Gears Of War
Fox Tales - Kiyoko's Lesson.
As the lift ground and stuttered to a halt at the basement Kiyoko looked over at the female officer. Her insignia designated her as a 2nd Lieutenant.
"Who are you... exactly? And what unit are you stationed with?", Kiyoko asked. The woman rolled her eyes before answering.
"2nd Lt. Natalia Blain. And I work for the department of Military Intelligence, The CMI. There, happy now?"
"But whats the CMI want with me?"
"Listen, private. I'm not here to hold your hand, or babysit you. So save your questions for Captain Spiers, understood?", the Lt. snapped. Kiyoko nodded glumly. They walked in silence around the labyrinthine corridors of the basement of Front Hills Academy for some minutes, before finally reaching a heavy metal door. It was old, stained and rusty. 2nd Lt. Natalia Blain knocked, before pushing it open slowly, the door groaned and creaked as she did. She motioned for Kiyoko to enter, Kiyoko did so. First thing Kiyoko noticed were the four COG soldiers decked out in full COG armor with helmets. And what they tried to conceal behind their backs. Rubber encased steel batons. They stood, two on either side of the room near the doorway. Partially hidden by shadows. At the very end of the empty room was a desk and chair. In the chair sat what Kiyoko believed to be Captain Spiers. He had a tightly buzzed almost shaven haircut, and small dark beady eyes. His feet were crossed resting on the desk as he disinterestedly flipped through what looked like a personnel file. The room itself was dank and oppressive, the walls stained with patches of damp and peeling paint. The only light was a single dirty bulb that hung just over the desk area. Casting bleak garish shadows about the room. Lt. Blain put on her hand to Kiyoko's back urging her forward until they both stood before the desk of Captain Spiers. Lt. Blain coughed briefly trying to gain Spiers attention.
"Sir. Private Kiyoko Yumi.", she said.
"Good, you may leave now Lt.", Spiers didn't even glance at either of the women, he continued to flip through the personnel file. Lt. Blain leaned in close to Kiyoko, and whispered to her...
"You have fun now my pretty pretty.". She laughed, and then left the room, a twisted smile on her face. A long silence followed. Captain Spiers continued to flip through the personnel file, which Kiyoko could now see was hers. Occasionally he paused at points to lick his finger before turning a page. Other times he sighed loudly, or even raised his eyebrows. Until finally he spoke...
"Are you familiar with Dannigs theories of memory retention private?", his eyes remained glued to the file, as he flipped the pages some more.
"Shame. They are quite fascinating I can assure you. Particularly the parts about traumatic situations and how they affect memory. Did you know for instance, that even buried traumatic memories can directly influence the subconscious mind in various powerful ways?"
"It certainly sounds plausible. Sir."
"But I digress, my apologies private Kiyoko Yumi.". He carelessly tossed the file onto the desk, leaned back in his chair and stared at Kiyoko, seemingly trying to guage her mood or evaluate her somehow. His beady eyes twinkled in the light. There was an odd silence for a time, before he spoke again.
"It would appear that you have some difficulty following orders private. Would you care to elaborate?"
"Sir?", Kiyoko asked puzzled.
"Your last assignment. You described it as... murder
"I also completed that assignment, as ordered. Sir
.", the last word, Kiyoko uttered with a certain amount of irritation.
"Part of following orders is knowing when to keep your mouth shut. Private.". Captain Spiers folded his arms and stared thoughtfully at his desk before speaking again.
"It also appears that you are a dissident, that you do not believe in the current administration.". Kiyoko rolled her eyes.
"I'm sorry, I don't understand. What makes you think that?".
"Let me quote directly from your personal log private... ". Spiers leaned forward, reached over and picked up the file again, and after flicking through some pages, he begin to read from it.
"Last night I had a dream, a strange kinda dream. I dreamed that the Coalition purposely started the war with the Locust. And that they used the war as a means to gain power. They used the peoples fear against them. It was frightening, but at the same time, it made me wonder...
Private Kiyoko Yumi.
"Really Captain, a dream?", Kiyoko laughed. Captain Spiers smiled, a cold hollow smile.
"Let me quote your personal log again...
Chairman Prescot's private residence is quite a sight. I couldn't begin to estimate the number of rooms in it. It seems like such a waste when I think of the potential number of stranded families that could be housed there. Of course most of the higher ranking members of the Coalition party enjoy similar benefits while regular citizens are left to struggle. Perks of the job? I don't think so, just a case of the powerful abusing their power for their own benefit.
Private Kiyoko Yumi.
Kiyoko stared hard at Captain Spiers. She was begining to get a little angry, going through her personal logs? What the hell was going on here?
"Yeah, well it's true. Why does Chairman Prescot live in a damn mansion anyways?"
"Granted private, you didn't have quite the education I did, but I'll try to explain it in words you might understand. It's a simple fact that people expect their leaders to be set apart from themselves.Otherwise they would have problems accepting them as leaders. It's one of those peculiar perceptions that people have, if their leaders are the same as them, then why should they be leaders in the first place? Anyway, you also seem to have a soft spot for the stranded. Why, exactly?"
"Because they're human, just like me and you. We should be out there taking back our cities from the damn Locust, not murdering innocent people!"
"Fine. Let me bring you up to speed on a few things private. You probably have no idea how stretched the resources of Jacinto have become. And you might justifiably question the impact that truckload of stranded you eliminated would have had on those resources. But, here's the thing. Word travels quickly, quicker than you might think. If those stranded had made it to Jacinto, it wouldn't be long before word got out and more would follow them. The resources of Jacinto wouldn't be able to cope, dissension and social unrest would begin, and then the riots. Jacinto would tear itself apart, making it an easy target for the Locust, and that would spell the end of humanity as we know it. That's why we have no choice other than to dissuade
the stranded from coming here. For the most part it's worked so far. You've played your part in that. And I admit, it can't be an easy job, especially not for someone with your childish notions of morality. But it's one we have to do. Any of this make any sense to you?". Kiyoko just smiled bitterly, shaking her head.
"No. Any government that kills it's own people to protect itself isn't a government worth protecting in the first place.". Spiers sighed loudly and placed his hands behind his head. Leaning back in his chair, he staring thoughtfully at the ceiling.
"Do you have any idea whats going on here private Kiyoko?", he asked finally.
"If I didn't know better I'd say it was a drum head court martial sir. And that being the case, I'm guessing that you and your four friends here are part of the infamous Knives."
"So. You know of the Knives then?"
"I know that several years ago, the Knives murdered Colonel Graves and almost one hundred and fifty men as they slept."
"Graves was a traitor, as were those who followed him. I was there that night at Keel fortress. We had one of our men on the inside, working kitchen duties. He managed to steal a large quantity of heavy sedatives and without a better plan he was ordered to add them to the evening meal. We got lucky with the timing of the attack. We managed to strike before they understood what was going on and had time to deal with it. We only had to deal with a couple of drugged up soldiers who were left on guard duty. Then it was just a case of finishing off the rest. Most of whom had, by that time, fallen into a drug induced sleep. We went around from man to man, sticking our knives deep into their throats and ripping outward. The blood sprayed upward like miniature fountains, by the time we were done, we were covered in it. But the traitors were dead, and we disappeared, into the night. After that night, dissension in the ranks went down quite considerably.".
"Disappeared like the cowardly a*sholes you are. The Knives, the self proclaimed Lords Of Discipline... what a crock of sh*t."
"You're really not doing yourself any favors private."
"Like I care. It was obvious what was going to happen from the first moment you first spoke. Your four friends there aren't just for show, are they? I just hope those pussies know how to fight, cause I ain't going down without giving them one."
"Be realistic Kiyoko. You don't stand a chance. If you fight them you'll only make them angry, and when they're angry they get sloppy, make mistakes. And that's when people die. You need to understand I'm trying to help you here.". Kiyoko laughed bitterly.
"Trying to help me? No, your just trying to justify murder. Hiding behind a bunch of words."
"Don't blame me for your inadequate education private. You don't understand half as much as you think you do. Your precious morality which you blindly cling to for instance. If you understood anything about human nature then you'd understand it's nothing more than an evolution of human social interaction. We, as humans recognize that a stable society will benefit us as individuals, so we naturally develop the social tools necessary to perpetuate this idea. Morality being one of those tools. However, we need to understand exactly what it is if we're to prevent it from forcing us to make bad choices. Sometimes logically it's necessary to kill, even though our minds will say otherwise because of such conventions as morality and civilization. But in the end that's all they are, mere conventions. We need to learn not to be governed by such things, especially in a situation like ours, where the survival of the human race is at stake. Our leaders have brought us this far, we must preserve the chain of command, despite our own silly reservations. We must be an effortless part of the machine if we are to make it to the end. Do you understand any of this Kiyoko?". Kiyoko didn't answer. She seemed lost in thought, frustrated somehow. Spiers shrugged and continued his little lecture.
"Why feel sorry for the stranded? They turned their back on humanity when they refused to fight. Refused to meet the obligations that being human puts in front of us in the situation we're now in. They chose to hide like rats while the brave men and women of the Coalition give their lives to save humanity. Do they cheer us like the heroes we are? No, they scorn and mock us, and they would kill us given the chance. I've seen the reports of Gears being ambushed by stranded for their weapons and ammunition. I seen the reports of the bodies of fallen Gears being mutilated by these animals. They're not like us Kiyoko, and they don't deserve our sympathy.". It took a while before Kiyoko answered. She seemed to be struggling with something internally. The pain and confusion easily read on her face.
"Sir...", she said. Her voice close to breaking.
"Sir, I need a little time.". A wide smile broke out over Captain Spiers face.
"And you shall have it private. I'm so happy you're finally starting to understand. I won't lie to you, this will be painful, but try not to resist. We will talk again.". Spiers indicated with his fingers that his men should move forward. Kiyoko heard the boots as they walked slowly up behind her. Then, her legs gave way and her head begin to spin as the first hit struck her in the back of the head, pain shot through her body. The ground zoomed up toward her and after she fell she curled up into a ball as more hits landed, again and again they struck, her arms, her legs, her head, her body. Hit after hit, until finally the darkness came and she felt no more...
Kiyoko woke up in a hospital bed, her head feeling like someone drove a derrick through it. Her entire body hurt, and she found it difficult to move. The doctors had told her that she was lucky, that she'd be fine in a week or two, that there was no serious injuries, just some severe bruising and a minor concussion. Kiyoko didn't feel lucky. Even though the fact that she hadn't suffered any broken or fractured bones, no torn muscle tissue, or damaged blood vessels, she was in great pain and just found breathing difficult because of her bruised back and ribs. Despite this it wasn't long before she was asked to vacate the bed for more seriously wounded soldiers. Basically they just dumped her in a corridor. And now here she was sitting on long wooden bench in the entrance hallway to the Front Hills field hospital. Every time the door opened, she felt a cold breeze chill her body since she was still dressed in a flimsy hospital gown. Ugly black, blue and yellow bruises covered her body and she found she had to lean forward just to struggle to breathe properly. The pain shooting up her back and neck was immense, and she felt incredibly tired. Kiyoko found it hard to remember a time she was this miserable, this scared. Maybe back at the orphanage. The day her only friend Suzie had found a family. Kiyoko had packed her little green bag with what few possessions she had, including the old cloth doll given to her by Suzie months before. She had waited with Suzie, patiently holding her hand, waiting on her new family to arrive. Two content little six year old girls, chattering constantly, wondering about their new life. But they were too young to understand that it was only Suzie the family had wanted. Only Suzie the family were coming for. Blond, smiling, happy little Suzie. When Suzie's new family came both of the young girls started crying when they realized what was happening. Realized that Suzie was leaving, realized that Kiyoko was staying. Kiyoko was dragged away sobbing. She lay on her bed for hours, crying, clutching tightly at the cloth doll Suzie had given her. Her only friend... was gone...
"Kiyoko? Sh*t! What are you doing sitting out here in the hallway?". Kiyoko snapped out of her reverie and looked up at the scarred face of Mortis Clay. She wanted to say something but found she couldn't form the words. Her eyes almost teared up, she was so relived to see a friendly face. Seth Marshal her CO was there too. His face was like stone, but his ice blue eyes blazed with fury. He seemed seriously pissed. Clay sat down beside Kiyoko and gently took her hand. Marshal strode up to a passing doctor and grabbed him by the neck forcing him up against a wall.
"Listen pencil neck, I want a word with you in private, understand?". The doctors face went pale and he simply nodded his head.
"Good. Now, where can we talk?". Marshal released the doctor and smiled. The doctor nervously indicated a doorway to an office and they both went inside, Marshal nodded to Clay before disappearing through the doorway. Clay laughed out loud.
"Yeah, Seth ain't a patient man by any means. And he's capable of some very violent things. You can tell when you look in those blue eyes of his, you can almost see the cold rage burnin' away inside. It's f*ckin' weird and scary as sh*t, but I'm just damn glad he's on our side.". He laughed at that, and then continued.
"Hell, I've seen him tear out a Locust's eyes with his bare hands, man I'll never forget that horrible scream, or the sight of Seth tugging at the nerves attached to that Locust's eyeballs as he finally ripped them clean outta the sockets. The grub screamed for what seemed like forever before Seth stepped on it's neck, smiling when he finally heard that sickening snap that meant it was dead. Damn.". Getting no response from Kiyoko who's breathing was still labored Clay thought it might relax her more if he kept talking maybe.
"Yeah. But the man has his reasons to be full on angry though. His wife and son were killed early during this damn war. Not by the Locust either mind. It was people killed that man's wife and son. People...". He sighed loudly and leaned back. Kiyoko glanced at him puzzled. He could tell she wanted to hear the rest, so he leaned forward and continued.
"They were trying to evacuate during the initial attacks. Seth's wife had taken the car, bundled their twelve year old son into it and headed off for a way outta the city. It wasn't long before they got to Wakefield Armory, hoping the military there could re-unite them with Seth somehow. But there was only a handful of raw recruits guarding that place. And they were beginning to get swamped by an angry, frightened mob. The Locust attacks were spreading throughout the city and panic had started to take hold. As Seth's wife tried to make her way through the crowd in the car, they turned on her. They wanted the car and started banging on it and breaking the windows and sh*t, hoping to drag her outta there. That's when Seth's kid reached into his jacket and pulled out a gun. Someone in the crowd saw what was happening and started shooting wildly into the car. It rolled to a halt, both Seth's wife and his kid were dead. The gun Seth's boy had pulled out was nothing more than a harmless replica. A gift given to Seth by his CO for saving his life during the Aspho fields assault. Boy was only trying to protect his mom from the angry mob, that's all. The troops stationed at Wakefield fired their Lancers in the air, and pushed through the crowd to get to the car, but it was too late. They were both dead, and Seth has never been the same man since. Makes you wonder about people though, don't it? To shoot a kid and his mom for a damn car? F*ck man. That's some messed up sh*t right there.". Kiyoko didn't speak. Just sat there with Clay in a comfortable silence. Both of them deep in thought.
Seth Marshal emerged from the doctors office, the nervous doctor followed him out. Marshal walked over to Kiyoko and Clay as the doctor entered the ward.
"Okay listen, I gotta take care of some sh*t, I gotta find Diego before the dumb son of a b*tch does something stupid too. Just stay here, a nurse will be over in a minute.". Clay nodded as Marshal turned away and stared through the large glass panels into one of the wards. He looked at the various beds with wounded COG soldiers, and the medical staff who floated around them. He shook his head.
"Look at these f*cks, they work on a man, the man dies, and they go back to making bad jokes around the coffee machine like nothing happened. Goddamn a*sholes. F*ck it Clay I gotta go man, I'll talk to you later...", and with only a second glance at Kiyoko, he left. Without warning a nurse suddenly stopped in front of Kiyoko and Clay surprising them both.
"Hello, private Kiyoko Yumi?", she smiled in that way only nurses can smile.
To be continued....