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Old 12-02-2009, 05:13 PM   #1
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Default A Shadow Over the City

This is a short story I wrote for school.

The Shadow over the City

The helicopter gunship tilted precariously as it flitted between the narrow buildings of the metropolis. The siren on top was doing little to clear the crowds below, nor to stop the jeering of the protestors. I could distantly see a plume of smoke, which I assumed was coming from the House of Parliament. I was lost in thought, barely noticing the other gunships in the formation, nor the distant sounds of explosions. Was I really in the right, crushing the rebellion which such force? Of course I was, said the political education classes I had been forced to attend before I could join the army. But was I really? The images of troops opening fire on protestors two months ago were sharp in my mind now, and that of my own teenage son trying to shoot me after learning I was assigned to kill the protestors attacking the House of Parliament.

My train of thought was shattered as a rocket-propelled grenade whizzed past me and hit a nearby gunship. I could hear the machine gun on the bottom of the gunship firing wildly into the crowd now, tearing through both the rebels, the peaceful protestors, and loyal citizens caught in the lurch when the rebellion began.

The helicopter entered the turn cycle programmed into the autopilot, and the houses of parliament were starting to come into view. Hundreds of riot police and about a dozen tanks were on the steps of the original historic building, which was already being swamped by protestors as they shot grenades and improvised mortars at the glass and steel towers behind it. Within a few seconds of turning the corner, the gunships began to fire into the armed crowds below, just as the tanks began firing wildly into the crowd as part of the new surge in the defense.

As the helicopters took position above the square and the chaos around me continued, I gazed at the statue of our great leader, the savior of our people, his mightiness Jonathan Smith. The statue had been almost blown apart by a mortar attack now, but I remembered the erection ceremony, where the crowds had cheered and waved blue flags as an enormous crane raised the gleaming white statue. Could it really all be wrong? I remember the very start of the tensions, where a single man had stepped onto the site of the long-demolished speakers’ corner and preached ideas of democracy and equality. He had long since been dragged away by the military police and shot, but things had always been different since that fateful moment. I had been there when it happened, I recalled, seen the man dragged into an armored car. I looked down again, remembering the present day. Five rebels were carrying poles, supporting an enormous picture of the nameless man. I noticed that it had bullet holes in it, presumably from loyal citizens of the republic.

My train of thought was broken again as I heard the faint ringing of my government-issued cellular unit. I picked it up quickly, breathing hard. It was Commander Baker, the leader of the helicopter units. Who else would be calling me now?
“We need you and your squadron to move into Smith Bay and ensure our navy remains peaceful. There are rumors of mutinies on the Jonathan Smith.”
“Yes sir. I shall tell the rest of the squadron to move into the bay.”

I picked up the radio unit and issued the orders to the rest of my squad. Almost as soon as the gunships began to move again, a thought came into my mind, almost as if from an external source. Smith Bay, it was called. But it wasn’t. I remembered when it had been called Toronto Bay. That was back when the country was called Canada, not the Great Republic of North America…

No. That never happened. The country had been founded way back before time began, by his mightiness Jonathan Smith. I had these heretical thoughts every so often, but I had learned to suppress them.

The helicopter finally emerged from the canyons of skyscrapers into the clear air above the lake. It was brighter here, free from the smoke of both the constant pollution and the battle raging below. There were three navy ships stationed in the bay, called the Jonathan Smith, the Glory of the Republic, and the Blue Flag. My orders were to land on the Jonathan Smith and suppress a mutiny happening there. Even from above, I could see soldiers on deck shooting at each other, each side trying to take control of the ship’s main gun. The helicopters were already starting to descend onto the deck, scattering troops. I took an assault rifle from the wall of the helicopter, handing another one to the gunner. We both climbed out as loyal soldiers held back the mutineers around them. Soon the helicopters had automatically taken off to fly back to the square, and the mutineers were making another push.

The fighting was desperate on the deck, but soon most of the helicopter crew was able to descend below. Here it was hot and dark, with blue flags and posters of our leader on every surface that wasn’t a door. I don’t know why, but my memories of Toronto before the revolution seemed stronger than ever. I remembered my son, trying to shoot me. I remembered my wife, dragged away and killed for failing to salute the government inspector who took away our “unfairly earned” possessions. I remembered myself, pushed down and trampled by marching revolutionaries carrying blue flags in my childhood.

Suddenly it was all perfectly clear. The government was wrong, and the rebels were right. I had to do something. I saw a soldier round the corner, wearing the red bandana that symbolized the rebels. I shot him without thinking, politics overwhelming thought once again. In one terrible moment I saw the falling corpse and realized, with a horrible sinking sensation, that I had just shot my son. I barely noticed the bright flash that was the “last resort” nuclear explosion above the city, and by the time the ship was vaporized like everything around it, I thought, with what felt like God-given certainty, that the conflict would never end, and the blue flag would forever fly above the world.

Last edited by LRT; 12-02-2009 at 05:19 PM. Reason: inappropriate link
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Old 12-02-2009, 05:44 PM   #2
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Default Re: A Shadow Over the City


This is a great story, but kinda a sad ending, though. Otherwise, very interesting! Very good job.
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Old 12-02-2009, 05:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: A Shadow Over the City

Originally Posted by BunnyBot 5000 View Post
This is a great story, but kinda a sad ending, though.
Ya. I actually added the last paragraph because I was running out of time in class. The original ending was to feature the nameless protagonist and his son helping the rebels to take the ship, which would then be used to bombard the house of parliament.
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Old 12-03-2009, 05:10 AM   #4
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Default Re: A Shadow Over the City

Ominous story, LRT! Talk about a generation gap in that family! I gather that this is about the UN, which has a blue flag, degenerating into a dictatorship and taking over North America. Interesting that the capital is Toronto. Good job! I hope it never comes true.
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Old 12-03-2009, 05:40 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Ubernoob View Post
I gather that this is about the UN, which has a blue flag, degenerating into a dictatorship and taking over North America. .
Drat! I intentionally tried to make it free of any politics... That's why the leader is called Jonathan Smith. So no, it isn't supposed to be the UN. More like generic right-wing evil.
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Old 12-22-2009, 06:52 AM   #6
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Thanks a lot! I'm actually writing a sequel, so it should be posted pretty soon!
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Old 12-22-2009, 09:42 AM   #7
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Whoa! That's cool! I love your writing style. I can't wait to hear more. :P
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Old 12-23-2009, 04:47 PM   #8
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Default Re: A Shadow Over the City

Jeez, I guess this WASN'T the change that we needed!
Nice work.
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