The Castillo Saga by Sabotage - Part 2: A Million Dead

A large armoured figure clambered out of his transport; his clumsy landing unsettled a small cloud of dust, which arose beneath his feet. It was growing late in the day by earth standards, but the huge Jovian gas giant, which blocked out the sun gave off enough heat and light to lengthen they days on the moon of Callisto. The weather was actually pleasant for once, the month long dust storms had subsided, the wind settled and the climate, For once, was temperate. The armoured figure was clad from head to toe in a steely carapace of red armour, which bore the unmistakable markings of the Collective Military. He stepped aside and another soldier joined him. The pair of them, satisfied the area was secure slung their assault rifles across their backs. All around more and more vehicles arrived carrying squads of sparsely armed troops, and various automated machinery.

Sheets of charred metal, disfigured corpses and spent ammunition littered the valley floor, and the two soldiers picked a route through it towards a nearby body.

"You seeing this bud?" asked one of the soldiers, his intercom deafening him with feedback as he tried to readjust it. There was a brief silence as the realisation of what they saw dawned on them. "Yes" was all that Bud could reply with.

"The proud colonial armoured division"

"Not so proud anymore" the two stood unable to speak for a short while, their helmets releasing excess carbon dioxide and water vapour, in a short puff of smoke every now and then.

"We can't bury all of these?" asked Bud.

"We're not supposed to" came the sullen reply.

"Then why are we here, we sure as hell can't clean up this entire valley"

"Dave" said Bud "We're only here as either a political tool, or as some goodwill gesture to soften the blow back on earth"

"Then what do we do?" Dave looked down at the corpse beneath his feet. "Poor fellah"

"Take tags" Bud crouched by the body and reached for its neck. There was a faint snap and then he pulled a set of dog tags free. "All of these people, or at least some of them need cataloguing. It's the least we can do"

"I'll bring the bots in, they are gonna want any recycled scrap they can get their hands on after this fiasco" he said gesturing to the innumerable wreckages scattered as far as they eye could see.

"Yeah" whispered bud "I think I've seen this guy before".

"Probably your imagination, he looks like just another grunt, they all look the same." They both looked down at the stricken crewman, who frozen by rigor mortis, was stuck for an eternity, forever clutching his stomach and his face distorted for infinity with pain and regrets. Dave then waved in the nearby multi-limbed robots, who eagerly gathered up what recyclables they could, in a token effort to make a difference. They whirred and buzzed, as their bodies compacted the shards and girders, spitting out pieces of plastic and glass, which couldn't be salvaged.

Though they were breathing artificial air they were both certain they could smell the scorched flesh and melted steel, the pungent taste of death plaguing their taste buds. Bud looked closely at the dog tags he had just retrieved, and read the embossed, greasy writing. "F-Chenkov 21456-09" he read it quietly to himself and then dropped it into his rucksack.

The rest of the story can be found here. (File lost, PM Garacaius on the forums if you have information)