Chapter 1:

(NW)Nemo Wars - Entry 1 - The Forest - [Complete Short Story - Draft 2]

Further Tales From The UnderCurrent (Short Story Prequel Series)


Entry 1; 01-07-TA424

They, whomever they are, always say that 'We're never grateful for what we have until its gone' - I tend to think this is a bit too simply myself, but perhaps it has merit in some scenarios.

Say you lost someone dear, someone you never got to say what you should of to - If you take that remorse and use it to help a friend, to help someone else avoid the mistakes you made - Then that would seem a net positive, but how many people actually do this?

How many instead simply regret what can never be changed, how many lose countless hours of sleep over the words never spoken.

That saying implies we should take nothing for granted, that we should always be grateful for what we have but that to me is a naïve statement - Sure it is of course good to be grateful but what if that equates to willingly blinding yourself?
'Sure my smoking and drinking is damaging my lungs and liver but I'm grateful for the release it gives me from other problems.'
'Sure the roof of my house is leaking but I'm grateful just to have such a roof over my head.'

Perhaps that is a crude way of putting it - Maybe were I a scholar or a poet I could portrait it better, but I am just a solider.
What I'm trying to get at, is that when we accept what is - We turn away from what could be.

I should know, I have lived two very different lives - Though I guess my being able to write this, I suppose 'diary', is proof enough that I am now living a third distinct life.

My first was one ruled but true subjectivity - A life where the whims of one person controlled all, nothing was ever their fault, facts were for other people.
If they were having a bad day, then everyone in the household was having a bad day - If you criticised something even only tangentially related to them, they would take it as personal insult - Everything was some sort of attack on their character, everything was an accusation, they were never, ever aware enough of their own actions to ever truly apologise, improve or so much as seek help for their own crumbling wellbeing.

'What do you mean the lock on the front-door is broken?! Are you accusing me of being a bad housekeeper, a bad parent? Are you questioning my ability to fix it? What do you know about fixing door-locks, about parenting?

Do you know how hard I have to work to keep a roof over your head? Aren't you grateful for that? How dare you question my parenting! Would you talk to your friends like that? Don't you respect me for everything I've done?'


Unfortunately my second life proved similar but by almost opposite methods - I joined the military young, 'The States Union' or TSU - An organisation run on cold-hard, unforgiving objectivity.
TSU as a military does everything by numbers, treats people as units - Facts are final in an army, especially during a war, emotions and feelings are for civilians.

A country's parliamentary building has been subject to peaceful protests for weeks? Intelligence suggests a low-medium chance of the protests being backed by terrorist in some way?
TSU's answer would be simple; Beat, arrest or even kill every last protestor - It doesn't matter if 90% are innocent, peaceful, law-abiding people, by taking them all you ensure quickly and efficiently beyond any doubt that the terrorists are found - Well if they even existed that is.
And as an added bonus, you set an example for any other would-be peaceful protestors.

It was no different inside TSU either;
You a solider with PTSD who can no longer part-take in combat?
We could send you to the proper medical healthcare you so desperately need - Or we could use the money for the healthcare, for supporting your family and for helping you to retire from the battlefield - On training your successor.
And in a way there is a cold, twisted logic to that - Supporting retired or 'hurt' soldiers will not reinforce the battle lines to win a war, and so TSU just throw you away, no healthcare, no severance - The money is used to train the guy that replaces you.

It's logical in a sickening way only a truly objective organisation can even try to justify - It's like treating people as machine parts, if a lightbulb breaks you throw it away and get a new one, right?


I'm sure a more learned man could summarise that better then I, point out the endless suffering both routes of my life can lead to, do lead to - But heck I haven't even written my name yet have I? 
TSU is at war now, with a group called 'IAFS' - A group largely made from defectors of TSU itself.

So am I still a loyal TSU soldier or did I see their faults for what they are and become an IAFS rebel you ask?
I'll let you decide that for yourself, after-all it doesn't really matter much anymore because now I'm living my third life - A life where I can do something as silly as journal keeping, a life where I can contemplate things like someone with a proper education might - A life where I neither follow the whims of other's subjectivity or the extremist orders of objectivity - And a life where I'm not blindly grateful by the now, over what could be.


And what got me thinking on this, made me want to write voluntarily probably for the first time in my entire life - Is the forest.
I've been here a while now, the town - And I've gotten used to some things, I don't think I'm grateful every-time I get to wake up in my own bed, safe in the knowledge that today no one will shoot at me - I don't think I'm always grateful for every meal or for the house I've built here.

But the forest? Every-time I walk through it and see that sight - Well I don't think I'll ever not be grateful for it.
Of course its not a real forest, the ground is unnaturally flat, there's less wildlife then you'd expect, the weather and even the sun are artificial - Look up at the right time of day and you can see the faint blue outlines of the hexagonal dome that keeps us all alive and breathing.

And yet if you go walking at the right time, when the air is still and the sun just thinking about setting - When you stand there listening to nothing but the leaves rustling, smelling the faint pine-smells and watching the slivers of the sun's last light for the day ebbing through the gaps in the leaf-canopy above.

In that moment, for just a second you wonder if the world's so bad after-all - If it's all just miss-understandings, everyone is doing their best to be good right?
It's a moment when you doubt everything you know, for just a second there is only you, the trees, plants and the beautiful rays of sunlight - In that moment everything is endless and bountiful and brilliant.

Of course it passes all too fast and you remember all the evils of the world, you remember that someone is probably dieing in that very second - That some political leader is probably thinking of how to oppress more people for their own profit - You remember something as simple as the people who will never look inwards and always take your words as an attack rather then trying to understand.

But despite all that, in that one moment the world is perfect.

I don't think I'll ever take that sight, or any like it for granted.