I wake up in a battle zone. I’m holding a rifle.
The air is rancid, relieved by breezes that smell like barbecue beef.
When I see where that’s coming from I know I’ll never eat barbecue again. A fresh pile of burnt bodies about five meters away.
I’m in a foxhole.
I’ve never fired a gun but I’m in a foxhole. Our guns are unlike any I’ve seen, with extended barrels for God-knows-what purposes. But there’s no time to learn more.
Smoke is everywhere, men are groaning.
Here I am fighting an enemy I’ve never heard of in a world that can’t be mine.
“They’re closing in on us!” Charlie yells, getting in my face. “Captain? What do we do?”
Captain? I’m the leader? “Which way are they coming from?” I ask, stalling.
“All directions, sir,” Charlie says, “Just like the Alamo.”
I’m stymied for a second before I remember him. Charlie is wanted for building a terrorist organization responsible for executing murder and mayhem by raising money in the U.S. under false pretenses.
I turn to the guy on the other side. “You!” I shout to get his attention over the clatter of gunshots. He’s afraid of me.
“Why are you afraid of me?”
He’s afraid to answer.
“Please tell me.”
“Are you sending me on a suicide mission?” he manages to ask nervously. Now I recognize this one. Farshid had been apprehended and expelled for rioting against imperial forces; now wanted for testimony.
The shelling gets heavier, closer, with less time between explosions.
“Someone said you was gonna strap a nuke on me.”
“Just answer me,” I order, playing Captain to the hilt. “Answer my questions to the best of your ability. And keep it down. Where do you think we are?”
Farshid’s surprised. “Uh…Tripoli, sir!”
Libya? Okay… “And who do you think the enemy is out there approaching us, private?”
“Uh…that would be…most likely…the U.S. Navy Seals?”
In a shockingly brief drilling I’m able to extract the name and purpose of our organization from the unwitting minion.
Known as Free Rights Elite Emergency Fighting Alliance, Limited Liability or FREEFALL, this organization has plotted and may be in the act of executing the transformations of former U.S. officials involved in the invasion of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan, as well as neutralizing thousands of soldiers from the armies of Israel, Iran, the United States, Russia, Ukraine, Syria and even North Korea.
Now I know why these guns we have are so weird. They don’t shoot bullets. The label reads “Quanta 6000.”
These guns shoot special ammunition. They don’t make a sound.
When the ammo strikes it penetrates any material for at least six centimeters. No armor stops it.
Once the ammo is embedded inside the target, the victim loses the will to fight. Resistance to physical attack remains possible, but the victim can no longer initiate violence. The effect is permanent.
Sadly, the enemy will kill its own for refusing to fight. But those we’ve shot can still defend themselves. Our ammunition turns the enemy against itself.
The bio-munitions lab that developed our ammo and sponsors us found just the right mix of radiant-particular endocrine altering energy to deliver a systemic neurological change.
Can’t shoot an eye out with these, either. Good guns.
Soon I recall who the rest of my crew are.
Yong was arrested for leading masses in protest against imperial forces and was in custody awaiting trial when “we” invaded the military compound and broke him out.
Absimil was convicted of harboring military fugitives and amassing ammunition, but escaped before sentencing.
Santiago is responsible for making drone bombs murdering a total of 538.
Aghad is the leader of the primary training center for militant anti-imperialist agents.
Vadek is the “mastermind” of 7 terror attacks killing a total of 2,845.
And Shokan is the chief recruiter for anti-imperialists, and head of communications.
We are outlaws in our own lands. But I banded this bunch of radicals into a new force for peace. We gave up our blood feuds, suppressed our vengeance, forgave the mistakes of our ancestors and took up this new, untested, experimental means of forcing peace onto the theaters of war.
The Navy Seals are upon us. It’s either die now or make new friends…