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In The Army Now
By Mega Raichu
Part 5

Battle. Some men live for it, others die because of it. Battle. The most important, and the most deadly element of war. Battle. That which destroys men, homes, and families. Will Surge survive the upcoming battle? And if he does, will he be able to tell Sophie that he killed a man? Will he be able to tell her that he allowed someone to die? Will he be able to tell her that he saw a man die, right in front of him, and he did nothing to stop it?

The water was calm as the transport ship hit shore. The large cargo door opened and men began to pour out, Surge's team first. The air was warm and a thick blanket of fog covered the beach. Surge could make out the forest ahead of him and several large palm trees scattered around the beach. He could see no sign of the soldiers they were here to back up. After the last of the men left the ship, the ship turned and left. Surge began to have an uneasy feeling. There was something wrong with the fog. It smelled...

"Artificial." Surge blurted.

"Sir?" Gentleman asked.

"The fog. It isn't natural." Surge said.

Everything happened at the same time. Someone shouted "ambush!", pokémon materialized in front of them, then bullets began to rip through the air. None of the soldiers had time to release their pokémon. The other team leaders began to bark orders to return fire. Surge followed suit and shouted to his men, most of which were already firing back. Surge already had his weapon in hand and was quickly depleting his clip. Surge needed time to think. Then he remembered the palm trees. He called out to nearby soldiers to fall back to the trees. They complied. Surge was nearing the end of his clip. As he reached his last bullet, he had a fresh clip in his hand, fired the final bullet, dropped the empty clip and quickly slammed the fresh clip into his gun and resumed firing. He had stopped firing for two seconds. Need to improve on that, he thought. He backed up as he fired. He then bumped into a solid object. He fired off two more rounds and twirled around behind the tree he had backed into. Two bullets grazed the tree. Surge ducked as the bullets ricocheted of the tree. He quickly turned and fired back into the fray, emptying his clip and the got back behind the cover of the tree. As he reloaded his gun, he heard a pokémon scream. He wasn't sure what pokémon it was. It was a gargling scream. Though he never heard that kind of scream before, he knew exactly what it was, a death scream. He finished loading his gun, but did not fire this time. He looked around, looking for a path to safety. Then he saw it, like a proverbial yellow brick road. A large group of trees, west of their position, that led into thick forest, and it wasn't too far away. Surge turned to the soldiers. A few members of his team that he could recognize were in earshot. He shouted at them, and motioned towards the group of trees. They all nodded. A few of them ran towards the rest of the soldiers to relay Surge's message, while the rest ran towards the trees. After a few had gone past him, Surge himself ran towards the trees. As he ran, he covered his head with his left hand, and gun under his left elbow, was shooting towards the enemy. His clip went empty. He didn't bother to reload. He just kept running. As he ran, the sounds of the battle faded, and so did the fog. Things began to get clearer. He came to a small clearing, but before he could enter, he was pulled back by his shirt collar. He didn't remember losing his backpack. He turned, with fists ready to fight. But he lowered his fists when he saw Gentleman staring back at him. Surge breathed a sigh of relief.

"Alright. We need to stay here and wait for anyone else to come this way." Surge said.

Soldiers nodded and moved away. Surge motioned at Gentleman.

"How many right now?" Surge asked.

"Ten. But were expecting more. We've already set up a security perimeter. If anything comes through, we'll have a ten second head start." Gentleman said.

"Good. Keep me posted." Surge said.

And so they waited. And waited. And waited. Soon night fell. Only five extra men had arrived. They had no idea where the rest of them had gone. The night air was cool. Someone had made a small bon fire, and many of the men were gathered around it, others were at the perimeter. Surge stared deep into the fire. Several of the men had let out their pokémon. Surge had let Raichu out as well. Raichu was sitting close to the fire to keep warm. Surge stood up. There was no one above the rank of PFC in his group. He turned to Gentleman.

"We'll move on tomorrow." Surge said.

"But what if more men come?" Gentleman asked.

"Then five men will stay here. You and eight others will come with me." Surge said.

Surge sat down next to Gentleman and, with a stick, drew a small map of the island with an X showing their current position and a big O showing the HQ.

"We'll swing around the west end of the island and hit the HQ from the side. I know that we're a small force, but I remember, from the reconnaissance photos, a satellite dish on the west side of the HQ. There must be a communications center there. We need to relay what happened down here back to Kanto." Surge said. "We move out at first light tomorrow. You choose the five men that will stay behind. If any more men come, have them come after us, we'll need the back up."

Gentleman got up and went out to the perimeter to relay the news to the other soldiers. Everyone was looking over at him. He cleared his throat.

"I know we've lost most of our team, and some of you aren't even on my team. But we need to make the best of our situation. Tomorrow morning at day break, except for the five men that Gentleman chooses, we will go around the west side of the island and then infiltrate the HQ from there. I know it's a long shot, but it's all we have to work with right now. The five that Gentleman will choose will stay behind to wait for any other possible soldiers. Once they are ready, they need to come after us. We will need the back up. Hopefully, we will find a communication center and hopefully get some back up or at least some air support." Surge said. "So lets get some rest. We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow."

Heads nodded and Surge could hear murmurs of agreement as he propped himself up against a tree. Raichu planted himself next to Surge and the both of them finally nodded off.

Surge blinked his eyes as the bright rays of the sun shined through the trees. Several of the men were already awake and ready. Surge had gathered as much gear as he could find the night before and was ready to go. After Surge had checked his equipment, all the other men were awake. Surge took his small gathering of soldiers and started heading west. Raichu walked alongside him. The island was breathtaking. The entire island was surrounded by beach. There was a large mountain that shot up from the center of the island. Surge could see the HQ, built right into the mountain face. Then he looked up and saw several planes and flying pokémon, guarding the air space. The forest covered the rest of the island. It was a thick jungle. Without a compass, you'd surely get lost quickly. They walked on for what seemed like hours before they came upon something strange. A small village was nestled in the foothills. Surge sent a scout to check it out. The scout came back minutes later, reporting that the village seemed abandoned. Surge felt uneasy but marched into the village. It was quiet. Deathly quiet. The village was quite primitive. Just a bunch of straw huts built in a circle around a larger dirt circle. In the center of the circle was a small pile of burnt wood. Some of the men began to get nervous. But before Surge could ease their fears, it happened. They came out of nowhere. They were surrounded in mere moments. No one had time to react. They were surrounded by men who, by their looks, were natives. They were tall, tanned, and wore skins and grass and were holding large spears. They were all speaking a strange language. Surge had to do something.

"Um, we come in peace!" Surge said.

There was some murmuring and then a voice shot out from behind the natives.

"Hold it!" The ranks of natives parted to reveal an older native holding a large wooden cave. "These men are from the country of Kanto. They have come to free us from the Rockets."

The natives began to murmur amongst themselves and quickly lowered their weapons. The older native approached Surge.

"I am the leader of this tribe." The older native said. "I am called Fritz, the elder of the Northern Island. You are all welcome in this place."