Inspirations: Painting by Ali Alshammari

Preparing myself for a halo jump into the great unknown. No windows in this pressurized cabin. Just the visage of my superiors behind a cloud of cigar smoke and 10 inch glass. Cuban cigars were always a favorite. I find they take the edge off, but when you’re in what is essentially a zero gravity oven, you find more coming off than just an edge.

Thoughts of her flood back to me as Zero begins his countdown to mission start in a boisterous Bristolian accent. Like a triathlete, I’ve trained countless hours for this in both VR and field ops. Numbers on a board mean nothing when it comes down to the nitty gritty however. When I see her, The Boss (a title earned after several acts of bravery on the beaches of Normandy), I don’t know if I’ll have the resolve and discipline to do what’s right. She is…was my mentor.

The countdown nears its final stop like an express to train to whatever remote forest of eastern Russia this. The bright red light indicating the opening of cargo doors beckons with its howling; a moth wouldn’t even dare embrace it. I strap on my standard issue 551-Seiger/Fair Oxygen mask. Still in its prototype phase, but R&D say it’s miles ahead of what we’ve been using for years even in its infancy. It is fitting though. Not in how it adorns my skull but in how history is being made. A jump of this height has never been done before. I should be honored to be christening its debut.

I near the edge of the opened bay, like the mouth of the whale that swallowed Geppetto and his wooden son. A sanctioned descent into hell is what historians would call it years later. The countdown nears its crescendo and I’m ready for the leap. I put out my cigar on the cold metallic harrier jet floor, with a precision stomp courtesy of my ragged old boots. I make the leap of faith.

Soaring through the sky isn’t human. It’s a long distance relationship where closing the gap between two distant entities means, if ill-prepared, becoming a forgotten splat on the ground. They cut all ties with me on this op. Standard modus operandi. If compromised yada yada yada. I’ve done this too many times to count, yet in her eyes I’m still a novice. What do you to someone all these years later. Someone you know couldn’t betray you, but seemingly has if a dossier of reports & photos are anything to go by. I snap out of my daze. The trees, though nearly barren of leaves, still glow effervescent with color as I near. It’s as though I’ve been falling for an eternity.

I pull the chord on my military grade parachute and feel the air thrust me up in the air like a punch from a divine presence. Everything is put in perspective. The ride is almost over. I slowly begin to make my way between the trees dodging everything in front of me. I see a patch of grass that seems secure. I pull the straps off and make a rough landing. I begin to pat my arms and legs checking for major injuries. Nothing too substantial other than a scratch or too and a bruised ego. All is quiet, other than the delicate ecosystem of snakes, rabbits and other woodland critters coexisting. Thus begins my journey. Thus begins my journey to find her.

 

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater – Yoji Shinkawa

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