APAGear II Volume 1, Number 1 December 31, 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 that was originally outrageously priced. She hadn't really given a thought to that price then and surely not today. 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 it should go. Her little daughter Lisa was somewhere in bushes playing the hide and seeks all by herself. In the meanwhile family's nanny was doing her never ending task of collecting all the toys that just a little bit earlier had been most important things in Lisa's life. 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 and had left everything behind her. Her soft toys and dolls were left littering ceramics next to pool while her little feet had taken the little girl into the greenery of her garden.

Something in those dolls lying around in sandy yellow ceramics around the pool reminded her of the Badlands. Bodies littering the sand had been last thing she had sawn of that cursed land as giant passenger door of helicopter had pulled up bringing her and her team back to civilization.

It had been yet another brutal encounter with the enemies in this never ending cold war between Eagle of South and Lion of North, at least in the history books. She knew what was really happening between the lies in the war diaries and official truth of unit histories. Somehow it had all become so bad. Everything was "on need to know basis only" and even then it seemed that no one wanted to even know or even care of the truth any ways.

Mission had been a nightmare from the very beginning. Every one in her very own team seemed determined to carry secret orders and personal agendas. That was bad but it got even worse when every contact they met in secret meetings seemed to be ready to wheel and deal their loyalties like shifting sands of desert. It had all been nothing but lies, a cover up and paranoia. Glory was nowhere to be seen.

However, bullets never lied and there was supposed to be glory in the battlefield. She had believed that at least in the very day she had sworn her oath to follow flags of Allied Southern Territories. That had been a long time ago. Her instructors had then told her over the bottle stories of secret wars in Badlands. They had described how entirely rational people became crazy there. They said that scorching rays of Helios burned mind away and replaced it with one of pure greed, paranoia, betrayal and lies. She has seen it all happen in her missions also.

Her contact's sweaty pig face and his greedy smile had turned into a mask of terror when he had finally realized who was who in the game. She had seen through his lies and realized at that moment what should be done to protect her team that was second only to her little Lisa in importance. Her bullets did not lie. Instead they had cleaved his head onto two halves and ended his lies in less than a second. Then blood had squirted to the desert sand while Helios was shining mercilessly in that hot day. It had been as hot as it was today.

That fight should not have happened as her team was supposedly among friends but it did and despite heavy casualties they had carried the day surviving the skirmish. That didn't surprise her at all for no one was in her line of work without extensive training and even more practice in killing people if it came to that.

She never had any kind of trouble in that work. She didn't keep herself as a stone cold killer as they said but she did admit that every time she pressed trigger and managed to drop enemy who had tried his damnedest to kill her she just felt great. It was just how she rationalized the crazy living in this Judas Syndrome period: You just killed or got killed in the process.

Her husband understood for he was also in the military although the rules regulated that spouses could not serve in same unit to avoid wiping out whole families. At times when she had had really bad nightmares he had comforted her. Lisa too came at those bad nights to hug her in the same way as she had slept with Lisa when her daughter had been afraid of thunderstorms. Lisa's faint childish words had always calmed her 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. Lisa was so much like she had been when she was very young and her mother had been working in similar kind of work as she did now.

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 of course very worried -for who mother wouldn't- yet she knew that for all probability Lisa had just fell and hurt her knee or something similar. A thing that was deathly worrisome to someone with less years than fingers in a hand, yet hardly a ground shaking problem.

Standing next to her chair she opened her arms as Lisa ran straight into her arms. With soothing calming words her mind turned from nightmares, death and destruction into more motherly concerns as she smiled to her dear daughter hoping for Lisa 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 her. Lisa noticed that man too and hugged her mother as much as she could with her little hands shaking from fear and worry.

She wasn't a so worried of he being enemy soldier from North. It would require great amount of daring and acceptance of even greater amount of casualties to strike into the military city where her family was based. Rules stipulated for certain number of weapons to be held in every home in case of such a surprise attack but having seen in practice what bullets do the idea of firearms accident at home was too great a risk in her mind to warrant for guns.

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 that she had probably picked up from some dead in the field and completely forgotten it afterwards. It had been a little button mine. 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 to create general havoc among enemies or any civilian unfortunate enough to step on one. One she had brought her home was manufactured in North but it had no difference 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 a very 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 in her last mission.

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

His bow was 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 to the letter.

"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 happy and hinting towards other less innocent pursuits at the 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 in my pool?"

He nodded changing his facial expression from smile into more serious one, "I would like to make a complaint to you of behavior of your daughter. She has been stealing my son's toys, 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. As her mother I take that you will lecture her in more strong way of her crimes."

Helios was shining hot into her eyes as she raised her precious Lisa to her arms. She knew he lied, just like that fat 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."

Back to APAGear II

APAGear II Volume 1, Number 1 December 31, 1998