The Palace of Jericho was a work of art, surviving everything from invasion to inquisition. Because of these past events, it was heavily guarded by Palace Guard.
"Alright, I'm all set." Derrick said, pulling the black duffle over his shoulder. Lars crouched with him in the back of the white van. Lars clasped his hand on his comrade's shoulder.
"May Bismarck guide you."
"May he guide you as well." He said, pushing the ridge of blond hair up off his forehead. He jumped out of the van and shut the door. Derrick began walking to the guard post as the van sped off behind him.
My plan is simple, Derrick thought as he showed his card to the lady manning the booth. She acknowledge the ID, and opened the gates.
All I have to do is find their laboratory, and find out some information, He thought as he awkwardly waved at some of the politicians from various cities walked by. They giggled as they walked past, but one in particular stared at him for a second longer, making him worried.
Damn, I'm just a recruit, why couldn't I have been assigned to Helsh, or even Shelby… His mind screamed, then took back the later of the two cities. Shelbic Marines were much more frightening than Jerichan PG, or Palace Guards. He entered the locker room and searched for an open locker. He found one, and pulled out the fatigues that the PG used. His fake rank- Junior Commissioner- was sown in; a stripe and 'X'.
"Hey!" Someone from behind him shouted. He jumped, nearly breaking his nose on the ledge of the locker.
"Sorry about that, comrade, I was just surprised to see my new mate so early." The Senior Commissioner said, clasping a hand on his shoulder.
"Sorry, I've still got jitters from the Front." Derrick said, putting on his new jacket. He looked at his new leaders' nametag: Avery.
Avery looked down at the man's uniform.
"So, the Marines took their uniform back?" Avery asked, looking the man up and down.
Something's off about this Marine… Avery thought. He was too light, and much too skittish. To boot, he'd never seen a Marine jump at a loud sound. He remembered days in Boot Camp where they would practice at all times in the day; getting down when they're was any noise out of the ordinary.
Avery dismissed his suspicions, however, and listened to the new mans story about them telling him he'd been reassigned.
"Well, are you ready to see the real treasure of Jericho?" Avery asked. The new recruit looked confused.
"I thought we were going to patrol the Science Wing?" Derrick asked.
Damn, He wanted to shout, how the hell am I to get there now…Wait, did he say 'treasure'? This might be more useful.
"Yea, not that exciting though, just a bunch of eggheads. None of them are really lookers as well." Avery said, noticing that he hadn't been issued a rifle.
Before Derrick had a chance to ask another question, Avery picked up his radio.
"Eva, we need to get out new guard to the armory. He hasn't been issued a weapon yet." He said into the receiver. The radio squawked an affirmative.
After a short walk to the armory, Avery slapped a magazine into the foreign assault rifle and handed it to his new squad mate.
Christ, I didn't know I'd be this easy… He thought as he thanked the Senior Commissioner. Avery was tall, around 6'4, and looked incredibly strong. Derrick assumed that, from the dark skin color, his family line came from the old Songhai Empire.
They walked out of the room and turned down the hall. They approached a woman, Lieutenant Eva, guarding the door to what looked like a cell.
"Commissioner Avery, what are you doing here?" She asked, her hand slowly moving to her pistol as she saw the new recruit held his assault rifle.
"There is no need for worry, ma'am, I'm only showing the recruit," the senior guard pointed to Derrick," What he's really guarding, We'll only be a minute." Avery eased.
She still looked unsure, but Lt. Eva opened the heavy steel doors. It was dark inside the damp room, and it smelled of human disease. Avery walked in, and Derrick followed.
Inside was a boy that looked like he could have been sixteen, but Derrick recognized him from drawings he'd seen. This was Din, the hidden mastermind behind the New Jeric Union.
"Would sir be alright?" Avery asked.
"Yes Avery, thank you for asking. I assume this is the transfer from the North-Western Front?" He asked, moving his head to see the new soldier. His eyes were a cool blue and hits hair resembled a mop. A trickle of sweat rolled down the recruit's forehead as he shifted uncomfortably. Avery and Din continued small chatter.
I can end it. I can end this war. Derrick thought as his mind raced around the idea of coming home a hero. Suddenly, Derrick snapped the assault rifle up to his shoulder. He made a fatal error, however.
He forgot to take the safety off.
Din did not hesitate to grab the barrel of the spy's gun and thrust it upward. An elbow from Avery broke Derrick's nose along with any hopes of success. He fell to the ground, momentarily stunned. Din walked out of the cell and trained his rifle on the fallen German.
"Who sent you?" He asked. More guardsmen ran up beside him. Lt. Eva had her side-arm drawn.
"Who sent you?" He growled again.
"Lord Bismarck." The spy whimpered
The boy had the assault weapon trained on the enemy spy that lay on the ground.
"I'll tell him to send more experience spies next time." He said as he pulled the trigger.
"I'm s-sorry, I didn't realiz-" She started, but the boy held out the rifle. "Don't worry, he must've been a newly recruited agent, he was lacking in… confidence. It also helps when you have an agent in the Palace." He said, passing the rifle to Avery.
"Back to your stations men, dispose of the spy. Miss Eva, if you will." He said. He held the door open while Lt. Eva walked in his dark chamber.
"Din," She started." I'm so sorry. I should have restricted access to your room as soon as we got the report." She finished, tears welling in her eyes.
"You did your duty, Eva, that's what's important." He said, looking into her almond shaped eyes. He embraced her in a tight hug. She had had a rough life, fleeing the German annexation of China Twenty three years ago. She had only been a year old when she had lost her father when German fighters' strafed the road her family had been walking on. Jericho had welcomed them with open arms. She had grown to Jericho and the Jeric culture so much; she didn't even go back to her homeland when The Jeric Marines had pushed back the German army.
"Tell me." She whispered.
"I will." He said, tearing away.
"We founded Jericho on a hill overlooking what we would call the Red River. We had plenty of volunteers who wanted to fight, wanted to explore... I didn't see the need to stop them. We did not have much in the way of leadership, so I volunteer. This was before I knew the curse that the Gods had put upon me. As soon as we founded, many begged that we create a monument to celebrate our victory over barbarianism."
The sun lazily rose over the town as the people began to stir. So is the tradition, a rooster sang his song, signifying they had made it another night. Smoke began to billow from the chimneys as Din looked out his palace window. Palace was not the right word; facility was more accurate. It housed many of his scientist and advisors, as well as a small library; library that had yet to be filled. There was one book, how ever, that was placed in the room. A book labeled, " JERIC" sat unfinished on the table.
"We were founded on a man who was renowned for his culture and his will to fight. Jeric, the father of Din, was killed in the defense of his friends and family. We founded this city to remember him as he lived; in service to others." — JERIC
Din sat in his bed, remembering his father. He died fighting off the terrors in the world, so that he could live in peace.
"Self-sacrifice... the greatest gift a man can give or receive." He quoted his father. He got up, dressed himself, and prepared for the first day of many. Much more than he would have hoped for.
Din walked down into the kitchen and asked for the messenger. He went out to the coup to fetch some eggs when a man known as Jorge ran out to greet him.
"Din, you called?" Jorge asked.
"Can you run around town and ask for the warriors to meet me in the square at the High Sun? I want to celebrate our first major structure." Din requested. Jorge nodded and headed off. Din took two eggs and walked back into the kitchen. He placed the two eggs on a Stone overhang and went to go retrieve some bread. The door to his right burst open.
"Din, we need you by the gates. We have visitors." one of the Guards nearly shouted. Din's heart sank, remembering the Barbarians that had killed his father. He jolted with the guard to the gates. In the distance, he could detect neither smoke nor sounds of rape and pillage. He did see, however, men wearing a strange color of garments. His ears picked up a strange language.
"Sir, we have our leader coming, please wait." The senior-most Jeric guard gestured towards the guest. The visitors clothing represented that of the Jeric Warriors, but where many of the green patches were that the warriors wore were red. A voice called out amongst the visitors. They stood aside as the presumed leader stepped forward. He cleared his throat.
"Good Morrow to you, sirs, I am with the warriors of England. We and her majesty await you," He said, looking towards Din, "at the place of London." The man said.
"Sir, while I am honored to be a guest at your palace, I must decline; perhaps another time, when my schedule is more permitting. Please send your queen my regards." Din replied smartly. He turned just in time to see his advisors walk towards him.
"As sir wishes." He said. He called attention towards his troops and they marched off. Din's Global Advisor walked up next to him.
"Din, are you sure that rejecting such an invitation might not anger them?" Meshiah advised.
"Don't worry; I think they're about as unsure as us. Give it some time, I'll probably see towards London." Din saw himself back to his room. After a short walk through town, he nearly collapsed through his door. He made his way to the chair.
"I wonder who else is out there." He thought aloud.
There was a knock on the door.
"Sir Din, your presence is requested in the war room." A messenger called out. Din looked at Eva.
"Door worry, I'll be back to tell you more." He said, and parted with a soft kiss on her lips. He walked out of the room and was joined by two other guards. He stepped over the spilled blood and noticed the janitor who was given the "honor" of cleaning it. Din entered the War room and felt a sense of pride. The room riddled with maps and charts of the outlaying districts and cities of the Jeric Empire. Koran, the large man wearing the combat fatigues and a sword slung around his waist beckoned to him. Din walked over to his side.
"I've got some bad news Din." He started. Din looked at him as he moved small models of the Northern Alliance units.
"Bring up the Tactical screen." Koran ordered an assistant.
A screen rolled down as an overhead projector placed the image of the known world on the screen.
"As you know, the Northern Alliance consists of Japan, Sweden, Russia, and Germany leading the front." The map of the battle front showed up. The Jeric borders were at no danger, but many of the city-states with the English Borders were contested.
"As of today, the City-state known as Tyre has been conquered. Units in the area are retreating.." The map changed to show the friendly units fall back.
"Are we taking in refugees?" Din asked, taking a seat in a nearby chair.
"There are none." Koran grimly stated.
"What do you mean 'none'" Din questioned.
"They were slaughtered when attempting to leave." Koran responded while black and white photographs showed mostly German troops slaughtering innocent civilians. A shot of pain registered of both Koran's and Din's faces, but they continued.
"Tyre is in a crippled state. We have three options: A) is we just leave it be. B) is we send more infantry, probably pull them from the Brostic Sea, and make a push for the city, or C) is we bomb the city and other units stationed out by it." Koran finished. Din considered his options.
"I take it that German Units occupy the city and space around it?" Din asked after a short silence.
"Indeed sir." Koran responded.
"Pull up the reserves. In the mean—time, take out the units in the area with our bombers." Din stated. "Do we have any current maps of the North Western Front?" Din asked. The assistance placed it on the overhead. Din pointed
"There," Din pointed.
"We deploy troopers here," Din pointed, and moved his hand to another spot, "and have our tanks moved here." Din finished. Koran did not retaliate, nor merely ask. One did not grow to be 5,000 years of age without practicing mental prowess. Even though Din knew that Koran understood, He was no idiot, he explained anyways.
"There are differences in the German lines, one of which we have thoroughly watched, and the Russian lines, which we have very little data about. We do know, however, that the Russians tend to be much more different: They tend to be more relaxed before a major assault. From the looks of this photo, we may make it just in time." Din finished. Koran looked towards the messenger.
"You heard the man, move on." Koran replied in a gruff voice.
Lt. Eva walked past the war room in her search for Din. She had tried the COMM channels, but they must have been off for the moment. As she walked by, the two guards standing in front of the door held back a snicker. When she was out of earshot, one of them whispered to the other, "Heh, Din's lioness."
Before the other had a chance to react, Din appeared at the now opened door. An elbow was slammed into the Corporal's stomach. He dropped his weapon as Din lowered himself to the Corporals ear.
"Maybe my 'lioness' can get you a band aid."