It can be hard defending a post in the wilderness. Lonely. Mysterious. Hopeless. Death, destruction and defeat surround you, threatening to strip you of all you’ve gained, and all you are, leaving you to pick up the pieces and start again. Only to have that threat linger over you again and again.
The enemies are unfamiliar, their tactics unrecognizable, their motivations unclear, and the answers only in the darkness. Thankfully, after a decade playing quarterback for the Chicago Bears, Jay Cutler knows these feelings all too well.
There is an intruder on Cutler’s farm. Nay, a predator. Striking at and killing his me...chickens, that is. Chickens who will die as heroes, but die nonetheless, their names eventually lost to a cause forgotten. Morale amongst the group is starting to lower. The captain is running out of solutions, and hope, but soldiers on nonetheless. When your future has counted on J’Marcus Webb protecting your blindside, you know the despair of having to press on facing certain catastrophe. It is who you are, it is what you were born to do, even if it will only end at the bottom of a pile of chaos and disorder.
It started last week, with the still unknown assailant stealthily wreaking havoc on the fort.
Like any good steward of the ship, there was no panic from Jay. Just a plan and contingencies, trying to instill confidence in those still left that they would indeed get through this, and that the captain KNOWS. He always knows. Morale remained high among the troops.
Still, when on his own time and alone with his thoughts, Jay could not keep the demons away? Was it a traitorous inside job? An otherworldly being? Simply a foe that knew all his weaknesses? Could it be that there was no path to victory?
But it is never that simple to the resolute.
However, as the foe proved more and more elusive, more and more dangerous, the tactics had to grow along with him or her. In desperate times, one cannot be picky about seeking aid from sympathetic civilians, no matter their morals or standards.
And yet victory slipped more and more into the abyss. There was unrest among the unit, and it was becoming clear to them that the captain suddenly didn’t know, didn’t have all the answers. Desperation ran rampant. A rebellious murmur. Would it be every bird for itself soon?
Which meant it was time to haul out the heavy artillery. There could be no more staging of tactics. To get a step ahead of an enemy that’s always been a step ahead, one must leap, not walk.
But the escalation only brought a mirrored one from the enemy. It was almost an insult to him or her, and now hostilities have been multiplied. It has become personal, more than just the goal of protecting or stealing chickens. Now it was about robbing the opponent of their spirit, their will, their reasons. Mere victory isn’t enough. An erasure from the history books of the enemy is. But can such thirsts ever be slaked?
Now there can be no winners. Only devastation. Those who will survive will only be able to claim a smoldering, salted Earth. Soon they will see that whoever remains standing will have only become their vanquished enemy. They are one in the same.
But those who are left standing will keep their spirit, their will, their reasons. The captain knows this. The enemy knows this. And with that, maybe there will be a chance to recover, rebuild, and reclaim.