© 2023 by Carmen Lee Reid

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Front - Book 2

April 25, 2016

A computer key board is tapping. Outside the sounds of war are off in the distance. Front is sitting inside a mobile printing press caravan ran by a generator. She is finishing her daily reports. Front is a petite woman with dark brown wavy long hair. She is of African decent and has freckles. She wears a pinch front dark green felt hat, a lace body suit and a shoulder holster. She wipes her hands on her jeans and looks at the headline. It reads “Mind Hacking in the Trenches the Army's Revolutionary Betrayal.” She sits back and takes a puff on her e-liquid metal pipe. A voice comes from nowhere “You need to Move.” Front replies “I know.” She is alone in the caravan. She mutters again “Where is the next counteraction?” The voice returns “Head North.” Front looks up and an image of a soldier is present. She closes her laptop and moves to the driver seat. She starts the engine and drives off. She navigates the caravan through the war ridden terrain. As she pushes the drive forward. The voice comes to her again. “Three hours in advance.” Front puffs on her vaporizer and exhales “Blasted Telepathy, I still need to print the distribution and deliver it before the attacks begin. I feel like a messenger pigeon.” The soldiers voice is still. “You can help save lives. The antagonists are using mind hacking to angle their attack, they must not find out about us. Deliver the underground press to the soldiers in the trenches and then to the refugees in the warp. Be ready for the next press release.” Front leans on into the early morning as the sun rises, the air is like dust and poppies. Ahead she recognizes the ruins of warfare trenches she pulls the vehicle to the side. Turning off the engine she quickly grabs a gas can and fuels up the generator attached to the outside of the caravan. Returning to the cabin she starts the printing press. She turns on a radio and begins to tap on an old fashioned Morse code machine and signals the trenches ahead. There is a pause as she looks carefully at her surroundings. The J-38 begins to responds rapidly, she picks up the message translation as she pencils it out on a pad of paper.

 

The message reads:

News bulletin welcome. Do you carry metals or ammunition?

Looking around at the caravan she taps her reply:

No metals or ammunition. I am on foot.

 

Kind regards, 

The Underground News Organization. 

 

Grabbing a ruck sack from an overhead compartment she puts a few items in it. She starts up the vehicle and drives it completely out of site and into the brush. The armies will loot the car for metals if they see it. Front turns off the vehicle. Taking a couple copies of the underground newspaper she puts in to her ruck sack. She locks the caravan and begins her decent into the trenches. As she nears the soldiers she drops to the ground and signals them from her radio pack. A soldier pops up to signal her the rest of the way into the camp. As she makes her way into the camp a man in dark suit like apparel approaches her and introduces himself. “Captain Franks self appointed Major. You bring news?” He asks in a questioning manner. “Yes, it's in my bag.” Front replies, reaching into her bag and pulling out the bulletin. “I am 3 hours in advance. I need your reports please, then if you could directions to the nearest warp entrance.” She pulls out her note pad. The Captain looks at her firmly and mutters. “Affirmative. As for reports. We got ammunition for the cannons not for our guns. Infantry brigadier General Barrows over on that side. Pointing to the south side of the trenches. It is no accident that our artillery is now pounding the trench to which the 3rd company has retreated. It was I who gave the order. The men turned tail, the cowards retreated, they fled when faced with the enemy. The objective they had been given was crucial. We must overrun the antagonist positions before December, cost be damned. It is part of our plans for the winter offensive by shooting at the 3rd Company, I want to force the men to re-emerge in order to begin the assault anew. General Barrows decided that the execution of three men would satisfy him. They were picked at random by the platoon commanders. They were court-martialed and sentenced to die by firing squad. Private John Dunn was among them. The warps refugee camp and hospital grounds. Is about half and hour North west of here you will see a toll taker. You need to move now. Please send word that we need metals, melted and molded into bullets immediately! Now excuse me I have to prepare for war.” Front interrupts. “One more thing Major, do you have food rations?” He pulls some jerky from his inside pocket and tears it in half. With hesitation in his voice he hands it to her. “Not many.” The soldier who motioned her in asks. “Do you know your way back messenger pigeon?” Front nods silently as she turns to make her way out of the trenches. She quietly and quickly makes her way back to the the caravan. Once inside she checks her compass, starts the engine begins the 3 mile drive North West. It begins to rain as soon as she gets the toll booth into her view. Slowing the vehicle as she approaches the booth. She rolls down the window and asks. “What's the toll?” The toll taker is a transformed man. Half soldier the other side is without definition. He growls back. “That Depends.” Front is quick to offer the newspaper handing it to him. “This details the wars movement over the last 3 weeks. I am 3 hours advance. Can you distribute?” She asks. He shakes his head. “I can not leave my post.” Looking down. “My feet have become ground. If I do not allow your pass I will shake the earth until you slip through the cracks of the Earth and into Hell.” Front looks into his eyes. “Is that what the warp is, a passage to Hell?” The toll taker laughs. “It can be.” Front turns backward towards the trenches. “The Major sends a request for metals, they need ammunition.” The toll taker responds. “Then you may proceed. You are on a time limit. When you re-emerge those trenches may be under siege. Are you aware of the side effects if you overstay your time limit?” Front looks ahead at the warp. “Yes, toll taker I am aware.” She drives forward. Once inside the warps city limits she can see the commotion of refuge and poverty. She pulls over to the side of the road on a busy street and gets out with the newspapers in her hand. Front bellows loudly. “Freedom of Press! 3 Hour advance! Wartime news!” A man approaches, others begin to come closer for the word. Front continues talking and begins handing out the press release. “There is an advance in 3 hours time just outside this warp. Able bodies and metals are needed.” There is a bustle as more people gather. Then silence. Front gets an uneasy feeling looks up at the crowd and asks. “What's the matter.” The group is uneasy. Finally, a man speaks up. “It's the 3 hour advance mam. Heaven and Hell are advancing.” The man points to the hills on the outer limits of the city as the crowds part. Front can see Heaven and Hells soldiers in formation. Front in shock questions. “Has anyone approached the armies.” “No!” Comes a reply. “A rider rode through about an hour ago, screaming about the link to humanity, that Heaven and Hell agree that the war must end.” “It's true, Heaven and Hell are advancing.”

 

 

To be continued.

 

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