I remember all like it was only yesterday, my days scavenging for the Army. I got flown into places people were deployed before to recover whatever got left behind, without the hard and strict rules of actually being a soldier. This allowed me a great deal of freedom to explore and deal with things as I pleased, whether it meant shooting first, asking later, or never asking at all. I still remember most of what I'd done too, some of it I regret, some of it I can justify, some of it I just suggested be let alone. I had to kill, steal, and bend the law just to be allowed to do what I did back then. To tell you the truth, if I was offered the job again, I'd have never taken the offer to come over here. I know I can't go back and do the right thing, but I did what I had to. I had to support my wife and kid, so I found this job and was sent out. No amount of training from my time in the military could have prepared me for some of what I had to do, I guess that just comes with experience. I suppose now I'm still the same me, only a little bit harder. To tell you the truth, the only reason I'm even letting all of this out is because my therapist told me that holding it all back was unhealthy, so here goes nothing, read up and learn.

I stalked quietly through the abandoned camp, stepping over and around brush and overgrowth and cutting through what I couldn't. The old military emplacement had been abandoned for a while, judging by the way various mosses grew on the walls of the old, corrugated steel conex buildings. Walking my way down the alley I looked all around, this wasn't the military occupied Afghanistan I remembered years ago. I looked around to see if I still recognized any of the buildings from my days of wearing ACUs and carrying an M4, but everything was degraded beyond recognition, this camp had clearly seen better days.

I climbed up the stairs of the tallest building on the compound, thinking back to the era of 2 or three story buildings, now everything was so much more built up. The camp didn't have an impressive footprint, so it was forced to continuously expand upward to house its growing population. I wondered for a moment if I would recognize the locked buildings that I used to work in ages ago.

I found the one place that would house anything of any real value in this day and age, even as obsolete as it likely has gotten to be, the communications conex. I crouched down and looked around for any other scavengers, this area had been abandoned for a while, but some remnants of what used to be here were surely left behind. I took my picks to the padlock and worked quickly and quietly, nobody else was going to get this treasure but me, and I was going to make sure of it. After I took the now broken lock off of the door, I pried it open and walked casually into the corrugated steel building, pressing the light switch did me no good, all of the electricity had been shut off once the camp had been abandoned. I searched through the boxes for anything not too obsolete, or anything of any real value, even copper wire. I greedily tore through the boxes and piles of old technology until I found the motherload, the old antenna stash complete with cables, wires, and everything one would need to set up a long range relay antenna. Today was my lucky day.

After clawing through the piles of old technology I thought it slightly ironic that a long time ago I'd gotten sent to this same building during my military career to salvage cables for what was a still operational office. I packed as much as I possibly could into my old rucksack before hefting it up onto my back, straining against its heavy weight. I locked the conex as convincingly as I could and walked out, once a soldier, now I'm just a contracted salvage agent, but by no means am I a thief.

Forward to Who Dares Wins

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