Putting Bullets in Monsters

by Jonas Kyratzes


Prison cell audio: Subject 21, formerly Private J.P. Richter

Look, stop trying to interrogate me. You wanna know the truth? I joined New Jericho to kill mutants and chew bubblegum, and bubblegum production ceased after World War III.

Seriously though, yeah, I joined New Jericho to put bullets in monsters. That's it. I don't give a crab's ass about the ideology, about Tobias West and his grand plan to save humanity. I mean, if you're trying to figure out why I didn't obey orders, that's why. I'm not a traitor because, frankly, you have to be part of a cause to betray it. Sure, I slept in New Jericho barracks, ate New Jericho food - which is crap, by the way, no wonder people are trying to eat the monsters now, if you don't improve the quality of your grub, they'll graduate to cannibalism next - and... uh, where was I? Right, I lived the New Jericho life, but honestly, I just never bought into it. Any of it.

I remember the world before the apocalypse. Not well, I was a kid when it all went to hell in a handbasket, but well enough to remember that every nation was sitting on top of a spectacular damn arsenal. We had armies coming out our ears. Think about it. There were more soldiers back then than there are human beings now. Plus we had tanks and helicopters and bomber jets and drones and... well, everyone knows how much of a difference that made. You can't kill a virus with a tank, although I bet they tried.

Remember when we had cities? You could take every haven left in the world today and put it together and the result would be smaller than a place like New York or Istanbul. All the speeches we hear every day go on and on about the capital, how amazing it is, a fortress of humanity in this new world and all that stuff, but I mean, have you seen the place? Try comparing it in your mind to what we used to have on this planet. Seriously. We're... diminished. Just a fragment of something that used to be pretty awesome.

I basically grew up in an independent haven, you know. It was a small, honest community. Good people trying to make the best of it. I'm not being sarcastic. They were some of the best people I've met. Smart, too. Worked tirelessly to improve their defenses, to prepare for disaster. We had special alarms, shelters under every building, all that good stuff. In school, there were regular training sessions to prepare us for surviving contact with the enemy. These folks wanted to build something that would last. They wanted to survive.

You know how long the haven held out when the mist came? Two days. Two. After that it was over. All the preparation was for nothing. You see, they hadn't thought about scale. The sheer amount of freaking monstrous abominations in this world. I remember sitting in the shelter when one of the adults whispered to another, trying not to upset us, that they'd run out of bullets. Bullets! They'd been scounging every last bullet they could find for years! I should know, I was training to become a scavenger.

The mutants just overran us like the world's ugliest tidal wave. We appealed for help to New Jericho, and I gotta give you guys that much, you came through. Of course, the haven was gone by then, and all that was left was us kids, hunkered down in a shelter, listening to the screams of our parents as they got torn apart or taken. Fun times.

That's how I ended up joining, although I'm sure you know that already, it probably says so in my file. Anyway, I was young enough to fit in, I accepted the routines, did everything right. But I didn't become a soldier because I wanted full citizenship rights, or to work my way up. To want these things, you need to believe there's actually a future. You need to put your trust in the big walls and the big guns.

You really don't get it, do you? It's funny. You guys believe so strongly that you can take back the Earth, but you've isolated yourselves from reality. Most of you have only ever seen the outside through armored glass. Well, take it from me, the post-apocalypse sucks. It sucks on a scale you can barely imagine. There's so much suckage out there, New Jericho is just a blip by comparison. The idea that you can just shoot your way out of this is nuts. You'll just run out of bullets. It's just as stupid as those Synedrion people and their fantasy that they can somehow co-exist with the suckage. The only plan I've heard so far that makes any sense is to embrace the crazy. Yeah, the Disciples, their plan might work. Adapt to the enemy. Personally, I'd rather kill myself than join them, but hey. Props to the mad cultists for figuring it out.

So why did I join? I already told you. To put bullets in monsters. I see you're wondering why, if I'm so cynical, I didn't just put bullets in myself instead. The problem is that you've misunderstood me. I'm not cynical. I just think we're screwed. If I could go back in time and convince our governments not to cut funding for the Phoenix Project, I would. But they did, and here we are. We've lost the planet and we're not getting it back.

Still... I remember the old world, and I love what we used to be. We were kings, man! We made a lot of mistakes, but just think about... like I said before, think about New York City, or Istanbul, or Shanghai. We were awesome. And now it's over, and God's honest truth is that I just want to kick the enemy in the balls as many times as I can before we go out. I want to be such a pain in their collective mutant ass that they might even remember us after we're extinct. That's all.

So, the reason I broke ranks? I wanted that big bastard thing to die. It had killed so many of us, and it was getting away, and I don't care that letting it get away was the strategically superior choice. I really don't care, because we've already lost this war. I just wanted to win that one battle. And I did, and I got infected, and that's fine. It's fine, because I put a dozen bullets into that thing and watched its head explode like brain-flavored confetti. When I die, I'll be thinking of that moment, and I'll be smiling.

I know that there's no way out for me, or for any of us here in this prison. But I know they're coming. You know it too, I can see it in your eyes. So please, tell Harlson: I didn't survive the fall of one haven to die in the basement of another. When the time comes, I'm willing to fight. Not for New Jericho, not for Tobias West, but for the memory of humanity. The bastards might end up eating our world, but I'm gonna make sure they get indigestion.

Jonas Kyratzesstory