APAGear II Archives Volume 1, Number 1 December, 1998


Too Hot

A Moment in Life During Judas Syndrome

Janne Kemppi

"It was hot", she thought, "It was so hot".

She was sweating in her designer swimsuit. It one of those swimsuits that came with outrageous price tag. She hadn't really given a thought to that price then and surely not today. It was so hot and she was tired.

She was just covering her eyes with her hand and taking a good look at what was happening in her garden. Everything was going as things should go. Her little daughter Lisa was somewhere in the bushes playing hide and seek all by herself. Meanwhile family's nanny was doing her never ending task of collecting all the toys that had been most important things in Lisa's life just a little bit earlier.

Earlier she had smiled and watched as Lisa had been concentrating to playing home with her toys. Lisa had been ordering and assigning toys for their family roles. Then all the sudden Lisa -like all little children sometimes do- had screamed to everyone in the world her intention to go to play hide and seek leaving everything behind her. Lisa's soft toys and dolls were left littering ceramics next to pool while her little feet had taken her into greenery of garden.

Something in those dolls lying around on sandy yellow tiles around the pool reminded her of the Badlands. Bodies littering sand had been last sight she had seen of that cursed land. Giant passenger doors of helicopter had closed and after that helicopter brought her and her team back to civilization.

She knew what really happened between the lines in the war diaries and behind official truth of unit histories.

It had been yet another encounter between old enemies in this never ending war between Eagle of South and Lion of North. Somehow things had turned so bad. Everything became "on need to know basis only" and nobody seemed even to care about it.

That mission had been a nightmare from the very beginning. Every one in her very own team seemed to carry their own secret orders. That had been bad but it got even worse during meetings with their contacts. Every contact they had met seemed to be ready to shift his ground to loyalties like shifting sands of desert. It had been nothing but lies, cover-ups and paranoia. No place for glory.

"Sweet Glorious Glory", she smiled.

There was supposed to be glory on the battlefield. She had believed it at least in the very day she had sworn to follow flags of Allied Southern Territories. That had been a long time ago.

After a hard day's training they had always drunk cheap beer. After few bottles her instructors had told her stories of secret wars in Badlands. They had described how entirely rational people became crazy there. They had told her of scorching rays of Helios burning mind away replacing it with one of greed, betrayal and lies. She had seen it become true in her missions.

Hot sweat was stinging her eyes and she instinctively blinked them. Her contact had blinked his eyes in the same way when he realised his fate. Contact's sweaty pig face and his friends sleazy smiles had turned into masks of terror. She had seen through his lies and realized at that moment what should be done to protect her team, which was second in importance only to her little Lisa.

Her bullets had cleaved his head onto two halves and ended his lies. Then blood had spilled the desert sand while Helios had been shining mercilessly in that hot day. It had been as hot as it was today.

Fight that followed should not had happened as her team was supposedly with friends but it did. With heavy casualties they had carried the day surviving the skirmish.

Her own survival didn't surprise her at all for no one was in her line of work as good as she. She had plenty of practice of surviving and even more practice in killing people when it came to that. She had never any kind of trouble in that part of work. Yet she didn't regard herself as a stone cold killer as they said. She did admit that every time she pressed trigger and managed to drop enemy who had tried to kill her she just felt great. It was how she rationalized the crazy living in this Judas Syndrome period: You just killed or got killed in the process.

Her husband understood it for he was also in the military. The rules that regulated that spouses could not serve in same unit also made that their leaves rarely overlapped. During those precious nights he had comforted her when she had had really bad nightmares. When he wasn't there Lisa was only connection to her husband and she could in turn to comfort somebody. When her daughter had been afraid of thunderstorms Lisa's faint childish fears had always been easy to calm and the bad dreams would then go away and she'd slept peacefully.

However, she had never ever talked to Lisa of her work. Instead she had always said to her that she was a soldier and that at times she had to go away for very long times. Lisa had accepted it but from her eyes she had read same worrying as of her husbands eyes.

Piercing scream awoke her of her thoughts. She knew it was Lisa even before she had jumped to her feet. Her ears picked up numerous footsteps approaching rapidly towards her. She was worried, yet she knew that for all probability Lisa had just fell and hurt her knee or something similar. Things that are ground shaking to a small child probably wouldn't move a pebble in grown-up world.

Standing she opened her arms and Lisa ran straight into her lap. Her mind turned from nightmares, death and destruction into more motherly concerns. With soothing calming words she tried to get her daughter to grasp for breath and explain what had happened.

Right at that moment a shadow was cast over her and Lisa. Its cause was a man who had apparently followed Lisa through the bushes and was now standing right next to them. Lisa noticed that man too and hugged her mother tighter with her little hands shaking from fear and worry.

She wasn't worried of man being enemy soldier from North. It would require great amount of daring and greater amount of casualties to strike into a military city. Rules stipulated for a certain number of weapons to be held in every home in case of such a surprise attack. Having heard and seen results of firearms accidents at homes she deemed it was too great risk to warrant for weapons.

However, this time she had violated that principle. After returning to home from debriefing and peeling off her uniform for shower she had noticed something in her leg pocket. It was that little button mine she had probably picked up from some dead in the field and completely forgotten it afterwards. It was one of those devilish little things that soldiers operating behind enemy lines sowed to ground to torn off leg of soldier in pursuit or any civilian unfortunate enough to step on one. Button mine she had brought her home was manufactured in North but it was no different to ones Southern armies used.

A polite cough brought her back to the side of pool and she looked at man who had followed Lisa. He was of middle height. He had great looking curly brown hair and muscles of his bared arms were lean and strong. He was, without doubt, quite handsome and obviously, from his stature, a military man. Still, everything in her mind screamed her to be careful, just like with her contact in last mission.

"Lieutenant Wade, 56 Regiment de Cavalerie at your service."

His smile seemed both rigid and polite. Yet something in the back of her mind screamed that the reason for his deep bow was to take a closer look into her swimsuits cleavage than to follow the rigors of Southern Republic's military etiquette.

"Lieutenant Baden, Legion Noire."

He picked the bathrobe from the table and offered it to her. He maintained a smile that seemed at least to her to be innocent and hinting towards other less innocent pursuits at same time.

"Have I had the honor of seeing you in Discovery Day Ball?"

As she grabbed a white bathrobe from his hands she looked at man into eyes, "I think that you are mistaken for I did not attend it." She remembered that she was at that time somewhere in desert observing dunes in vain hope to meet her contact. To stop further inquiries she continued, "Besides, I would have been there with my husband. I hope you have a very good reason for coming to disturb my leave at my home and at my pool?"

He nodded changing his facial expression from smile into more serious one, "I would like to make a complaint of behavior of your daughter. She was stealing my son's toy, a football to be more precise, from my garden. I find this kind of behavior dishonorable and intolerable and I gave her a good lecture for that. I take that you will, as her mother, lecture her strongly of her crime."

Helios was shining hot into her eyes as she raised her precious Lisa to her arms. She knew he lied, just like that sleazy pig in Badlands had lied. She had always trusted her instincts in Badlands and she'd trust them in this matter too.

She raised her eyes back to match his and her voice got a new low tone when she replied, "You'll have my response. But right now I hope you'd leave. Preferably soon. Good bye."

(Republican Army Civil Affairs Corps)
35 Autumn TN1912

A small mine killed officer of Republican Army earlier this day. Military Police is quiet of exact circumstances of his death but stresses the importance of reporting all suspect objects to proper military authorities inside military bases.

According to Republican Army spokesperson Julia Ivan, "This is typical terrorist attack sponsored by our fanatical enemies. Cowardly Northern troops resort to this kind of tactics as they know they are no match to our troops in field."

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APAGear II Archives Volume 1, Number 1 December, 1998