Prologue to Hectorbla

by Alex Wallis, age 14
Prologue to Hectorbla Alex Wallis is a ninth grader. His favorite author is H.P. Lovecraft, and one of his favorite books is "The Neuromancer." His favorite TV show is "Star Trek DS9," and his favorite movie is "Blazing Saddles."

“The winter snow brings freezing and death. In the land of Itha, freezing and death were the only things that the 4th grand army of the Glass Imperium knew.”

            

Prologue

The winter snow brings freezing and death. In the land of Itha, freezing and death were the only things that the 4th grand army of the Glass Imperium knew. You see, Itha is a land divided by war and conquest. A supercontinent in the center of the Crimson Sea, Itha had been home to technological advancements and cultural exchange unparalleled in the entire world. However, things soon turned bad.

In the year 1813, a man named Hector Blighting completed work on his airship, the Hectorbla. Hector was an inventor, but one who had discovered too much. Hector delved into knowledge perhaps meant for man to stay ignorant of, knowledge of terrifying implication. Wielding this knowledge, Hector formed a cult, known as the Cult of Hector. With ingenuity and scientific competence, the Cult of Hector synthesized new gases and metals perfect for the creation of airships. With this, Hector created a navy of the air, which swiftly blitzed every major city in Itha, taking countries by surprise. Massive behemoths of metal and gas rumbled across the skies. Massive guns thundered throughout the night. However, Hector’s villainous campaign was not without challenge.

Every country in Itha banded together and struck deep in the heart of Hector’s ever expanding empire of iron and steam. The headquarters of Hector’s campaign were surrounded, and heavy fighting ensued, resulting in the death of Hector. With the knowledge of airships, steam tanks, trains without rails, bioengineering, energy weapons, and massive tanks now in the hands of every nation in Itha, bickering was bound to occur.

This brings us to the 4th grand army of the Glass Imperium. The Glass Imperium is a moderately sized country (though the rulers and inhabitants would prefer the term empire), hellbent on the conquest of Slavingcordia, a country to the north. Slavingcordia, though smaller in men and weapons, was not undefended. A massive mountain range, named Blackheart Ridge, separates the two countries, one that must be passed if any country was to attack the other with speed.

The Glass Imperium had finally decided to bite the bullet and invade. Seventy-five thousand man, all dressed in the traditional blue on green Imperium uniform, marched across Blackheart ridge with the intent of capturing the Slavcordian city of Deizenburgen. But luck was not on the side of the Glass Imperium. Marching upwards in the bitter cold snow, air getting thinner with every step taken. This was the hell that faced the 4th Army. Ten thousand soldiers met their end in the cold, alone and unable to move. Dreadnaughts of the sky flew overhead, but where there was no comfort to the soldiers, they huddled together for warmth. But the situation was about to get worse.

It was on the 6th of November, 1867, that Col. Williams spotted the first Slavcordian soldier. This was only the beginning of a bloody campaign that would leave millions dead, and release secrets and evils forever to haunt the human heart.

Josef awoke to the sound of shouting. His eyes still adjusting to the light, Josef squinted as he forced on his boots. Inside of his small green tent, he could not see anything but the blinding sun being reflected into the his tent. Using his left hand to wipe off his uniform, Josef slowly began to wake up. His stubble had grown worse, and his body odor unbearable. Lamenting these facts, Josef began to open the tent, when suddenly he heard gunfire. Grabbing his rifle, Josef bolted out of his tent, adrenaline pumping. Dead men lay in the snow, blood staining the ice. The gunfire continued, men shouting orders, soldiers scrambling to get out of bed and to grab their guns. A bullet whizzed by. Josef hit the floor. Lying beside one of his fallen comrades, Josef saw the Slavcordian men firing upon his division. Rolling behind the fresh corpse, Josef propped up his rifle and began to fire.

The smell of gunpowder spread through the air, muzzle flash appearing from places unexpected. An unfortunate Slavcordian soldier engaged Josef at point blank range, hitting Josef’s cover, but being hit by a lead riparte, fired from Josef’s rifle. Josef pulled the trigger and aimed his gun again at the ghastly silhouettes of enemy soldiers running to and from cover, sometimes revealing their true selves by illuminating the area with the flash of gunpowder. However, when Josef pulled the trigger for another time, his gun did not fire.

Desperately searching every pocket and crevice for bullets proved useless. Josef knew what he had to do. Throwing his rifle aside, Josef gripped the cold body of the bloodstained soldier and took the dead man’s rifle from his cold hands. A bullet hit the soldier. An eruption of blood blinded Josef. Wiping it off, Josef continued. Emptying the remaining bullets with futility into the seemingly impervious cover of the Slavcordian soldier harassing Josef, seemed a laughable waste of ammunition, but a cost that Josef knew must be paid in order to pin his adversary. Now out of ammunition again, Josef ran with the corpse down a small ledge. This time he found ammunition, but looked more. The massive shadow of a sky dreadnaught passed over, launching shells into enemy positions. Though not a decisive attack, it was satisfying to see the bloodstained brown uniforms of the Slavcordians fly into the air.

A fellow soldier passed by Josef, hurrying to defensive positions. “Ai! Dirty gravedigging sonofabitch!” Josef wanted badly to respond and tell the soldier that he wasn’t looting the body of a fallen comrade, but there were more important things at hand. A small mecha ran by, its metallic legs galloping across the snow, firing small shells, until it vanished behind the snow. The smoke of battle machines began to rise. Josef decided his best most move would be to continue behind the mecha. Following the tracks, Josef ran, and ran. Being shot at by what felt like five people, powder exploding at his feet. A bullet ripped across Josef’s back, though not injuring too much flesh, it hurt like hell. The warm blood perhaps was a blessing in disguise. Josef was beginning to go numb. Though his body heat was up, it was barely holding him together. The warm blood soothed his back.

Finally, Josef caught up with the mecha, the pilot obviously struggling with a dug in machine gun. Stuck between a machine gun and infantry, Josef knew that the mecha needed help. Josef attacked the flank of the infantry. The shouting in foreign languages disturbed Josef. He did not know the orders of the commander. Josef fired everything and got into a rhythm. Fire. Cock. Fire. Cock. Fire. Cock. Fire. Cock. Fire. Cock. The sputtering riposte of the infernal Slavcordian rounds dissuaded Josef from continuing his assault and forced him to fall back. Running blindly in a direction were he would be temporarily safe from enemy fire, Josef found himself far to the left flank of the Slavcordian rear.

Boots getting wet, limbs stiffening. Josef began to pant as he slowly trudged back to where he believed his company was. Some Slavcordian men noticed him in the distance. They fired off several rounds at Josef, but at the distance between them, they would have been lucky if the explosion of powdery snow came within a foot of Josef.

Josef stopped. He saw a tower of smoke rising from the ridge ahead. The roar of treads. The Glass Imperium had no tanks in the mountains. They deemed them too visible. The mechas used by the Glass Imperium had a much smaller profile (or at least the smaller ones). That strategy had proven useful until the first Slavcordian attack. Now, without steam tanks or bio tanks, or any form of calvary that was not exclusively anti infantry, Josef was filled with anger and disappointment. But that was irrelevant. Josef had a duty. Heaving and panting, Josef prepared for what could very well be his final offensive.

The rectangular bottom of the tank carried several machine guns. The rusted white metal reminded Josef of a bridge burnt into hell. The gray treads and silver gears gave the tank an almost aluminum look. Then, there was the turret. A massive chimney spurted out smoke. An 85 caliber heavy cannon slowly shifted around, looking for targets. Josef breathed in. His now bloodstained uniform was a fitting cloth to be buried in. Josef leapt into the powdery snow. Josef now recognized the tank as a HF-3 “Mountain Goat.” Josef gripped his rifle and screamed like never before. Josef was prepared to die.

End of prologue.

 

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