Funny how all the Command and Conquer multi-chaptered stories I've done so far have effectively been journal based. Anyway, in this case, started off as a oneshot, but extended it to a multi-chaptered story.
Command and Conquer: Beneath the Eagle's Wing
Chapter 1: Rising Sun
Personal journal of Cassandra Blair (excerpts)
Profession: In-field reporter, W3N
Status: On assignment, southern Egypt, yellow zone Y-2
December 7, 2047
Had that feeling today. The feeling that comes from stepping outside your comfort zone. The feeling that comes from "oh shit, why on Earth am I here?"
Bit late for that though. But as hot, hellish and…hot Egypt is, it's at least a change from the Europe. Here at least, the enemies are humans and tiberium. Not tiberium and the aftermath of an alien invasion that seemed to be based on tiberium's presence. So while I'll probably look back at this journal and laugh sometime next year, right now, as I'm camped out in the desert, I'm regretting it.
Anyway, stepped out at an airstrip a few hundred miles south of Aswan. As Aswan's already on its way to becoming part of the red zone spreading across North Africa thanks to the effects of the Temple Prime liquid tiberium along with the one in Italy, it's the only place I could get to. GDI took Egypt from Nod in the recent war and now is trying its best to deal with the people under its jurisdiction. People driven south by war and in recent months, tiberium.
(Sometimes I wonder why I'm writing this-I'm reporting the same things to W3N every day. Maybe I need to get it out of my head…)
Anyway, after a few hours of screening, I finally got outside to feel the hot Egyptian sun rising from the sun, casting yellow light through the tortured sky to the north. Got greeted by a Corporal Combelle and directed to what was called a Roughrider. An open topped vehicle. For a yellow zone. Still remember the conversation.
"Don't you have enclosed vehicles?"
"Off fighting Nod," he grunted.
He gave me a suit that was worn by GDI soldiers along with a helmet. The suit, he explained was to be worn at all times. The helmet was to be used at my own discretion-probably didn't need it unless an ion storm kicked up.
"Great…got a place to change?"
Turns out the site's portaloos double as changing rooms.
December 8, 2047
Still on the road. I'm writing in this journal to keep my mind off things, even if the bumps of the road make it impossible to write legibly. That, and the troopers aren't interested in talking to me. Combelle's driving this vehicle and the grunts in the back are new recruits-kids that couldn't join the fight against Nod in the war proper, but now that GDI's focus has shifted from fighting to salvage operations, are perfectly suited for the tedium of guard duty. Even if they don't believe me, I feel sorry for them. I'll be back in B-3 in a few months. These guys will be here for at least a year, provided the tiberium doesn't kill them first.
Combelle's no better-I can't pin his accent exactly, but he's clearly from a non-English speaking background. But so far our interaction has been along the lines of "yes ma'am" and "no ma'am," sometimes with an "absolutely not," thrown in for him. Sometimes I wonder if he even knows my name. But regardless, I have no choice but to trust him. Because if Nod guerrillas of mutants come out of the sands and attack us, I'll have no choice but to hope he and his boys can fend them off.
Or can I? What did they say again?
"Hey civvie, you here for the long run?"
"What's a pretty girl like you doing out here?"
"Fuck off, I'm not talking to you."
"Watch yourself civvie. You taking a turn out here, you might find others taking turns for you."
It's great to have such good friends.
December 9, 2047
Firebase Uniform…that's the base we arrived at today. A firebase situated alongside a refugee camp called... "the camp." That's it. It's what I've got to call it every time I log a report.
It's hard to say where the firebase ends and the camp begins, but I have an idea. It's probably where the auto-turrets on the firebase side give way to the barbed wire on the camp's side. 21st century tech alongside tech belonging to the 20th. But there's a mingling as well. I've seen troopers carrying everything from high-tech GD-2 rifles to AK-47s, with even TWII pulse rifles thrown in-between. Supplies are low, Combelle explained, and they have to make do with whatever they can salvage. Even stuff used by the Brotherhood of Nod or Forgotten.
As I'm sitting here, I'm on the firebase side, enjoying the benefits of a fan and bottled water. The red zone to the north seems to be quiet, so as long as I keep my suit on and my helmet handy, I should be okay apparently. Combelle however, insists that if I'm going into the camp side, I should always take an escort. The question of where these refugees are going to go (if anywhere-blue zones around the world are close to bursting point already) is still being sorted out and there's the real prospect of Nod infiltrators in their ranks.
"How do you sort them out?" I remember asking. "I mean, how do you tell if their identities are valid or not?"
"We try," he grunted. "But maybe it's best to keep them to the camp anyway. Let them do the damage against other shiners and whatnot."
"That's pretty cold."
I'll never forget the look he gave me then. Nor his words.
"The world went cold 50 years ago. We're just trying to stay in the warmth."
It's warm all throughout Egypt.
But if Hell's a cold place, looking at the sky to the north, I think we could be headed for it.
December 10, 2047
"Reporter lady." That's what the children call me.
Combelle took me into the camp today. I'd expected everything I saw-disease, poor sanitation, the looks of the desperate and the damned. But I never expected so many children to be there. I always imagined Nod to be…well, fragmented up until what's already being called the Third Tiberium War, but I'd always been under the impression that it drew from fanatics. People who had nothing to lose so joined for a sense of purpose. I never really entertained the idea of families living within Brotherhood borders. Or even in yellow zones altogether. It didn't seem possible.
But no…there are children here. Children standing alongside young and old adults, short of everything that even with blue zone rationing, we take for granted. Regardless, Combelle acted as my translator, and I managed to get a report-situation sucks, GDI is doing good, etc.
I didn't answer the children's questions. Questions of when help was coming. Could they live in a blue zone. Will the tiberium ever go away? When will they stop having nightmares about the scrin?
None of the adults asked those questions.
I think they already knew the answers.
Update (21/06/2012): Corrected error-meant to say at start that all the multi-chaptered Command and Conquer stories I've written so far are journal based, not all the multi-chaptered stories, period. Derp.