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TWILIGHT: 2000 1E/2E Discussion of the Twilight: 2000 from GDW.

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Old May 27th, 2015, 12:02 PM
SgtHulka SgtHulka is offline
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Default The Tank: Twilight Inspired Fiction

Hi guys. I've written a novella inspired by Twilight 2000 and The Seven Samurai. I thought you might be interested. I'm posting the first parts here. If you like it, you can read the entire novella on Wattpad:

Chapter 1
It wasn’t a nuclear war; it was just a war that happened to be fought with nuclear weapons. That’s what they told us, anyway, like it was supposed to make us feel safer. After all, these weren’t big thermonuclear weapons. They weren’t fired from submarines or dropped from huge strategic bombers. They weren’t intercontinental ballistic missiles. They were smaller than that, small enough to be mounted on artillery and mortar shells. Some could even be fired from shoulder-mounted launch tubes. The Russians used them first, in a desperate attempt to stop the Chinese from crossing Manchuria. And then the Chinese used them in an equally desperate attempt to stop us from crossing the demilitarized zone. The armies claimed they only used them on valid military targets. Problem was, the definition of “military” kept expanding. First it was just troops and tanks. Then oil fields, and factories and even farms. Nuclear war or not, the world changed. Governments were destroyed, their armies shattered. All that remained was survival.
We were fortunate to have found the valley. It was beautiful, somehow untouched by the war and nuclear fallout. Most importantly, the water was clean. That meant we could farm. And farm we did, covering the small, round hills with fields of grain that moved in waves with every fresh breath of wind. The gasoline was all gone, so we used oxen and horses and even, occasionally, dogs, to help plough the fields. We didn’t eat the animals; that would have been a wasteful. They were more valuable as workers than as meat.
We took signs from the nearby highway and used them to build our homes. Our farm turned into a village. War continued to rage around us, but we were at peace, for a time.
Then the bandits came. They were survivors, like us, but they survived differently. They didn’t work the land; they didn’t farm or build. They fought and threatened stole. They had guns and they took from us whatever they needed. They didn’t kill us; that would have been wasteful. They needed us to work. They left just enough for us to get by. But they took everything else -- our crops, our water, our tools, and even our children. Boys they forced to be gunmen. And girls -- well I’d rather not talk about what happened to the girls.
I was thirteen years old when they took me. We heard the engines of their “technicals” -- civilian pick-up trucks with machine guns bolted in their open beds. We tried to run and hide. But the technicals roared forward, cutting huge swaths through the crops to cut us off. Gunmen jumped out of the pick-up trucks and pointed their Kalashnikov assault rifles at us, forcing us onto our knees. Those of us who resisted were clubbed with their rifle butts. I wasn’t clubbed, I was grabbed. I screamed and struggled as they pulled my hair and beat me, but it was no use, I wasn’t strong enough to resist them. Soon I was thrown into the bed of their truck like a fish hauled up on a line and thrown into a boat.
My father begged them not to take me; he offered them anything in return. But Axel, the bandit’s bald leader with the tattoo of a howling coyote on his scalp, just kicked my father in the face. “You have nothing left to give,” he said.
My father, blood pouring from a broken nose, shook his head. “We’re only a month away from harvest,” he promised, “we’ll have something then.”
Axel turned a full circle, then, admiring the expansive fields of growing wheat. He nodded with satisfaction. “Then we’ll be back in a month.”
“Leave her,” my father continued, “and we’ll give you everything.”
Axel just smiled. “You’ll give me everything, anyway.” He jumped up onto the side of the lead vehicle – an ex-military Humvee – whistled, and waved his hand in a circle over his head. Engines roared and the technicals tore through the grain to disappear…taking me with them. How much luckier, I thought, to be one of the dead ones, vaporized in the first seconds of a nuclear strike, than to survive and linger, only to see everyone you love lose their freedom and dignity. I was sure I was going to lose both.
But then the tank changed everything.

The tank arrived along the Interstate. Immobilized cars, rusting, their doors and hubcaps missing, choked the highway, abandoned where they ran out of gas. No civilian vehicle could possibly have navigated the haphazard roadblock they created. But they didn’t stop the tank.
It was an American M1A2 Abrams, one of the most advanced killing machines ever created by man. Over sixty-five tons, capable of reaching almost 70 mph, encased in advanced chobham armor which was the equivalent of 5-foot thick steel, this monstrous machine moved slowly and relentlessly down the center of the highway, simply smashing the derelict cars out of its way. From afar it was a terrifying sight.
Up close, though, you could see the dents and dings of heavy combat. Most, if not all, of the tank’s reactive armor had already blown off, leaving its caterpillar treads scorched black. An eclectic mix of camping gear and military equipment was strapped to the rear of the turret, giving the Abrams the appearance of an Oaky Model-T from the Grapes of Wrath. Someone had spray painted the words BULLET MAGNET on its side hull armor.
Peering out of the turret’s commander’s hatch was Lacey, a female German Shepherd. Tongue hanging from the side of her mouth, Lacey gave the bizarre impression that she was the one driving.
Lounging atop the stowage gear strapped to the rear turret was Cagney, a Marine M.P. and Lacey’s handler. She had stripped off her marine camouflage shirt, lying back on it like a beach blanket, catching rays, her sports bra like a bikini top.
Beside her, sitting up, ever alert, was Cordite, an Army Sergeant and the tank’s real commander. In his early thirties, he was the old man of the group. Somehow he’d managed to keep most of his crew alive through some of the most horrific combat man has ever experienced. It was a remarkable achievement but also one with a heavy price. You could see from his eyes that he could be one battle away from finally breaking under the pressure. But it wasn’t him that broke, it was the tank. Its engine sputtered and its exhaust coughed. Then it went dead.
Maverik, a good-looking African-American man, popped the driver’s hatch. His eyes were hidden behind aviator sunglasses, but you could tell they sparkled with confidence. He wore a flight jacket instead of a tanker uniform. “Sorry, boss,” he lamented, “but that’s all she wrote.”
Cagney sat up, stretched, and slid off the Abrams. “C’mon, Lacey, looks like we’re walking.”
The dog, excited to hear its name, barked and bounded up out of the turret.
But Cordite refused to give up. “We’re not abandoning Bullet Magnet.”
Cagney slipped on her shirt and checked her marine-issue .45 automatic. “Seems to me the tank just abandoned us.”
“We’ve run out of gas before.”
“She don’t run on gas, she runs on ethanol.” The words were spoken by Ratchet, the group’s ace mechanic. Born to a different family in a different neighborhood, she probably would have been an engineer working at Hughes or Boeing. Lucky for her, she was poor and criminal and her only real choice was the army…lucky because Hughes and Boeing were among the first factories targeted by the nukes. “And if we had a still we could run her on grass.”
“If we had a still we’d all be drunk,” Cordite countered.
“And if we had grass we’d all be high,” interrupted Tex, the tank’s gunner. Tex was the only surviving original crew member other than Cordite. He wasn’t from Texas; he was from San Diego. His parents were from Tijuana.
“Speak for yourself, marijuana impairs vision,” insisted Maverik.
“So what?”
“Gotta see 20-20 to fly a Raptor.”
Tex laughed. “World’s out of juice, brother. You’ll never fly again. No one will.”
“So what? You’re a gunner. Don’t you think it would help to be able to see?”
“Don’t gotta. Advanced optics and nightvision see for me.” Tex affectionately patted the tank’s main gun barrel.
Cordite put an end to the back and forth. “Not anymore. Shut her down to preserve battery power.”
“Already done,” assured Maverik.
Cordite slid off the tank and unfolded a crumpled map. He peered at it with a grimace.
Cagney frowned. “Seriously, what’s the big deal? So we lost our ride, we can walk.”
“Without Bullet Magnet we’re nothing.”
“We got guns, we got each other –“
“We’re nothing,” Cordite insisted. And his expression told her that he was in no mood for argument. So Cagney bit her tongue and let Cordite concentrate. “There’s a prison a couple clicks to the northwest,” he reported. “Maybe we’ll find some cooking oil.”
Ratchet groaned. “Give me a break, I already converted this bitch to run on ethanol. Now you want me to convert her to bio-diesel?”
“You’re the right man for the job.” Cordite began to fold up the map. “Lock her up tight, we don’t want anyone stripping her while we’re gone.”
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