The year was 2150. The whole world was in turmoil as a result of World War III. As far as the eye can see it was a barren wasteland. This is largely the fault of the man we only know as “the General”, the cruel, power-obsessed dictator responsible for the war. The General is now in control of the world’s supply of nuclear weapons and therefore, the world. But there is still a small glimmer of hope. Unknown to the General, an ever-growing number of individuals had formed the Rebellion, who were preparing for one last stand against him, and one of those individuals just happened to be me.
I’m Jake Smith, a tall 17 year old dressed in a pair of ragged, torn pair of jeans and a t-shirt to match. Quite a sight, but here everyone was clothed in something similar. Hard to believe but I was actually one of the better dressed! I lived in a small room underground, like everyone in the Rebellion, and shared my room with my best friend, Thomas Richards. Some people say he’s weird, but for someone who saw his parents were killed in front of him Thomas is as normal as can be expected. As for me, I don’t know what happened to my parents; all I know is that the Rebellion took care of me and I consider every member to be family. An alarm bell sounded. A wave of panic swept over me.
“Thomas, get up!” I cried. I’m not sure if he heard me over the noise of the alarm, but the next thing I know we’re out of our beds, grabbing our guns from our closet and hurtling towards the surface. “This is it, bro!” shouted Thomas over the alarm. “We’re finally going to give the General what’s coming to him.” He seemed to be relishing this opportunity, unlike me; I was using every ounce of my courage to prevent me from turning away and running as fast as I could in the opposite direction.
We reached the surface, but instead of hearing yelling and the sounds of gunfire all we saw was the hundreds of members of the rebellion standing around in the same state of confusion. The truth dawns on us as we see Commander Lee standing at the fore of the group – it was a drill. Commander Lee was a fearsome-looking man, who, judging from the number of scars on his body, had seen his fair share of battle. Nevertheless he was a good leader and any of us would follow him to the end. Unfortunately, he is notorious for his short-temper and lack of patience.
“Attention!” bellowed the Commander. “You soldiers are the most unorganised bunch of idiots I have ever seen! If that had been a real alert, half of you would already be dead! Today you will practise your organisation as if you were going into battle and we are not stopping until it is perfect.” Thus followed a day of intense training and, by the end of it, my legs felt like they were made of lead and I couldn’t wait to get to my bed for some well deserved rest and relaxation.
“Smith!” an all too familiar voice roared at me. “Yes, sir?” I responded wearily to the Commander. “Come to my office in ten minutes – I want to have a word with you.” Wondering what I had done wrong, I deposited my weapon in the closet in my room and headed on round to the Commander’s office and knocked on the door. “Come in,” said a voice from within. As I entered the office the first thing that struck me was how sparsely furnished and decorated the room was. Many of us had imagined what it was like inside the Commander’s office. Most people thought he would have many luxuries that we could only dream of, but the truth was that his room was exactly the same as the rest of ours, except for a large map covering one wall.
“Take a seat, Jake,” said the Commander. He was using my first name – this was not good. “I have been monitoring your progress in the field lately and would just like to say that you have been doing a very good job.” “What? Really?” I blurted out, more out of relief than surprise. The Commander seemed taken aback by my reaction, but continued, “Yes, and I have noticed that all lot of the others seem to look up to you, so I have decided to make you my second in command when we march on the General’s fortress.”
It took a minute for the words to sink in. “Well I’m very honoured, but is it not a bit early to be naming your second in command – it could be years before we attack.” “No, Jake – we march in three days’ time. I want you to use this time to prepare yourself mentally for the challenge ahead.” “Uh…ok,” I replied lamely as his words sank in. “I’ll be letting everyone know at dinner tonight; you don’t have to attend if you don’t want to. Good day to you, and good luck.” And with those final words I left the room and headed straight for my bed, even though I doubted that I would be able to fall asleep.