This is battle cry of the modern warrior. These words have precipitated engagements between adversaries and embittered warfighters on all lands governed by men. As well, they have served as the prelude to the sounds of innumerable displays of gallantry, terror, brotherhood, and the woeful acts of necessary savagery over the last century of warfare. Lethal warriors, both readied and willing, have sounded the call to arms, and following this, many have seen the unimaginable acts of human atrocity that are the nature of the violent contests between tribes. Likewise, many have witnessed those we call heroes, born in the battle cry, fulfilling the supreme realization of humankind’s better angels. These few braved the molten roar of fiery seas, the choking, smoke-filled skies, and the sulfuric ashes of burning valleys that defined bloody eras, with hope of building a prosperous new age. Guided as they were, by moral sense, the fear of oblivion, or the direction of other great men, these warriors were directed to inflict the combined wills of men and nations, carrying their guidons onward in the endless march of men of war.
Among those who hear the cry, many have joined the honored fallen. Some sleep amid fields of marble beneath sleepy willows and recounted to us in our history texts and sleepy museum halls. Some are lost to the embrace of the grinding sands, the azure sea, and the jungle’s grip, remembered only by those who remained and the history they forged. Some are lost to an ever mercifully short snuffing of the pain and suffering common to all mankind. A final few continue on only through all but forgotten echoes in fond memories and bitter nightmares of those survivors still haunted with a lifetime of battle scars. Together, their actions pushed back the tides of terror and tyranny, while their sacrifices have paved the way towards prosperity they would never know. Be it ever mercifully short, or echoed throughout the ages, those who hear the cry of wars, be they now, long ago or in battles yet to come, are changed men and women, completely and forever. None have or will return as they were before. All, in part, are changed by war.
In 2026 and under the shroud of unfamiliar wood that cry was sounded by one Nathaniel Romero. Soon, he and his fellow Marines, those who had not yet been inducted into that ancient fraternity of blooded veterans, would embrace their calling; they he was to be baptized in the fires of battle in such a way that none before had done in the history American warfare. They were the firstborn warriors of a new era of war. They were armed with the technologies of new battlefield and the wisdom of old warriors. They would fight a foreign enemy, hungry and cruel, allowed to rise and threaten a world softened by an era of peace and prosperity. Some fought for glory, accolades and personal advancement. Still, others fought for their beliefs and for their country, as well as strangers across the world, whom these warriors would never know and who would never know what had been done in their name. Most of all, they fought for their very survival, but in the end they would fight for each other.
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