The sand dunes of Asia flow through the cities that occupy the dusty lands. Cavalcades of trucks storm the streets like a parade without cheer. They roll through with caution, for anything could happen in uncharted territory. Some choose to ride in the jeeps, others take a risk while riding the side of an Abrams. Corporal Tammi Wray was one such individual. Clutching her Colt M16A4 and letting her boots dangle off the side of the tank. She scopes the streets. The sun beamed downward as her wraparound glasses reflected the light off temperature far higher a hundred degrees Fahrenheit.
She turns her body forward, now facing the front end of the machine of death, letting her American-made rifle sit in her broad lap. Her vision finds few civilians in what was seemingly a ghost town. Children watching the march of the vehicles in curiosity before their parents took them away to avoid any conflicts. Tammi took this in a different light, for years now, the country wondered why soldiers were over in this part of the world. Their mission of liberating this land was long complete and the incumbent military they had taught to take over were ready to perform their task with the same mentality they had, to keep the peace around here.
An uncertainty overcame Wray and many of the troops in the battalion. She loved being able to fight for her country, but there was not much of a fight here aside from minor skirmishes with rebellious locals. She bled the colors of this nation but she wasn't a fan of this seemingly pointless act of war. Much of the same could have been said back home. as public opinion of the war had long soured, a backlash not seen since Vietnam. Between them, a single question unified protestors and soldiers alike.
"Why're we here again?" Tammi has to boost her speak, no way talking at room level would be heard through the roar of millions of dollars in metal and engine ran through desolate areas of land, the victim of years of warfare from both sides of the coin.
"We're moving supplies, Corporal." She heard through the headphone of her US Marines-endorsed Lightweight Helmet. "We have an outpost due east dealing with Bingo ammo and fuel." The answer didn't suffice her, almost certainly didn't understand the question.
"Naw. Why are we here? Metaphorical question." She aims down the sights, inspecting her rifle fitted with a 40 Mike-Mike, a grenade launcher. "Like, Long told us we'd be heading back to the states last couple months ago. Obviously, that was a couple months ago." She plays with the settings on the side of the rifle; single fire, three round burst and fully automatic. Her safety was on, didn't want to end up like Private Simmons a week ago.
"I getcha. Well, we're nearing Lancer's requirements. So soon, I'd say." Children come up to the tanks, bearing gifts of fruit. While few chose to fight, even fewer treated their guests well. She grabs a mango and bites into it. Probably the tastiest thing she's eaten in weeks considering the 'food' that comes in the MTE bags. She moves her rifle onto the tank itself, not wanting to let the juices ruin a gun known for a history of malfunctions after getting wet.
"Uh, how long is soon, hun?"
"Weeks. One step at a time, right?"
"Yeah, you can say that again."
The rolling of the tanks and Jeeps continues as planned, a rare day of no action or conflict. That meant no losses or casualties, yet no progress on the front of liberating this land from evil. At the end of a long day, the platoon sits around and mingle with their compatriots in arms. Lighted tents, loud rock music, and chatter amongst the soldiers who were waiting for the day they could get out of here. Tammi sits on a pile of crates, eating a snack bar that came out of her MTE bag. Her rifle beside her as she watches her allies enjoy a night of relaxation.
"Yes, sir?" She jumps off her seat and stands at attention as her superior officer comes her way, the leader of this rag-tag group of Marines.
"At ease." She normalizes her stance at his behest. He sighs loudly, whatever he was about to say, it wasn't going to be good. "I hate to break it to you but... You're going back home." Her eyes widen. There was a part of her that wanted to smile but she didn't want to overshoot her reaction, especially if it was a dishonorable reason for going back. Either way, she was finally going to see her family again and be rid of this place.
"Reason, sir?" He gives her a grim look. This wasn't a good reason she was going back to Louisiana. He takes a bit but is able to muster up the words.
"Your, uh... You might want to look at this." He indicates Tammi to follow him to the tent, where a TV had been set up. Soldiers huddled as they watched with baited breath. She made her way towards the screen, politely going through the wave. Her eyes widen.
Homes surrounded by water, residents on rooftops with signs asking for help. The local stadium playing refuge to those who lost everything. The familiar sights to US citizens now were native to those fighting overseas. Tammi's jaw drops slightly as the report continues.
New Orleans was rocked by Hurricane Katrina. With FEMA's lack of intervention until days after the city was destroyed by the worst hurricane the country had seen in nine years. Katrina left New Orleans in a state of rebuild that would take many years to recover, even to this very day.
"I'm sorry, Tammi." She felt a hand on her shoulder, many more to follow. Tears started to form and roll down her cheek. It was tough to get Tammi Wray to cry but Katrina definitely got the job done. As tough as a soldier is, fighting to preserve freedom and justice, what good was that when it's seemingly gone? Her wish had been granted, but with a destructive catch. On one hand, she was going back home. On the other...
The Club X bar in downtown LA was the horrific scene to a grisly gunfight. Twenty-five men were pronounced dead Monday night after a hail of bullets, fire and explosions rocked the nightclub to its very core. The iconic rock band Aerosmith was set to play and was midway through their first track of the concert before the fight spilled into the auditorium. No civilians were harmed, as they evacuated as quickly as the first shot rang out.
Chief of Police Johnathan Vogel has issued a statement. With no video cameras, the forensics team was completely unable to figure out how the skirmish started at this moment in time. The battle started within the club, with the bodies of seven laid. After some time, both sides had more reinforcements, and the shootout fell into the area where Aerosmith was playing. The band was escorted by security off to their dressing rooms and away from the club until police arrived.
Eighteen men, some armed with Steyr TMPs were slain in the bloody affair in the auditorium. The forensic team was able to piece together that makeshift explosives were also used, as the stage was completely decimated by grenades and pipe bombs. Club X owner George Petro exclaimed that the club would remain in business for the time being, once the police were able to figure out the damages, which has reached seven digits in property damage.
See SHOOTING, page 4A _______________________________________________________________________________ March 18th, 1997
CLUB X STRUGGLES TO REBUILD by Keri Haskins
Five months after one of the worst cases of gang warfare Los Angeles has seen since the early 90's, the owner behind the battlefield is now on the verge of shutdown. When it was all calculated down after LAPD and the FBI were able to figure out the situation, the property damage price tag caused to Club X in downtown LA came up to just over the ten million dollar mark.
"We just cannot afford that, and our mayor isn't willing to help." Club X owner George Petro proclaimed to press after announcing that he had filed for bankruptcy and the building was deemed unfit for operation by the Board of Health. It's been a rough five months for Petro, as Club X was the rising star in the Hollywood nightlife scene before November 11th of last year.
"At this time, we're unable to repair to the point that Club X will be able to reopen, we're grasping for straws on help." Petro pleaded with reporters as he shut the door behind him. It's currently unknown what will happen to Club X, considering his many attempts to raise the money to fix up the nightclub.
No lights are brighter than the arena where the final match between CFPW Legend Francis Ugondus vs. "The Big Dog" Roman Reigns. With no holds barred in the most famous wrestling arena in the world, Madison Square Garden in the heart of NYC, these two will fight one last time for the DayFed Championship.
Also a Lucha Table Match between two new rivals.
The Final Showdown DayFed Championship Francis Ugondus vs. Roman Reigns
Sunday, May 7th, 2017, regular fed time on the AES Synchtube
“Yeah, went to the Warden’s office, and got free on his wishes. ‘Good behavior’, he said.”
“Somehow I choose not to believe that.”
Riverside Correctional Facility Pittsburgh, PA February 6th, 2017
Riverside was Jake’s home once again for almost eight months before he found himself walking the long mile back to freedom. A short beard growing on him, his hair still long but now frazzled. His final outfit before being an emancipated man was a gray suit supplied by a third party, claiming to be his ride back to Pittsburgh. Still shackled at the hands and feet, he’d only see them gone once he was on the outside looking in.
His body bounced to and fro with arrogance and in a thuggish purpose. ‘Good behavior’ was nothing but a con. He had a near-life sentence but was able to whittle down decades to days. He looks past the guards, all carrying nightsticks and getting their hands on their Glock G18s, all but waiting to put Jake down if he tried something. He reached the final door, on the outside, there’d be the other guards, the Warden and his ticket home.
“Jacob Robert McGrath.” The recently hired Warden Bill Smithers stood in the concrete path, waiting on another debt to society to be paid in full. He had a letter, extended and reading it aloud. The government approval of Jake’s release from jail. “By the state of… Pennslyvania.” He stutters, Jake giving a sadistic sneer as his sentence ends right before his eyes. “I hereby announce that you have been set free from the Riverside Correction Center.”
“Skip this. I’ve got a ride to catch. So if you want to spare me the same details I got last time I got in this bullshit, I’d be much appreciated.” Jake retorts with a dose of venom in his tone. He didn’t want to be told the same message he got before he left two years prior. The guards come over to remove the chains and cuffs, letting McGrath move freely. Rifles aim his way as he could snap at any moment, much like he did at UOW Man Overboard.
“I hope you know that you’re going to live with yourself after what you’ve pulled.” Smithers folds the issued note into three and slides it back in his suit. They were all alone now as the guards take the shackles back to the infirmary. No one within earshot could hear their conversation. “I’m only letting you go because I want you to live with the karma that you got by holding me hostage. Because I can't do anything, but the gangs, the violence, the power drive. They'll get you, and they'll get you good. I want you to-” McGrath laughs as he interrupts Smithers’ spiel, his freedom was now achieved. “You find humor in this?” This outburst insulted the Warden, who was less than lax about his inmates, especially when one of them had overrun the asylum.
“Because I knew you were a little bitch that wasn’t going to do anything. Do I regret a lot in this life? Hell no. Do I regret using you as my trump card outta here? I’ll be goddamned, boss man.” He walks past a befuddled Smithers, ready for the gates to open automatically. Smithers’ eyes widen as his plan backfired, letting a psycho back into the free world.
“You’re going to be dead in days, McGrath. Another body on the streets after a drive-by! Another statistic. Another scum wiped from this earth. You’re going to Hell for what you’ve done, you hear me!” The Warden points and screams at the escaping McGrath. Trying to use the fear of God to get into Jake’s cold soul but to no avail.
“Yeah, well I’ve been living there for a while now, motherfucker. But if you want, I'll meet ya there.” He raises up a middle finger at the disheveled and disgraced Warden Smithers as he goes down the stairs and out of view before he enters a red sedan that was his ride back to civilization. The wheels spin and speed out into the highway on route back to Pittsburgh. Jake McGrath was once again a free man.
I have decided to take a small break from AES for reasons I feel are pretty borderline selfish, to be honest. But at the moment, my heart has gone through the ringer and it needs time to recover. Personally, my breaking point was the promo I posted last night as I was really trying to put my best work on the site so far, and I was pained when nearly nothing was said because it's been a long-standing issue, I feel that I'll post a promo and it'll go completely flying under the radar.
I want to get better and I want to improve here at AES, but lately, I feel like I peaked and that I'll never get good enough to the point where everyone talks about my stuff. Maybe that's selfish of me. Maybe that's me after a few months or so of next to no feedback on every promo I've done, but, I just want to get better and I don't feel like I have and right now, my insecurities are telling me I never will. For the first time in years, I'm starting to believe them.
I want 2017 to be the year I finally took all the knowledge and feedback from last year and put it all together to one day be something here, and I know it sounds selfish for me to take a walk around the block over a promo, but I'd been working on that for almost seven months and I was really hoping people enjoyed it, wanted it to go really well and it really stabbed me in the heart when it didn't.
I want to preface that I've told people that I've been trigger-shy with posting promos this year. I felt like almost no one read the Open Forum, as did the other promos I've posted this year and had to shill like an asshole to get someone to read the one promo I wanted legit criticism on because it was my first piece of writing with a new character. I feel like promos are my strong suit here and that when no one reads them or says anything about them for the past few months, it starts to get hard to want to do them anymore because I feel like no one cares to read them.
I'll rejoin the AES Discord when I feel ready to, and that's when my break will end. But for right now, I kind of need to heal my wheels before I get back to work. This is not an attack on anyone, I just want to get better with my work and I feel right now like I don't think I'll ever make it to a higher level. I know I will, but part of me feels I've plateaued and if that's true, I don't know when I'll be back. I don't want to plateau because I want to make the best work for you guys and it's kind of disheartening when you work on something for so long, only for it to be worth nothing of value to others in the end.
I can just smell the vitriol I'm going to get in this thread for me basically taking a breather over a lack of anything said or feedback on a promo that I selfishly wanted to get nominated for something.
I'll let someone know when I want to come back to the discord (if you guys want me to come back :[ ) but, for right now, I feel I need to let my frustration go before I can come back. I'm sad, and I'm upset right now and it's selfish as hell of why I'm that. It may be tonight, may be in a month. I want to improve and I want to get better so that I can work on making the best promos, RevX episodes, and characters for you guys to enjoy and I don't think I can do that properly right now.
I'm on Discord, I'm on Twitter, I'm even on PS4 if you want to contact me through there. Like I said, I'm not mad at any one person, I'm mad at myself and I need to mull it over some water and scrambled eggs. Love you, AES. I will never stop doing that.