To: *name removed*
Re: Request for letters Aug. 1st-Oct. 22nd (End of service)
Relation of Recipient: Spouse/Significant Other
August 2nd, 12:45 PM:
Whoever said "War is Hell" didn't know the first thing about the place. Four months we've been here -- four months in limbo, waiting for the order to advance. Karl and I are the only ones of the old crew left. The Birds launched a surprise attack last week. Brandon was gone before we even had a chance to grab our helmets; Josh went a few minutes later. He only had a couple seconds of warning before the entire north side of the base came crashing down on him. This is a slipshod operation if ever there was one -- beams stacked on top of one another with the occasional stone to add that extra bit of security -- working out of structure that only the most imaginative of minds would consider a base.
Yep, this is the place I call home.
August 6th, 10:40 AM:
Command has ordered us to hold position -- they always do. Glad the brass are sitting comfortably in their cushy offices while we dregs fight on their behalf. The only good news is that they've ordered some new fortifications to replenish those lost in the last bombardment. The Captain is optimistic that this will help to turn the battle around. I'll keep you posted.
More from the battlefront after the jump...
August 12th, 8:00 AM:
Ice. They've sent us god d*** ice. Our ever-wise superiors boast that this will replace the obsolete wooden barriers -- a sound notion, if not for the fact that we're fighting in 70 degree weather. Good job, boys. I brought this up at the briefing; the Captain sarcastically thanked me for my "extraordinarily helpful feedback," and asked me if I had any other ideas for sapping morale.
August 24th, 3:25 PM:
Karl is dead -- up in a puff of smoke before I even had a chance to say goodbye. Truth be told, he'd been gone for a long time. Always the first out onto the battlefield, as high up as he could go -- front and center. He just stood up there for the entire attack, screaming obscene taunts at the enemy and daring them to try to kill him. When they didn't, he took matters into his own hands and jumped. I saw his face right before he died; he was smiling.
There's only one ticket out of this place.
September 7th, 6:15 PM:
Supplies have been kept to a minimum. Most of the boys haven't bathed in weeks. I suppose there's no sense wasting mud packets on the doomed. Command sits around talking about "the way forward" on this front -- and for what? A few hundred yards? Some arbitrary line drawn on a map? While they're sitting around debating about tactics, we're left out here to fight for their lost cause.
September 14th, 11:45 AM:
The General came to visit today, sporting a shiny new star on his collar. He told me to keep my chin up, that soon this rotten war would be over and we'd be sent home. I told him to get f***d.
September 14th, 2:00 PM:
Looks like I made quite the impression on the General. Evidently they found my little performance deserving of a transfer right to the brig. At least it's a nice view.
The Chaplain came to see me. It seems the Captain is concerned about my mental state. Our pious little man of the cloth gave some rather touching, consolatory words on behalf of his invisible employer. He said that when we go up in a puff we don't really die; rather, we emerge from that very same puff upon the shores of heaven. Apparently there is mud as far as the eye can see -- enough for all the pigs that have ever (and shall ever) come -- and we will live forever without sadness, without want; just rolling around with all we have ever known and loved. I thanked the Chaplain with a smile as warm as it was insincere, and he said he would put in a kind word with the Captain about my release.
I don't pray anymore. If there truly is a Hell, I can only hope it's not another battlefield. An eternity of monotony would be a bit of a bore.
September 24th, 1:15 PM:
Command is coming down hard on dissent (or as they call it, "disloyal criticism"), saying that we need unit cohesion if we're going to come out of this alive -- as though the mutterings of a few discontented soldiers is what's undermining the war effort. These idiots aren't fit to run a common pen, much less a base.
September 29th, 9:45 PM:
You were in my dreams last night. We were laying in the field, as we always did when we were young, gazing up into the infinite firmament with the childlike wonder we so took for granted in our younger years. I'm afraid you'll be scared of what I've become -- that you won't even recognize me if I make it back. I've become a hard man, a bitter man, one wrought with anxiety over that which I've seen in this horrible place. God, how I miss you. I keep telling myself that soon this will be over, that we can settle down, maybe even get our own sty, and get back to the way things were before this awful war. For what it's worth, know that you're always in my heart, sustaining me, breathing new life into me with every passing day -- however far away.
October 12th, 4:45 PM:
I know they've been reading my letters. One of them came back, marked "undeliverable," sealed with a few strips of clear tape. I opened it up, and with a horrified gasp discovered my words were riddled with thick black scribbles, covering up any references to what's really going on here.
While we're on the topic, let me say hello to you, Mr. Censor. I hope whatever sick rush of power you get from your "duty" is enough to get you through the night. I'm sure it is. But since I know you'll need to read these words before inking them out, remember this: You're a dead man just like the rest of us.
October 13th, 9:45 AM:
It seems my madness (i believe "psychological fatigue due to combat-related stress" is the way they like to put it) has finally reaped some kind of reward: They're shipping me out in two weeks. The Captain called me into his office and threw the last letter I wrote you down on the table. He didn't even bother chewing me out, simply explaining that it proved I was "unfit for duty" and therefore ordered for discharge.
I can't believe it... I'm going home.
October 20th, 12:45 PM:
The discharge has hit a bit of a snag. Word from the wire is that the Birds are planning a huge offensive in the coming days, and all of us -- sane and mad alike -- are expected to stand our ground. We can see them in the distance -- the silhouettes of our executioners against the noonday sun. There's a chorus of squawking all day and night, like some sort of dissonant war song. Say what you will about the birds, but they have no fear of death -- in fact, they yearn for it. Glory and honor. A hero's sacrifice. Laying down one's life without hesitation -- not the slightest doubt or apprehension -- for the greater good. If our boys had that kind of determination, this war would be over in a week.
October 22nd, 6:45 PM:
Oh god, they've broken throu---