• Published 2nd Mar 2013
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The Great War - RandomPerson

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The Draft

October 29th
Zebrican-Saddle Arabian border

The soft glow of lanterns illuminated the long swath of tents arranged into a form of encampment. Stationed here were nearly a thousand zebras tasked with defending this region of land known by both the Zebricans and Saddle Arabians as The Line. It had gotten its nickname from the hundreds upon hundreds of battles and skirmishes that had taken place over it. Though it could be called puny on a world scale, being only one-hundred and twenty miles long and sixty miles wide, both sides had a reason for it belonging to them.

Both the Saddle Arabians and the Zebricans claimed it to be sacred for their own religions. While the Saddle Arabians believed this is where their race was selected by their god, Al-Quam, as his chosen species; the Zebricans believed it was where their gods had created the first Zebras, therefore bestowing the land to them. All in all, the land had caused much bloodshed, causing a hate between the two races that could only be matched by Humanity and the Gryphons because of their own histories.

While most slept, many were awake and at their post keeping watch for their eternal enemy. One of these many was Abasi. Having finally come of age, he had enlisted in the army as quickly as possible so to serve his gods well and keep the Holy Land from falling into the grasp of the vile Saddle Arabians. As he stood his post a flicker of light caught his eye. Off in the distance, it looked almost like the spark of a fire. Then another nearby the first. Suddenly hundreds of the sparks were made and smile fires could be seen in the distance.

“Wake up! Wake up! The Vilest are here!” He began to shout, taking off from his post towards the tents. Suddenly, hundreds of fiery arrows streaked overhead, raining down on the encampment. The cloth tents quickly caught fire, setting the camp ablaze. Hundreds of disoriented Zebras ran from their tents, some caught in the fires as the small shelters collapsed. Other than the night guards, the camp was unprepared for an attack like this Their enemy had never used arrows before, leaving only two possibilities.

This question was answered when a conglomerate of blood curdling screeches echoed out of the desert. Myriads of Gryphons poured out from the darkness, blades drawn as they dove down on their unexpecting prey. The clang of metal on metal, screams from his unprepared comrades, and the roar of the fires that were consuming the camp rang in Abasi’s ears. He had his sword drawn as he ran through the carnage, trying to find a way to make himself useful in this chaos. A close cry of help caught his attention. He slid to a stop, looking in every direction until he found its source. One of his comrades was trapped under a fallen support beam from one of the actual structures in the camp.

He rushed to him. The beam burned bright as the zebra cried out in pain from the heat. Before he could think about what he was doing, Abasi dropped his sword from his mouth and pushed against the beam with his hooves. It burned more painfully than anything he’d ever known. He whimpered a bit as he tried to hold it up for as long as he could. Just as he was about to drop the fiery piece of wood from the pain, he saw his comrade pull himself barely far enough out from under the beam, a horrible burn across his back, much worse than Abasi’s hooves.

Once he was out of harms way, he quickly dropped it, going back for his sword. He hooves burned and ached horribly, making it hard for him to walk. He would not leave his injured brother behind. Pulling him onto his back, Abasi began to run as fast as he could, which was not much at all. His people had to know what was coming to them, he had to warn them. As he ran farther from the camp, the sounds of his brethren’s resistance died down, saddening him, but only further spurring him on to not let this happen to his people.

With each step he took, he lowly hummed a comforting rhyme his mother had sung for him to sleep when he was young, pressing himself onward for his journey.

~~~


November 4th
Human Republic Capitol Building

Prime Minister Schmidt had truly been strapped for time in the last few weeks. What with having to keep himself in the loop with his Generals and know what he could say to the public and what he could not. In the first week of their declaration of war, he had to cut half of the cities press by executive order so that an office of propaganda could be re-established.By now the city had nearly been covered in recruitment and propaganda posters. Though the public really had no idea what the front was looking like other than by rumor or leaked information, he had to try and keep morale up for industry and the citizens of the Republic when an army nearly three times the size of their own was looming at their doorstep.

A stack of papers nearly seven inches tall sat on his desk, some of the papers getting to be a few weeks old. Proposals, letters of complaint, the things he was used to dealing with, just not in such large numbers and frequency. As he skimmed over each, several knocks on the door caught his attention. He set his pen down, standing from his desk to straighten his clothing a bit.

“Come in” He spoke.


The doors were pushed open, Field Marshall Corvus walking in followed by a younger communications officer.

“Sir.” Corvus stopped and saluted, as well as the younger man.
Schmidt returned the salute, remaining standing. “What is it Field Marshall?”


“Sir, half an hour ago we received a telegram from our embassy in Zebrica.” He answered in a flat voice.

“And?” Schmidt questioned.

Corvus nodded to the younger officer behind him and he stepped forward, offering a clipboard to the Prime Minister.

Schmidt eyed it curiously before taking it, adjusting his glasses before he began to read it to himself. As he read further down the page, Corvus could see Schmidt’s expression changing to that of confusion,realization, then anger.

“Damn it all!” Schmidt suddenly shouted, flinging the clipboard across the room where it smashed against a Zebrican vase, landing in the broken pieces. Corvus stood stoic, though turning and nodding the young man towards the door. Quickly nodding and saluting the young officer turned and made haste for the door, closing it behind him.

Schmidt was pacing back and forth in front of his desk, cursing the Saddle Arabians, Gryphons, even himself under his breath. Soon he spoke.

“Field Marshall, we barely have enough men to hold the Gryphons at bay, how are we to fight them on two fronts with their aiding the Saddle Arabians in their damned religious conques?! The very fuel our army runs on is at stake because of this move!”

Corvus continued to stand at attention, his long years of service had taught him that in the presence of anger it was best to keep himself composed.

“Sir, the Saddle Arabians are a land based force with barely any naval strength. With a weakness such as this, it may be in our best interest to mobilize our new weapon. It has performed well in it’s test, with no way for them to reach it, they could make short work of this invasion without having to move many troops to Zebrica.”

This peaked Schmidt’s attention. While he knew of what Corvus spoke of, he knew little of the machine itself and how it could be optimized for war. Only that it gave Humanity the power to do what it could never do before.

“Hmm....how many of them are ready?”

“Three-Hundred at least, Sir.” Corvus answered.

“That....that might work...but.....what of the Equestrians? They are strong allies with the Saddle Arabians. Surely they would cry for vengeance if we were to unleash something like that on their ally.”


“Sir, if the Saddle Arabians made this choice without consulting with Equestria first, perhaps they have abandoned the Equestrian’s consent for personal gain?”

Schmidt took his seat at his desk, leaning forward trying to think. “Perhaps their consent Field Marshall, but the Saddle Arabians would not be stupid enough to abandon Equestria as an ally. As of now, we don’t have nearly enough men to combat three enemies on the three fronts.”


Schmidt was quiet for a few minutes, trying to think of some possible way this war could be won.

“If we are to strike at Equestria’s ally,” He finally spoke, “than we must have more men. I will issue another forced military draft. All men on record ages fifteen and nine months to seventeen will have to be enlisted into active service as soon as possible.”

Corvus nearly choked. How could he be serious? Sending teenagers to war?

“Permission to speak freely, Sir.” He asked.

“You may always speak freely with me, friend.” Schmidt looked up to him from his desk.

“Sir, how could you be serious? Those young men haven’t even graduated yet, much less are they ready for war!”

“Would you rather our country fall to the actions of our greatest enemy?!” Schmidt snapped back.

“You would damn an entire generation to be ready for something that may not even happen?!” Corvus rose his voice, getting angrier every second.

“We do not have the men if it does! We would be crushed!” Schmidt stood from his chair, leaning on his desk as he yelled just as loud back at his colleague.

“Our reserves could fight the Equestrians! There is no need to take young men from their homes and families!”

“Then the Gryphons would break through our lines and cut straight through our nation! Our men barely have barely been able to advance with all the reinforcements we send them! I will not let the Fatherland fall to those beast!” He slammed his fist on his desk. “Those boy’s most basic responsibilities as Humans are to defend their homeland and ensure the sovereignty of our species! We will not be made slaves again!” He practically screamed, slamming his fist on the desk again.

Both of them went quiet after that, staring each other in the eye as they tried to calm themselves. Corvus stood straight once again, adjusting his officer’s cap before taking a step back and saluting. He about faced and began to walk towards the door. He would follow his orders....but he knew it would be both of their own undoings.

~~~



November 8th

Bonaparte High School


Gregory Harmon sat tiredly in his eleventh grade history class. The class was absent of noise except for the scribble of pencils and the rhythmic click of the clock. As time ticked by, he stared out the window daydreaming, only ever answering a question on the test laid out before him when the teacher glanced his way.

While he watched the birds fly from branch to branch in the trees outside the window, the movement of several large vehicles caught his eye. Buses. New, large forms of public transportation that Gregory was only starting to see in the Capitol. He knew it would be long before they went to more rural places of the country.

As he watched more of the buses pull up in front of the school, he noticed the occupants of some of them. Soldiers? He thought. As they began to unload he saw they were in full uniform carrying rifles as they were led inside by several men in side caps.

He raised his hand. “Mr. Henry....there are soldiers outside.”

The teacher looked up from his book with a confused look on his face. Getting up and walking to the window, he too saw the buses lined up in front of the school, an armed soldier standing at each of the vehicle’s doors. He quickly turned, going for the door presumably to find out what was going on. All the students crowded near the window, trying to get a look at what was outside.

A few minutes later it sounded as if a commotion was being made in the hall. Gregory went to the door, going to open it to see what was happening. As he reached for the door it was suddenly pushed open and a tall man in a gray uniform pushed past him, followed by two armed men and Mr. Henry.

“Now just what’s going on here!” He shouted at the officer.

Paying him no reguard, the man removed a envelope from his pocket, opening it and removing a folded piece of paper.

“By order of the Honorable Prime Minister Collins Schmidt, all men from the ages of fifteen and nine months to seventeen years old are hereby drafted into the Republic Military, to combat a second aggressor,and an ally to our enemy the Gryphonian Empire, the kingdom of Saddle Arabia.” He finished and replaced the paper.


“All of you will follow me to those buses out there where you will be shipped off to fight for your nation. You should feel honored.” He nodded to the two men with him. “Get them lined up.”

The two men began to line up the men of the class, pushing them into a single file line facing the door.

“You can’t do that!” Mr. Henry shouted, stepping between his students and the officer. “This is unlawful! These boys are my responsibility! You will not take them!”

The officer simply sighed a bit. “Private Dunn, Private Clarke remove this man please.” One of the soldiers shouldered his rifle, stepping forward and grabbed Mr. Henry by the shoulders, shoving him aside as the second stepped between them, using his rifle to hold him back.

The officer pulled his sleeve back, looking at his watch. “Come now, we have a deadline to meet. Private Dunn, lead these young recruits to the buses please.”

“Yes sir.” Dunn spoke before pushing Gregory, the first in the line, out of the classroom. He then began filing everyone else out behind him. As he walked down the hall he saw the same thing was being down for all the other classes, from some sophomores to the seniors they were all being lead out to the front. As he was about to turn the hall towards the front door, he heard Mr. Henry shout.

“The police will be involved! This is illegal! You will all be arrested for this!”

The officer retorted with something that silence both Mr. Henry and frightened Gregory.

“We are the police now. The Republic is under indefinite Martial Law.”


~~~

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