Life of a Sapper
Day in the life of: A Sapper
The smell, I hate the smell the most. If they can pay me and 4000 other saps 90 large a year plus bonus they could surely clean the crap out of this base and immediate area. Zandia is a smelly ugly Dirty pit and then I spend most of my life down in the bunker which is a pitiful pit under a pit. Did you know that you can cram 90,000 of us down here vehicles and all? It must go down 20 stories and half a mile in all directions but they keep us sappers up here by the entrance jammed next to the light snipers- that’s probably most of the smell down here. Those goobers pride themselves in smelling like their environment. They crawl through the crap piles peeping from under the plastic goat guts container to get their shot. It’s the only cover or concealment available in this cesspool. One of the stinking groin grabbers actually had used condoms attached to his shredded garbage bag ghillie suit- gotta blend in. Arrogant too, every swinging stick and rack claims he/she is a former elite SAS sniper. Never mind that the SAS sniper school has only graduated a few thousand snipes in the last 50 years- and I have seen that many of em’ die just from this one base in a single rep raid.
Perhaps I should explain a “rep” is a repository. Basically just any bombed out munitions factory, bakery, POL dump or bank or even a crashed cargo plane. They send us out on a “Stick and Pick” operation to stick around the site and pick through the rubble until each unit gets his quota of whatever the **** it is we are looking for. Stupidest ****ing missions ever. 8 or 10 of us can be in and out in no time with our 5 loaves and 2 fishes for what it’s worth. Many more than that and it takes forever- then the other base commanders in their crab pot thinking will blast the rubble into finer rubble and you need a stick to pick us out of the crevices. Wouldn’t dream of sending their own precious troops to pick, but nobody else can either? Cripes, you’d think they were getting points or something for each one of us they kabobed.
I swing myself out of my .9 meter by 2 meter rack and drop to the floor. That is my real estate. About 3’x6.7’x2’high. Almost 40 Cubic feet of privacy stacked 3 high. Has a curtain, a vent fan, a light and a locker hidden under my 2” thick imitation mattress/flea circus. Pulling on my boots I head for the breakfast line. It is just a few hundred feet away through a simple maze of corridors. I can smell that the ventilation is having fits again. At a million bucks a piece the German made air handlers are wonders of engineering and suck the bad air out at a prodigious but ineffective rate. Hmmm powdered eggs for a change, imitation halal sausage, 4 pieces of stale bread toasted to perfection then imitation buttered and put in a pan to contemptibly soggify. Bug juice- Pass on the oatmeal. Everything tastes like Avgas and Diesel fumes. Seems the air handlers are pulling fumes from -2 where the Creighton Crates are rolling in or out. Really….WHO IN THE **** Puts 40,000 vehicles underground????? North Korea? Well yes, North Korea and apparently every mid-level syndicate warlord wannabe in Zandia.
My name is Robert by the way. Robert the Sapper. I sap for a living. I sir, am obviously a sap. French term Sapeur, started as a miner or trench excavator digging away to eventually destroy fortifications. NOT my job here. I am no super soldier, in fact I was just a rear area US Navy pogue in the SeaBees- CB’s or Construction Battalions. I built things from plywood. Now I am a demolitions expert- well I did use a grenade in training once and C-4+++ is my best friend. But what I am truly great at, my “raison de la mort” now is BOPS. BOPS is another acronym: Breaking Other Peoples Sh..tuff. Typical BOPS defense mission is Ripping away the outer gate (Crates are actually useful here), leapfrog through the courtyard to the door where I blast the hinges off (One of the few places this frickin face shield is useful) Clear the rooms by the numbers, Then proceed to tear everything apart that might conceal weapons or explosives. This includes such ominous items as crockery, cushions, carpets, and cakes. Like a going out of business sale- everything must go. If we are going to hold the area the next step is to rip out sections of subfloors and a roof access. Under the subfloor, if there is one, we dig a foxhole at useful locations then Drill or pick a firing loophole through the wall at ground level. We sandbag or block any windows/doors when time permits. A window is not a fighting position, it is a target and an access point for Zigs, grenades and Molotovs. A small 9” hole through the wall is plenty for observation and fire. If the roof has cover we add concealment. If it has concealment we add cover. If nothing we add both. We then blast or bust a hole into any adjoining buildings lather, rinse, and repeat. Life is good.
Note to the Commander, The 1099 is a fine weapon for such engagements in close urban terrain. Take away our buildings and/or stretch out the ranges past 15 meters and all we can do is divert bullets away from the boys with rifles and rocket racks. Think about this next time you think of sending me out with a frickin squirrel gun to take on Attack helicopters. I will personally poison your tiramisu if it happens again. Yes I am talking to YOU O’Sullivan, you stinking moppet. Oh, by the way, you illegitimate potato pumper, you probably won’t recognize your mother when you get home, I shaved her back.
So anyhow, breakfast was pretty good today and I am in a better mood than usual. You can tell by my jovial optimism and cheerful acceptance of the losing lottery ticket that is my life. Like all humans I have delusions of grandeur. Causing death somehow gives you the feeling that you have some power over it. The randomness and the ephemeral rationality of it tell you it ain’t true. The immense power of your own understanding is rendered powerless by the statistics of reality and the subconscious understanding that death is approaching no matter what. There it goes again, sorry folks, yesterday’s drugs are wearing off. Metaphysical mumbo jumbo aside- There is a higher power out there.
I know my place. I am the lowest non-Zig (ZHG Zhen Shi Holding Group) in this country with the least ability to effect any outcomes. But I am a Veteran, probably the only reason I am still looking down at the dirt instead of up. Not many saps get the goony goo-goo witchdoctor medical treatment at the infirmary due to the high cost. Our commander, Bless his ghoulish ugly lickspittle soul, Revs the vet units. See those red stripes-veteran- yeah, patch him up so I can get him shot again. I don’t know how they do it- Last time I caught an HMG round full in the chest and out between the shoulder blades. I swear I could feel my own lungs tapping me on the back like a Jehovah’s witness trying to get a donation. Woke up good as new. It probably was not as bad as I had imagined it, but I am sure they accomplished a lot more than a stateside hospital could have. Eternal life in our grasp? Not-a chance. You know that anything a human can do is only temporary and the final curtain call is just around the corner. Sorry DR. Ozymandias.
I pull up the schedule on the phone. Training 0730 lvl -1 room E, Zandia ROE (Rules Of Engagement) Change 29 Revision 117. Great. An hour lecture on which of the 3 non-combatants left in this sandpit I am allowed to kill or give food to. 0900 stimulant injections. I don’t want to know what they put into this go juice- they keep changing and “improving” the cocktail. Whatever is in it probably is not doing wonders for my long term health, but who gives a crap- one shot and I can take on the world for 14 hours. 0930 pre-mission brief. 1000 draw weapons and ammo. 1100 Form up and move out. No transportation is needed today. We can just hump out to a little local battleground to ambush some Zigs expected to be assaulting through the area. I stake out my own little pile of concrete rubble and we whack a group of about 30 Zigs. We lost eight hanson, Higgins, Kenny… Again!!! OMG they killed Kenny for like the 12th time. I swear- one more time and I will stop dragging his worthless carcass back to the base. He is a veteran too so he will get rev’d when we get back just so I can drag his stinking body back again next time. When I say stinking I mean it literally. Remember when your mom told you to put on clean underwear just in case you’re in an accident? With Kenny it doesn’t matter right now. “AUuugh I hate that smell” I yell as I kick his inert body. I motion to the two riflemen we had just rescued from the Zigs. “If your grateful then please haul this hero back- be careful his drag strap is about worn out.” The fact that they did not have their rifles anymore helped, As Capone said “you can get more of what you want with a 1099 shotgun and a kind word than you can with just a kind word.”
We get back to the base before 1600. We start to head below but Major O’sullivan says we are going to stay topside. Ah blessed relief, a night sleeping under the stars or in the mock barracks with at least a chance of fresh air. Sure the chance of somebody dropping a nuke on your head or a billionaire syndicate boss with 30000 attack choppers smearing your body across a mile of desert increase a thousand fold, but it’s worth it. We haul our wounded to the topside sick bay then debrief at the command Hq and settle into a 50% watch schedule.
I will let you in on a little secret, the above ground portion of the base is mostly fake. Its paper Mache and paper clips, bubble gum bailing and barbed wire, some holographic projections and retractable Antennas, towers, hangars and shops. You really don’t think anybody sane would place out in the open four or five real Munitions factories and a huge Ball silo of explosive Avgas in the same place they work did you? This place gets flattened once a week by some fiery disaster or another but we just fold it back out, reset the projectors and get back to work. The individual imitations and renderings of our buildings and units are flawless. They are true works of art. Unfortunately the moron who wrote the specs and incorporated all the pieces together would not understand scale if he tripped over one in the bathroom and face planted on a fish. That is why we have AtVs and motorcycles twice the size of the Semi Trucks and exaggerated oversized weapons mounts that should be gracing a Battleships deck. I got to hand it to them though, it still fools the Zigs. They tried to attack the base during the first year then got frustrated and stopped due to high casualties with no apparent damage done. Since then we only have to worry about real people- other commanders. OH Don’t get me started….
Well you got me started didn’t you!. With all of this red vs blue crap. WHY are we here? Are we just some sort of cosmic accident or are we a creation of God or…..NO, why are we here? In the middle of a desert guarding 5 oil wells and some small underground munitions factories. Nobody is making a profit- we use every ounce of oil and every round produced on site and have to have our food parachuted in. Why are we here? To support the other commanders of our Combine. Yes true but why is the combine here? Now your just being silly- To fight the other combines of course. Ah I am glad we drilled down and got to the root cause- or at least close enough for me. The other combines are full of bullies and brutes, beyond redemption and unworthy to hold our holy grails- The Mining complexes, where glory is earned, influence is spread and veterans are made. There is massive profit in the (insert valuable commodity here) therein. They contain enough distilled and concentrated profit to justify the massive initial investment and continuing support of the syndicates and their shareholders. All of this to get me my paycheck, which is why I am here. Well that and the ’ to be castrated as soon as I get furlough’ recruiter back in Podunk Texas.
I would give my left nut to defend a mining complex-no really, I did once already. Shrapnel took it right off and embedded it in Private Kenny’s forehead. Oh we laughed….., well Kenny didn’t, he was pretty close to death at the time. He may have died of embarrassment. The Corpsman filling out the toe tag put cause of death: Testicular infiltration of the cranial something or other. We changed it to balls across the face when he left. Well it seemed funny at the time. Don’t you get judgy with me- He got better, and hey I was the one missing part of my manhood. Got it back next time they revived and restored me. I swear though that they gave me some old white mans’ testicle. I started leaning to the right, voting Republican and preferring women with smaller butts.
Well that is a day in the life of a sapper. As I start to fall asleep the stupid missile alert sounds- Not to worry It only takes 15 seconds to get down into the bunker from here and as long as they don’t have multiple boost stages on the rocket there is noOOO….