A Call of Duty

Overhead and behind him the sky was going from day-blue to dusk-purple.

Casting shadows behind the tall giant like columns of rock that lay before Johnson. In front of him the sun hung low, a quivering red disc, although day was coming to an end, it was still overwhelmingly hot. Not like back home on earth. But this was not Earth. Where was it? A planet which seemed to be an arid wasteland with no vegetation as far the eye could see, just rocks. At least he could shelter from the persistent drying wind and flying grit from his eyes and lips.Four days ago he’d managed to manoeuvre his damaged hole-stricken vessel to land on the planet that was home to his enemy.

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Johnson’s chances of survival were very slim. In fact minute. Scared, nervous, frightened he felt none of these not even a word in his vocabulary. The only thing that worried him was never seeing his family again.

The academy had trained him to deal with these sorts of situations: how to deal with the enemy; how to survive and finally how to die. If captured, there was no telling if he would be drugged, interrogated for secrets of Alpha Force, or die a gruesome death.Rumours suggested non-human creatures were flesh-eating cannibals who loved nothing more than deep, warm, rich blood. But these were just rumours. In these circumstances, the academy’s training taught him that he must take the suicide pill. He would have to die. For one person’s life, all humanity on earth maybe saved. He should be watching his back.

At least one of his guns should be in his hand. Instead, he used both hands to adjust his cap, and then to slip the sand-lenses off. He used them as a mirror, briefly, to make sure that his face was not blistering from the sun’s radiation or the wind’s rasp.Swiftly, Johnson replaced his lenses and scanned the horizon for any sign of movement it was just like an empty stage waiting for the next performance. The purple sky was the same, no clouds, no stars, no aircraft, no enemy ready to strike and no rescue mission. There was no sound.

Was it just him? Alone. So certain of this, the rescue transponder was transmitting on three frequencies allowing him to detect any signs of his comrades or mother-ship. Surely they must be searching for him by now. Or had they given up hope of finding him? This is a question he could not answer.Perhaps the atmosphere was different the radio signals could not reach him. One thousand questions went through his mind.

Where are they? That little voice in the back of his conscience was getting more familiar. No Johnson thought I must concentrate; I must clear my thoughts and have no doubts, for it was him who misled the Genosian gunships away from battle giving his allies a chance to attack. What a battle it was! The battle plan was straight forward, if everything had gone to plan the Genosian mother-ship would have been sabotaged and neutralised. But it all went incredibly wrong; Alpha Force’s strategies had not worked.Alpha Force did not expect such a vast number of opponents on such a large scale. There magnitude was startling.

The Genosians launched a severe counter attack, with their swift, rapid star fighters whose wing like claws opened to reveal deadly quad laser battery cannons lighting up the sky. An array of luminous colours and explosive sounds against the dark pitch black galaxy looked from a distance like all firework nights ever staged merged into one fantastic carnival. It was not firework night it was a battle fought with bravery, strength and honour. Johnson was one of these people especially, his sacrifice which saved so many lives.

His actions were straight forward; the simple flanking from the rear of the allies, he swept round and assaulted the enemy star fighters when they were in formation. Playing cat and mouse Johnson drew them away whilst his comrades offensively attacked the enemy mother ship. Johnson knew this manoeuvre was risky but beneficial not only to Alpha Force but to the world. He paid the heavy price. His stealth hunter star fighter ship shredded to pieces of shrapnel spiralled out of control. Only a man of his skills could survive, landing the battered craft in the midst of the planet he is presently on now, waiting for rescue.Johnson quickly jolted himself to get him back to reality. He’d been day dreaming.

He could not afford to do that – not here, not now. All he needed to do was get off this planet, back to a base ….

His timer shook silently against his wrist. Water. He dug into his left leg pouch, fingers counting over the sealed bulbs. Ten. That meant that there were still ten in the right leg pouch.

Johnson finished his water, uncurled himself, stretched, and danced several fight moves to bring up his attention level. Feeling considerably refreshed, he moved around another forbidding rock, heading down.