The Son of the Commander
It was war. A conflict between the two biggest nations of the world had escalated seven years ago. A small force under the watchful eyes of Commander Jacob O`Neil had to protect an important bridgehead in a meager valley which was almost fully surrounded by high rocks. Only an approximate forty meter wide opening offered a possibility to enter or leave the valley.
"Get ready folks!" Commander O'Neil shouted. "The enemy is on his way! We have to protect that bridgehead at all costs! Everyone get to your positions and load your weapons! I want to see our enemy disappear in a hail of bullets at first sight! Remember for whom you are fighting: that should give you a reason not to die." He pointed with his index finger to the dugouts, bunkers, and cannonry which stood at the front side of the ramified base. "Good luck out there." All of his approximate four hundred seasoned troops saluted in front of their commander, went to their ordered positions, and made their stand.
Commander O'Neil was a strong and a natural born leader who was revered by his men and valued highly by the General Staff. As much as he was revered by his men, he was equally hated by the soldiers' families because he was a strong and natural leader. He received the most difficult orders, the orders that almost always received casualties, and for that the surviving dependents blamed him. He himself always felt a guilty even though it wasn't his fault at all. The war and the stubborn cussedness of the two factions were responsible for that. They were the reason that the fights didn't stop.
O'Neil had brown hair and a short army-haircut as well as brown eyes. He stood at around one and eighty-three hundredths meters tall. O'Neil was a leader who wasn't afraid of putting his own life into the fire to fight with his soldiers at the front of the battlefield. That's why his face and his external body were covered with scars. One of those scars started some centimeters above his left eye and ended several centimeters below it again, but he could still see perfectly with both of his eyes. He wore on his head a typical commander like hat with the symbol of his nation on its front, a phoenix. He also wore a green army jacket that had rather large pockets. He sent his old jacket back home to his son John as a sort of present or memento of his old man. Green army trousers in dark camouflage colors covered his legs and military lace up boots protected his feet.
All of his medals, which got damaged during the fights, the commander earned in his career hung on his right breast pocket. He always carried an adherer, which was similar to a pocket watch with two photos in it, in his left breast pocket. On one of these photos was a woman. She had middle to long length blonde hair and bright green eyes which were surrounded by dark green rings. She was his wife. On the other photo was his son John. He had the brown hair of his father and the eyes of his mother. He was around fourteen years old when that photo was taken. Both of them where very happy and their smiles reflected that. He kept both of them close to his heart. His family gave him the strength and willpower to keep fighting and bear the horrors of war. He would bear these horrors until he could be together with them again. As always, when he was leaving his family for another mission he promised his son and his wife that he would come back.
Commander O'Neil and one of his best sergeants were at the control room of the base to get a better abridgement of the battlefield. "Sergeant, what's the radar showing? How many enemies are on their way and when will they be here?" The Commander spoke to his sergeant with a grave tone in his voice.
"Hard to say, Sir," a deep female voice answered. "There are at least six thousand men, if not more. They are about two kilometers away and they are advancing fast!" The Sergeant was sitting in a chair with a pair of headphones on and a microphone sat in front of her. Both of these were connected to a radio housed in a small box that stood on the ground. The sergeant was staring nonstop at the radar that stood beside the radio.
"That's going to be a fucking hard piece of work!" O'Neil watched the battlefield but only saw dust flying through the air caused by a strong wind. "Sergeant, when do we get our requested reinforcements?" The woman hesitated at first. "I want an answer now, Sergeant!"
"They won't make it in time, Sir."
"What? What happened?"
"The enemy knew about our reinforcements. They destroyed all of the bridges in our vicinity."
O'Neil swore under his breath. "How does our air support look?"
"Three squads of bombers are arriving at our position in about half an hour."
"At least you can count on those guys," O'Neil replied feeling relieved.
The first shots rang out. "Return fire: blow them away!" Several moments later all soldiers and cannonry opened fire at the charging enemy army. The battle went well for the Commander and his men: they dug themselves in extremely well and the enemy couldn't take cover on the meager ground.
"The battle is going well, how long will it take until the bombers arrive?" the Commander asked with a wide smirk on his face. His mood darkened when an explosion blasted one bunker to rubble while a massive quake shook the base. "What was that?" O'Neil asked.
"An enemy explosive device destroyed one of our bunkers! They're infiltrating the base!"
"Wait: can you here that?" A low buzz filled the air and was approaching fast. "The bombers! Sergeant, convey the target coordinates, I'll cover you!" Commander O'Neil grabbed the Sergeant's rifle and walked out into the alleyway where he immediately jumped from behind a column and opened fire on enemy soldiers. A group of enemy soldiers had advanced that far into the base and almost made it to the control room.
He heard the bombers hit their targets and felt the base quake again. The base trembled hard as more dust and dirt trickled from the roof onto the invaders. Blinded, they started shooting aimlessly at Commander O'Neal. The adversarial soldiers were confused and O'Neal took an advantage of that. He threw a grenade into the middle of the group of soldiers and a few seconds later they disappeared in a mass of screams and dust. Unfortunately, a ricocheting bullet found his goal and drilled into O'Neil's femoral artery. He felt the pain, but he had to ignore it. He had to lead a battle to the end.
Commander O'Neil hobbled back to the control room. "How's the battle going?"
"The enemy is falling back! We won!" she exclaimed, looking at him with a smirk and the confidence of victory. She was interrupted when she saw his wound. "Sir, you're injured!" She pulled her headphones off of her head and stood up fast from her chair, causing it to fall over onto the floor as she ran to get the first-aid kit from a cupboard.
"It's just a scratch. It can wait until later," he calmed her. Suddenly an alert light drowned the whole room in a deep red. "What now, damn it?" The woman went fast to her display to answer the Commanders question.
Her eyes dilated in fear as she answered in a chilling scream: "Several cruise missiles approaching: they are targeting the base!"
"Seventy seconds until impact!"
O'Neil knew he wouldn't make it, but he gave the evacuation order in hope that some of his soldiers at the border of the base would get themselves far enough before the missiles would hit their target.
The sergeant was about to help the injured Commander. "Get out of here," he grunted.
The sergeant was a bit frightened. "I can't leave you behind, Sir."
"That's an order! Now get out of here!" Tears rushed from her eyes as she saluted in front of her Commander one last time. He answered with a salute of his own. "Thank you for your faithfulness."
"Thank you, Sir." And with these last words the tears flowed down her cheeks as she ran out of the room as fast as she could, headed straight to the exit.
Jacob O'Neil took out the adherer with the photos of his family out of his breast pocket. He looked into the happy faces of wife and his son. "I'm sorry; I can't keep my promise this time." Tears flowed down his cheeks and dripped onto the photo, several seconds later a glaring light enclosed the base.
Days later his wife got the news that her husband fell in battle. His son John was, at that time, fifteen years old and he adored his father. He always wanted to join the military to fight beside him and that was why he started early to train karate and fencing with swords. He also trained a lot at the shooting gallery at the military base with a pistol because he was too young for a rifle. He also was only allowed to use a small caliber handgun and he and the others which practiced were always monitored by a person in uniform. Every time John didn't hit a target the man in the uniform bullied him and told him that he should drop it, but he never gave up.
After he found out that his father was dead the news broke his world apart, but he never gave up. He learned to be strong and one day he wanted to follow in his father's footsteps. The war ended some weeks later.
Fortune did not smile on him. One year later his grandmother became very ill and his mother died in a car accident. Disregarding his academic education, he sought work to took care of his grandmother and pay the incoming bills. He refused to become adopted; his parents would have never wanted that.
A year later his grandmother died as the result of a coronary. Now John was all alone.
Today, John was seventeen years old and a respectable young adult. He had slightly tanned skin and dark brown and medium-long hair. His eyes were that of his mother. He also always wanted to grew a five o`clock shadow because he thought it would fit to him. John was just shorter than his father and had broader shoulders than the average male. Mostly all he wore was a white T-shirt with half long sleeves and over that sat the old army jacket of his father, which to his amazement still fit well. He also wore beige colored trousers and beige-brown off boots. He always wore a round, white and gold colored adherer with photos of his parents and his grandma around his neck.
He was still living in the house of his parents. It was an old two storied mansion which was too big for John to live in alone. The mansion stood in a field with different types of broadleaved trees adorning the landscape. His home was relatively close to the city. That's why no one tried to follow or bully John. The mansion itself could have seen better days; the white facade already crumbled and the sides merely looked like grey, wooden walls.
The mid-sized main entrance stood on small stairs with five steps, which again was canopied.
If you entered the mansion you were greeted by a cloud of dust at once because John had no money to pay a housekeeper and had no fancy to clean it up him self. After you passed the main entrance big, wide wooden stairs stood in front of you which led to the second floor. From the main entrance you could also decide between four doors. One led to one of the baths, another to one of the kitchens, and two of them showed the way to the restrooms for visitors and a room that held a dusted piano. John owned the piano, which he inherited of his parents, but he barely used it. Every now and then he would play a tune on it. If he wanted to learn an instrument it would be either an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar, but he had no money to buy one or even pay for music lessons. He loved the sound of these instruments. In one of his jobs he did he had to tune guitars. He always played with them, until the owner of the shop found out and gave him the sack. That was one of the darkest days in his working career.
On the second floor was, as on the first floor, a bath, a middle-sized balcony which gave a view on the overgrown garden, and John's bedroom. He preferred sleeping in a soft canopy bed which became more comfortable because John put a lot of pillows in it. The roof of the mansion had no holes but it hadn't been reconditioned for an eternity and in the garret animals were living like mice and owls. Despite the many animals that lived there, the layer of dust was even bigger than the rest of the house.
Despite his nice personality, John never had friends because his father was a Commander in the military and every single person who knew him hated him. They believed their fathers and sons were dying on the battlefield while his father hid in a safe bunker far away from the fighting and from there he ordered his men into suicidal missions. John often came to blows with his classmates because of that and because he knew that it was not like that. He wanted to defend the honor of his father. Only one person knew how he felt and that was Ethan. His father was a Commander in the military as well. Despite that, he was not that affectionate towards John's father, but that didn't bar them to become best friends. They had the same hobbies; they even liked the same kind of music. They always wanted, when they were grown up, to be challenged with an adventure, only the two of them. They often played a kind of a survival game. They had thought of different methods, how they would survive, and if it would be necessary too. John specialized himself in collecting berries, fruits, and water while Ethan always tried many a time to catch animals like rabbits so that when they were starving one day they had another option.
Whenever John's mother wasn't at home or had to go to a place where John wasn't allowed to come with, he went to Ethan's place or his mom brought Ethan to theirs. John was always was welcomed at Ethan's until the day Ethan disappeared. At that time both were at the age of eight.
They were at a lake and played with a ball at the beach. An unlucky hit from John catapulted the ball into the lake about ten meters from the shore into the water.
John wanted to go a get the ball, but Ethan just said, "Let me go, I'll get it." They both were excellent swimmers, but Ethan was a bit faster than John and that's why he didn't try to stop him. John watched his friend as he came closer to the ball. Just as he got it and held it up triumphantly, he sank like a rock into the water and was never been seen after that.
When his friend disappeared John panicked and swam to the spot where Ethan was. He dove under water looking for him but he couldn't find him. He dove over and over again until he lost all of his energy and trudged himself arduously to the beach. The police declared Ethan as missing and presumed dead as they expressed their condolences to Ethan's father for his loss. After this occurred Ethan's father no longer wanted to be in the military. He retired and broke ties to John's family.
Anytime they wanted to visit him he pretended to be not at home or on holiday. One time they tried again and he actually came out of the house, but he was drunk and shouted at John and his mother that it was their fault for what happened and slammed the door without letting them answer. After this they gave up trying. John always tried to talk to him anyway every time he passed the house. He would look up to his friend's window, hoping that Ethan would be waving to him from his room.
Happiness, true happiness he then found only in music, but he didn't play an instrument. He did however like listening to his favorite rock bands which sung of intolerance and unfairness in the world. Before his financial problems started he was able to buy an MP3-Player, on which he uploaded, with the help of a computer his father bought, all his favorite songs. The player had the appearance of a mobile, but was considerably flatter than most. It had a small display, which has showed all the songs he had and a small wheel like button. With that he could choose his songs he wanted to hear and he was also able to adjust the loudness.
Johnny also liked to watch TV. He mainly watched documentations of other countries and animals and movies which included a lot of science fiction. Because he wasn't able to pay his bills the city would stop his television reception soon. He also liked animals, but because of the minor amount of money he had he couldn't afford the livelihood for them.
His training and shooting practice paid off though. He won multiple prizes in swordplay and in karate he was only three ranks from becoming a black belt. Shooting with the pistol he was able to hit an apple at a distance of nine meters.
Because he was always alone he had to teach himself how to cook. He wasn't a five-star chef in his mind, but he was for his beloved tea, whose aroma elated him again and again and whose aroma let him forget his adversity for one more second. He also liked steak even though he was an animal lover. Every time he started doubting if he should eat it or not, he would argue with himself, "It is already dead. I can't help him anymore and wasting the meat would be stupid." As long he didn't kill it himself he only had a small guilty conscience. When he didn't cook for himself he ate fruits or ordered something at a Chinese or Italian restaurant.
It was a boring school afternoon, as always. John sat in his last class, math. The classroom looked like every other classroom. It had cheap, green carpeting which hadn't been cleaned for an eternity, grey walls which got covered with never ending graffiti, about thirty desks with chairs which also were made of a cheap, grey plastic, and there was a blackboard at the front side of the class room where the teachers always covered their, to John, absurd themes. His seating was in the middle-row at the window and nobody sat near to him. No one ever wanted to sit close to him and they avoided him even if they came in contact with him. His classmates avoided him because he would argue with them, but John didn't care if he was kept after school for fighting or not because nobody waited for him. Furthermore they knew that he was stronger than them. He might not look like it, but he could deck it out if he wanted to.
The teacher just wrote some exercises on the blackboard that the students had to solve. Suddenly, the bell rang and all the students started to pack up their books and notebooks. "Don't forget, we'll have a test on this next Thursday!"
John packed very slowly so that he wouldn't get into a conflict with other classmates while leaving. He was the strongest in class but he didn't fight if it could be avoided. When he taught somebody a lesson he had a legitimate reason for it.
"Are you waiting on an invitation, Mr. O`Neil?" His teacher spoke with a glare and a matter-of-fact tone in her voice.
"I`m going…" He answered in the same tone. He put his jacket on and shouldered his black backpack and left. When he left the room, things were as planned: all the students were already outside in the schoolyard or on their way home. Now John set off too. He walked to the street which got used the least. The only path, which came after that street, led into the forest to John's parents` house.
"Hey, leave me alone!" John heard a female voice. "I said let me go! Help me!" The voice came out of a side street. Someone was in trouble and John knew he had to help this person. He ran, with his backpack and jacket still on, into the side street. Two grubby and very dirty men, which were a bit older than John, held onto a girl tightly, who was younger than them.
"Just give us your money and nothing will happen."
John had to help her. "Hey! Let her go!"
The men noticed him. "Back off peewee, or you'll be next!"
"I don't think so!" One of the men walked straight to John.
"Very well then: if this is the way you want it..." His face was as black as coal and it seemed he hadn't shaved himself for an eternity. He raised his right hand and went to punch John in his face, but John stopped the attack and moved to counter the assault. With a strong hold of the thug's arm, John pushed with all his might at the elbow, making the arm emit a sickening crunch. With his arm almost broken the thug fell to his knees wailing in pain.
His partner saw that, threw the girl rude against a garbage container, and ran to his sidekick. He attacked John with his fists as well. John had to let his first opponent go. He didn't deal with his new opponent as nice as with his first one. John wiped away the first strike, which was aimed at his face from the side, and hit the thug pretty hard in the nose. A low cracking was hearable. The attacker screamed for a short moment, however, without hesitating, John hit him in his stomach and kicked him with the sole of his foot, sending the thug to the ground. The first attacker was on his feet again and charged at John, screaming in anger. But John was ready; he spun around and brought the toes of his boot to the thug's chin sending him into a wall.
"You want more or are you going to leave the lady alone from now on?"
The first attacker grunted to his sidekick and ran while holding his bleeding mouth out into the street and turned away. Shortly after, the other followed him maintaining distance from John and holding his blood gushing nose as he ran out into the street.
John went over to the girl. She was about to stand up, but John held out a hand. "Are you alright?" he asked. She took his hand and stood up. She wore a wide hat and a long dress, with a long curled skirt.
"Yeah, thanks." She said with a small nervous voice. The girl wiped the dust and dirt of her dress and faced her savior. She got frightened and stepped back. "You need to go!"
"Get out of here now! You are bringing disaster. Now get out of here!", she yelled.
John only blinked then said "Alright, I'll go." Then he ran out of the side street away from the screaming girl. Once he was far away he began to walk again, utterly depressed. "I hate people;" he said crossly and kicked a pebble across the street.
Finally he came to the beaten trail still in a bad mood. He liked the path because it gave him time to think. It was quiet and nobody bothered him there. That's why he always rested there for a while to escape his enemies and the stress in his life. He left headphones in his ears and listened to some music to calm down.
The street here wasn't paved anymore; there was only a dirt road with pebbles. Like every afternoon when he was walking home from school, he shouldered his backpack and he thought about his future. "I'm running going to be out of money soon. I've got bills to pay and school. What's going to happen to me? I don't get enough money. If I help at the building center I'd make enough but I need to graduate."
John arrived at a curve and stared into the distant woods. "If things keep going at this rate they'll foreclose my home. What should I do? This sucks!" John shouted then kicked a stone, which lay at the curve, down the cliff.
That pulled a lot of dirt and ground with it. John lost his balance and fell down the small cliff. When he finally stopped he wasn't hurt nor was his clothes damaged, but he got covered in filth and began to wipe it away as best as possible. While he did that, he watched his environment and his gaze stopped on an area. The area was magnetized. "What the...?" In the middle of the air hung a round window, a kind of a portal, barely bigger than himself that was surrounded by a blue ring. When John looked through it he saw a weird jungle like one on T.V., but there were serious differences. The trees were some of the largest he had ever seen and the foliage looked bizarre, almost as if they were not of this world.
"Huh. They always called such a thing in my Sci-Fi series a, "wormhole," or a, "tear in the space-time continuum". Could that be a portal to another world? No, absolutely impossible. But what else could it be?" He pondered for a moment. "Well, the proof in the pudding is when you eat." He lifted his small finger, for he had no fear of losing it. "Good luck, little buddy." John stretched it through the portal and luckily felt no pain. John felt only a soft, warm breeze that came from the other side of the portal. "Maybe that place is better than here? I would be able to start all over again! In fact, I won't come back anymore. It wouldn't bother anyone and they won't miss me." He observed it for a moment. "It doesn`t look that high… Geronimo!" He shouted then jumped through the portal. After his whole body disappeared into the portal, it cleared away.
Authores Notes: Well yes, that`s my first ff, I hope you liked the first chap of it and I also hope, that you ll give me some nice rewievs too.
Translated from German into English with the help of XxSanitariumxX
I got a second translator for reasons you shouldn't care, so ...
2nd translation with the help of DarkInSpace