CANTON 2165 (A War Story)

Today’s the seventh day since we went out on search-patrol. The tensions between my fellow marines have been rising. Excitement turned into irritability, fear, and paranoia. We all hate Canton. It’s always raining day and night. Our clothes haven’t been dry for six days, and I swear, I’d do anything just to get a pair of dry socks. We’re out of bullets, food, comms, vehicles, manpower, everything but the fucking collies. We always managed to drive those commie animals back into the jungle - right where they belong - with every ambush they’ve made. But the day before yesterday, one of them got in range with a katana, and gave me a nasty cut on my face before I could shoot him. I swear that sword must’ve given me brain damage. Ever since then my head’s been squirming from a headache, it feels as if my brain’s being crushed from all sides by the unbearable weight of a hydraulic press. Corporal Johann stitched it up, fed me some pills, and told me it was fine. I doubt him. If i was fine, then my mother is a fucking Arcturian.

I stopped in my tracks, clutched my head, and let out a pained groan through my gritted teeth. The pain is getting the better of me. The muddy footsteps behind me stopped in unison, and a hand tapped my shoulder.

“Lieutenant Murphs, are you okay?” SecondLieutenant Steve gave me a concerned look. I raised my head again, wincing from pain, “Yeah, i’m fine. J-jojo gimme another shot of oxycodone… please.”

I hear his sigh as he approaches me with his autoinjector drawn, “You’re taking more oxy than water, Murphs, don’t OD on me. I’ll give you 5u for now, any more and it’ll leak out your ears.” I thanked him as he took my arm and injected the green liquid into my vein. I felt a tiny prick, and just like that, everything is clear as day.

I turned around and face my men. Corporal Johannes Strauss - or Jojo, as we like to call him -, Second Lieutenant Steve Murphy, Private Scotty Willey, Private Kite Terwilliger, and Private Stanley. They are what’s left of my platoon, and all of them – except for Steve - were as green as Arcturian lime grass.

Unfortunately for them, I was about as green, and as scared shitless as them. It’s been a goddamn miracle all six of us are still alive with no comms, air support, and our senior officers dead. We came into the jungle with three platoons, bloodthirsty and glory-hungry. Now our canines have been shattered, and we’re running back home like a pack of terrified pups.

They stared back at me with their acne studded faces, tense with anticipation.

“What are you all standing there for?! The FOB’s still six hours away, get your asses moving NOW!!” I shouted, trying to not sound as miserable as I felt, and marched back on again.

“Alright, remember what the colonel said. Careful steps…” I shout again over the rain, and waited for their reply.

“The CLF leave traps.” They all reply in unison with a dull, impersonal tone. Sick of having those words drilled into their skull.

“Damn right, your ass better remember that!”

Stanley spat in the rain, and began - justifiably - talking shit, “Man… fuck the colonel! This OP is FUBAR since day one, FIRST it’s the human wave tactic, then the bad OBs, and now the entire force is dead. Comms is DEAD!! Let’s face it man, we’ll never make it-”

“Quit whining Stanley, we’re in the shits together.” Steve retorted, a hint of annoyance in his voice.

“Yeah, have some damn faith, Stanley. If we lucked out through the last 48 hours, then we’ll luck out in our next twenty-four.” I yelled back. “And tell you what. If we- WHEN we make it outta this shithole, I’ll give you a blind eye for when you grease that bald motherfucker.”

The squad howled in laughter and cheers. “Pffff, only a blind eye? Why don’t you help Stanley out too, might as well, Murphs. I mean shit, I’d help him out.” Scotty suggests half-jokingly.

“Nah, Stanley’s a big boy, I reckon he can take out the Colonel, and about two dozen MPs, and still have time to scalp all twenty five of em for war trophies, before the riot team shows up and bash his brain out. Ain’t that right, Stanley?”

“Fuck yeah, boss!” Stanley shouted back, full of energy. The squad cheered him on.

“W-wait, Lieutenant Murphs, how’d you know we’ll luck out again? Luck is luck, we can’t call it!” Kite asked right away after the laughter started to die down, as if she’d been waiting for the chance to do so.

“God works in mysterious ways, Kite.” Johann interjects with a snarky reply.

“Yeah” I added. “That, and my dad once told me that all good things come in threes, they always do.”

“Murphs, I hope your daddy ain’t full of shit in that subject matter.” Stanley jests.

Johann raises his hand, like a know-it-all nerd trying to correct someone.“Murphs, technically that’s not the-”

I snap at him before he could finish, not wanting to give him the satisfaction of correcting me. “Shut the fuck up Jojo!”

“Tsk tsk, painkillers can lead to increased irritability.”

“Thats a load of shit and you know it!” I yell back.

“Pfff Murph, I won’t carry your ass back to the FOB if you collapse from an oxy overdose man, don’t pass out!” Scotty interjects, his tone dripping with sarcasm.

“What?! S-Scotty you can’t make a joke like that after everyone died! The hell happened to ‘no man left behind!’” Kite pipes up disapprovingly.

“CHILL, take it easy Kite-” Scotty says, but he stopped midword, and looked to the sky, noticing something.

We all noticed it too and looked up in unison. Just like that, God stopped the rain, and the sun came out. Maybe he overheard us talking about him earlier. We did not get to enjoy it for very long. About thirty metres in front of us, sits a suspicious bump of piled mud, with several footprints all around it.

I raised my hand in the air. Everyone snapped to attention. “GET DOWN, SHUT UP!!” They all leapt to the side of the beaten dirt road, seeking cover behind the bushes and rocks.

“Private Stanley, c’mere, you’re my best fragger. We’ll go around it and check it out.” Stanley nodded quietly, and stood up. He follows me cautiously, half-crouching, his finger nervously toying with the safety of his M41A pulse rifle.

As I got closer, I counted eight sets of footprints around the pile, still fresh. They’re still nearby. Behind it, was a small crater, and inside was what seems to be a dead CLF guerilla, blood pools around his body, staining a beaten up M60 machine gun that lays besides him. It’s source are the two dozen throwing knives impaled on his face and torso, rendering him unrecognizable.

Seeing only a dead body, Stanley confidently straightens up his posture “Godammn, I think the scout spec got his ass. That means we’re not too far off from home.” Stanley concludes, sounding proud of his own genius.

But something about this felt off. I knew how barbaric the marines of the Third Fleet could be. But whoever did this must not see the CLF as a fellow human, I was certain that this was not the work of the scout. I knew her long before this operation started.

“Hehe…” Stanley giggles, interrupting my train of thought. I turn my head and see him bent over next to the corpse, grabbing the M60 “I’m taking this baby back home.”


In a split second a bright light flashes, and then shrapnel, knives, and bone fragments explodes in every direction. Stanley took most of the blow, while i was knocked out for a solid minute or two.

“AMBUSH, ON OUR NINE!!!” Steve’s commands and the roar of gunfire woke me up. I was still laying in the crater. My ears rang like a bell. Both of my legs felt numb, it felt like they weren’t even there. My head jerked around, looking for Stanley but saw nothing but a burnt and broken body, the skin on his entire face was missing, along with his lower jaw, then I nearly vomited when I realised that he was still alive, wheezing at me in beseeching horror. I saw tears swelling up in his eyes. I knew what i had to do. I pressed my m1911 against his skinless forehead and squeezed the trigger. There was a little spasm, but that was it. Stanley’s life was delivered a coup de grâce, what little fight he had left was put to eternal rest.

I stabbed myself with my emergency autoinjector and crawled out dizzily on my stomach, to the ditch where the rest of my squad took cover, Steve gave me a grim nod of acknowledgement as I joined them. By now he had taken command, firing away at the trees with Scotty, to keep the collies’ heads down. Johann was kneeling, meticulously suturing Kite’s wound as she laid screaming on her back. All of them had caught a bullet or two, and were in varying states of peril.

I snapped out of my shocked state and shouted to Steve. “Steve!! Steve!! There’s too many of em! Take the rest of the squad south, I’ll hold them off here!!!” Steve paused firing and looked back at me, his face wide eyed and exhausted, “But Murphs-“ I slapped him across the face, an angry red mark leaves it’s mark on his cheeks, “THATS AN ORDER!! I’m the only one here who can’t haul ass right now!” Steve reluctantly agreed, he knew arguing would only waste time. He turned and gave the order to retreat, as I laid suppressing fire. I gave my squad one last look before they fled into the jungle.

My M41A beeped and spits out it’s old magazine, it was out of ammo. I dug my hand into my satchel to grab a new one, but i dropped it into the mud. My senses would not focus, there was too much going on; the headache was coming back to me, the gunfire, the explosives landing inches near me, the ringing in my ear, the blinding light of the sun landing on my eyes. They were getting closer and closer, until i could hear their war cries. They were fucking charging my position. I felt a feeling building up inside my chest. I tasted death in the air. I was going to die. I reloaded, propped my M41A on the edge of the ditch, and opened fire. I sensed movements to my left, I turned like a feral animal, firing wildly into the charging CLF, they all fell like sacks of potatoes. The bastards were so close, I could practically see the white in their eyes. The rest of 'em took the memo, and ducked behind any cover they’d find. I emptied my grenade launcher on every rock and bush they were hiding in. Had I not been paralyzed from the waist down, I would’ve fixed my bayonet and charged at them in my bloodlust.

I fought until I could not see the ugliness of death. I fought, screaming until my voice left me. I fought until I forgot who I was. I fought until I forgot what I was doing here. I fought even as i heard a great deep rumbling in the sky, and the collies retreated.


I did not recall closing my eyes, but when I opened it again, I felt the warm light of the morning sun and the sound of APCs driving on the dirt road. For a moment, i thought i was in heaven. Until I noticed Johann sitting right next to me. A man like him would’ve never made it past the pearly gates – to be honest, most of us wouldnt’ve made it -. The bandages on his head were still wet, and a red spot was spreading from his left temple. Stuffed in between his lips is a cheap lucky strikes cigarette, god knows how he got it pass medical’s staffs.

Before even speaking, he extended his hand and offered a cigarette to me, I wordlessly declined. I’m not a smoker.

“Murphy, are you okay?..”

“I’ve felt better… You?” I shifted in my bed, adjusting my position. I noticed that both of my arms are broken, they’ve both been wrapped with thick casts.

Johann reached out his hand, as if he was expecting me to try and stand up in my state. “I’m mostly fine. Just worried about you, Steve practically dropped an OB on you.”

“OB? I thought we had no comms.” I raised a confused eyebrow.

“Comms started working right after we ran. We thought you were dead, so Steve called it in. Then, it took overwatch 15 minutes to realise you were still alive and had Bravo drop in to look for you.”

“Jesus…. How about Steve, Scotty, Kite? Did they make it?”

“They’re fine. They’re playing ping pong in RnR right now. Stanley’s playing too, but with the big man above.”

“I know, i shot him.” I said guiltily.
There was a mournful silence, for half a minute

Johann takes another drag of his cigarette and let the smoke trail out with his words.“If it makes you feel any better, the Colonel’s getting court martialed. They’ll make him face the wall real soon.” He smiled.

I chuckled a little. The Bald bastard had it coming. “Heh, I’m surprised another Stanley didn’t try to grease him.”

“Oh, believe me, Murphs, they tried alright.” He chuckled again. “Another good- no, bad? News, We fucked up so bad, that the President is gonna give Canton an inspection visit. Maybe he’ll give us a medal for surviving, along the way.”

I threw my head back into the pillow, laughing uncontrollably. I laughed so hard that it hurts. “Nice. You think he can unfuck everything?”



Shoutout to Johannes Straus, Kite Terwilliger, Scotty Willey, and Steve Murphy, for letting me use their chracters for this :+1:




Murphs Major!

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Sorry about that OB there, seemed a little further when I lased it…