Pretty Pretty Pariwinkle
In the early stages of this next phase in war’s evolution, they still needed the grunts. People to wallow and die in the garbage heaps of human misery created by people who couldn’t even stand to look at their horrific handiwork. Techno warfare made a tempting promise to mitigate and maybe one day also eliminate the long-term consequences of systematically molding millions of people into killers.
James Pittman was a corporal in the Marines. The Warmachine absorbed him at a time when there was an intersectional moment that would determine humanity’s place in war’s processes. His company was deployed to an ancient city built on top of sand that holds the remains of armies from every millennium.
He was with his squad on a night raid. They were formed up in front of the door of a small cement block house. James reported to the UAV’s concealed by the moonless night sky they were ready to breach. The eye in the sky let the Marines know what it was seeing and advised how to move forward. There was no need for words or signals. Every soldier had a direct link to the drone through their smart glass visors. Too much speaking was actively discouraged.
The drone's live feed came in as a small box in the upper right-hand corner of the display. It was peering through the walls with infrared. There were four people huddled on a far side of the room. Their heat signatures blended like a greenish orange ameba. In the opposite room was the glowing figure of a single individual crouching with a weapon.
They were ordered to breach. James nodded to the soldier holding the battering ram to indicate he was ready. The trooper stepped back and smashed the blunt end into the door. This was Jame’s first time taking point. The if there were shots fired it would either have to come from him or the people inside.
Operant conditioning was guiding the young soldier's nervous system now. He held the rifle at the ready and quickly made his way to the room with the gunmen. He could still see the infrared fee. The figure’s color had morphed into hues of black and orange that blended to resembled fire. It was standing rigidly against the inside of the wall. Suddenly it started to move.
James aimed in anticipation the gunmen rounded the corner. Jame’s finger pressed the trigger but stopped short of actually pulling it. He had two views; one was what he was seeing in front of him. A skinny brown kid whose hands were trembling too hard to hold his AK steady and the view of the firey red figure holding a weapon.
There was a burst of fire. Jame’s looked with horror at his rifle. Without a thought, his finger picked up where the soldier’s mind had left off. The boy’s face burst in a plume of periwinkle liquid that splashed across the room like finger paint. There was a shrill scream from the other room. Jame’s nearly dropped his gun. He ignored the commotion in the room and slowly approached his kill. The circus shade of purple was pooling on the floor. The body lightly confused as the last neurons fired through his nervous system.
Only a few feet away his crowd was cuffing two people and restraining a hysterical woman. One didn’t need to know the language to understand the meaning of the words she managed to choke out through the tears. James stood over the corpse. The left side of his face was gone, but his right eye was still partially open. The pupil was pale and motionless. It perceived nothing. James noticed he was standing in the purple puddle and quickly backed away.
The woman broke free from the grip of the soldiers. She dashed towards the body catching James off guard. The gunfire pulled James back into the moment. The woman running towards him fumbled and fell to the floor. The same purple flow gushed from her chest and settled into a puddle around her body.
The corporal shook it off and got back to his duties.
“Alright let’s get these guys hooded and to the landing zone!” He ordered.
They loaded back onto a waiting helicopter. Mission accomplished.
“Good work out there Marines!” Hollard James
“Oorah!” was the unanimous response. The soldiers high on the adrenaline rush were eager to start talking about their latest endeavor.
James looked down at his boot and saw a purple smear on the toes. He leaned down to get a closer look at the stain. He lifted up his visor, and the cartoonish purple became a dark red smear. The parts where it was still wet glistened under the lights. Jame’s felt his stomach drop; he couldn’t hold it. He vomited on the floor of the helicopter.
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