The Winter and Fall of the Soldat

The Captain

The Falway Corporation Township 854

Ashes of a Dead Ideal

He remembers how he had watched with disinterest at the birth of another day.
Sunrise coming with poison rays of radiation to sear underprotected flesh;
Between thin ozone and frozen ground, life had been toss-up between the freezer and the fire.
The tattered suits they had worn were not rated to last as long as they had been needed.
Ragged and barely holding, the dying men had looked to him to provide a miracle.
Only a handful had survived what Rodina considered her winter,
Like death camp inmates living only to see the other members perish,
Not in the blazes of glorious battle, but in the frozen depths of an unrelenting hell.
Falling back to the training which they had once thought severe, nothing went to waste,
And they ate with the knowledge that their bones would someday be chewed on as well.
From the ashes of a dead ideal he had formed a plan of salvation,
Salvation that demanded a sacrifice that would haunt him for the rest of his days.
Staring down at the township from behind the wreckage of an ice-laced gunship,
Whispering to himself, the Captain had prepared the orders he would soon give to his men,
Suffering to conjure the words that would inspire the dead to fight like the living.
He had ordered his medic to dispense the amphetamines that would fuel their attrocity,
And the opiates to deaden their fears, bring their immortality back, and name them demons.
They had stood straight and knowing, some of them for the last time as he inspected them.
And as the Captain blessed each weapon with his critical eye and affirming nod,
Rodina spread a stormy cloak over their intended path, and showed favor to the Soldat.
His Lieutenants acknowleged his command, gathered their respective teams and set out,
While the Captain gave another set of orders to the few that would survive.
Their deaths, he had told them with a glance towards their departed Ronin brothers,
Would ensure their own survival and afford them the opportunity they all thirsted for.
Revenge against the masters who had betrayed them and absolution for the dead.
While the mechanized turrets at the corners of the walled city had sung their deadly song,
And the white tracer rounds of the teams harmonized with the wind-swept snow, like God's own fire,
The Captain and his men slipped through the colony's defenses undetected
And laid waste to the communication centers, eviscerating the enemy's ability to fight.
After the cannons had fallen silent and the morphine had worn off, he heard their haunting screams.
Stripping the dead of armor and weapons, the victors assumed the roles of the colonists.
Repairs made to the transmitters enabled them to send a distress call to higher for resupply.
As the unsuspecting cargo craft had set down in the center of the quiet township,
And the crew inside began to offload crates of ammunition ,
The Captain had leveled his weapon and the Soldat's miracle was performed.

From orbit, Rodina looked beautiful.