For those of you who've been patient with me these past years, I want to give you all a little sneak peek into the future of what I have planned for Poke Wars. As always, a big thanks to Jakayrta for looking over and editing this chapter.
0700 Hours, August 15, 0004 ADR
D2-79 Pelipper dropship: Peeko
2km from SW section of Groudon's Wall
First Sergeant Surge gazed out the open drop hatch at the rear of the Pelipper dropship; a shifting viridian sea seemed to stretch into the horizon before him. He lifted his black sunglasses with a single finger from the side, letting out a low whistle at the sight. The jump ramp groaned beneath his weight, his chiseled arm on the ceiling's handrail being the only thing that kept him from falling out. His teeth glistened in the first light of dawn, a timid sun peeked over the forest to meet Surge's fierce smile.
Surge's finger made the tiniest of movements, letting his sunglasses fall back into place. He swallowed his smile for something more uncomfortable and pulled himself back inside the dropship, leaving the sun to rise without the scrutiny of his stare.
Surge was stooped over as he scanned the steel belly of the ship, a pair of dog tags clinked together as they hung from his neck. He had yet to find a dropship interior large enough to comfortably accommodate his height and bulk. Command, in their eternal wisdom, had yet to send in the order to manufacture a larger model.
Surge eyed each wall, lined with a row of seats too small to ever fit him, finding three of them occupied.
"You were…going to brief us on our mission…sir."
As Surge surveyed his squad he couldn't help but grimace; the action misinterpreted easily amongst them. It wasn't that he disapproved of his squad; they were healthy, able-bodied, and capable-looking soldiers. That's what upset him.
Reflecting off his glossy specs were three young, teenage faces, nowhere near old enough to join him for a drink, but just the right age to die.
Sure, he was their age when he had fought in the war, braved the horrors of it and kept walking. He had come face to face with the abyss and spit at it before laughing. Surge loved fighting, loved war, but he knew that not everyone was like him. Not everyone could enjoy aspects of war like he did, and he did not expect them to.
Surge had seen what happened to men that saw what he saw. He had seen how it had scarred some, twisted others. That was a fate that would never condemn any young soul under his command.
He stared into each of their eyes, wondering if their imaginations could even begin to fathom the horrors that awaited them.
They would watch comrades, friends, and family, die in front of them in an instant and be expected to charge forward without a second thought. They would face desolation, ruin, death; old and new nightmares. All while still being expected to follow their orders. They would have to kill, struggle, and sacrifice to survive out there. And if they were lucky, truly lucky, they would die and be spared the hell that was otherwise known as living in this age of war.
Let the draft be damned; no one their age deserved to be subjected to such a cruel punishment. Hell, he would've fought twice as hard if it meant keeping kids like these back in their homes. Oh sure, they made the service sound like something noble, giving them all a sense of purpose, hope for a future; a power to change the world for the better.
Surge stared at the next generation, wondering why they had to die for the mistakes of the past.
They wouldn't be the first batch of rookies he had been sent to work with, nor would they be the last. Surge kneeled, allowing him to lift his head without hitting the ceiling. He lifted his customized U-class Pokéglov to his chest.
"Map," he said into the glossy black and yellow surface of the gauntlet; a small section of the gauntlet's surface shifted slightly. Light filtered from the small slot atop the gauntlet, forming a three-dimensional model of the earth. Gridlines formed over the hologram's translucent surface, the planet slowly spinning in place.
"Lake of Rage," Surge said again. His gaze never left the holographic planet as it pulsed and enlarged. Numbers of latitudes and longitudes streamed to the sides of the planet as sectors of the planet were magnified several times. Eventually the numbers stopped and the image froze in place, Surge turned the hologram with a single finger until his squad could see it. A single blue lake dominated the picture with a single road connecting it to the rest of the region
"All right babies, what we have here is the Lake of Rage," Surge began; zooming out until the rest of the continent was visible. Even though he referred to the troops under his command as "babies", it was meant only as a playful jab at their inexperience in combat.
"Everything above the lake is human territory; everything below belongs to the wild Pokémon and Ho-oh's legion."
Surge's squad eyed the stark contrast in territory. The sight was disheartening. Orange columns and markers labeled the old roads, towns, and cities that once belonged to them and none of which were within their domain. They had been driven out and forced to live in the mountains and woods in the north.
"Our mission's simple. It'll be a reconnaissance mission. We'll be scouting past our borders, bringing back any resources we find or at least securing it for evac. That's the first half of our mission. The second half of our mission will be locating and establishing a base of operations on the east coast of Kanto. The mission will start at oh-900 hours; our LZ will be the in the northeastern sector of the region around…here."
Surge's finger made tiny circles over the region before finding their landing zone.
"We'll regroup with Bravo team on the eastern coast. Bravo team will be several kilometers north of our position. Once we've established a base along the coast, we'll wait for evac where Delta squad and tech support will take over from there."
Surge stood up as far as the interior would allow him, turning off the hologram projector with his free hand. He glanced briefly at his squad before closing his eyes with a sigh.
"We're going in with limited intel seeing as we no longer have the benefit of satellites anymore. I myself haven't ventured out into this region for several years, so I don't know what to expect. The maps on your Pokéglovs aren't up to date, so the geology of the area might be very different from what we have. Our LZ is consists of mostly ruins and wasteland, it's doubtful that we'll encounter any hostiles, but we're going in prepared for it nonetheless."
"Sir…what kind of Pokémon will we be fighting?" one of the soldiers asked. His uniform bore the single gold chevron of a Private E-2.
Surge shrugged his shoulders, the action being awkward seeing as he was hunched over.
"We're expected the reach the coast in two days, whatever hostiles we find will have to be dealt with quickly. You babies have gone through training, so you each should know around 200 Pokémon and how to deal with 'em. The Legendary Pokémon on our side have held the western border, so we won't have to worry about dealing with tier one hostiles. I hope that answers your question."
Surge waited for the slightest hint of a nod before ending the briefing and marching out to the jump ramp where he could stand at full height. He flexed a finger, the Pokeglov whirring to life for a few seconds before a cigarette poked out through one of the slots. Surge grabbed the end of it with his teeth, surprised to find it already lit.
"Gotta love Orretech," he said through a muffled chuckle, taking a long draft before he saw them.
A column of M1-12 Rhydon cargo carriers stretched for miles to the west like a river of steel. There were two rows of the colossal vehicles, one slowly heading in their direction, one inching away. Even with his enhanced sight, he could only make out twenty six of the massive vehicles.
Convoy must stretch all to Orre. Surge thought, pulling the cigarette from his lips with two fingers and blowing out a steady stream of smoke.
These enormous armored vehicles could carry water, food, medical supplies, fuel, equipment and even an entire platoon. The caterpillar treads they rolled on were twice Surge's height and three times his width. Weighing in at 136 tons – empty – and towering over most Pokémon at fourteen meters tall, it was quite an impressive sight. Its only weakness – as Surge saw – was its abysmal speed, twenty five miles per hour at full throttle – a Magcargo was faster. Despite their great size and low speed, they were far from defenseless; turrets bearing 30 mm autocannons jutted out from the sides, front and rear. But its main armament was its 105mm smoothbore cannon mounted on its top and capable of rotating a full 360 degrees. Finally, its armor was impervious anything short of a Hyper Beam or Legendary Pokémon attack.
If we can see the caravan, then that means we're close. Surge thought, flicking his half finished cigarette into the air and onto the dirt path below them. Despite the whine of the dropship's engines, he could still hear the rumbling of the Rhydon cargo carriers thanks to his enhanced hearing. He checked the time, smiling when he saw that along with the time and date there was a number showing many cigarettes his Pokéglov had in stock.
They were close; he could feel it. Just from the fact that they had gained altitude was enough of a clue. Surge could hear his squad whisper among themselves, possibly about him, possibly not; he didn't care. Within a few days it probably wouldn't matter. He told himself not to try and remember their names or their faces; it would be easier that way. Surge doubted this mission would go off without a hitch. By the end of the mission, one of them would die. Against his better judgment, Surge looked back, his squad quickly taking notice that they had garnered his attention and visibly straightened in their seats.
From the looks of it, one was a young Joy; their field medic for this mission.
Nervous cerulean pools occasionally glanced away from the polished, rose-colored surface of her medical Pokéglov, briefly giving him a fleeting glimpse before letting her gaze quickly return to her equipment's lustrous casing. A beige combat helmet hid her pink hair, save for two thick locks that looped into the back of her head like the countless generations before her.
Surge had always felt that there was something odd about the Joy family, especially with their genes. The mothers always produced daughters, practically identical in appearance and nature, regardless of who the father was. For decades they had maintained a high status, not only as nurses but as government workers as well. The war hadn't lowered their status, only their numbers.
Surge had seen dozens of Joys, acting as field medics for the wounded soldiers in his younger years. Within a few years he could tell the veterans from the rookies, and the longer he watched her, the more he became sure that command had left him to babysit a Joy fresh from the academy.
Out of the three, she would have it the hardest, only because she would to survive in situations where her comrades would not. She would have to watch lives slip between her fingers and deal with the pain and guilt even in instances where it would truly not be her fault. Whether it was her first or her fiftieth loss, she would come to learn that she would not be able to save everyone.
Surge sighed, making the silent promise to not let another Joy under his command die if he could help it. Were she to die during their mission, their chances of survival would drop significantly. He was replaceable; she was not. To kill something was easy, especially if they handed him a weapon. To keep the dying alive, for all his strength and speed and ability, it was a skill he did not possess. He knew better than to consider her something frail and a liability from his first impression of her. If anything she might prove to be more capable than the others.
Surge gave the other two soldiers a passing glance before turning his back on them and back to the now distant caravan. If they made it past the first few days he would make the effort to notice them. By the end of the mission, if they were still alive, he would try to ask them and refer to them by their names. Within the first few years, if they were still there, he might even try to remember their names.
"Hey babies, you might want take a look at this if this is your first time past our border," Surge said over his shoulder as he stepped out onto the jump ramp once more, feeling like a kid in a candy store. The sight of it always managed to make him smile as his heart raced.
Surge spotted the edges of the wall's shadow creeping along the earth's surface several meters below them. Without warning the earth's surface seemingly jumped to meet them, the shadow of their ship wrought upon stone. Soldiers and Pokémon alike scrambled below them. Surge quickly realized he was beaming, his squad standing just before the jump ramp and gawking at the sight.
Surge marveled at one of the armored vehicles that passed underneath them: an M009 Blastoise hovertank, silently hovering a foot off the floor with its antigravity pods. Soldiers manned rows of M24 Octillery field guns at the edge of the wall; their backs were to the tank as it hummed past them.
Despite being modeled after Pokémon, the man knows how to make weapons. That Dr. Kaminko…a man after my own heart. Surge thought.
Despite being 30 meters wide, they passed the surface of the wall in seconds. Surge chuckled as his squad instinctively stepped back, the wall suddenly dropping into a seemingly bottomless ravine. The gap between the wall and the mainland was substantial and the inability to see the bottom of the ravine created a foreboding and ominous atmosphere.
Groudon's Wall – or Groudon's Mountain Range as some called it – spanned over 200 kilometers, starting from the edge of Mt. Moon all the way into the Sekra Range. Before they had lost their satellite imaging it could even be seen from space. It was about thirty meters thick and made of the densest rock from the deepest recesses of the earth.
Altaria and Pidgeot patrolled the air above it from dawn till dusk, the night shift taken over by Ledian and Noctowl. Despite it being years since the wall had seen any battle, command refused to let their guard down, creating multiple shifts and leaving the wall defended and maintained 24/7 by its soldiers.
News of being stationed at the wall was met with mixed feelings. On one hand, it you were being kept out of harm's way and put to work being kept busy; on the other hand some people grew so bored that they couldn't wait to go out into the field and find some action.
As if that weren't enough, there was one solid kilometer marking the end of their border. It was a mishmash of Trapinch antipersonnel mines and Magnemite magnetic anti-armor mines for anything that dared come at them by land. Anything hostile coming at them by air would be swiftly cut to pieces by a hail of explosive flak from strategically placed anti-air guns. Anything approaching within 2000 meters was met with lethal .50 caliber rounds from snipers hidden all along the wall.
"Though I'm pretty sure Dawn could do nail someone from at least 2500 meters," Surge mumbled under his breath after reciting the wall's stats to the squad. He said it with such pride one would think it were his magnum opus and not Groudon's.
Surge gave one last look at the wall, now miles away, before ducking back into the dropship.
"All right babies, show's over. Just sit tight until we land," Surge said with a sigh, slamming his fist against the bulkhead, signaling the pilot to close the drop hatch as he made his way to the cockpit.
"So how'd it go? I hope you didn't rough them up too badly," the pilot said, his eyes never leaving the skies before them.
"Nah…they're just…young, too young if you ask me, or maybe I'm goin' soft," Surge replied.
"No. I feel ya, it's a crime what command's doing, but can ya do? We're still at war."
"I can try my best to not let any of 'em die."
"Amen to that."
Surge eyed another Pelipper dropship coming into his sight, moving slightly ahead of them in the sudden silence.
"That bravo team?" Surge asked, already knowing the answer but simply trying to make conversation.
The pilot nodded. "Yep. I can connect you if ya wanna say something."
"That won't be necessary; they've already been briefed on their mission. They're the last people I'd need to worry about."
Bravo Team's a group of trainers," Surge replied.
The pilot let out a low whistle. "Well I'll be damned. This is a pretty intense mission then?"
"It will be for them. Remember the Mt. Moon incident?"
The pilot visibly flinched at the mention of the mission. "Ouch."
Surge sighed in agreement. "Yeah."
"That's a suicide mission ain't it?"
"Not fer them," Surge replied.
"Anyone I know? Captain Ketchum? Lieutenant Imite?"
"Neither. Don't think you know 'em. They don't get as much notice but they're still excellent trainers. One of them can fight on par with Samurai."
"Who?" the pilot asked. He never took his eyes off the instrument panel.
"Oh, right. I forgot about that. Damn, I guess it's been a while. You all probably know him as 'Shogun'," Surge replied.
"Whoa ho ho! This guy can actually go toe to toe with the Sho?"
"Yeah. His name's Hiiro Mizutani, close combat specialist. The other two are Mimoru, demolitions expert and Vincent who's just there as a powerhouse. They're not bringing in all the guns but this guy can sure pack a wallop. You never know what's out there."
"Better safe than sorry," the pilot added in before silence slowly reigned once more.
Surge shrugged, sensing now that their little moment of small talk was over. He resigned himself to staring out into the distance, seeing nothing but barren wasteland and ruin.
But what did he expect.
This was all that was left of Kanto.
For those of you who enjoyed this and would like some insight as to what happened to the world, I'd recommend reading my other works. Poke Wars: The Incipience, The Exigence, and The Subsistence.