Second Chance

This is somewhat reminiscent of the fast food wars of Demolition Man, but the story itself is purely organic. It’s been bouncing around in my head for years, but it was not until I discovered Flash Fiction that I found an outlet for it…hope you enjoy it.

I felt and heard the staccato impacts of tungsten fléchette rounds hammering into the Quick Deployment Barricade that supported my back. Then I felt the searing heat of a laser beam scorching the air above my head and bouncing harmlessly off an armored support vehicle thirty meters away.

“Useless things,” I mumbled to myself regarding the effectiveness of beam weapons. I wondered why anyone even attempted to deploy them.

Since I was pinned down, I let my mind replay the events that led up to me taking part in an assault on an Amazon distribution facility.

It turned out Target executives don’t take kindly to good looking, highly intelligent, scholarship recipients banging their nieces in the robotic storage closet. It wasn’t the executive that caught us, it was some low-level maintenance worker who gleaned it as an opportunity to forward his own career.

Target unceremoniously yanked my scholarship, and kicked me to the curb. In today’s day and age, the only way to afford collage was with the support of one of the worlds corporate giants. Collage was too expensive for all but the half percentile. Losing my scholarship meant losing my meal ticket.

It didn’t matter how smart I was, my little head ruined my career.

At that point options were few. I could go on welfare. Why not, half the world was. But that lifestyle did not fit my future plans. I could hope for an internship with some trade, but those were almost as hard to get as scholarships, and I now had a black mark on my corporate record.

“She was hot though,” I uttered as images of her arose in my mind.

The one thing every big corporation was looking for was soldiers. Governments no longer waged wars. Hell, all any government was good for anymore is doing the bidding of the global corporations. Nope, it’s the global corporations that waged war now…on each other.

At some point in history, it wasn’t enough to beat your competitor at register, or with superior customer service, or by spending billions on advertising. Some global giant, somewhere, decided to try and hamper their competition by taking out a supplier.

We were never told who started this war, but the first shot was over a decade ago.

The average person doesn’t know any of this. It’s the best kept secret in the world.

See, no matter the outcome of this siege on the Amazon’s DC, the media, owned by one of the mega corporations, will report it as a terrorist attack. It’s that excuse that keeps airpower out of these skirmishes. Terrorist don’t fly combat jets. That, and it was the governments one caveat, no manned combat aircraft. Drones, sure, but no fighter jets or bombers.

That’s how these giant corporations cover their asses and maintain their good public relations image. The government wins because citizens think we are under constant attack from an unknown enemy. Seems the average citizen cannot connect the dots and realize all the targets are major corporate assets.

Maybe humanity is just too busy surviving.

All that to say, I needed a job, and a second chance. Since the meat grinder that is private armies was always looking for new meat, and the reward for five years of intense combat service is a brand-new scholarship to an elite collage, I joined the fray. After twelve weeks of intense Walmart boot camp in Bentonville, Arkansas, I find myself here, getting shot at by entrenched Amazon defenders.

New tactical data flashed across my visor and the helmets speakers ordered me to pay attention. We were regrouping for another push.

We were attacking an Amazon distribution center in a town I never heard of until three days ago. Shakopee, Minnesota. What the hell is a Shakopee anyway?

The distribution center was huge. And since it was one of Amazon’s older DCs, it was well fortified. Walmart reasoned, if we took this bad boy out, it would hamper Amazon’s services in the region thoroughly enough that Walmart could gain a foot hold and increase its sales.

I wondered if the fast food wars were less chaotic. Was there some schmuck wearing Yum Brands combat armor assaulting a McDonald’s bakery in Chicago? Maybe some cyber warrior, working out of his mom’s basement on Wendy’s payroll was attempting to take out one of Taco John’s datacenters.

“I should have tried for the cyber warrior corps,” I mumbled to myself as my helmet filled with the chatter of my unit preparing for another assault.

I had little faith this one would do better than the last. On the other side of the QDB my squad mates littered the ground from our last assault. I got lucky. But isn’t that what gets any soldier through combat…luck?

Tactical data continued to play out on my visor, showing me the location of everyone else in my unit, and outlined my objective. I rose to my knees, then to a crouch, making sure I kept my head below the rim of the QDB.

I checked my weapon and played out in my mind how I would make my initial jump. How best to avoid the hail of fire that would spring forth from the DCs defenses.

Drones raced overhead, their weapons hammering defensive positions.

Charge“, flashes across my visor and echoed in my helmet. I activated my jump jets and cried out, “I don’t even shop at Walmart!”

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