Chapter 10: Byes and BoomEdit

A burned down Salty’s Tavern. Being re-built by local volunteers, and of course... helped by the source of the fire, The Delta Squad. 3:00pm

“Boomer... are you sure?” Matrix said, a small tear forming in his eye... which was briskly brushed away by his lightning fast hand. “I’m sorry Sir, but I have to.” Boomer replied. Looking down, into the dusty floor, then laying down another brick, pasting cement onto it. “Well, ok... let’s just work out what to do first.” Matrix said slowly. “I... I...” Boomer sighed, “Do you think this pub is going to look better built out of bricks?” Boomer put off something, but... Matrix couldn’t tell what. “I don’t give to be honest,” Matrix said. Hawk, Delta Eight... came over to Matrix a few seconds after that. He said in a fairly deep voice, “Sir, high command has been trying to get through our frequency for hours, Eagle only just found out how to receive incoming messages on the thing.” This made Matrix laugh.

“You didn’t tell him?” He chuckled. “I figured he would work it out, and it would be a boost to his initiative.” The friendly pet chuckled along with Matrix. “And, did it?” Matrix lightly questioned... “Well, he’s recorded every single piece of information and orders that High Commander Neon has issued.” Hawk smiled at Matrix, then said... “better start getting out of here, we’re needed at the coastline to the west in at least a day.” Matrix looked Hawk in the eye “Is it time?” “No... it will probably just be another seaside skirmish, they’re happening all the way up the coast. Except in those ones WE are the attackers, trying to take back our lost land, Commander Neon needs us there because we can’t afford to lose this town, Reefwater, as it’s our last major outpost on this island, but no sir, this is not the attack we have heard about, at least it’s unlikely.”

Hawk shook his head. Matrix sarcastically said “Well, wouldn’t want to return to our homeland now would we, where guns and knives are banned and the threat of war is very minimal...” “Do you ever think of returning home, sir?” Matrix looked around, to see Eagle standing with a clipboard with a few sheets of paper clipped to it. His speech quickened as he reached the end of his sentence... “No, on that island I am no one. Here I protect pets, here I try to make SAWAT pay. We were here first, we came over from our homeland over a decade ago, they came four years ago, bringing their guns, no thoughts of sharing the land, only destruction and invasion, I have vowed never to leave this land, until I have dealt with the SAWAT threat.” “I see, sir.” Eagle said, sorry he asked. “Hawk,” Matrix said, swivelling his full form over to see Hawk, who had now donned his shiny golden sunglasses. “Prepare the truck, we got a long drive... and... Hawk, the new guy, he’s coming with us.”

Eight hours later, on the road to Reefwater. In a large Truck.

Matrix looked Boomer in the eyes, squinting. Boomer was forced to look away. He couldn’t hold a stare. Matrix, Boomer, Ghost’s replacement, Tank and Eagle were sitting in the back of the truck. Hawk was driving, Vulcan and Rhino were in an armoured jeep following the truck about ten meters behind. “Matrix” Hawk said. “Yes... what is it ?” Matrix broke his constant stare at Boomer, to look towards the drivers seat. “You need to organize the squad, yes... I mean... the battle at the riverside a month ago, that took a few of us down. Now Ghost is gone and Boomer is leaving. We will be an insufficient number if we do not organize ourselves.” “Yes, Hawk... I understand, it’s just...” The Commander paused. “It’s just...” Hawk beckoned for Matrix to continue, though Matrix could only see his left hand, as the trucks driver compartment was not fully opened to the back of the truck.

Matrix said “It’s just... have you noticed, Hawk, that... in seven years of being in Delta, we have not lost a single man, then all of a sudden, in the space of two months, we have lost Delta Four, Delta Two, Delta Three, Delta Nine and Delta Ten. Either we are getting worse, or SAWAT is getting better.” There was a pause, then Boomer said, “I think we know which one it is sir, Delta Squad never gets worse.” Matrix nodded. “And... worst, I am about to lose you, Boomer... leaving the army, the last of the first Delta members, leaving... the... army.” Boomer just bowed his head and clasped his hands together between his knees. “Matrix... do you mind stopping the truck at Lotterick?” Matrix looked at Boomer, “why...” He said, stretching out the single word. “I’m getting out there, my family are staying there, away from Reefwater, where the battle will be.” Matrix sighed. “Your not coming to fight?” Matrix asked. “No, no I’m not, I can’t risk dying, sir.” Matrix sighed again, longer this time, “I understand,” he said. Matrix pulled out a map, then drew a line in pen which he pulled from his jacket, from their current position, to Lotterick. Handing the map to Hawk he said, “re-route to this position,” Hawk bent round to look Boomer in the face, who was again just looking at the floor, almost in... what appeared to Eagle, to be embarrassment. “Roger that.” Hawk said, turning back around to concentrate on the road ahead.

One Hour Later

Boomer left the back of the truck. The Delta Squad all exited their vehicles, and stood in a semi-circle around Boomer. It was dark, their faces were pale in the moonlight, Boomer looked into the sky, Eagle watched his face wearily, after about thirty seconds, Boomer looked down. Matrix advanced on him, then shook his hand. “Goodbye, comrade.” Matrix said, slowly. “Bye, sir,” a tear came to Boomers eye, he let it fall down his face. Only Matrix noticed. He let his own tear, fall down his face, which was hidden by the mask that he always wore. Matrix donned his famous dark red sunglasses over his mask. Then he re-entered the truck. The rest of Delta said their goodbyes, then returned to their original vehicle positions. Eagle’s goodbye, was shorter than the others, and less meaningful... Boomer might have been the most helpful guy in Delta, but... Eagle was never any good when it came to goodbyes. “Bye Boomer, I’ll miss you.” Was all he could muster. Boomer laughed, “try to stay alive, kid.” Boomer said. With that, Eagle went back into the truck.

“Drive” Matrix said. “Copy that,” Hawk said as he eased on the accelerator. Matrix looked into the wing mirror of the truck. Boomer was walking slowly, head bowed to the ground. Matrix said “turn the radio on,” Hawk looked into the rear-view mirror, at Matrix, then at Boomers slowly shrinking silhouette. He turned a dial to the left of the steering wheel. Then another one, and the volume came up. An old war song, made ten years ago played. It was the end of the song almost, the words that were most relevant to war. Those who walk, walk alone.

Those who run, run together.

Those who fall, don’t get up.

Those who die, are on the battlefield forever.

The song finished, on one solemn note. After the note ended, the truck was silent again, except for the muffled roar of the engines. A minute later, an emergency broadcast came on, using the familiar warning tone, which was drilled into every soldiers head. This caused everyone in the truck to straighten up and look curiously at each other.

“This is an emergency broadcast for all DA troops, this is broadcasting on every available frequency, please pay attention, this is not a drill, I repeat, this IS NOT a drill. Today, at precisely 7:32PM, one hour and fifteen minutes ago, SAWAT broke the third conduct of war in this land. They attacked at night, when our soldiers were resting. Soldiers, you are no longer safe at night. SAWAT can attack at any moment. Even in the night, when you are supposed to be resting.”

The broadcast repeated three times, then ended in the same eerie silence that existed previously. Hawk turned the dial again, the pet on the radio began saying “In a few minutes we will be talking to a DA General about the new rumor of SAWAT ‘Mass Destructive’ weaponry, which was reportedly used recently in a large battle to stop the DA from interrupting the SAWAT advance, the enemy army there was trying to make its way to a rendezvous point where SAWAT armies will be meeting to launch a massive attack on Reefwater. They were reported to be, huge fireballs, which erupt into the air, obliterating EVERYTHING... more on this new terror soon though, as we talk about the SAWAT breaking the conduct of No-Night-Fight...”

Hawk flicked the radio off, “sorry sir, I don’t want to listen to that crap.” Matrix looked at Hawk out of the corner of his eye and said “it’s not crap, is it? I was at the aftermath at that battle, you didn’t see what I saw, Eagle didn’t even see, he was there, the initial explosive was detonated over a mile away from where he was. Yet it still knocked him off the edge of a cliff.” Eagle nodded through this, looking at Matrix then turning to Hawk. Then back to Matrix, then back to Hawk, and so on and so forth for as long as Matrix talked. “Surely sir, it’s a slight exaggeration!?” Hawk exclaimed, almost fearfully. “No, it most def-” the sound interrupted Matrix. Ridculously so. The sound rattled the truck, causing Hawk to swerve the truck a little bit. “What the-” Hawk was only just heard over the sound, but the last word was still lost. “STOP THE TRUCK!” Matrix bellowed above the sound.

Hawk slammed on the brakes. Then he opened the truck door on his side, then proceeded to fall out. Matrix opened up the back of the truck and everyone filed out, the jeep had swerved into a ditch about 30m behind them. The sky was a menacing red, orangey mix. The road from where they had just come from, the road where Boomer was, the village... Lotterick. Around six miles down, a huge cloud of smoke was pouring out. The smoke looked like it was coming from a chimney, that chimney was Lotterick, even from six miles away, the fire could be seen. Like a glowing beacon. Then the shockwave hit. It was not visible until a mile away. Even then it only appeared to be some kind of rapidly moving heat wave. It moved quickly though, hitting their position a few seconds after it was visible. Matrix was thrown backwards, as were the rest of the Squad. The truck was sent spinning in the air. It landed on Rhino. Barely missed Tank and Eagle, who had landed nearby each other. It clipped Roth’s hand on the way over to Rhino, snapping the bone in several places, the bone punctured the skin at three points. The truck was on Rhino.

Vulcan was thrown off the road, out of the trucks path. He now lays in a small shrub. The land became a kind of desert around them, as the shockwave carried immense heat with it, incinerating any vegetation nearby. The shrub Vulcan lay in was also incinerated. The Delta Squad lay unconscious. Some maybe dead. If one listened closely, you would have been able to hear Hawk, who had landed in the road-side ditch, “Ok, I believe you.” Before joining his comrades, in the space between unconsciousness and death.


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