Editor's ChoiceScience Fiction

Blood Wars

The Resistance Headquarters, Hustrion Province, 17th June, 2845

Baorda’s Journal,

“I was born a twin, ten years after the First Landers all died off. They had left the Earth after the Third World War in 2055; it was a war, according to legend, that saw the end of the human race—at least on the Forgotten Planet.
According to the Lore, when the United Nations declared war on the Allied Countries of the East (ACE) in 2050, it took just over a month for the planet to be a radioactive wasteland. Billions of people died and the natural world was lost. Governments fell and chaos reigned.

Thankfully, a renegade band of scientists and social analysts had predicted such a turn of events; and they had built an escape ship that would ferry some of Earth’s best people to safety—these were the people who were tasked to create a new society, free from the shackles of the old one. There were one thousand men and women who boarded that spaceship that day—the First Landers.

When they arrived in Throndia, they lived a harmonious and communal life; technology thrived, and within ten years, a substance was found at the planet’s south pole which was engineered by the scientists to be an anti-aging drug. It was called ATSI—Age and Tissue Stress Inhibitor—which was given to all members of the society. It was indeed a new age for mankind.

For four hundred years, the society thrived, and with the help of the ATSI, life expectancy was increased by a factor of ten. Selective and rotational breeding was initiated in order to keep the planet’s human population in check and by the year 2511, the human population was still 2500. It was a fact that Throndia was a little smaller than the Forgotten Planet, and had irregular seasons, but it was an ingenious method of controlling the population of the inhabitants of our planet.

Finally, the tendency of human beings to bring chaos and destruction in their wake began to show itself. It started during the First Council of Iandiv, in 2564. There had been some factions that wanted a decentralization of the central power at Iandiv. According to them, a new and technologically superior group of people at the faraway island of Hustrion deserved to rule themselves and not be subjected to the autocratic rule of the Central Planetary Government at Iandiv.

Of course, their motion was overruled and the Hustrionians decided to secede, leading to a war that has been ongoing for 281 years, longer than any war the Forgotten Planet had witnessed.

The First Landers all died off in 2796. They had tried ceaselessly to bring the war to an end, but both parties had had a taste of power, and would not relinquish such a tasty meal.”

*************************

I sat with my eyes closed and body relaxed in meditation. I listened to the planet speak to me, and swayed a little to the message I got. In my mind’s eye, I could see my plans working out; could see the fall of Iandiv; could envision myself decapitating the new head of Iandivish Government.

Then something broke into my meditation. I opened my eyes and saw Jonita walking towards me, her steps sure and precise, like that of a trained soldier. She had a lithe body, a sharp military mind and was feared by all the people on the island. Despite the fact that she was my sister, she had had to work her way up the military ranks to finally become my military commander.

“Greetings, Baorda,” she said. As my sister, she still had the right to address me by my name.

“Hello, sister,” I began, “what is the status report?”

“The Iandivish army have landed at the Unger Canyon. They have camped there and plan to advanced inland through the Deiwer Pass tomorrow or or next,” she replied.

“Good. And what about their soldiers?”

“They have 200 soldiers, and all of them are GEMs,” she answered.

Her head held my face when she heard my sharp intake of breath. She looked into my eyes, and without saying words, she understood.

When the war had seemed to overwhelm the Iandivish army, fifteen years ago, they had done something totally unexpected and unconventional. They had engineered a new breed of soldiers called GEMs—Genetically Enhanced Mutants. These soldiers were brutal, orderly and had no sense of human emotion. They were more or less machines which had human skin.

And my father had died while fighting one of these abominable tools of warfare; my mother while trying to protect my sister, was killed, and my brother, Phrill was lost. He was presumed dead since he was never found.

With deep even breaths, I calmed myself down and regained my composure. Then I asked my sister: “Are the swords ready?” She nodded and I added, “We attack tonight. Ready your soldiers, Commander.”

“Yes, General,” she said and went away, to prepare the 300 men and women who would give their lives to protect the freedom of the Hustrion people.

I watched from the hill as each soldier was handed a glowing sword. This was our secret weapon—a laser-infused high-grade steel sword. It was our own way of making sure that our soldiers would stand a chance of winning this war.

Due to the Weapons Pact of 2787, no warring party shall ever make guns, nor bombs, nor any weapon that can produce fire. This was because inasmuch as all parties wanted to gain control, no one wanted to destroy the planet in the process. I think that was the reason the GEMs were created and it was also the reason why we created our special swords.

When the last soldier had picked up her sword, I went down the hill to meet them. As I approached them, they made a way for me and I soon found myself at the front of the formation. I held the door of one of magnetic cars that would ferry us immediately to the Unger Canyon and with a nod of approval declared the mission open.

When the last of the soldiers had boarded the vehicle, Jonita sped off, and I went back to meditating on how we would finally have our freedom.

*********************

Despite our enhanced weapons, we found out that the GEMs were harder to kill than we expected. They were stronger and faster, for two and half hours we fought for our very own lives. I watched as many of my men were butchered and I knew that I had only one shot at ending all the bloodshed: I had to kill their commander. I had seen him: he was a head taller than everyone on the battlefield except me. He had a helmet with three horns on it, and he was the only one who wore it.

Just then, a GEM attacked me from behind. We both fell on the ground and as I struggled not to get killed, I lost sight of the man who, if I killed, the battle would end. The GEM held me by the neck and gleefully pressed harder on my windpipe. I flailed my hands in a desperate manner, looking for something—anything—that would help me out. But my hands met with nothing, not even a rock.

I felt myself going unconscious and wondered what would become of my soldiers when I died. I closed my eyes and resigned myself to the inevitable.

But his hands on my neck slackened and then I was free. I opened my eyes and saw that my sister had come to my rescue again. She gave me her hand and helped me to get up. I coughed a bit and thanked her.

“No need,” she said, “you would have done the same for—”

As if in an ancient horror movie, I watched as a huge sword split her chest open from the back. She was shocked by what happened too and silently, she fell into my arms. I looked at her killer and realized that it was the same man that I planned on killing before I was attacked by the GEM.

I gave a sharp cry of pain and lunged at him with my sword. He deflected my blow expertly and I rushed past him. I turned instantly and he swung his sword at me. I dodged the blow, but I was not fast enough. The tip of his massive sword grazed my cheek and fresh warm blood poured out. I touched it, and with a murderous anger went at him again. He danced out of the danger zone and sliced my calf. I yelped in pain and turned to face him again.

I decided to try another tactic. I feinted to the left, and as he tried to dodge the move, I dived at him from the right. True to his nature as a GEM, he was fast to recover, and our swords clanged together, causing both of them to fly off our hands. Then he hit me with a forceful blow which sent me tumbling to the ground. He pounced on me and his hands went to my neck. I vowed that I would not be overpowered by another GEM and felt inside my pocket for anything that would help me out.

My hand felt the surface of one of the first prototypes of our enhanced swords, a small army knife. And as he pressed on my windpipe, I stabbed his neck with the laser-infused knife. His hands went limp as blood spurted out of the wound in his neck.

I sat up and tried to regain my bearings. After about a minute, I decided to remove the helmet and see the face of the man who had caused me so much pain, who had killed my sister. I got the helmet off and stared into my own face. I gave a cry of horror and shifted from the corpse. Then, with a sickening realization, I realized that I was not looking at the dead version of myself, but at my supposedly dead twin brother, Phrill.

********************

Flenkia, Capital of Hustrion, 26th August, 2845,

Baorda’s Journal,

“It’s been over a month since the battle at Unger Canyon. After I had killed the GEM commander, the rest had fled, enabling us to have a momentous victory. When the Iandivish Government saw that they were at a disadvantage, they reluctantly conceded and Hustrion became a free nation. After our Independence, I declined the offer to govern the new nation and an election was scheduled to be held in October.

“After I found out that the GEM commander was my brother, Phrill, I traveled to Iandiv to find out what had happened. There, I discovered that after my father and mother were killed, he had been found on the battlefield with no memory of who he was. With no past, and no identity, he was a perfect candidate for a GEM soldier. I read about his tremendous military skills and within ten years, he was made the commander.”

I sighed as I dropped my journal, looked around my house: at the pictures of my dead family members—my father, my mother, my sister, and finally my brother, who I met in death. I would have loved to be with them, but I knew that I was going to be alive for a long time to come. At least till the young nation of Hustrion was stabilized.

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