Death Of Character

10

From the journal of First Sergeant Baker, recovered posthumously after operation RPC-666-█

I don’t like writing in this thing. Obviously I should write down my thoughts and experiences somewhere, it’s mandated for me, but it feels defeatist to put it in a journal that’s meant to be recovered when I’m dead. Whether or not I die, it just feels like I’m marking myself for death every single operation by putting something down. It’s fine, though, I doubt anyone is going to be reading this anytime soon; so enough of my whining.

We’re in some Chinook, I think. Going to some anomaly in Africa, apparently it’s committing war crimes. A bit more human than usual, I see. We all got given some anti-air weaponry, and the briefing said it was some sort of chopper that was controlled autonomously through some means or another. Just another day, isn’t it? Some crazy shit that god pulled out of his ass and handed to us on a silver platter, slaughtering civilians who did nothing wrong besides get out of bed on the wrong side.

It’s been a while since we’ve had a good victory, and it shows. My squadron, though they try to hide it, have shaky legs, and not just from the thrums of the helicopter. Most of them are brand new, but it’s always like that for the grunts. This occupation is a meat-grinder, and we’re the meatheads. Signed up with some bravado, “I’ve done military work before” and “Oh what, like talking cars? Cartoons don’t scare me!” and then it’s like they’re right back in bootcamp, being taught the horrors of a new war they never knew existed. Sure, there’s VR training, but how much can you suspend your disbelief when a nigh unkillable dog bursts through a door and you’re told NOT to shoot it? You just sit there and watch your partner get torn limb from limb, and you’re told you can do nothing.

But that’s just it, isn’t it? Time after time, we’re sent out with our conventional weaponry to go and valiantly slay the enemy. “FOR HUMANKIND” We’re told by the eggheads and the paperpushers, sitting delightfully behind their reinforced glass as we trounce off to come running back hours later, unable to do anything. And when we ask why, the labcoat in glasses looks at us like we’re some insect that just landed on his arm, waving his hand, swatting us away as he just says “For research!” as if that’s a good excuse.

And another thing about the research team. Seriously, I know we could have better equipment and protection, I was on the Site-002 on-site security team and I participated in the RPC-712 tests. Where is this “god alloy” that they’ve been talking about for so long? We’ve just been sending in our people to die, over and over again? We could have something that can’t even be penetrated by .50 BMGs and it’s just sitting there? Oh, of course, I forgot “FOR RESEARCH.” I’m guessing my corpse will be for research as well.

And DON'T GET ME STARTED ON CONTAINMENT. The amount of lives we've lost, the amount of comrades I've lost. What the hell is the point of that division? To just throw away lives in their death chambers, and then have them malfunction at the slightest inconvenience? Why? We have so much technology, so much backing, and we still lose so much, every single operation, every single containment breach. It's never enough. We even took control of their site security a few years back, the worst decision we've ever made.

We should've left containing anomalies to them, they knew best, they knew the ins and outs of the damn things, they knew the containment protocols, but "OH NO! CONTAINMENT CAN'T HAVE SECURITY! THAT'S OUR JOB!" And look at where it got us. Three dead junior researchers. I should've been quicker. I should've been faster. But I wasn't. Now their blood is on my, and all of our hands. The containment security would've seen the shoddy construction. We didn't.

I'm one of the lucky ones, though. I’m not in Site-002 anymore, the clusterfuck that it is. Between that guy who plays the sax (or was it the bugle?), that creepy fucking secretary, and that doctor, jesus I never want to see him again, you can forget who the enemy is. It’s ruined me, as a person, this second stage that I live in. I can’t look at anyone down the street without immediately going to my jacket, fingering my gun, just on the off chance that they're some monstrosity puppeted by an unseen force that seems hell bent on making us paranoid. At least with the non-humanoids you know they’re evil.

Hell, when I took up this job I had a wife, kids. She didn’t approve of my contract work before, but at least it got the bills paid. My stellar work, all my recommendations, it caught the eye of the Authority. I wish it didn’t. She was so excited at first. “A government job in a facility nearby? That sounds great!” She pushed me to take it, and how could I refuse? I could stay close to my family and continue doing the only job I’d ever known, war. But the knowledge from the job, it changed me.

I can’t say I’m proud of divorcing my wife, leaving the kids without a father, and I know sending all of my paycheck every single week doesn’t make up for it, but I couldn’t take it. The things I’ve seen, the dangers I know of, them being close to me makes them liabilities. You have to cut it off, cut it all off for the greater good, for the world.

Even if it kills you.

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