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On the front


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The young soldier looked out of the window of his base, gazing upon the vast expanse of countryside and the tall mountains beyond it. It was only illuminated by a few necessary military lights and the stars above. Just a day ago, the nation had gone into DEFCON 1 and prepared for war. 25 new tanks were manufactured and 300 more soldiers were recruited. Pvt. Sam McCall was one of those. He was stationed at a military base on the outskirts of the land of bleh, a small nation lying on the borders of CSN territory. He imagined that at any moment, hundreds of soldiers storming across the plains, burning the countryside as they went.

He quickly shook the image out of his head and turned around. He saw somebody struggling to unload some boxes of ammo from a supply truck. He went over and helped him.

"Thanks for the help. What's your name?" The man said.

"I'm private McCall. And you?" Sam said.

"I'm private Jenkins. Of what politics are you?" He asked.

"I have no use for politics. That's the only reason we're here right now. loading rifles instead of eating a warm meal with our families." Sam said.

"I wouldn't say that. Congress voted unanimously to prepare for war. We would be here no matter what political party held the majority." Jenkins said.

"I'm talking about their decision to join the alliance. We're a small country, we have no need for alliances and wars. We should've remained isolated and lived in peace." Sam said.

"It sounds like you enjoy politics after all! You must be a member of the pacificst party." Jenkins said.

"It's not that, I just don't like war. I only joined because my father pressured me to. He kept talking about bringing honor to our family. He would've joined too if he was still young enough, but the army wouldn't accept him. He's 58 you know, and his hearing is getting worse. I wasn't too surprised they didn't let him in." Sam reasoned.

"I joined because I am happy to serve my country." Jenkins said.

"You know I've heard rumors that the government doesn't even know who we'll be fighting? We have no idea what alliance we'll be attacking, nevermind what nation. Some have spoke of a group called the hegemony, but to be honest I don't care about world politics. I'm just a simple farmer trying to support his family. Now I will be killing strangers I don't even know." He said sadly.

"Don't feel so bad about it. Chances are this whole thing will blow over peacefully, and you can return to picking corn" Jenkins chuckled.

Sam felt annoyed at this. "And you? What is your proffession?" Sam asked.

"This is my proffession! I have been in the service ever since I got out of school. I am looking forward to a long and successful career in the army. Lt. Bartlett says I'm very close to being promoted to corporal." Jenkins said.

The conversation slowed down and they continued to unload ammo boxes. All of a sudden, Sam heard some shouting and noise in the distance.

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The two men looked behind them. They saw at least a dozen tanks and plenty of infantry escorting them. The rest of the 15-man platoon gathered around and looked at the forces.

"What's going on?" Sam asked.

"Reinforcements. We were expecting an attack last night, but it didn't come. So now Intel says the attack will be coming tonight. They used the extra day to make some more tanks and recruit more men. I think it's a load of !@#$%^&* but we could use a few more hands around here." Lt. Bartlett said.

This worried Sam. He was going to trust Intel over some platoon officer he had only known for a day. He wished that what Bartlett and Jenkins said would come true, that there would be no attack, that everything would blow over soon and that he could return home.

"This is the worst part about war." somebody said.

"What? Getting reinforcements?" someone else said jokingly.

"No... the waiting." Bartlett said.

Sam had to agree. The image of the burning countryside still kept popping up in his head... he wished that he knew whether they would be attacked or not. The waiting would make everyone go crazy if they didn't find out something soon.

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