Ryan looked up into the canopy of the forest that obscured most of the sky. His eyes peered past the reflective surface of his exo-pack mask and focused on the pact of blue sky he saw through a hole in the dense collection of leaves and branches reaching out from the trees. He breathed slowly feeling the alien planet's sun casting its rays onto the back of his neck and seeing some of the ray's shine down through holes in the canopy across his view. One would say that a person seeing such a site would easily feel at peace sitting in middle of the green scenery and seeing the beautiful view in the sky. That would be true for some people except that it was impossible for someone like him. Even with the sounds of guns, screams, roars and engines long gone and no bodies or scorched earth littering the scene around him, no peace could ever come to him.
Ryan sat on the floor of the forest up against a log he crawled up next to. Both of his legs were useless after what happened so all he could do was sit around and wait. His left hand lay on his wound he had on his waist that steadily dripped with his own blood. His right hand was free and lay next to his pistol that lay on top of his right hip with a fresh clip in it and his half used clip next to it. He switched clips to have a full clip ready for a moment's notice and kept the rest of his remaining ammo for safe measures.
Ryan wasn't much of a religious person, coming from a town that was on a planet that hardly had any guidance anymore. But now, looking back, he was sure that if the lord still existed, whether the people were oblivious to him or not, Ryan was sure he would put him down into hell. Although, he wondered if the lord actually reached out all the way out here and that all the sinners who died here would be put in a similar hole under the unearthly ground.
They said that if there was a hell, he should go there for some R and R after his tour here. They said this was worse than hell with its unimaginably large animals with razor teeth and claws that could strip bone down to marrow in seconds. But when he thought about it, if he were in hell, he'd feel it was more comforting, if you could ever feel comfortable in hell, to have it be more colorful and to have it in open daylight rather than be in a dark inferno underneath the ground while being tortured for all the sins the soul committed for all eternity.
But, then again, Jesus and his father weren't the only ones believed to deal with the souls of the dead. He had overheard gossip among the other staff members that the natives had their own belief in afterlife with their deity whom they believed protected them. The troops and others joked on about how these people thought all their souls were absorbed into the ground and lived in "Sacred trees." Ryan didn't comment or put much thought into the idea, not deciding to state whether it was ridiculous or not. He was here to shoot, not to think after all.
But after the assault to eradicate the native threat once-and-for-all fell apart in one instant, with the horde of angry animals charging through the line, he began to think about that deity protection thing again. He wondered if that deity actually existed and got pissed off at him and the rest of the troops for killing so much of her followers whom she watched over. He heard from the gossip that it was a she.
Moreover, since he and the other spec ops people weren't apart of her followers and they slaughtered so much of her followers who stayed in the stone age for her, he wondered if this higher power had something similar to a hell to put him and the rest of the defilers in. Other people would think these thoughts would be so silly and the thinker would was way out of line. Still, Ryan thought his thoughts because it was all he could do now. He didn't care about what the others thought nor would the others think about him anymore.
Shame, regret, and remorse that came too late to mean anything was all that he felt now. He didn't feel the pain from his broken legs and his blood spot in his gut from the pain killers he injected into himself. He lost his bandages in the firefight so all he could do was wait. All the shame and guilt was all he could think about when he reflected on himself and the events of the three months he was stationed up here when he looked up at the sky.
With his fading strength, Ryan leaned himself forward and reached behind into one of his uniform's many pockets. He grunted with pain as his struggled to pull out the item his was looking for. He leaned back onto the log exhaling from the painful move. When he was shipped out form earth he had brought his old journal he kept from his time serving in the Delta Force alone with him. He didn't really need it because he would report to his video log after everyday like everyone else did. But he brought it along because he felt that since the higher officials could view any employee's log, he brought his journal along to jot done material he felt was a little too sensitive for the video.
Ryan skimmed through all his entries from his tours around the word in the Force and made it to his first entry on Pandora. After he emerged from the shuttle after he slept for 5 years, walked into the base and into the barracks, he recorded and wrote his account of his first day on the job. From then on he recorded most of the basic stuff but on some days, when he had more time, he wrote down the more personal things. When he looked back at his words, he smiled at what they said. It was a smile that you would have made when you look back at yourself and think of how stupid you were back then. But the smile disappeared and depression and regret soon returned. When he continued to read the entries, it was as if he could see his own reflection on the pages and he was very ashamed of what he saw from it. He knew that if a hell existed here, this confirmed that he would go there no doubt.
Without anything that mattered anymore, Ryan flipped to the latest entry, read it and, shortly afterward, he took out the pen that was with the book, flipped to the next page and began to write his final entry.
Author's Note: Just so you know, it will be a while before the next chapter because I need to plan out the story and do research on the film and I have College weighing me down big time. Just thought I get this out to give you a sort of sneak peek at my next project that's following A Better Tomorrow.
This idea came to me from a suggestion by one of the reviews by Ragnarok666 on "A Better Tomorrow" so I thank him for it. And this story was also inspired by the Halo: Evolutions short story "Dirt."
Hope you enjoy it and follow it when I get going! :)