“Everyone, oxygen check.” said the captain.
The crew erupted out in a mixture voices stating all different numbers but they all fell below halfway empty. They erupted into another panic. Most of them swiftly deciding that they were all going to die and that they should leave and make way to reach their destination now—through the night. “But if the storm changes course and comes back,” Jessie spoke, stridently, “We will all die.”
“Listen,” said the captain. “We all have just under eight hours of oxygen left. We have about a three hour hike to destination M.E., and the way I see it, that leaves us with two options. One: we stay in this shit-hole like Jessie requested, sleep for a few hours, then head out with the energy to make the trip without me carryin’ ya’ll sorry sons o’ bitches all the way there. We gon’ need to watch that storm, though. Once she gets far enough away we’ll cut our sleep short and leave. Or, option two: we roll the dice with that gorgeous monstrosity. We catch our breaths an’ head out in T-minus fifteen minutes—GOD DAMN I’m hungry.”
“Captain,” Jessie said. “Whether we sleep or not, we need to wait out the storm. It would be both hasty and reckless of us to go out and lose more men to that thing. If we are going to freeze to death tonight, it will happen regardless if we stay or not. The temperature usually drops to its low-point within an hour or two of nightfall.”
The voices in the cave began to converse. The decisions were split. Men of the same squads were arguing with the other squads. The crew was divided straight down the middle. Jessie kept quiet. The captain was standing outside the cave admiring the storm. Jessie was watching him; this made her feel sick. She put her hand on her stomach and sat down next to Jon who was, too, watching the storm. His head rested on the cave’s wall. She peered at his face as a single tear rolled down his cheek. The crew kept arguing until they gave up and drifted unconscious…
* * *
“AHOY! This is primetime war coverage coming atcha’ from all across the globe,” an alarm clock sounded a radio signal. “Today, we have General Henri Schmidtin here to provide some feedback on outstanding victories from numerous battlefields.” Jack woke up from his exhausted sleep. Not the most cheerful of things to wake up to, but he needs to hear it.
The clock read, 4:30am.
He rose out of bed, slow and stiff.
I’m not cut out for this shit. Construction, why the hell did I ever sign up for construction? I guess it’s better than being out there—I guess…
“Right, well, I have some truthfully outstanding news today, Tom,” said General Henri over the radio. “The United States military has finally claimed China as American territory. No one will be able to live here for quite some time, however, due to the extreme PMI levels, BUT this is still a huge victory for all of America.”
This didn’t feel like a victory for Jack. Because of this war, the few who did not get drafted are stuck in a different America. The country had morphed within the last twenty years. It had been so focused on claiming other territory that the government has completely and utterly forgotten its homeland.
Every morning Jack left the alarm radio rambling in the background as he prepared himself for work. He let it ramble and ramble and ramble on until he was ready to step out the door.
He dragged his body to the bathroom and proceeded to brush his teeth.
The scratchy sound of the radio was muffled outside of the bathroom door…
To be continued…
(The rest of the story is in progress)