Vignette:Auf Wiedersehen Arbenz

From Anterra
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Auf Wiedersehen Arbenz

Imperial Archives, Alvastadt, Imperial State of Alva
September 10th, 1990

he tape in his hands smells like the Arbenzan jungle. There are hints of cocoa, swampy earth, burnt gunpowder, spilt blood, and monkey piss emanating from it. He can almost hear the music coming from the tape, even in the quiet theatre tucked away in some dingy corner of the Archives. There’s a satisfying click as he shifts it into place. With a flick of a switch, the projector lights up to an opening shot of a uniformed and moustached man grinning from ear to ear. He’s got a rifle in one arm and a brother in the other.

“Are you getting this?” The moustached man is looking behind the camera.

“Yeah, yeah.” The camera steadies itself.

“Alright. I’m Stabsgefreiter Augustin Hofbauer. He’s Gefreiter Jens Tausche. Welcome to Arbenz, boys!” Augustin lets off a hearty laugh as he slaps Jens’ back.

There’s something off in the way he looks into the camera.

He’s about to sit down when the scene cuts to the sight of someone perched high up in a tree. He’s never seen so much green and brown in one place. The sun casts a bright halo around him as he readies his rifle. The sight of the soldier tap-firing whilst simultaneously perched high up precariously on a tree awes him; how can he do all of that without falling off?

It cuts again; this time, the camera work is much more shoddy. A moment later, he can see why. There are bits of plant matter in the foreground and soldiers wearing varying uniforms hiding behind whatever cover or concealment they can find just behind that. The camera zooms into the background to reveal a gaggle of Arbenzan revolutionaries scattering into the jungle before zooming back to the ambushed patrol.

“Ai, pendejos!” shouts a frustrated Federalist. He fires a quick burst before getting back down.

“Foarút! Foarút!” The orders come from a New Valentine officer, along with the accompanying hand signals.

There’s only laughter from the Alvaks in the group as they pick themselves up and rush forward.

There’s another cut. Augustin wields a machine gun this time, ostensibly providing covering fire for his comrades-in-arms. It pans towards the barrel and stops at his target: the jungle. He stops firing the moment a hard-headed Federalist soldier dives into the brush with a submachine gun and a New Valentine ranger follows through. As the camera pans back to Augustin, he realizes his face is no longer one of jovial pride he saw just a few moments ago, but one of predatory concentration. His eyes are empty and his dentures are gritting against one another.

As he sits in the darkness of the theatre, he wonders if he’s looking at a soldier or an animal.

Return to Top