Glory for the Faithful

Ash falls from the sky like softly falling snow. The cold wind and the heat of the burning building nearby fight over me. I’m standing, back against the wall with twenty other people I’ve never met. Daverian Troopers are preparing to execute us, the order was sent down and it’s time for us to enter Paradise. Had I known this was my last day would I have? When I woke up this morning, told my wife “I love you” and left for work, did I know that was the last I would see her? We knew the Sorecrians were fighting our forces on the planet, but I never expected we would lose the battle and the situation would degrade to the point that the Troopers had to execute civilians. To think of how quickly things changed today…

“Ladies and Gentlemen, you know things will be changing soon, Daverius reigns over the empire, but is he really watching every action of every Daverian? Did anyone think it was strange that Lord Errel of this star system handed over control to High General Vaesan? Errel and the planetary governors gave us up. They knew the Sorecrians were coming and gave no warning. When the battle is over and if our boys win, Lord Errel will demand more money for better defenses. It’s like I’ve been saying all along…Casualties! Equals! Profit! My informant in that spaceport told me he saw military guarded containers being loaded onto drop ships. I’m telling you, they have the means to end this war today! We have lost half the planet! Now, I’ve just had something brought to my attention. General Vaesan, the man charged with our safety, has given an order-”

I turned off the radio. I didn’t believe what that theorist psycho was saying, but there wasn’t much else on to listen to. The Sorecrians made a hard push overnight and taken several miles northward. They would be in the city soon, the Spaceport had fallen yesterday and it was only a matter of time.  I wanted to pick my wife up and head home, we needed to discuss how to get off the planet. I wasn’t going to stay here and die with everyone else. Although I doubt there was a way off anymore…

The city had fallen into chaos on the outer edges, but in the center it looked like there wasn’t even a war going on. A hint of panic was in the air, no one knew what to do. Many people were stocking up on supplies, the weapon vendors were almost out of stock. Troopers were everywhere keeping order. The Troopers looked nervous, they knew the situation better than any of us and seeing them afraid made me uneasy.

Turning down the street where she worked I was shocked by what I saw. Troopers were stopping cars and had a roadblock set up at the intersection ahead of me. Civilians were being led in a line down the street, I feared what was happening and got out of my car. I wondered if the military was doing an evacuation the people off the planet, but I’d never heard of one before.

“Sir, I need you to come with me.” A Trooper said as he approached.

“What’s happening?”

“Please come with me.”

I followed him and he led me to the line of other civilians.

“Wait in this line sir, don’t leave.”

I knew to stay in the line, they would gun me down if I ran, but it wasn’t fear for my life that made me want to run, I just wanted to see my wife again. I would call her, but all towers were being used for the military use. Satellites in orbit were destroyed, so I had no way to reach her. I could only pray for her safety…

“What do you think is happening?”

“I think it’s an evacuation.”

I overheard the couple in front of me. I wasn’t the only one curious. Why would they not tell us where we’re going?

“They can’t protect us anymore, the Sorecrians are winning and they know it.”

“Do you think we’re the only evacuation point?”

“I doubt it. It would become too congested if it was. Our forces are losing though, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they put everyone in one place to evacuate them.”

Hearing that I realized, he was right. The battle was almost over. The city was burning, the skies were darkened with smoke. The city I grew up in, a shining jewel of prosperity in this star system, was now a ruin. I wanted to cry, I had many great memories here and now it was all coming to an end. The diner at the corner of the intersection was where I took my wife on our first date.

“INCOMING! SCATTER!”A Trooper said as he ran through the intersection.

I looked up and felt myself moving, hope had found place in my heart and I was running to the nearest building. Sorecrian rocket fire rained down all over the city. The Troop Carrier before me exploded and knocked me on my back. While I lay on my back I saw a large ship fly over the buildings around me. It took a full minute for it to pass overhead. Then sound and my senses came rushing back to me. I got up quickly and kept running. Now was my chance to find my wife.

I looked back and I was the only one on the street still alive, the Troopers and civilians were covered in a sea of fire and explosions that leveled several buildings. I reached a building and threw myself into the doorway. Dirt and ash covered my body, I was tired and wanted to sit down, but I needed to find her. I realized I was in my wife’s work place, it looked evacuated.

“This is Sergeant Terrem! We’re forming a rally point on Erema Street! All units head there! The Sorecrians are charging into the city!”

I heard heavy boots pounding the ground nearby. More Troopers were alive than I thought and I’m sure they would kill me if they saw me. So I moved through the shadows, keeping my movement low and fast. I didn’t want to die here, I was a block away from my wife’s job. I just needed to make it through these buildings. While I crept I could hear the Troopers talking nearby.

“How close are the Sorecrians if the city’s getting shelled already?”

“I don’t know, but we gotta get to the rally point.”

I peeked through a broken window and saw the two Troopers covering each other as they moved across a courtyard. Suddenly the speaker system for the city came to life with a message for the civilians.

“People of Vae’ Somm! Daverius needs you to serve his will! Go to the nearest Trooper and you will be given your duties. Do not run! Do not show fear. Daverius demands this of you all! We need you now more than ever!”

Were civilians being issued weapons? I had heard of civilian platoons being formed in the past to help fight, I would have a better chance of finding my wife if she was joining too. I looked at the Troopers, the two of them were still moving forwards. I ran out to them waving my hands and it didn’t take long for them to see me.

“Freeze! Arms up!” They shouted at me.

“Hey, take it easy! I heard the message, I want to join the fight!”

“Sure…let’s go.”

They had me go in front of them and kept close behind me. I could hear them whispering to each other and realized I had made a mistake.

“Should we just do it now?”

“Sergeant may want the head count.”

“We can just say the number.”

“We’re close to the others, we’ll just put him with the rest.”

“Uh…where are we going?” I asked hoping they weren’t talking about killing me.

“There’s a…group of people ahead, we’re taking you there to form up.”

“Oh okay.”

Around the corner several Troopers were waiting and about twenty civilians were standing with their backs against a building. I had definitely made a mistake, one I would pay for with my life. Now, I stand here, in line before the Troopers waiting for my end. I would never see my wife again, safety was a luxury I would never know, and my beautiful home was a smoking ruin…praise be to Daverius…