Saturday, October 10, 2009

Soldier of legend

I'm a soldier. Well, a crappy soldier. I've been training for a while, but never seem to get it all together. They didn't give me a rifle. Or wait, maybe I forgot to go get mine. Everyone else has one. I'm not wearing a tactical vest either like everyone else. It's not good to be an individual in the army...

We're sitting in the huge, dark canvas tent. Everyone is talking and having a good time. I'm silent, worrying about my predicament. Someone calls everyone outside. Feeling naked without the proper gear, I reluctantly follow the crowd.

Outside is an old hardwood forest. The trees have incredibly thick trunks that run up into the darkness. The ground is a soft bed of moss. Everyone is walking briskly, funneling towards the back of a well used green army truck and climbing inside. The instructors are standing here and there, ushering people along with sweeps of their arms. One yells at me.

"Where's your weapon soldier?"

"I didn't get one sir."

"Go back and get it now!"

Easily defeated, I return to the huge tent, and slump onto a bench. Face in hands, I wonder if there are other heroes somewhere, or if I must I continue my journey alone? I close my eyes...

Practically on the other side of the world, in a dense and snowy evergreen forest in China, stands a legendary man. If the cold eastern winds blowing flakes of ice into his face bothers him at all, he does not show it. Standing completely naked and motionless in a martial arts pose, the thick orange-brown sasquatch hair that covers most of his body flickers wildly. His face and his feet, I notice, are the only parts not covered by long hair; if you saw him with a passing glance, you would swear it was a yeti. Yet he is well known here for his heroic deeds, and nobody considers his appearance strange.

Suddenly he is alive with movement. A snap kick, seemingly lightning fast, knocks snow from the lower boughs of one of the many short pine trees surrounding him. After some jumping and wild punching, he brings himself to a different pose and stands still for a moment. Then flipping and leaping between the trees, his face covered with freezing snow yet somehow warmly glowing, he takes off at a fast sprint towards some distant point, the trees brushing him as he goes. I follow, as an observer with no body.

He passes the forests edge and keeps running, through a snowy field towards an icy river. He jumps gracefully across the river; I follow still, but know the river would normally be too wide for me to jump across. From the ether a body coalesces for me, like an invisible 20 foot tall reptilian kangaroo. As my partially embodied consciousness flies across the river, even in this form I lose faith in myself; there is no way I can make it. Yet my feet reach the other side, only dipping my heels in the cold water of the river for a split second before I am off again, chasing the hairy naked man.

He reaches a new forest, like the first one with slightly less snow on the trees, and enters. As I come to it, I notice to my left a cliffs edge that drops about 6 feet, which surrounds a canyon filled with people who look like soldiers. They are tightly packed together and milling about. Some are wearing helmets, some berets, some bandanas, and some with nothing on at all. They are not wearing the same gear or carrying the same weapons. To me they look more like a slightly organized militia than a real army. Many of them are men, and all of them appear to be white. I jump into the canyon and attempt to run along on tops of their heads to display my disdain for the army. However, they quickly disperse throughout the canyon as I jump, and so I only manage to plant my foot on one mans dark green beret before my next step plants me on the ground. As I rise up from the jump, I notice I am once again a human being, and that everyone is pointing their guns at me.

Without a thought, I kick the pistol from the hand of the man I had jumped on, and roll across the ground to pick it up. With incredible precision, I begin shooting the weapons out of the hands of the other soldiers surrounding me, while rolling and dodging as best as I can. Practically nobody is taking a shot; this makes sense, considering that they are in a canyon filled with their allies, so missing me could mean hitting their friends. They are on edge, to put it lightly. I fire the pistol and an AK-47 flies from the hand of a man wearing a helmet. Another shot disarms a young guy with a shotgun. Certainly they know by now that I'm only trying to protect myself an woudn't hurt them? Many of them aren't even pointing their guns at me. As I run I notice a girl in a bandana with two machine guns aimed at nowhere in particular. Mid-flip I give her a friendly look and raise my hand in a covert wave; she waves back in return.

My head swivels around to see that I have landed right in front of their leader. He looks french and has black hair and a pointy moustache, and his silver magnum is pointed point blank at me. I dodge the bullet in a nearly lightning fast flash. We engage in mortal combat for a split second, blocking each others punches and kicks with perfect precision. It ends in a flash with him on the ground and my hand outstretched to help him up. He grudgingly accepts, and our feud is put to rest forever, it seems.

Suddenly nobody really pays much attention to me. They have turned and started heading down a narrow corridor carved in this rocky canyon. I follow the crowd. The clear blue sky contrasts the earthy trench we walk through, broken wooden objects interspersed among the gravel and boulders seem to point to recent skirmishes that have taken place here. After walking a decent distance, I begin to wonder where we are heading. To the left I notice a small room carved out in the rock; I squeeze my way through the dry shattered boards that fail to protect it's contents. Inside I find a smaller shelf carved out in the rock, with a wooden machine gun resting within. I pick it up and examine it, noticing that it is broken. VanInderstein comes into the room, and I show him the gun. Showing off my amazing prowess, I quickly fix it by adding a metal barre that is laying on the ground. Now I am armed and dangerous. We leave the room via the open wooden door, and keep following the crowd.

Many miles pass by, and I finally arrive at an opening in the chasm-trench. It is a wide semi-circle canyon carved into the rock, with a rickety wooden bridge at the center leading across an endless pit to the other half of the circle on the other side. All the soldiers who have gotten here before me are already in tactical positions, hiding behind huge boulders and against the wall, pointing their weapons towards a small wooden tower at the other side of the bridge. I take the hint and haul ass towards a small boulder sitting just by the bridge. Once in position, I realize that I am not particularly well covered from the fire that will presumably be coming from the other side, and realize that nobody is firing at all.

Taking a closer look across the void, partially motivated by my severe vulnerability in my current position, I see the two snipers in the wooden tower. They are both wearing snow suits and skiing goggles: one dull blue and one dull green. They are too far away to be hit accurately by a normal machine gun, but I know that my modified gun will work just fine. I give a subtle look to the general lying prone beside me; apparently his sniper skills haven't done the trick. I fire two quick bursts, injuring both of our teams enemies. I get a small pat on the back from th general, and without a sound our soldiers begin hustling across the bridge. I take a deep breath and look around again.

This time, I notice a chain link fence behind me to the right, enclosing a yard that is overlooked by a rickety metal tower that is seemingly made up of old rusty scrap. The general points towards it; my next mission is confirmed. I run in a zig zag pattern towards the big metal gates, and find a hefty padlock blocking my entrance. No sweat, I put my small jack knife into my teeth and do a super flip over the top, easily avoiding the barbed wire that was supposed to stop infiltrators. Nobody shoots at me. I skirt the edge of the chain link fence to the left. Two brown skinned militants, wearing dirty scarfs around their necks, pop out of nowhere and challenge me. They don't have guns, and I decide to make it a fair fight; I drop my machine gun and spit out my knife, which sticks into the ground. It's time again for mortal combat.