War journal – retreat

Well it’s been quite a few days now. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

I still think May was a pretty successful month, on the whole. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with June, so for now here’s more of the same: a semi-coherent journal entry from a soldier in Giacomo’s command during the events of the campaign.

Saturday, November 23rd.

I’m not sure why I bother keeping a journal anymore. It’s certainly not for my own morale; nothing good has happened in the two weeks since Kerrin pass.

The crazy bastards from the south have chased us right through Ferres and into Boscan territory, without giving us so much as a day to regroup and plan. I have no idea how they’ve managed to get such a large force to pursue us so rapidly and efficiently, but unless recon has been lying to us, they’re right on our heels even now. The Boscan army is sitting between us and the coast, so for now we’re stuck in the badlands. Our rations are getting thinner every day, and there’s no way we’ll be able to scavenge enough from the land to sustain ourselves – if we don’t break through or surrender inside the fortnight, we’ll probably face starvation.

The original plan was to make a stand two days north of the pass and try to negotiate a surrender – even the boss knew that the odds we were up against were flat out impossible. Something spooked him, though, and because of that we’re on the run. Naturally, rumours have cropped up to make up for his silence on the matter, covering every possibility from the paranoid to the terrifying. Normally I wouldn’t pay much attention to speculation from the hobbyist soldiers we’ve been dragging along with us, but the sad truth is that a lot of what they’re saying makes sense.

One story has it that the Littorand army has started working with the Boscan troops camped to the west; I didn’t think it was very credible when I heard it, but every day makes it seem more likely. The Boscans don’t seem to have any reason to be where they are except to catch us on the run, and the army pursuing us seems unwilling or unable to halt its pursuit. That alone is suspicious; we’ve been outside the borders of Littorand for more than twelve days, and we’re damn sure they don’t have any other units operating in the area. Rushing out this far puts them in exactly the same position we’re in now – it’ll only be a matter of time before the imperial army notices them and moves to cut off their retreat. So maybe it does add up to the two of them working together. I’m damned if I can tell why, though – if anything, the last few months would only have served to increase the enmity between them.

There’s some others who think that we’re being chased because the commander’s got some vital piece of intel or technology that the politicians down south can’t afford to let him have. If that’s the case, then I almost feel sorry for the army behind us. After all, if they’re not working with Bosca then they’re taking a huge risk pursuing so far into hostile territory. In a way, though, they almost deserve it – there’s no way they could have been ignorant of how little regard Littorand’s political leaders have for the lives of their soldiers. I signed up well aware of the dangers the ADF had in store for me, and I doubt I would have joined if they’d included the caprice demonstrated by the “leaders” of the authoritarian states. These guys must have been a little crazy in the first place, I think.

Of course, “crazy” might not cover even half of it if the latest version of events is true. The word’s being going round for a while that the third division didn’t finish its mission fast enough to avoid being encircled, but apparently there’s more to the story. A few communications techs say that they’ve overheard bits of Littorand radio chatter that imply that the third division tried to surrender and got shelled after they disarmed. There’s talk of people being herded into camps, and I’m not sure I can just dismiss it. If I’ve learned one thing from this campaign, it’s that the people in Littorand hate us – I mean the augmented. I’ve seen the rhetoric that got splashed all over their TV broadcasts in the last few years, sure, but I always thought it was just hollow threats from a vocal minority. The looks I’ve gotten from the prisoners we took aver the last couple of months have taught me better: they’re afraid of us.

So maybe they’re hell-bent on catching us because they don’t know any better. If they see us as monsters, then perhaps they figure it’s worth risking their lives to kill us.

I just have to hope that’s just my paranoia speaking.

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3 Responses to War journal – retreat

  1. Jams says:

    Of the monologue pieces you’ve written for this blog, I think this is among my favourites. I like the sense it evokes of the world’s politics and conflicting cultures. Most of the other AW project-related posts – even the two Giacomo ones, which I really enjoyed – felt compartmentalised and a little dry by comparison, but this one makes good use of the journal format I think. The soldier’s uncertainty about the facts of the situation was also a nice touch.

    I’m finding this setting gets more engaging the lower you go down the ranks.

    • john says:

      Realised I never actually replied to this; time to fix that!

      I’m glad you enjoyed the piece. I deliberately tried to keep some uncertainty in it: while I know exactly what’s going on (and Giacomo probably has a reasonable idea), the audience only have context to go by – it seemed appropriate to give the perspective character a similar limit to their knowledge.

      I took a few pages (har har) out of Myth II’s journals, especially the narrator’s occasional conjecture. Glad to see it worked. ;)

  2. Jamus says:

    HEY

    where is my daily reading material >:{

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