Red Dawn IV

Driving home from work last night, I was struck with the inspiration of where to take this story. Enjoy.

Red Dawn IV

"James, can you hear my voice?"
"James, could you open your eyes for me, now?"
My eyes? How do my eyes open, again? Instinctually, they fluttered open as the world around me exploded in a frightening display of colors, painful colors. I tried to rip my hands up towards my face to shield myself, but felt I was restrained to this bed.
"James, James! Please, calm yourself, it will only take a moment for your eyes to regain focus"
As the white blob had predicted, the disorienting swirl of colors eventually ordered themselves into shapes and distinctions. I was in a hospital bed, the room splashed golden by a rising sun creeping through the shades on the window. A group of men and women in hospital attire were clustered around the bed, looking on expectantly. One man, with a brown moustache and matching hair, spoke up when James met eyes with him.
"Welcome back, James. We've been caring for you a very long time now, guiding you to recovery, comforting you"
Comforting me? What is going on right now, who are these people?
"Who are you? Where am I?
"We understand that you are confused, James. I am Dr. Fredrickson, and these" He gestured to those around him, "are my fellows who have nursed you back to health. You are in the long term recovery ward of Nesre City Hospital"
"What? Long-term recovery?"
"Yes, James, we've kept you in a coma for the last few months now, to aid in your recovery. Lately, we've been doing work to reverse the atrophy your body went through after months in traction"
I'm stunned. Words die halfway up my throat. The people around me are viewing me with sympathy and care. The last thing I remember, well, I don't remember at all. I was running out towards my patrol boat, some mission or another. My vocal chords untwist themselves enough to croak out a few words.
"How long?"
"You've been recovering for almost ten months today"
Ten months.
"We are aware how much of a shock this must be, James. Much has happened since you came to us, and there is much more we need to talk about before you leave us. Come with me, let's go for a walk"
The restraints on my arms and legs vanished. I reached up, and touched my hand to my face. I don't remember my hand being this numb, but it's probably just a side effect. I look up at the doctor and he only smiles. I swing one leg over the side of the bed, then the other. Suddenly, my mnind was filled with smoke, klaxons, and pain, and image which left just as quickly as it came. I look up, shocked.
"What was that, doctor?"
"A flashback, perhaps? We'll talk as we walk, come now, it's important"
Fredrickson took me by the arm and helped me up. Those assembled spread apart to let us by, then slowly filed out after us. The doctor turned me towards a bank of lifts to take us to ground level. As we descended, he spoke.
"James, what is the last thing you remember?"
"I was rushing towards my patrol boat, on some mission for cutoms. I had bumped my head getting ready. Yuri woke me up, and I had had some sort of nightmare. That's all"
The Doctor nodded, and continued.
"James, you got on that boat. Your mission was to detain a group of smugglers trying to make a run off planet. They launched, and you went into pursuit with them"
"Sounds like me"
A half hearted attempt at a joke
"They opened fire, you responded. You and your crew were able to disable the frigate-"
"Yes, Frigate, but not without taking heavy damage to your boat. However, you were able to activate the emergency flush and, with the aid of some fighters from Spacedock, you were able to pilot your ship towards Spacedock, giving the rescue crews enough time to save you and your crew."
The lift reached the ground floor, and the doctor stepped off before continuing. I didn't listen to his next words, something about honors I received. My concern laid with my crew, my friends, and their well-being. Walking outside, I found myself in a sizeable garden, enclosed within adobe walls. Holding my shoulder, he guided me along the brick walkways and sat me down on a bench. Looking towards the rising sun, he spoke out.
"James, I know what you're thinking about right now, but I've got to take care of you right now, you are what is most important."
He reached over the side of the bench, and picked up a fist sized rock, placing it in my right hand.
"Dr, what is this?"
"A strength test. Just squeeze as hard as you can"
Slightly befuddled, I got a grip on the stone before squeezing, though my arm was still numb. To my shock, the stone splintered into several pieces. It just splintered, a small palmful of rubble was left in my hand. No, this can't be true, it just can't. I looked up at the doctor, my face a mixture of shock, fear, and beffudlement.
"I'm afraid so, James."
He reached for my arm, and depressed his fingers in the center of the bottom of my forearm. watching in shock, the top of my forearm sperated, and lifted up and forward. Fredrickson gingerly removed what I had thought moments ago to be my flesh and blood. Underneath, thousands of strands wove together. On the back of my forearm panel was some form of diagnostic. I flexed my hand, watching but not believing as those mechanical muscles flexed and released in time. I looked at the doctor again, pleadingly.
"You must understand, james, this was our only option. And it doesn't end there. You were in terrible shape when they brought you to us. Here, take this"
Fredrickson handed me a tablet with a model of a human being on it. As he replaced my forearm, tears came to my eyes as I interpreted what this was showing me. From the shoulder down, the right arm on the model was colored red. No, it didn't stop there. My right leg, too, from the hip down was colored red. A third of my pelvis. Ribs replaced. Kidney removed. Spleen removed. Several vertebrae a dark red, artificial disks, half my jawbone, and a motley collection of digits in my remaining feet and hands. The doctor put his hand on my back.
"James, we're helping you to cope with this. Through the last few months we've been putting your subconcious through a sort of therapy to help you deal with the stress when you found out. I know you don't remember, but it's why you havn't broken down."
So much of my body....isn't mine
"You have to understand, you were barely clinging to life when you were brought in. It's a miracle you are where you are today"
"What about everyone else? Yuri? Jani? Mike?"
The hand on my back revealed the answer before it left Fredrickson's mouth
"James, they're dead. Sailors Carlile and Veron were never found on the ship. The rest were redeployed once they recovered, and have been killed or lost in action in this war."
No, no, no, this can't be happening, I can't comprehend it. My life has jsut been flipped on it's head, and now all of my friends are dead? In what war?
"There's another reason I brought you out here. Follow me"
Fredrickson stood up, and walked towards a stairwell running alongside the white wall. I stood up to follow him, my mind numb as numb as my arm and leg. The doctor was already at the top, staring out into the distance as I crested the top of the wall, and stood in disbelief at the sight.
Nesre City, a metropolis of more than eighty million, was in ruin. Billows of smoke rose towards the sky from the distant industrial sectors to the commercial center, with fires still raging and spreading beyond control in random areas. The monolith structures that towered the sky for miles around were no more, they were all toppled over commercial streets, hundreds of buildings crushed benath each one's death stroke. From orbital bombardment, gaping holes were torn indiscriminately in the multiple levels of the city. The spaceport was torn and trashed, sections collapsing in on themselves. An entire Federation fleet floated above the city, carriers organizing any number of craft in a massive evacuation. There was no traffic above the city. There was no sounds, merely crafts darting up and down, searching for survivors.
"They attacked a month ago, and the city is still burning. This is the one haven of serenity on the planet. Nobody came into the long term ward after the attack. The hospitals were overwhelmed, and only the most hopeful were treated. Still, there were many we were unable to help. You were the last patient we were to wake. Those you saw were the last of the staffers here. There's nothing left for this city, every piece of infrastructure was decimated. It will take generations to rebuild."
It's all a ruin. It's all a ruin. Every emotion rean through my body as I collapsed, sick to my stomach. How many must have died? Millions. Nesre City was the northernmost beacon of the Federation.
"Rebels, James. They took advantage of us when the Aurorans were launching a renewed offensive. No warning. They overwhelmed the Spacedock, and we were only able to launch a mediocre response before they were on us. I'll never forget"
A shuttle, launched from one of the carriers over the city, touched down in the garden below. Already, the rest of the hospital staff were loading onto it. The doctor picked James up by his shoulder.
"Come on, James. It's time to go."

Watching ruins of Nesre below, the sadness and confusion left me. Into that void rushed anger, an anger so deep it quickly grew roots that would never come out. Who could do something this inhuman? Those that died first were lucky. Without food, water, or power I cannot imagine the terror and depravity going on at the lowest levels of the city. The rebels will die. If I have to hunt down each son of a bitch that did this, they will die. My last view of the city before the carrier floor was that of a tower which had fallen dawn and had collapsed several levels below it, the fires still burning out of control.

Pretty fascinating. Although II didn't seem to show everyone dead - I thought the fire crews had rescued some of the people?


Again, foreshadowing. I'll read back, but I'm fairly sure I wrote in that some had died, the rest were killed in this new war