The Mini-burger

FanFic in the Birmoverse

Resonance by Surtac, – posted July 1, 2006

Resonance by Surtac, – posted July 1, 2006 at 1:16 AM Surtac, 1st FanFic Festival entry posted July 1, 2006 at 1:16 AM

The lead warship in the battle group winked suddenly into view, appearing from the pre-dawn mists like a ghost stepping out of a mirror in a darkened room.   
Or so it would have seemed, if there was anyone or anything standing on the beach on Sulo’s south-eastern corner to see as the warships appeared from the shimmering mists that had hidden them for the last hour. 
Her contemporary escorts followed her out of the darkness, wallowing through the swell that her strange-looking advanced hull design had contemptuously ignored. 

As the current home of the 82nd Marine Expeditionary Unit’s pocket air force, the Baghdad class littoral assault carrier USS Kandahar was way out of her intended time and space.  Instead of fighting the Long War on Terror in the early 21st Century, here she was in southern Phillipine waters in mid-1942 preparing her air assets for an airfield assault against Japanese forces on southern Mindanao. 
Captain Samuel K. Stone (callsign Lodestar) shook his head ruefully.  It doesn’t bear thinking about, he thought to himself.  How did a Texas boy born in 1990 end up in the goddamn middle of World War II?  I consider myself a reasonably educated man, but I can’t get my head around this so-called Transition event.  It’s way beyond the physics I need for my job. ‘ 
He drew a last lungful from one of his carefully hoarded ‘future’ cigarettes.  It wouldn’t be long before he’d have to switch to the disgustingly bad ‘temp cigarettes that would be all that would be available once the ships stores had been exhausted – either that or give up again.  He walked over and tossed the butt over the side, where he’d been leaning on the rail in the lee of the Kandahar’s small conning tower.  Shrugging further into his flight jacket, he walked around the corner of the tower and into the cross-deck breeze towards where his AV-8B Super Harrier was parked on the flight deck just behind the side elevator.   
Like many fliers, Sam was superstitious in some ways.  He smiled as he approached his bird – that was one thing that seemed not to have changed over the decades.  Many pilots had their own pre-flight rituals.  Sam’s particular foible was a paranoid need to check and re-check his aircraft multiple times before each sortie.  He’d hassled his maintenance crew through their pre-flight check processes on the hangar deck below and very nearly micro-managed the armourers hanging ‘temp ordnance onto the airframe.  He knew he had a nickname down there for it – they called him ‘Mother Hen’ behind his back – but he didn’t care.  As long as they did their jobs properly – he was the one at the sharp end in the cockpit after all. 
Engine noise caught his attention as he walked over to ‘kick the tyres’ again.  An Osprey was spooling up on the front of the flight deck.  Ah yes those poor gators, having to hump it in for three kays off the beach to the airfield at Kalaong.  The surveillance drone must have given the all-clear for the recon platoon to move in and secure the airfield defences and sentries before Sam led his Harriers in at dawn to trash the Jap fighter squadron that had been creating such a nuisance recently.  He looked further afield – an ASR Sea Stallion lurked off the front bow, and the pair of Sea Comanches that were going in just ahead of the Osprey to final check out the beach LZ and provide a little close air support if things went unexpectedly pear-shaped at the insertion were also winding up. 
‘Good luck, guys.  Make it work.’ he wished them fervently.  Some of those recon boys he counted as friends.  He wasn’t prepared to do that with any of the ‘temps just yet. 
* * * 
Sixteen year old Furlong Abu crouched at the jungle’s edge where it approached closest to the sentry post at the southern end of the airfield’s runway.  The pre-dawn chorus hadn’t yet started and it was so quiet he could hear the Japanese soldiers chatting and laughing in the sandbagged weapons pit fifty yards beyond the sentry hut.  He feared that they in turn could hear his shivering as he struggled to stay motionless in the cold. 
A figure stepped from the hut and marched towards the gun-crew, gesticulating wildly and shouting what sounded like a mix of both orders and abuse.  The laughing stopped and Furlong could hear a placatory tone in the muttered responses from the soldiers in the pit.  The officer, for Furlong could see the silhouette of a belted sword as the figure spun, turned and marched back to the sentry post.  That one wouldn’t do, he thought to himself.  He’d have to find another target. 
He shivered again as he recalled the stinging words from his datu, his village chief.  “You want to join the Moro struggle against this latest invader?  You are not the first son to have lost a father in our battle against an invader.  Yes we have a 500 year long heritage of fighting for our right to live in these islands.  You are not yet part of that tradition!  You bear the name of a famous warrior.  What have you done to show Allah you deserve it?   Take your father’s kris and prove your worth.  Go and bring me back a Japanese rifle!’ 
A further half hour passed.  Furlong was beginning to think that he would not have an opportunity to strike this night, when the sentry post door opened and a soldier stepped out, the door swinging closed behind him.  Slinging his rifle over his shoulder, the soldier walked to the jungle edge, and stood there, not three yards from Furlong’s position.   
As he heard the man start to urinate loudly into the undergrowth, Furlong stood slowly and silently.  He would attack in the manner of his juramentado ancestors – emerge silently from the jungle with kris swinging.  He took one step towards the unsuspecting soldier.  As he slowly raised the kris for a strike to the man’s neck, he heard a hiss of in-drawn breath behind him.  He turned quickly towards the sound, just in time to see a second soldier’s rifle butt rushing at his face.  The night spun darkly around him as the blow struck and Furlong found himself falling into a whirlpool of pain and darkness.   
* * * 
A faceful of cold water shocked Furlong awake.  His head still spun and the pain was a dull roar behind his right ear.  He looked groggily around, to find himself sitting on a wooden chair in the sentry post, his hands tied tightly together behind him.  Two Japanese soldiers covered him with their rifles, one setting down a cup on the small table to his left.  The officer glared coldly at him, the kris held lightly in his right hand. 
The officer looked closely at the Moro weapon, and said something incomprehensible to Furlong, before tossing the kris into the corner behind him.  The soldier behind Furlong snickered loudly in reply – the other, over by the door, merely smiled cruelly at their prisoner. 
A faint noise sounded outside the hut.  The officer frowned and muttered something to the soldier by the door, who gave a short bow in reply and slipped outside, leaving the door open as he went. 
Gesturing towards Furlong, the officer spoke sharply to the soldier remaining in the hut.  The soldier stepped forward and pushed Furlong roughly from the chair onto his knees.  The muzzle of the soldiers rifle pressed into youth’s spine, above his bound hands, and forced him to hold his upper body almost horizontal. 
The officer stepped to Furlong’s right side and the young native turned his head slightly to watch, hearing the hiss of steel on steel as the officer drew his sword and stepped closer. 
“Allahu Akbar!  Praise God and his prophet Mohammed!” thought Furlong as the officer continued to raise his sword in a two-handed stance. 
He twisted his head to see the grim expression on the Japanese face as the sword reached the top of its swing.  Just then, Furlong heard a soft popping sound, and the Japanese officer’s head exploded, spattering brains and bone fragments onto Furlong as he crouched, incredulous. 
Simultaneously, he felt the pressure of the rifle muzzle on his spine disappear, and heard the clatter of the weapon hit the hut floor.  He felt, rather than heard, the slump of its wielder follow it down. 
As the officer’s body also fell to the floor, Furlong looked beyond it to the doorway.  Standing there were two man-shaped figures clothed totally in black, with black and green striped faces and strange equipment on the heads, strange black weapons still pointed at the Japanese bodies.  “Kurits!” he thought, stunned.  “The monsters from the old stories are real!” 
And then the lead kurits looked directly at him and spoke, shattering any understanding Furlong thought he had.  “I guess we got here just in time, Gunny.  Hey kid, you speak any English?” 
Now completely shocked and awed, Furlong could only nod his head to acknowledge his comprehension.  “These are Americans!’ he thought furiously to himself.  “But we were fighting them and their Jungle Patrol only a few years ago – have they forgotten?  The Japanese are just the latest infidel invader.  Does this mean the Americans are now on our side?  But how long will that last?” 
“Sergeant.  Untie the kid and check him for injuries.  It’s nearly time for the main game here.” 
“Yessir. Okay kid, take it easy” said the other American, unsheathing a knife and cutting Furlong free of his bonds, before helping the shaken boy to his feet.  “It looks like he’s taken a smack to the head sir, but otherwise looks okay.” 
Meanwhile, the officer had picked up the Japanese sword.  “My grandfather came back from WWII in the Pacific with one of these and would never tell us where or how he got it.” He said quietly.  “I wonder where the poor bastard is right now?  You know, I always wanted one of these – I just never expected to ever be in a place where I’d have a chance to collect one.  How in hell did something like this happen?  Damned if I know – hell, after the Transition we’re all damned any way!” 
He put down the sword and resumed looking at the long thing on his arm.  “It’s time, Gunny.  They’re here.” he said to the other man, as they both moved to the window of the post.  He looked across at Furlong.  “Best keep your head down, kid” he advised as a low whistling sound started in the southwestern sky. 
* * * 
Sam Stone led his six Harriers in at low level just as the sun appeared in the east of the airfield..  The ‘temp iron bombs they were loaded with are enough to create havoc amongst the parked aircraft and the airfield buildings.  All of the airfield defences are down thanks to Furlong’s rescuers and the other recon marines. 

One bomb from Stone’s Harrier sticks briefly to the port inner underwing rack and dislodges fractionally late. “Goddamn ‘temp armourers” curses Sam as he realises what’s happened. 
It explodes just shy of the gun pit nearest the sentry hut containing Furlong and the marines.  As the marines are distracted, Furlong sees his chance.  He grabs the Japanese rifle from the floor and his fathers kris from the corner and is out of the door before the two marines can reach him.  Outside, he stumbled over the body of the other Japanese soldier but recovered his balance and continued running as fast as he could manage to the nearest jungle edge.   
The sergeant moved to follow, unslinging his silenced HK as he stepped through the door.  But he stopped as the voice behind said “Let him go, Gunny.  If he wants to fight the Japs that badly, then I’m prepared to let him.” 
The younger marine sighed.  “Come on soldier – we’ve got a job to finish here” he said, slipping through the door as the Harriers screamed back in on their return pass, their belly cannon pods chattering loudly as they opened up on the remaining aircraft revetments. 
The non-com looked thoughtfully at the jungle edge where Furlong had disappeared.  How many more like him are out there, he mused.  Despite the sweat he’d worked up on the forced march in from the beach LZ, he felt a sudden chill as he turned to follow his officer into the maelstrom of the airfield assault. 

From SFMurphy on 07/09/06

 

Okay, just copied and pasted it to a word program so I can print and read it later.   

Let you know what I think when I’m done. 

Respects, 
Murph 
Northtown, Missouri

 

From MickH on 07/10/06

 

Interesting story Surtac but I’m not to sure who Furlong is? Is he a filipino muslim native?

 

From Surtac on 07/10/06

 

Mick, 

I was probably a bit too subtle with some of the background.  I was trying desperately hard not to infodump too much in. 

Furlong is a Moro, a member of a group of tribes that have been followers of Mohammed in southern Mindanao and on the southwestern islands of the Phillipines for 500 years. 

The Spanish couldn’t beat them, and it took Uncle Sam and his Krag rifles to essentially quell the worst of their insurrectionist activities a hundred years back. But they’re still around – there was a reference to Moro revolutionaries in the Australian newspaper some weeks back that gave me the story’s title. 

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