|This article, GOW: Dark Times, was written by Jacen Fett. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
Corporal Sam Byrne sat despondently against the wall in his squalid little cell in the lower levels of the COG forward operations base a klick south of the city of the Autrin. The cell was half the size of his closet at his father's home and nearly empty, save for the grotesque shit-covered toilet and a cot that smelled like piss; reluctant tears ran from his eyes down his bare torso as his head lay buried in his lap but not from the disgusting living conditions he's forced to endure, but for the loss of his love, Mila. Sam lifted his head, inhaled and wiped the tears from his face, he remembered Mila wouldn't want him to bitch and moan over her death, she even told him so.
I'll haunt your ass, if you cry over me. Her voice in the back of his head said.
He smiled and mused at the thought but quickly descended into anger when he grasped the realization that it wasn't his fault. It was Gowon. That fucking careerist jackass.
He clenched his fist slammed it against the semi-corroded steel wall, the murderous rage behind the force caused a small dent in it, it hurt, but the pain was minor compared to the heartache. The war with the Locust so soon after the end Pendulum Wars has cost humanity more than enough of its population on Sera and the Coalition of Ordered Governments its citizens' faith and respect. Sam could only see darkness in both the world and the tiny cell, he closed his eyes and let himself fall back into a decent memory.
He opened his eyes to the charming smile of his friend Cadman Jenson, that he met in basic training. The two of them made a good team, always had each other's back, even when it came down to certain tasks that the other considered impossible.
"Come on, CJ, its just a chicken." Byrne mocked as the fowl the clucked and struggled to get loose. Jensen's hand were loose around its neck as he wasn't trying to hurt it and Byrne knew it. "Buddy, you don't kill it, we don't eat."
"Byrne's right." The corporal's eyes rose to the woman staring at him, Sergeant Kunis. She was the one leading the class on cooking in the field, most of the other trainees had already started though a few were hesitant. "This is the only meal you're getting today."
"I've never killed anything innocent, Sergeant."
"What's more important, an innocent as you call it or your well-being and that of your friend? The end—"
"Justifies the means. It's all about survival now." Byrne let the corner of his mouth curl into a smile at the sergeant and she smiled back but quickly went back to her to gutting her own chicken. He then turned back to his affairs as well and snatched the fowl from his friend's hands and without hesitation he broke it's neck.
"Hm." He said as he watched the feathered creature go limp, seconds later he twisted its head again to make sure it was dead then looked to Jensen who had a puzzled look on his face.
"You made it look so easy."
"I guess you'll want me to gut and cook it now huh?"
"Why not, I did the dirty work?"
Byrne smiled then caught a glimpse of the sergeant looking his way in his peripheral vision and smiling, he didn't bother to turn and confirm. At the time he wondered if it was for him or Jensen.