Chapter 7

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"The Surge was our Tet, our Battle of the Bulge. Unlike those previous wars, our primary target was going to be slightly less human. We were forever transformed. Just as the French marched into WWI in horsehair helmets from Napoleon's era a hundred years prior and limped out with tanks, planes, and chemical weapons."

- Armed Forces Radio interview.

Kettle of vultures

Circling above

Riding on thermals

Looking for grub

Searching for the past

Be it child

Adolescent

Young and old

Fast and slow

Consumption of yesterday

And all that they know


October 25, 2006

Deployment date: 359


The two Apache attack helicopters had flown too close to the wall of sand. After a week of debate, the weather officer had given the opinion that the walls were static obstacles that would be no issue as long as the pilots were "safe." The walls had been entirely unmoving other than the upwelling of the dirt. In truth, the weather officer had no idea what was going on. The tower of sand had appeared suddenly moving from West to East and had remained in place. Just another example of weird weather coming off the storm system that had taken up residence over the Zagros mountains over the past few months.

The pilots were relaying back weather information, such as the current atmospheric pressure to the weather officer, when what appeared to be a large funnel started to press through the barrier of the wall. The helicopters slowed their forward motion until they became suspended in the air.

Their final radio calls were never received. The crew members frantically wiggled their flight control sticks. Still, their aircraft were not responding except for dipping their armed snouts downwards. Spinning blades furiously attempted to grab at the air but, no forward motion was granted.

The aircraft has been designed to take on hundreds of Russian armored vehicles during the Cold War, but were currently under attack by the smallest of particles, and losing.

Eventually, both aircraft were sitting at a right angle to the earth, each had their nose pointing straight down. Observers on the ground caught sight of a slow-motion change to the blades as they began to bend, pulling outwards like an umbrella caught in a strong wind and popped inside out. The tail started to fold rearward over itself, and an instant, all of the blades exploded. They shattered like a glass vase into a million pieces, and the aircraft was drawn into the dust funnel, which seemed to expand around the helicopters. They passed through the tube as if one was watching a snake consume a giant animal.

The funnel retracted into itself and returned to the wall. The constantly upwelling background of the dust had already erased any hint of the aircraft. Anyone trying to reconstruct the scene mentally was met with a flood of unearthly horror. Aircraft don't work like that. Sandstorms do not consume aircraft like animals. Yet, they were gone.

A local newscaster, along with several civilians with video cameras caught the entire event. However, when they looked back, all of their videos were blank. The hourglass of time had been perverted. Gravity itself took a backseat. Instead of passing from the top to the bottom, this sand moved West to East.

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