’t particularly care. He was fed every day with a carton of water and an occasional piece of toast, and even that was passed through a tiny slit in the wall. He gave the rats his food most of the time; they just scurried into the cracks in the walls.
After what may have been months or years, they came for him. The wall seemed to open and Sgt. Hancock realized it had been a door the whole time; it was a tall Slavic man, with a small beard and light brown hair. He was dressed seemingly casually, in a checkered shirt and jeans. The man didn’t say a word; he just beckoned for Sgt. Hancock to come with him. Sgt. Hancock slowly worked his way off of the towel, and staggered after the man. The man led him out of the door into what appeared to be a lone hallway with stairs at the end. The man helped him towards and up the stairs, where a thick wooden door was located. The man opened the door with a shove, and Sgt. Hancock shielded his eyes from the bright light. The man continued to push him along, and Sgt. Hancock saw that he was coming out of what seemed to be a coffee shop in Paris. He stumbled out of the shop with the man, and saw a white pickup truck that had a mounted belt-fed machine gun on top of it. The man was more dragging Sgt. Hancock then helping him now and half-lifted, half-pushed him into the back of the truck. Several men were already in the back, most of which looked to be either Irish or American, and Sgt. Hancock joined them in lying on the floor. The hatch shut behind him with a clang. Sgt. Hancock felt the engine start beneath him, and the muzzle of the machine gun revolved above him.

They traveled for maybe an hour, and then suddenly the engine stopped and three or four Slavs ran towards the back, dragging the men out. They were in the middle of the country, and nothing but grass, hills, and the road were in sight. The Slavs shoved them into the bushes and then hid next to them. After what seemed like forever, Sgt. Hancock saw an Irish patrol walking by. Once they noticed the truck, they began searching the bushes. Each time one of them came near the little group, one of the Slavs covered their mouth with their hand and stabbed the base of their spine, hiding their body in the bushes. This slow process went on and on until eventually they were all dead, and then the Slavs put them all in the back and kept driving.

They arrived at a town in the dark. The entire town was controlled by Slavs; the truck had to pass through a stone gate while armed guards strolled above them. The truck stopped at a mall, and the men were taken out and told by one of the English-speaking Slavs to go inside. The Slavs followed them as they slowly trudged towards the mall, shoving them every now and then if they straggled. Inside, Sgt. Hancock couldn’t believe his eyes; the entire mall had been repurposed as a barracks for the Slavs. They were shepherded up an escalator and into an old shoe store, where they saw men lifting weights and doing pushups. They were led into the backroom, where they were made to climb a ladder. On top of the ladder, there was a small attic, and the English Slav gruffly said, “You live here now; you are Slavic now. You fight for us now.” His voice was then drowned out by the sound of an Apache helicopter taking off from the roof, and Sgt. Hancock wondered how they could’ve gotten their hands on an American helicopter. They all went to sleep immediately as there were foam mattresses provided for them, and Sgt. Hancock was asleep before he hit the ground.

The men were trained and taught Slavic every day. They were brainwashed, one at a time, in industrial white rooms, and slowly they forgot about their families and that they had ever been anything but Slavic. After a week, they were sent on their first ambush. The Slavs had received intel that said a convoy was headed to barracks in Paris, and wanted to stop them. The men drove for several hours and then stopped at the bottom of a hill, hiding their truck behind it. Sgt. Hancock was already equipped with a rocket launcher, and they had all been given ghillie suits. They lay in wait at the top of the hill.
After a few minutes, the rumbling of engines began to echo to them, and they all tensed in nervous anticipation. A tank eventually came over the hill, its engine giving a deep rumbling, and several Hummers followed it. Before he could fire his rocket, he heard shouting, and he turned quickly, seeing a company of Irish men running towards them. The Slavs had no chance; one of the Irish men fired a sleeping gas canister into the group and it was all over.

He woke up with a jolt. He was in a medical facility, and a doctor helped him up. The man told him that they had picked him up after they realized he was theirs and performed emergency surgery on him. Sgt. Hancock was extremely happy, and boarded a helicopter the next day and went back to the Irish Federation.

The doctor smiled after the man left. They had picked him up in Paris, and he insisted to them he was an Irish soldier, and he must’ve been crazy. He was dressed in Slavic garb and had the Slavic star sewn on his shirt, so after healing him, they sent him to the death camps.

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