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0028. Captain Bradley's Shot.jpg

The First Day - Empira

It was a day of fighting unlike Jane had ever experienced. This was no skirmish over a border. This was real war, but not the war that Captain Jane and her company had been training for. 

Her forces had been relieved as the sun had been dropping. Somehow she had survived the day, moving from trench to trench, firing shot after shot. The rifle in her hands had a scrape down one side from when she had lept into the fox hole. Her uniform had a tear down one arm from when that strange tentacle had lunged at her and missed by barely a hair. She didn’t know where her hat had ended up, and a new one was thrust into her hands by a terrified looking quartermaster as she entered the barracks tent.

“How’s the front line?” he asked her. There had been so much chaos at the front, no one was quite sure what they were fighting, or where the next threat might come from.

Jane paused before responding, collecting her thoughts. There was no point in hiding the truth from this poor soldier. He may well need to be defending this base tomorrow if things didn’t turn around.

“It’s bad, private” she said, “But we are learning. These bizarre invaders are unlike anything we have ever seen before. They don’t seem to follow any rules of war. Their doctrine is unlike any conventional military tactics. They use technology different to anything I’ve ever seen; burning beams of light, and they seem to be able to jump around the battlefield without a second thought. The others are worse though… I don’t think we could even call it technology. It’s more like some kind of magic from my ma’s faerie stories. But it’s so much darker.”

Jane shuddered as she remembered the ground in front of her feet disappearing suddenly into a gaping void of reality itself. She tried not to think about what may have happened to the men who had been marching not two steps ahead of her. Nothing had yet come back out of these holes in reality.

Suddenly, the officer’s training kicked in as she saw the colour drain from the young quartermaster’s face. This was no way for a commander to speak to her unit. It was her duty to build her soldier’s confidence, not tear them down.

“But all the same, they die to our bullets, just like anything else. Tomorrow we will have reinforcements and push them back! We have defended Empira for centuries and we won’t falter now. They will see what we can really do tomorrow.” She flashed him a smile and saw some colour come back to his cheeks. She wished that she felt as confident as her voice sounded. But that was all that could be done. Now she needed sleep. She would need all her strength and wits about her to keep her company alive tomorrow.

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