Did I ever believe for a moment that the mission would go as planned? Not even a little bit. I told the higher ups the plan and they didn’t question it due to my reputation, but I told my crew the truth. I told them what they didn’t want to hear and they still followed me into battle, ready and willing to die if need be. We weren’t on a suicide mission that day. We’ve been through worse and died a long time ago. We were ghost sent to war and we came back alive, what does that tell you?
On that morning we disguised ourselves as civilians and made our way through the guerilla checkpoint. It was easy enough, our skin burnt by the sun and our eyes weary from our long standing station in the area. Weapons were concealed in sacks of rice which we carried over our shoulders. It was something the locals had been doing as well, moving valuables so that way the guerillas didn’t steal them.
Once into the main city we set about finding a place to hole up. Half the city was guerillas and the other half were civilians, but despite the population most buildings were empty. Their defences were well set up, but it wouldn’t be difficult to slip past them in the night. We decided to wait two nights before moving in towards the main centre where the guerilla HQ was set up. We chose that day in particular because of the heat.
Every soldier would be forced to endure the hot sun and burning sands while we waited in a relatively cool, empty building. By the time night had come the soldiers were replaced. The new ones on outer defenses were strong and keen eyed, but the ones inside were disoriented, tired and weak. Like I stated earlier, slipping inside at night was easy, but we couldn’t risk fully aware soldiers once we were in.
Before midnight we were nearing the HQ when we heard the explosion. A nearby truck had maintenance issues and my team and I scrambled for the nearest hideout. Poor mechanics in the guerilla force was always our decided advantage, but now we had to wait for the very alert soldiers to quiet down. The fire was put out and the truck left to burn.
Our time was running short and the HQ was within sight. All we needed to do was get inside. It was upon this juncture that I decided to handle things on my own while my team watched my back. Taking explosives in hand I snuck around patrols until I reached the HQ building. You have seen the intel, the building was tall and almost unscalable, but its structural integrity was jeopardized. With all that fire power inside it would take only a small explosive in the right area to create the massive fireball we needed.
Further intel told us which side of the building the bulk of the munitions were kept. It was there that I placed the explosives of our own and fled, team following close behind. There were moments that I wondered if I had set the explosives right, not being a demolition expert afterall. It was then that the city was lit up by fire and every hostile turned the safety off their guns. Eyes searched for us everywhere and we knew that it would be next to impossible to escape the perimeter that they had set up. I didn’t like where things were going, but fortune favoured us once more with a distraction. Civilians were being targeted, guns were fired and that provided us with a useful distraction to escape into the forests.
“It is not the efficacy of your mission, Rogers,” the judge stated simply. “It is the the fact that you jeopardized so many lives in the process. True, we wanted the guerilla leaders destroyed, but when it comes to cutting the head off of this snake two more grow back. In this case, five. Once faction was easy to manage and to track, but now we have to mount a full-scale offensive and baby-sit every single civilian that is in the area. Your mission was to destroy a supply truck, one that has now gone missing, presumed to be in the control of one of these five factions.”
“I know my mission, sir,” I explained. “These smaller factions are easy to remove. Simple strikes, even by drones, can set things straight once more. The sooner the-”
“You fail to realize the gravity of the situation, Rogers. This trial is not here to hear your story, but to decide which punishment is suitable for jeopardizing such a mission. Many wish to discharge you for your actions, throw you back into society, but I have something far more beneficial to everyone here, including you.”
It was then that the judge sent me out of the room and I was imprisoned for three weeks. After those weeks passed I was released, flown near the guerillas and dropped with nothing but my knife into the area. I was told that I was no longer a soldier to be recognised. Since I claimed so confidently that I was a ghost in the eyes of the officials they were quite happy to throw me to the wolves pretend I was no longer a soldier.
With that small information I realized I was free from everything. Restrictions and limits to what I can and can’t do. By that same token I had no team, I had to resources and I had no hope, save for my own, that I would get through all this alive. Still, I took what was given to me gladly and marched through that jungle.
If anyone was going to make a difference it was going to be me. There was no safehouse to return to, I was alone with my thoughts and ambitions. Trust me, in those moments I was terrified, expecting death at every instant, but once you get used to gathering our own intel and calling your own shots, you are more than just a ghost. You’re a demon in war.
Be sure to follow!