A Soldier in Time 2 of 2 [Adult 5,200]

A Soldier in Time 2 of 2 [Adult 5,200]

A Story by hvysmker
"

Time travel used in wartime.

"
Synopsis: Corporal Vince Jackson, a soldier in a new American government, including all of both American continents, is preparing to go on a secret mission. Currently, they’re armed and ready to move out.
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There are sixty of us, now crowded in front of some kind of large canvas-covered structure. Three men -- in full battle armor and looking like massive man-shaped tanks -- are guarding the structure. I’m confused, since I knew of no such object hiding out here at the edge of the base. 

I know damned well there isn’t any company guard-roster for this area. It’s impossible to know who the guards are, but I intend to find out when -- and if -- I return. Part of my job as corporal of the guard is to know about possible guard duties. It's only for my curiosity, but that can wait. It looks like the captain is about to address us.All right, listen up. Before we get moving, I want Johnson, Alvarez and Peterson to guard the perimeter. Don’t let anyone in, not even the commanding general. Shoot to kill if you feel you have to. 

"If you’re ill, cowardly, or otherwise unable to go with us, I'll give you ten minutes to decide. From that moment on, this is to be a serious project. Nobody, but nobody, backs out after that break,” he tells us. 

He motions the human tanks to leave and they do his bidding, heavy tracks tearing up soft ground. I don't remember any of those three names. They must be directly under the captain and not on my own guard roster. An unusual, but not unknown, procedure in this huge modern army.

I light up and smoke a cancer stick, noting no troopers taking advantage of the break to leave. It's not all a matter of courage, since the fact would no doubt go onto their records, there to weigh against them at promotion time.

Captain Darren Conner orders three more men to uncover the object, which turns out to be a dull-colored metal archway with room for three men abreast to march through. He fiddles with a set of controls. Abruptly, there’s a slight change in the looks of the jungle on the other side. The trees and shrubbery seem darker than on this side of the arch. The elephant grass is higher and thicker than that on the right or left of the opening -- something like a slight magnification.This is it, men. A few of you have been in combat before and most or all of you will see some today," the captain tells us. "Where we’re going, there IS a war. 

"This,” he says, motioning to the arch, “is a new type of transportation. You don’t have to know where the other side leads, but it's a long way from here. If you get lost, remember that the arch will only remain on and in existence for the next thirty-hours. 

"After that, there is no way in hell for you to get back here. It will be up to you to make it back in time ... or not.” He stops to clear his throat, sipping from a canteen.

While he’s so occupied, most of us also sip on ours, trying to digest his speech. I notice what looks like a drizzle of rain through the opening, with bright sunlight on this side. The captain continues.We'll have no backup, no air support or tanks, not even full battle armor. Everyone you see who is not dressed like you, you shoot -- and shoot to kill. Even women and children. Everyone, period. I know it’s almost impossible, but we want no witnesses that we were there, so don’t hesitate. Kill them all and make damned certain they ARE dead. It’s up to God to sort the evil from the righteous. 

"Our mission is to kill a certain man. The most evil person on this planet.” He stops to hand out a bundle of photos to the men in front, who take one and pass the others back until I get mine.

The photo is blurred and of a small dark middle-aged man. He's either Hispanic or Asian, I can’t tell from the photo. Nondescript, in any case. No name is given but I guess that if we kill everyone we see identification isn’t really an issue.

I notice Sergeant Perez, my roommate, open a large box sitting next to the arch. He takes out a belt and buckles it around his waist, then presses a button on it. With a nod from the captain, he begins passing the belts out.Put on the device the sergeant is giving you and make sure you press the red button on it. That belt is to help keep track of you during the mission, so that we leave no one behind. It’s for your own safety,” the captain tells us. Perez gives me and Johnny, both corporals, a handful of belts and we help pass them out, also making certain all the buttons are pressed -- which turn on a minute green light near the buckle.

The captain then forms us up into three teams, one under him and the others under sergeants Perez and Gonzales. There are about twenty men in each team. I’m with Perez.Just do as your team leader tells you," the captain orders. "They'll brief you on your part of the operation. Stay close to them. Each team has a separate function. We won’t meet as a group until your everyone is back through this gate on the completion of the mission.” Vince, take a couple of men and retrieve those six green bags at the right side of the Transporter,” Perez orders. 

I motion to Ortiz and Buckner and we bring the bags back. They're heavy and seem to contain weapons, indicated by long slim shapes inside, along with what feels like bundles of cloth.Don’t open that yet.” Perez stops a curious Private Peterson. “I’ll tell you when.”What are we up to, Pedro?” I ask Sergeant Perez. “All this to kill one man, and what war? We’re not at war anywhere that I know of.”I guess I can tell you, Vince. If anything happens to me, it’ll be up to you to complete our part of the job.” 

He pulls me aside as the others mill around a few yards away, smoking and eating extra rations. We have food for four days, and will have to be back in a day and a half. Like all soldiers, they don’t want to carry extra weight with them, even with augmented exoskeletons. Better to eat it up than to leave it behind.It has something to do with politics. I wasn’t told just what. Some kind of a favor to the new President or something. The order came down from on high. That’s what the army has become,” Perez tells me, bitterly, “hired assassins. Not only that, but this thing,” Perez nods toward the arch, “is also a time machine. We’re going into the past to do it.” 

He looks around carefully, then leans down and whispers, "Make damned sure you get rid of that belt before we start back. I’ve seen them before. They contain global positioning systems -- and a shaped charge built in.  Conners can explode them if and when he wants. It gets rid of evidence if we're killed. Exploding them will leave no evidence behind. It can also be used to eliminate witnesses, and I don't trust Conner.” 

The last kind of throws me, although I can see his point. “And the bundles?” I ask.Old-time uniforms and weapons for our squad, in order to leave misleading evidence behind. The others will circle the area, killing civilian witnesses and keeping others out of the target area while OUR team goes in to kill that specific individual -- our target. We know there are bound to be survivors -- there always are -- and we want them to see their current enemy's uniforms and to blame it on them.  Me and you will make sure there are at least a couple of survivors.”When ... I mean where, when, and what army are we going to impersonate?”I wasn’t told. We’ll find out when we get there. You just make certain the bundles are brought along,” he ordered me, sighing. “Let’s get back. I see Conner getting antsy.”

By the time we get back to our men and check their gear, forming them into a column of twos and ready to go, the captain is nervously checking his watch. 

Seeing we're organized and in formation, he calls in our guards. As they come in, they’re given belts and checked out. 

The human tanks also come back and stand a little ways away, ready to take over guarding the arch when we leave. They probably know very little about what’s going on. No doubt it's only normal guard duty to them. I briefly wonder why there aren’t any ambulances around. From what we’ve been told, we might have wounded coming back through at any time. Well, not for me to wonder why, I think, marching through with the rest.

*

It's drizzling rain and quite a bit warmer and darker on this side of the arch. I've been stationed in Canada, the former US, Panama and, of course, Costa Rico -- but this place is different. Oh, most of the plants are the same, just look a little different. There are banyan trees, which makes me think of the Far East. The whole ambiance is different, though. It just feels different than the Americas.

Without a word -- except maybe over a commo pack I don’t have -- we split off from the other two units. 

Sergeant Perez stays in front and I bring up the rear. We march for several hours -- no problem in our mechanized battle suits. The heavy bags don’t seem to slow us down any. When I offer to switch them off to other troops to carry, the bearers only shrug. With augmenting exo-skeletons, the weight makes no difference to them. 

Since we can eat, drink, smoke, and do everything but defecate in the suits, distance is no problem. We do take toilet breaks and give the men time to relax and sit for a while before continuing. 

So far we haven't met anyone. If we had, I would have heard gunshots up ahead in the column. We’re lucky so far, with no suits malfunctioning. It's our greatest worry, outside of being shot, of course.

Finally, the inevitable. I see lights flash up ahead and my suit radio sputters into action.Vince. Hurry up here, I need you.” It’s Sergeant Perez. 

I rush ahead, pushing my way through the others, who heard and also want to see what’s going on.Stay back and don’t bunch up,” I order as I scramble through them. “One grenade would get all of you. You’ll get your chance soon enough.” 

I hope they're following orders but I have to do the same and get to the front.

Private Alvarez, at the head of the line, points ahead. I can see the soles of a pair of large boots sticking out of a stand of bushes. A roasted soldier in old-type battle gear -- I think US but am not certain -- is lying a little ways away. Our first victim.

I reach Perez’s boots. Crawling up beside him, I find the sergeant studying a small encampment of soldiers. They're relaxing in a clearing ahead of and below us. The others are wearing outmoded United States Army uniforms. Seeing them together, with old-style combat gear, convinces me. The sight makes me shiver involuntarily. I haven’t given any real thought to what I was told about the past and a war going on. I don’t know if I can kill other American troops, looking like photos of WWII. You know the men a lot better than I do, Vince. How many are like you, from the former US?”About half, maybe a dozen or so,” I answer, understanding what he’s getting at. It puts me in a quandary. Can I kill them, or should I somehow stop the operation? Although I don’t consider myself a life-long soldier, I am a professional and have been taught to follow orders. Is the mission important enough to kill them? I simply don’t know. It might be. 

Although not straight in my mind, I know that overriding force and violence is inevitable. It's the life I’ve chosen and I have to follow orders -- no matter what. The responsibility is on God and the commanding general.Listen, I’ll take them on, Vince. You go back and send up all the non-US guys. Stay back with the others,”  he tells me, “and send up a couple of those bags. Oh, and you might as well pass out clothing and weapons to the others while you’re at it. The bags also contain imploding charges. Leave those with your present uniforms. Hopefully, we'll pick them up on the way back. I hope so. Otherwise they'll implode at a set time, destroying all the modern equipment.” In a haze, I do as he orders. I have no real choice.

To my surprise, the uniforms in the bag are also old-style American. They contain rifles and pistols, ancient M16 projectile rifles and .45cal pistols. Common fragmentation grenades round out the contents, enough for all of us. Nope, I think, not WWII but Vietnam era.From now on, remember to use the older rifles -- no lasers,” I tell them, according to my instructions. That’s why we’d trained on those weapons the day before.

*

When the brief battle is over, the others return and we continue our march, starting off by taking a tangent to one side of the clearing, avoiding the dead bodies of American troops. I'm immeasurably glad for that. I don’t want to see the carnage, even in my mind. I notice the soldiers involved are silent, not looking us "Americans" in the eyes.

*

An hour later, we begin finding trails. Along with them are occasional civilians who have no chance at all against our weapons. Even the few shots they get off are easily turned away by light armor under our ancient uniforms. Hell, most of the victims aren't even armed.Vince, grab a couple of men and take out that farmhouse on the right,” the sergeant orders. 

I take Peterson and Thompson with me and we hurry over to a grass hut sitting in a small clearing. I don’t see any electric lines, only a shack made of wooden planks, bundles of grass making up the roof. Peterson. You circle around to the back. If you see anyone, shoot to kill. Me and Thompson will go in,” I order, cocking my unfamiliar weapon. He angles off to the right to get behind the shack. Thompson and myself wait a few minutes before heading for a makeshift wooden door in front. It doesn't even have a knob, only a hole cut into the door to reach a finger through to open it.

Jerking the door open, I duck inside and to the right, Thompson doing the same on the left of the opening. We immediately begin firing on automatic. I see my tracers hit a small child playing with some sort of toy animal on the dusty dirt floor, tearing it apart in a burst of flesh and blood, continuing on to thrust a young woman backwards as my bullets puncture her chest in a jagged line. As she falls, I look over to see a white-faced Peterson. He has chopped down two males, one young and the other much older.

It's over in seconds. Back outside, I hear firing and look over to see Peterson hosing down a small building off to the side.What a way to die,” Peterson says, coming up to us and shaking his head, “with your panties down.” Another young daughter had been in the privy.

I see Thompson spewing his rations into the dry sand of the front yard. The sight and racing thoughts make even me feel like retching. 

Peterson gives me a funny look, saying, “What’s the matter with him?”Let’s get back to the others,” I order them. “And wipe your face,” to Thompson.

*

Word comes down from Sergeant Perez to change uniforms completely. Some of the men had ignored orders and kept pieces of armor and modern weapons until now. I’m ordered to search each of them to make certain they comply.

"Don't forget where you put them," I tell the others about the forbidden stash. "See that stream with a large reddish rock, there on the shore? We have to be able to find them later, to take back with us." 

We aren’t -- supposedly -- allowed to have anything on us from our time period. It reminds me that we might not all make it back home. That a lot of belts will be exploded before this is over. Even if there is no double-cross.

While searching, I take the opportunity to hide a small laser-pistol in the bushes near Peters. After me and Perez search each other, I reach down and pick the pistol up again. I don't know why, but it seems the thing to do.

*** 

The village ahead of us is somewhat like in Costa Rico. Alike in many ways -- with ancient buildings scattered among both bamboo huts and a few more modern concrete block structures. The latter are two or three stories high. The people walking up and down a single dirt street are small with dark skins and dressed in civilized clothing. In most part that is, a few wearing brightly-colored robes.

I’m still not certain. It could be in South America, in a country I still haven’t seen, or in Asia. I’m not really a world traveler and have never been interested in travel magazines. We gather on a small hill overlooking the town, taking time to watch local activity.

It pays off when a military truck, looking like an old five-ton, comes into sight. The back’s full of soldiers wearing unusual, to me, uniforms and carrying projectile rifles. They seem to be at ease, whooping and waving at the local women. Except for uniforms, these troops look and act local.

The truck stops in front of a building and the soldiers jump out. Some go inside and others drift away in both directions. 

Perez calls me over and shows me a map. Our target is in one of the three-story concrete buildings, the one marked with a black “X”. A handwritten notation on the map tells us to try before eight pm, which does us no good since we haven’t any idea of local time -- something Captain Darren Conner forgot to mention. If we attack before full dark we should be alright,” the sergeant reminds me. “Maybe we should wait a while? The soldiers might leave.” He looks me in the eye and continues, "It'd make it a lot easier for us."

I go back and tell the others.You four should have plenty of time to circle around to the other side of the village and pick out good firing points,” I tell some of them. “Wait until you hear shooting then kill anyone leaving.” I tell the same to eight others, four for each end of the street. “Hide and make sure nobody gets behind you. Watch both sides, too. Once the firing starts, nobody, but nobody, gets out alive.”

I go back up front with Perez and we wait. Wait for the others to get into position and hope these troops will leave soon.

* 

The enemy seems intent on staying. Some of them come back with bottles and a party starts, complete with local maidens. A radio is turned on and my location is narrowed down. The radio's speaking in Spanish. Not loud enough to understand all the words, only the language.

As the sun begins to set, the merry tableau in front of us starts to wind down. Eventually, empty bottles are collected and a few of the troops begin returning to the back of the truck to wait. Some of them seem pretty drunk. I wish I had one of those bottles.Get the men ready,” Sergeant Perez orders. “Me and you go for the target, the others are to wipe out the town. Tell them, ‘everybody’. In case they don’t happen to be missing anyone, we’ll each try to let one civilian live. They’ll see our uniforms and we want a few witnesses to say that the North Americans did it. Tell them to try to bring back any of our people who get wounded. I think they will anyway, but it doesn’t hurt to remind them.”

As I leave, I can see the truck jerk forward, driving out of the village as the women go back inside.All right, this is it,” I tell the few men remaining with us, “let’s go. Kill everyone, but bring back our wounded -- without fail. You’d want them to do the same for you. And watch out. Most of the people are probably armed. Don’t forget, for them this is already a war zone. Don’t fire until you have a target, and then kill it.”

Together, we scramble over the edge of the hill and slide down a stone incline into the back of one row of businesses and backyards. I hook up with Perez and the two of us run toward our target building. Just as we reach the concrete road, we hear gunfire from the end of the street where the truck had been headed.

Not good, I think. Either my four men decided to engage the truck, like idiots, or the troops saw them. Either way, we’ll have to contend with at least some of those soldiers returning. Perez and I run into the correct building, just as gunfire erupts all over town.

I find a woman standing next to a side window, looking out at the action. Two shots to her back fell her. According to plan, Perez runs for the stairs as I search the first floor. One man is hiding under a desk. A few shots through the furniture and he slumps onto his face. 

Another fires a shot, barely missing my head. I give him a few rounds in the stomach. Reaching an open doorway at the rear, I rush out back in time to see one of my men behind the buildings shoot two running women. A quick wave to him, and I return inside.

Shots erupt upstairs. At least two weapons. One with sharp cracks has to be a pistol. I run up the stairs three at a time, a fresh magazine in my rifle, to find Perez lying in a pool of blood. A man that looks like a slightly older version of our target is trying to force open a back window.

I level my rifle and reach for the trigger. Before it fires, I feel a blow to the back of my head. I’m lost to sudden darkness and don’t even feel myself fall….

***

I wake to a familiar face. At first, it's dim, as if coming out of a deep dark fog. The features seem to come close, then fade back -- several times -- as my mind attempts to comprehend the sight. That face is impossible, impossible to be there. As in a dream, it drifts in and out of sight, finally fading completely as I pass out again.

The next time I wake, it’s in a hospital. The odor of disinfectant makes that obvious. It must be a modern one, with a plenitude of strange machinery. I see flashing lights and hear a synchronized beeping in the background. 

I’m in a bed with green sheets, in fact everything around me seems to be either green or shiny metal. The walls, sheets, rug and ceiling are shades of that color. When I try to examine my body, I find my hand can go completely under my buttocks, they're raised several inches from any surface -- hanging in mid-air. I know I'm not still in the past. Maybe not even in my present.

I feel no splints and can move without pain. Even my head, where I was shot or hit with something, seems normal. Trying to sit up brings sudden dizziness and I feel like I'm about to slide out of the bed. Quickly lying back down, I grab the headboard to steady myself. Since I can’t get up, I might as well just lie here, I figure.

An alarm must have gone off, since a nurse, also dressed in green, comes hurrying in.You have to be quiet Mr. Jackson. You’ve had a traumatic experience. Your poor head was busted up pretty badly when she brought you in. You were delirious, mumbling about some war or other.”I was? I mean, who? Who brought me in?” I don’t know. I wasn’t on duty,” the nurse admits, shining a penlight in my eye, “If you want, I can check the records. We have a number to call when you woke up. I'll call it and get back to you.” Can I sit up, and maybe wait in a chair or something. I feel weak but think I can walk.”I’ll be back in a minute.” She turns and quickly goes back out, before I can question her.

I lie there for awhile, maybe a half-hour, before the nurse returns with a smile and a wheelchair. She does something to a control panel and the bed seems to deflate, dropping me to its surface. It then contorts until I’m standing, the bed also on end behind me.

As I start to fall -- I’m not as strong as I think -- she deftly catches and steers my fall into the chair. I’m wheeled to a waiting-room and parked next to a table of magazines. While I'm looking around, the nurse brings me a cup of some kind of hot liquid and leaves. 

I try the liquid and find it tasty, but have no idea what it is. Seeing a picture of a soldier on a magazine, I pick it up. The magazine's dirty and well-read, pages loose. The cover story is something about "The Last War" which causes me to look at the date on the front cover.

I can’t believe it. Trying to clear my head, I look back at the date. It still reads the same, about a hundred years ahead of my time. I’m in the future, at least my future. Hell, I'm still trying to adjust to that trip to the past.

Seeing a shadow in the doorway, I look up and see Annise, the girl from the whorehouse in Costa Rico, standing there, grinning.Damn, and I wanted to tell you personally.” She laughs, a sound like tinkling bells. “Aren’t you going to thank me for saving you?”

I’m speechless for what must be minutes. It’s a lot to take in so suddenly.Th ... Thanks,” I finally manage to get out. “What happened? You were there in the village, weren’t you?”

She nods, a sad look on an otherwise pretty face.What were you doing there?”It’s kinda complex, Vince. Politics has always been a dirty game. And it’s even dirtier now, with a One World government. I’m with the Presidential Guard, a police force who’s only mandate is to guard the President. With the advent of time travel, my organization has to protect not only the current World President, but the previous ones as well as all their ancestors. All the way down the line, almost to the stone age.

"The trouble is that some of the old records are incorrect or false. One of the other political parties found that their adversary had a great grandfather who was illegitimate. Although his ancestors of record were protected, his real great grandfather wasn’t. They went back to your time to get a force of assassins to kill his real ancestor. You were one of those assassins.

"We found out a few things about it and tried to cover all the bases. We didn’t know who the target was or when the act was to take place. I was only one of thousands of agents sent out throughout history -- to likely times and places.

"I thought that working in one of the ancient girlie houses would be both a unique experience and let me talk to servicemen." She rolled her eyes and shook her head. "It wasn’t like I read about in those glamorized romance novels. I didn’t realize what it would feel like to be forced to sleep with strangers. The novels skipped that part.Luckily, I found you on my first night -- and you had the information I needed. Otherwise I shudder at the thought of actually having to do that work, having sex with all those men.” 

She blushed. “Actually you were my first man -- period. And only because I didn’t know any way to refuse. After I cadged the information from you, I walked out the back door and went home."But I didn’t know any information. How did you learn anything from me?" I asked. "All I told you was that I was going on a mission the next day.”But you mentioned Darren Conner, a known assassin in my time period,” she tells me. “He’s too egotistical to use a false name. Once I knew that he was involved, I called it in and a team of experts was sent down. We found the Gateway, got rid of your useless behemoths guarding it, and went through. We were in time to save your target as well as get to the other groups before they did too much damage. We lost time though, figuring that Conner's team would be the one after our man. We had no idea it was to be you and your sergeant.”What about me? Why bring me here?” I ask.Why not? I did injure you myself ... and you’re nice in bed.... And you're my first lover -- so why not?” She walks behind my chair, putting her arms around my neck. “We don’t have wars anymore, but we still need men of violence. These days, they're largely a thing of the past. Like you.”

***So, that’s how I got into this job with your mother,” I tell our children, the few who ask.

The End. 
Charlie - hvysmker

© 2019 hvysmker


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Added on November 24, 2019
Last Updated on November 24, 2019
Tags: war, military, killing, fiction

Author

hvysmker
hvysmker

Fremont, OH



About
I'm retired, 81 yrs old. My best friend is a virtual rat named Oscar, who is, himself, a fiction writer. I write prose in almost any genre but don't do poetry. Oscar writes only rodent oriented st.. more..

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