Red light shone down upon the Wyoming state border. The verdant grasslands and beautiful scenery along this stretch had been completely reduced to a wasteland. The beauty of the state was still intact further in, where the battle had not yet reached but along the border it was gone
As the rising red sun blanketed the area, the crimson light soon fell upon the camo netting of a border fort under the command of fortress commander Ryder. The outer positions were covered in netting and sprawled out in foxholes ranging from one to two soldiers to fully artillery howitzer positions
Each of these was interconnected with a series of trenches dug in to the flat lands which allowed swift advance or retreat. Further back was the main camp which was secured by machine guns and tank cannons fixed into old fashioned anti-tank guns, again all covered in the netting.
Whereas the outer lines were sprawled out the inner ones were made into a solid line with the cannon and machine guns positioned at the back higher up, just above the main trench for the soldiers. Behind the groundworks wall was a web of trenches, mortar, howitzer and bunker positions
The largest of these bunkers was the command centre of the fort where Ryder spent most of his time and energy.
Behind this lot was the camp itself, with lines of tents, a few bunk houses, wash and toilet facilities and a large section for cooking. The people here were mostly soldiers and had become accustomed to what was for them at the fort; they all agreed it seemed to be the best place to be.
In the distance was Cheyenne, the capital city, broken and in a state of ruin. The outer areas of the city had been long since abandoned, only wild animals darted in the shadows, their eyes always weary for the Exclamber. Deeper in however there still was a focused point of resistance that refused to give in and refused to move.
Ryder stood inside a watchtower and surveyed the brightening scene with a cup of tea in one hand and the other massaging his brow. The man had become more muscular as time had gone on and a beard had begun to appear around his jaw. The bags under his eyes were darker and told the tale of many sleepless nights.
He looked at the city while taking a sip of the hot liquid and thought. It had been at least a month since the majority of people had evacuated the city and the resistance had ceased contact. He wondered how many were left inside. The commander had visited the resistance there once before, after the evacuation only to find that the entire city centre had been transformed into a massive killing zone.
"Commander Ryder?" A strong female voice shouted up the ladder to the tower. Slowly and uncaringly the man turned around, took a giant sip of his tea and walked to the ladder and looked
"Genette" He replied with a bite
"Madam President I think you'll find my title is" She bit back
"I will not argue with you commander, I would win if we did"
"How professional of you. In either case this fort is a member of the attrition alliance which happens to remain independent"
"There's no such thing as independent anymore, the rest of the state backs me completely"
"Then feel free to order the rest of the state around as you will, but here remains under the command of the council, which I happen to be a member of. You're not winning votes with me at the moment I must say"
"Listen, we need a leader who will take charge and start fighting this damn war. A leader who will save this state from the monsters. I am that leader, this will go a lot easier if you support me
"Is that a threat?" Miles said walking out of a bunker behind her, Ryder smiled at him and he returned the expression
"A statement" Genette leant on one side, placing a hand on her hip
"You have a meeting with the attrition council next week, so play off your political tunes then and let us get on with the job of guarding the border."
"You disappoint me gentlemen" With that she turned and walked away into the camp
"The end of the world and politicians are still trying to gain power" Miles said as he reached the base of the watchtower ladder
"She has a point you know?" Ryder responded deep in thought while leaning on the side at the top of the tower still
"Yeah I know she does. We do need a leader and we do need to start fighting this war, round two is coming up soon and we lost round one. I just don't know if she is the leader for us, she's too..."
"Out of touch?"
"Exactly, but she does have the rest of the state behind her"
"We'll see what the verdict is at the meeting next week. Any news on the Cheyenne mountain complex?" Ryder pulled himself out of thought
"Yeah, Exclamber tunnelled up and destroyed absolutely everything there. Nothing's usable at all"
"Yeah I know, anyway I'll see you in a bit" With that Miles walked off and Ryder turned around and continued looking across the landscape. The red tint was still ever present in everything
Miles walked into the command bunker with a sigh as he came to a large table in the centre of the room. On it was a map of the area stretched out with varying lines drawn to indicate things from areas covered by the forts to areas of Exclamber activity. He studied it for a few minutes as the staff buzzed around him
A soft female hand rubbed up his back and a soothing voice sounded
"Hey, how you doing?" Carla stood beside him and traced his vision down to the map
"Stressful. Things are changing but staying the same"
"I'm sure things will be fine, it's just politics after all"
"We're facing demons that threaten the entire of humanity, how can people still fight for power"
"Well it's never that they want power, Genette just feels she can do things better than the others"
"Oh please don't tell me you support her" Miles looked her straight in the eyes which made her laugh softly
"Hey I'm staying out of this one, I'll follow the leader. Which here is you and your hard assed friend"
"Thought I was the hard ass?" Miles responded, his mood lightening
"Well that's more physical with you, not complaining though" She winked and turned away
"Are you flirting or teasing?"
"What's the difference?"
"I'll tell you later" He burst out laughing as Carla watched him playfully bemused. At that moment Ryder walked in speaking into his radio. He reached the table and waved a member of staff over to him
"Get me the forward light batteries on the line" The staff member ran to follow this task through
"What you seen" Miles said with Carla moving to his back
"Huh? Oh a scout section reported a gathering of Exclamber, thought I might break them up a bit" The staff returned and handed him a radio which he calmly spoke orders into
"Isn't that a waste of ammo?" Miles spoke slightly concerned
"We're not using that much anyway, a few round to break them up, they've been getting closer to the line"
"I need to try and make contact with Helman soon, need to see how he is. Last time we spoke was when Cheyenne fell, I think he's gone either up the side of the state or out of it"
"Hmm we'll see what we can spare. After the meeting?"
"Yes of course, wouldn't miss that for the world"