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The sands of time: Episode 2: A war story by Remirol Nacnud
Written by Remirol

The sands of time :Episode 2: Sand, sand everywhere, and still no time to spare.

Archer found himself atop a sand dune. He felt as though the life had been sucked from his body. He had used an experimental chrono device that had been implanted inside him. All of his body energy was used to give a 100m chrono burst. He was out, but was that a good thing? Not far from him was the Arab base. The guards were running around like ants in the rain. They were all armed with automatic weapons and most of them lead attack dogs. "I'd need an army to get in there damn it. Whoever they are, they have my suit. My only means of getting home." Archer thought to himself. There was no way that he could travel in this heat, he'd have to wait until dark. So he nestled into the sand and watched the base. "Gar, some food would be nice too." He muttered under his breath. The burst made him feel as though he'd run the marathon. His body had been taking too much of a beating lately. He needed food and water, and the nearest source was behind those dogs. "It's a good thing I've been in the service for so long. Otherwise you never know how many of them I'll accidentally kill. I hope they're up to it." Archer was one of those soldiers whose skill had given him a huge bravado, but deep down he really hated killing people. Archer tested his chip. The chip was not only a transport chip but also an electronic assistant. It was an early version of the EVA units that Archer had stolen from a future time line. It wasn't responding well. He'd burnt out its chrono ability, but the EA still worked.

"Base assessment: a stealth assault from the north east is the only possible route. Using a canister of light sarin gas on the barracks and then proceeding to the main armoury, where the suit will most likely be located, is the most feasible assault strategy."

"These things may be smart, but they're not very bright. No sarin gas, and I don't want to kill people damn it. I'll have to think of a different route, yes, I have an idea." Archer sat and made plans in the sand. He had one advantage, he could run the operation like clockwork, there being no-one else there. He waited until dark...

"Hafa!" The Arabian man was clad in rugged, dirty robes. He had a large beard and he smelt of the donkeys that he'd ridden on. He was calling to another Arabian. He was carrying an automatic weapons slung over his shoulder. Both seemed to have a mish mash of technology. The other man was carrying a 2.2 rifle and the first man was wearing a WW2 German helmet.

"Speak English. We don't all speak in Arab tongues." Came two Arabian voices.

"Sorry. Can I trouble you for a cigarette?"

"Naush, you never have your own. Here, here." Tenalp offered an empty packet to Naush.

"A light? Tenalp? Where did you go?" Naush looked around for his companion until he found a hand offering him a burning lighter. "Ah, there you are. I wish you wouldn't sneak up on people like that." He lit his cigarette and took a long draw. The hand moved faster than the eye could see. The lighter was thrown down and then Naush was spun around. The hand grabbed hold of the front of the german helmet, pulled it back, thrusting the neck covering into Naushes upper spine, breaking his neck and paralysing him. Naush could make no sound. He silently slid to the floor. Archer dragged him to behind some drums and lay him atop Tenalp. Archer took one of their jackets, the automatic weapon and a walthar PPK that one of them was carrying. "An expensive weapon. How could they afford this and still only afford a 2.2 rifle for main use? Perhaps they only gather weapons from their victims..." Archer though to himself. "Bah, no beard, I'll be spotted the moment I walk out there." Archer sidled along the shadows. He was moving along the barracks wall. He found a key in the coat pocket. On his way past he locked the only door to the barracks. As he looked across the base it was almost deserted. The desert night was chilling so no man would wish to be on patrol. "Hah, slackers." He could see a light on in a guard hutch by the main entrance to the base. The armoury was the only place that was well guarded. The dogs swarmed around it dragging their guards with them. There must have been at least 5 men that Archer could see, and they all had up to date weapons. A guard tower was randomly shining light over the base with a spotlight. He waited until it made another pass and he ran along behind it. His steps were as light as the air and the sand was silent beneath them. He leaped to behind yet more drums. A cat was startled and ran across to the other side of the base. The dogs began barking. The guards turned to face the drums. They shined their torches across them.

"Huh, no worrying. It is only a cat."

"Check it you fool. We are expecting an attack."

"No, YOU fool. We are supposed to be attacked." Archer couldn't quite hear what they were saying. Little did he know that he was walking into a trap. He lay there, silent. Eventually curiosity got the better of him. He crawled around the drums until he was at one wall of the armoury. He was only a few metres away from the men now. He could hear them discussing the trap. Their voices were muffled but he could make out "One man...sneaking...find...group." The cat was back once more. Clearly it was the sort that hung around all day and picked up scraps from the guards. It was purring and rubbing itself on Archer's leg. It also seemed to be the sort of cat that didn't know what was best for it. He tried to shake it off and accidentally kicked it. It let off a loud screetch and one of the men came to investigete. Before Archer knew what was going on he had a pistol in his face. He felt the walthar with his left hand.

"Habish! Throw down your weapon and put your hands up. Now! Do it! I will shoot you!" The man shouted. Two of the other guards began to watch.

Archer carefully put his rifle down in the sand, and shoved the PPK into the back of his belt. He slowly raised his hands. At that moment something extra-ordinary happened. The base became alight with fire as an inferno tank blasted through the gate. Archer took this opportunity to grab the PPK and shoot the Arab as he watched the tank roll in. Archer rolled, grabbed his rifle and let off two perfect shots to the other guards that he could see. The rest of them were running into buildings. Two shacks opened up to reveal anti air craft batteries. The armoury doors opened up and two unidentified tanks rolled out. Clearly the base had been organised to look like a rabble, but in fact it was a military machine. They fired at the incoming inferno tank and it exploded in a spectacular tongue of fire. A Chinook passed over head and 3 commandos slid down ropes. He headed into the armoury as more migs took out the tanks before being shot down. Archer didn't know who was a friend and who was a foe. So he decided to kill everyone and hope for the best. He ran after the commandos into the armoury and hit one in the back of his head. It did nothing. He fired again, this time to the back, and it did nothing. He turned and shot the Arab guards that were heading for him. They lay on the ground, bleeding before another inferno tank rolled in and scorched them. Archer continued to search for his suit. And then he found one of the commandos wearing it. The commando grabbed hold of his two companions and engaged the suit. One of them had been carrying a large case. They simply disappeared.

"How could they have used it? They have no access codes!"

A siren sounded. If Archer was right, then it was the universal language of "get the hell out of here, it's a nuke!". Archer saw a buggy and seized the opportunity. He hopped in a sped out of the armoury. Fire was raining down on him left, right and centre. But the handling on the buggy was good enough that he could dodge all of it. As he passed he could see the barracks. The men were smashing the windows to escape, but they were too late. An inferno tank was firing at them. Some men, more like charred meat than men, fell through the windows and to the sand. Archer sped across the dunes at high speed. He didn't know where he was going. "Hey, it's gotta be better than being back there, I hope." He only had a few hours until day break, so he made the best of his travelling time. He had plenty of fuel, so he sped away into the night.

-A war story by Remirol Nacnud

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