This a story of what can happen if all the pieces are in place. One of the most interesting things about the world is the sheer lack of appreciation for its size. The world is a big place, anything can happen. Nothing is impossible, only improbable.
My name is Ethan, my friends call me Farm Fresh and I was just your typical 6 1 lanky college guy. Im going to tell you a story of what happened when I was at an airsoft operation. This story may sound a little out there. Well, I have learned to keep my mind open. Never over look the unlikely or it could be costly. I found that out the hard way. But before I go off on one of my long philosophical rants that can bore my parents to tears, let me begin my story. It all happened in late July of last year.
One hour north of De Soto MO.
Are we there yet? asked my little sister Sam. She is a small framed girl with brown hair and hazel eyes. She is only about 54, but dont let that fool you. Shes proud of her German heritage and southern style, rough and tumble nature. She can take on guys twice her size and win. At 17, she has a lot of headstrong, straight forwardness for a girl. Hell, shes got more determination than a lot of guys I know.
No, I replied, we need to follow John to the farm and I dont know where that is. We met up with John and his group to take part in an Airsoft Operation. To all of you people that do not know what that is, here is a little description. Airsoft is little sport that people play with highly realistic BB guns. These are not your run-of-the-mill Wal-Mart guns, they are 1:1 replicas that fire 6mm plastic BBs. Some are plastic, but the really nice one a metal in all the places they should be. Mine is a Classic Army M16 carbine with rails on the front. Its a very good weapon, I even modified it to shoot faster. But back on topic. An airsoft operation is a large get together where we play airsoft games for the whole weekend. Its a lot of fun. People call it playing army, but it is wonderful exercise. Running, jumping, the fear of defeat, the joy of victory, it all becomes one adrenaline fueled ride.
Anyway, we met at John house in Missouri to follow him to a friend of his who owned a farm. A large Missouri farm, over 400 acres. This was an airsofters dream come true. We never really get a chance to play on such a large piece of ground. This was going to be one heck of a weekend. We drove three hours from our house in Illinois in my truck. I love my truck. Its an old, red Ford F-150. Sam calls it the Fordinator. (I know what that sounds like.) It was a long haul. I like driving with the windows down, the wind blowing through my not too short, dark brown hair that pokes out around my black, John Deere ball cap. Im almost never seen without a hat on and most of the time its this one, my favorite.
Didnt you get the address of the farm? she asked.
Yes, but I never bothered to grab directions to the farm because we are going to follow John anyway. I replied.
But what if you lose him? She snapped back.
Im not going to lose him. I said, I followed people before.
All I got was a grunt of dissatisfaction back. I tell you, Sam never has any confidence in me, her own older brother. Sure, sometime I get into a hard situation, but I always found a way out. Right in front of us was John and his group. John drives a green, Toyota van called the battle wagon. Jake was right in front of John in his light blue Chevy S-10. The thing thinks a diesel. It sounds like one and doesnt like to be shut off. Kramer was in his silver, Mitsubishi Lancer out in front. They all knew where the farm was.
As we twist and turn down old back roads that continue to become more and more worn out, I couldnt help the feel that we were going the middle of nowhere. Missouri is known for its vast forests and rolling hills and this place delivered. We finally got the farms driveway at around 10:00 on Saturday. It looks like it was buried in a forest. It was late July, so it was still plenty warm out. Prefect airsoft weather. The driveway was long, had to be at least two miles. It was also gravel, with the added bonus of hilly. Not the gentle kind of hilly, the is this a mountain trail? hilly. As we made up to the top of the hill, the entire forest opened up into a clearing that stretched on for at least three miles till the distant tree line on the other side.
Wow, I could not stop myself from saying, this place is amazing.
Yea, Sam said, I cant believe John was able to get this guy to let us play here.
We drove on till we made it to the farm house. It was a rather big log cabin that looks like had been there a long while, but well taken care of. The barn and other out buildings looked like they had seen better days though. We all stopped our vehicles and got out to take in the view. I got to tell you, it was one heck of a view. The huge, rolling hills all covered with tree for as far as the eye can see. A cell tower was just barely visible two hills over.
Okay guys, John said, Here we are. Now John isnt a very tall person. In fact, he was just an inch or two taller than my little sister and he has short, black hair.
Well, I guess we better get the camp. said Kramer. Kramer is a tall lanky guy like me, but is about 64. His reddish brown hair makes him stand out.
Well have to get through that cattle gate back there. replied Jake. Jake is not a big man, he just was not as thin as most of us. His thin black hair was all most always covered by a hat of some kind.
Then lets get going. said Ryan. Ryan is a big man. His black curly hair and warm expression always makes him a good guy to talk to.
As we got to the camp site at the cattle pastures watering hole, a gray SUV pulled into view. It was Wills.
Will and the guys made it. I yelled.
Awesome, Said Sam, now we have back up.
We pulled out the camping gear to get it set up for the night so we didnt have to worry about when we play the games. As I got the tents out of the back the truck, Wills gray Chevy Suburban pull up.
Hi Will! I yelled as I wave my hand as hard as I could. A thing we do when we see each other.
Hi Ethan! He yelled back doing the same wave. Will is only 17 and about 55; he is a typical looking kid. Anyone who knew him could tell you he is not typical. He could take a conversation and turn it for the worst in about 5 seconds. Things just got weird if Will was involved. His trademark method is to make you say the weird thing.
Out of the back of the SUV came Lucas, Cameron and James. Lucas is the small, nerdy, blonde haired kid that knew anything that you could throw at him. Computers were the name of his game. He was only about 5 and rather skinny. James on the other hand was taller. He was about 6 with black hair and a beard to match. He was thin as you could get, but tough enough to stand up when a challenge presented itself. Cameron was new and a little worried about his first time playing. He is about 6 with dark brown hair and is the shy type. Not too keen on making a name for himself.
Glad you guys could make it. I said to them.
Glad you could too. replied James.
Well, we better get set up so we can get the games going after lunch. I stated.
Yea, said John as he walked over to our group, get ready as soon as you can, we dont want to waste any time now.
As we got camp set up in the little stand of trees right by the small lake. More and more people showed up. There was Mark. He was your typical college kid, with black hair and ear rings. He was only about 57 and pretty stout. Then there was Lurch. He is a tall and lanky guy. At 68, you can guess were his name came from. In fact barely anyone there knew his real name, myself included. He is most famous in airsoft for his P90. Its called Tactical Tupperware because it is so heavily modified that it doesnt look like a P90 anymore. Then came Pat, about 58 and stocky. He was about one of the finest airsofters there. That is not to say we all suck, this list is all A-list talent in the area. He gets the finest title do to the fact that you can point him in the direction of the enemy and he can tear right through them. A lot of other people show up as the day wore on, including Jason. He is a good sized guy and one of the best shots with a pistol and the best defensive players around. That is all the people I know personally. I never really get to caught up in talking to others.
Okay guys! John yelled in the center of the camp. Welcome to the first annual Operation: Storming the Farm! We were all happy to hear that. There was a large Yay! from just about everyone in attendance. The final tents were up, the supply depot (a old small tent that was use to keep stuff in) was loaded and now it was time to load up for a game.
This is what I was waiting for. A chance to play in a large scale airsoft game. With vehicles and large troop movements. The only problem was that I was in charge. Thats right; I was in charge of my team. I am the commanding officer of the Gladiators. It is a small team, consisting of myself, Sam, Will, Lucas, James, Cameron, Pat, Lurch and Jason. We tend to get a lot of the new guys thrown in with us because were not too hard on the new guys. I personally try to help them out so they at least have a good time. But back on topic. Im a Colonel. That means its up to me to make the right calls when the rounds are flying. Lucas is the Captain. His job is to serve as a tactician in the field and operate as a radio coordinator. Will is a Major. He leads second team into combat when we need to split up. Sam is a Lieutenant. Her job is Spec Ops and there for, her own business. I dont ask questions on how she gets her job done. James is Sergeant Major of the team. He leads the new guys into battle and keeps them alive for as long as possible. Jason is a road block. He makes sure nobody gets past him. He has his own rank of Wizard Sergeant because of his nick name Ditch Wizard. Pat is a Merc. He is hired to be on our team and only reason he is on our team is because we are good friends. We almost always run together on the field. Weve done it so long that we even started to know what the other is going to do in a firefight. Lurch had decided to run with Pat. So, by extension on our team as well.
As a leader, there is one thing you should know, always think. You need to think about how to win and protect your men. I have been called a good commander because I never like to put people in a situation that I would not be willing to put myself into. This has caused me to give myself the hard jobs and give everyone else the easier tasks. Of course any task in a combat situation is hard. Its hard to explain whats going through your mind when people lives are in your hands. Of course this is only game, but the pressure in still there. People always look to me for answers, even people I dont know. They just run up to me and ask something like, what do we do now? I guess I look like I know what I am doing. I guess it also helps that I tell them what to do and we end up winning most of the time, but back on track.
I finished loading up my gear. I put on my BDUs (Battle Dress Uniform). They are in Multicam. Multicam is an expensive camouflage because it is so effective is a multitude of environments. I love my Multicam, it makes people angry at me because they cant see me. I have a Multicam plate carrier (a combat chest rig with large panels for metal plates) and a Multicam leg holster for my WE Colt M1911. I even have a Multicam war fighter ball cap. It has a large Velcro fuzz spot for Velcro patches to attach to. I have a tan American flag patch on mine. I pinned my Colonel Eagles on my collar, checked my magazines to see that they are fully loaded. MAG mags hold 100 rounds, more than enough for one mag and I have 8. One 50 round metal mag and one Classic Army 300 round high cap mag. I have a lot of rounds. My M16 has a nick name too, its called the Buzzsaw. It shoots at just over 27 rounds per second and is fully capable of sawing through light cover such as bushes. At about 410 fps (feet per second), she packs a hard hitting wallop. She also is one of the loudest weapons around, she sounds like a chainsaw when she fires. She is a feared weapon and to give her just the little personal touch, I had Sam paint a tribal dragon in red with its eye in white on her stock. She looks good when she is fully cleaned and ready for battle. I finished by putting the massive battery in her stock and closed the battery door. I fill my two pistol mags with red gas to make it shoot at about 380 fps. The Colt is almost solid metal. The top of the mag and the air nozzle in the chamber is all the is plastic, its even high strength nylon plastic. It used to have plastic grips, but I carved wedge wood grips for it and Sam painted the same tribal dragon symbol on the grips before I sealed them. That Colt looks great. I pulled the slide back and set the catch, slid the mag home and thumbed the release. The sound of the slide running forward and stopping with a clack, was a good sound. I put on the safety and put it in my holster. Slinging my carbine, put in the ear piece for my radio and I moved out.
This was a standard start up game. Since we had forty people, we could have good sized field to play in.
Okay, for the first game, John yelled at the center of the camp, we will play hold the road.
For all you who did not read the mission book, yelled Kramer, Hold the road is played in the junkyard. One team defends the road while the other team tries to cross the road.
Since this is a twenty on twenty game, said John, ten people must cross the road.
How far must we get across the road? said someone in the back of the group.
About five feet, replied John, Not too far.
Okay, lets go! yelled Ryan.
We all loaded into the vehicles. I jumped into Kramers van, a brown Chrysler, with James armed with his G36C, Jason with his AK-74 and Will with his MP5 with 3000 round drum mag. Some others were with us, but I didnt know them. It was a good ten minutes till we got to the junkyard. It was basically a wooded area with rusted, metal junk lying around. There was even a white Mazda.
Okay, attacking team, go into the woods on the right about 50 feet in. Said Kramer
We were attacking first, so in we went. I could hear the other team setting up. There wasnt a lot of cover. We had to go up a small slope and then we would be visible to the enemy team the second we cleared the crest. This was hard.
GO! I heard John yell.
A small group of new guys started to run up the slope like airsofters usually do at the start of a game, but some decided to hang back and wait for a bit to get a better idea of what we were doing. My team did the same, no sense charging into battle without knowing what was up there first. The team of about four new guys cleared the top and was greeted by rifle fire. Two were hit and the other two bailed for trees.
Okay, I said, now that we know who the hard chargers are, we can get a feel for their defenses.
Whats the plan? asked Sam with her G33E across both shoulders. She almost always asks that.
The plan is to slowly walk up this hill and try to spot the enemies positions. I replied.
And then we weed them out to make a large enough hole. said Pat readying his G36K.
Exactly. Sam, you go right. Will, you, James and Lucas take middle. The rest of us will go left. Try to keep the sound down. I instructed.
It was a slow trek up the hill. Its not like it was far, but any noise could wreck the whole plan. As we got closer to the hill top, I could just make out the tops of people heads across the road. The two surviving new guys would pop out and take pot shots and the enemy, but would hit nothing. This only served to cover our advance. As soon as I was confident that I had most of the enemy spotted. I took aim at the first target in view. He never saw it coming. I got him right in the lower left side. I saw his hand come up and heard a Hit! No time to celebrate, the party had only just begun. Rounds started to whiz passed me. I hit the dirt. Pat fired at someone. I heard distant rifle fire. Sam must have found someone to play with. I started to crawl on my stomach further up the hill. I had to get closer, better shots. Crawling ten feet up to a tree and poked my head around it. I could see three guys behind a large metal object, it looked like a counter top. I had a good angle on two of them, but the third was more in cover. All that I could see was his head. I didnt have long before I would be noticed, so I took aim at the guys head and prepared for a rake on his two friends. With a quick pull of the trigger, I raked over him and his two buddies. That was the hole we were looking for. The left side was wide open, but it wouldnt stay that way for long. I scrambled to an old washing machine that was on its side just off the road. I heard and enemy team member yelling, Go right, their coming up on the right. I knew that from their view, this was the right.
Move up! I yelled.
With that, Lurch, Pat and five new guys came bolting out of the woods, guns firing on full auto. A tidal wave of plastic hit the defensive line and kept their heads down. I joined in too. The only way to win was to suppress the enemy. The team ran across the road and into the woods. Will and his team came around behind me and saw the opening and ran for it. I barely had enough time to reload to suppress the enemy for their charge. Lucas bolted across the road with his MP5 blasting and John yelled, Game! We won.
The next few games werent all that interesting so Ill just fast forward to the game that in the reason for this story in the first place. It was a gorge battle. The gorge is exactly what it sounds like. A large valley the keeps getting thinner, but deeper until that walls of the valley are nothing but giant stone stair cases. As the game wore on, we were being whittled down to nothing. I had only intermediate radio contact with anyone else on my team. Sam had gone radio silent since five minutes into the game. Wills team wouldnt or couldnt answer. Pat and Lurch were both dead. I myself had to fall back into the gorge to the escape. I had taken two new guys on a flanking run; I figured it would be a good way to show them the ropes. I didnt think the enemy team was going to flank this wide. We ran into the jaws of the enemy. Open, back woods are not the best place to have a fight, especially out numbered. I tried to fall back, but they both got hit. I took off into the woods. Trying to lose them, I ran to the gorge, hoping that someone or something could help me there. I heard people running behind me, they were closing in. I took off deeper into the gorge, by now it was about 4:30 according to my watch. It was starting to get dark and these games were running long. I got to the end of the gorge. The large rocks towered above me. They had to be fifty feet up, maybe more. In the side of the wall was a small cave, no more the seven feet wide by six feet tall. It looked like it went in a good ways. Now, Missouri cave, in the fading light and in to middle of nowhere. I had my tactical light on my M16 and the enemy was closing in. Its amazing what a person will do in a combat situation. I went into the cave.
It was dark, its a cave. My light was more than enough to light up the passage, it stayed pretty consistent to the opening for about forty feet. Then I heard talking coming from back behind me.
Do you think he went in there? some guy asked.
Probably. answer his buddy.
Do you think we should go after him? the first guy asked.
Are you crazy, Im not going in there. his buddy answered.
They were right; I was crazy for going in there. There could be a bear or worse in there. And there I was, shining my light around like nothing was wrong. I could go out there and surrender or I could go back and fight my way out. I shined my light around the cave and saw a small opening in the wall. It looked like a small room.
Great, I thought to myself, that looks like somewhere something would live.
Against my better judgment I decided to see if something was there. I poked my M16 around the corner and hit the light. It was a small room, about nine feet by ten feet with a nine foot ceiling. Nothing was in it. The room just looked like it was scooped out the wall. No stalactites or stalagmites, just a flat, rounded room. I started to look around and then I saw something on the ground, near the far wall. It was a rock, the only rock in the room. I found that to be odd, considering that rocks dont usually sit all alone in a cave. I figured it might have been washed here from deeper in the cave and found its way into this room, but that still didnt explain why there was only one. I looked closer at the rock. It was about the size of a golf ball. It was round for a rock. Not a perfect sphere, but round. The most intriguing thing about it was it was red, crimson red. I poked the rock with my gun barrel. It just wobbled there, like a normal rock. I decided it could be acidic due to its color, so I poked it with my index finger. It didnt burn my hand, again it just wobbled there. I picked up the rock. It felt like any other rock, hard, cold and a little damp.
Well, looks like I have a souvenir. I thought to myself.
I always liked the color red, now I have a red rock. Then reality set back in, I have to get out of here. And to add to my troubles, there are guys with guns out there. I put the rock in my pants pocket an started to make my way back the way I came in. I walked as slow as I could, trying not to make a sound. I kept my light off, letting my night vision do the work. I could see some what well, but its hard to see in the dark. I could see light coming from the opening and I could see I had a welcoming committee out there too. Five guys who looked like they knew what they were doing had taken up positions outside the cave entrance. I was not going to surrender; its not something I do. I had little cover inside the cave; it was mostly straight with a small bend about ten feet in. I slowly walked along the most concealed part of the cave wall to mask my approach. I got up to the very small bend and poked my head around. There they were. All hiding behind tress, I took aim at the farthest guy and pulled the trigger. The echo of my weapon in the cave was loud, but I didnt care. I hit the first guy and switched targets. Second guy went down from a leg shot. I didnt have time to sight on the third guy when number four got me in the arm.
Hit! I yelled.
Man, you gave us a run for our money. said one of the enemy team players.
Well, I had to make it fun for you guys. I replied with a smirk as I started my way back to camp. I was done for a while. I could only stand so much of that in one day.
I ended up walking all the way back to camp, which was a long walk. Ten minutes in a slow moving van equaled to about a half an hour walk. I didnt mind, I like to walk. I gives me time to think. As I cleared the hill, I heard the vehicles driving back to camp.
It must be time for a break. I thought.
It was getting dark, night games where about to get going. But not before we got some dinner. Jake was cooking hotdogs and we all had soda to drink, mine was good old Dr. Pepper (Yay!). We all sat around a large bonfire which John had built. Now thats camping. Guys sitting around a bonfire in camo, eating hotdogs and telling stories of the battles that happened just a few hours ago, it is always fun. I had just finished my hotdog and decided to look at the rock I had found. I started to walk away from the bonfire and toward my tent as I pulled it out of my pocket. Still a rock, still red, but now it wasnt damp. I tossed into the air and caught it with my right hand. Its a habit I do, I toss a small object and catch it. It helps build hand-eye coordination. I tossed it again, and caught it. The third time I tossed it, when I caught it, it crumbled. I looked at my hand, it was covered in red dust.
Crap, I said to myself, I liked that rock.
I dusted my hands off on each other, but the dust didnt come off.
What the? I said aloud. Apparently loud enough for John to hear me and ask.
I found a red rock in a cave in the gorge, I said as I turned around, I accidentally crushed it and the dust wont come off my hand.
It probably just dyed your hand. said Jake.
Just then, my hand started to burn.
Ah! I yelped as I grabbed my wrist.
Farm, whats wrong? I heard John say.
My hand, it burns. I said through gritted teeth.
Hold on, Jake get some water! John yelled.
My hand just kept on burning, it felt like that time I accidentally touched the iron when I was eleven. Jake ran over to me and I held out my hand. He quickly poured a bottle of water on my hand. It didnt help. It just kept burning. I noticed my hand was turning red. I wasnt too surprised, irritated skin did turn red. But when it turned crimson red, I started to worry. Suddenly I felt little pressure points on my hand. Like someone poking it with a stick. But the pressure was outward, like something under my skin was trying to get out. I started to panic now. My mind was racing to find something to explain what was happening. Some rational answer, there had to be one. I came up empty. Thats when it happened, thats when I knew something I couldnt stop was going to happen to me that I was powerless to prevent. Thats when my mental defenses kicked in. Sam calls it logic mode, she gets it too. All emotional response are dulled and adrenaline is used to speed up the thought and motor responses to a given panic situation. Its sort of like not feeling, but thinking through a situation. Pain is dulled by the adrenaline and my mind is fortified by just analyzing the situation and coming up with solutions instead of succumbing to irrational feelings that could have hazardous repercussions. The little pressure points were about to make themselves known of what they were. Right below my ring finger on the back of my right hand, a small slit in my skin appeared and out of that little slit came a crimson red scale.
Oh my God. was the only thing I could think of saying.
More and more little slits began forming on my hand and each one had a crimson red scale slide out of it, overlapping each other. The scales made their way up my wrist and up my arm. I watched as my ring and little finger fuse and get covered in scales. I felt the scales slide up under my jacket sleeve; I felt my arm get longer. My first thought, honest, was to protect my Multicam. I pulled off my jacket, leaving only my gray t-shirt underneath and tossed off my hat. I could see the scales had already made their way to my chest through my gray shirt; they were dark yellow, bigger and rectangular. They resembled the underside scaly plates of a reptile. Once they made it across my chest they turned back to the red, diamond shaped scales. I could feel them moving toward my other arm; it didnt take long for them to make it down to my left hand. I took my watch off just as the scales covered the spot it was. By now everyone was backing away from me. I would have to if I was seeing this, but I was living this. It wasnt blinding pain, it was more like the pain you get about an hour after getting hit in the winter and you come into a warm house. Its dull, but still enough to make you dizzy. I felt a stabbing pain on my right hand and as I pull it up to see what was happening, black claws burst from each of my now three fingers and thumb. Then I felt the same pain in my left. I didnt need to see it to know what it was now. I gritted my teeth the whole time, trying not the yell out in pain. My only thought was, take it. I felt the scales moving down my legs now. I could not let my pants and shoes get torn up, so I flopped on the ground and took them off. As I pulled my socks off just in time to see the scales cover my feet. But thats not where it stopped. My toes fused till I now had only three toes on each foot, each tipped with a long black talon. Then came a load popping noise and the feeling of being hit in the legs with a metal pole. My feet grew longer and so did my legs. I knew what was happening to my legs, they were becoming digigrade. The three remaining toes got bigger to accommodate the new leg structure. I could feel my muscles bulking up. Not by a lot, but still getting bigger. Suddenly, I felt a pressure from my tailbone. I had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen next. The elastic on the underpants snapped as a large bump on my backside grew. It just kept growing till it was about six feet long, it was a tail. I looked at it in horror. It was crimson red on the top, but had the dark yellow plates on the underside. As I realized this, the yellow plates started their way up the front of me, They fused up with the ones already on my chest and just kept coming till they reached my neck. It was then I realized the only thing that looked human on me was my head. That was about to change. I could feel my neck get longer as a tag team effort from the red scales and the yellow plates began the march to claim what remained of my human identity. Once the yellow plates reach the bottom of my jaw they stopped, but the red scales where not done yet. I could feel them sliding over my skin, under my hair and over my face. I felt my face being pushed out into a muzzle and my ears becoming longer and pointed. I felt pressure on back, right at my shoulder blades. I tore off my shirt and turned my head to look and saw to arm-like looking appendages coming out of my back. The fingers grew longer and a leathery membrane grew in-between them, it was a lighter shade of red them my scales. They grew and grew until they stopped, each wing had to be seven feet across. I started to cough and hack as my insides felt like they were moving around. As I coughed, my teeth fell out. I could feel longer, sharper teeth growing in. I felt my tongue get longer and thinner, then a little pain right at the end of it. I stuck it out and saw it became forked, like a snakes tongue. I tried to stand up, but I ended up falling on the ground flat on my stomach. I could feel my eyes start to burn, I had to shut them. I could feel a pain run down my spine all the way to the tip of my tail. Then I felt something in my mind, just a little something. It wondered into a place in the back of my mind and seemed to disappear. When the pain stopped, I did not open my eyes. I just laid there. I just kept the thought in my head, that did not happen, that did not happen. I was only the sound of the others talking that brought me back to the reality of my current situation.
Okay, what the hell just happened? I heard one of the new guys say.
I dont know. Whatever it is, I dont like it. said someone else.
What are we gonna do? came a very nervous voice.
Sam, dont get to close. John said.
Just then I felt a poke on my right side.
I think hes out. she said.
Well, we should count ourselves lucky then. said some new guy.
And why is that? Sam replied in a very harsh tone.
Because with that thing unconscious, we can kill it. said the new guy.
What?! I heard several people say.
You are not killing my brother. Sam told him.
That thing is not your brother anymore. Im sorry, but this is the way it has to be. He could wake up and not remember ever being human. He could just see us as his first meal.
Hey now, thats Farm Fresh, James said, He would never hurt anyone.
Look at that thing! yelled the guy, Its a monster, and I for one will not let it live.
Youll have to go through me first. said Sam. I heard a set of clicks that could only be from Sams pocket knives. She has about four on her at all times.
And me. said James.
Me too. said Pat
Gladiators stick together. said Will.
Right, Im in too. said Lucas.
You guys are crazy, putting your backs to that monster. he screamed.
At that moment, I decided to put an end to this conversation.
I can hear you, you know. Im not deaf. I said. My voice was a little deeper than it used to be, but it was clearly my voice.
Eth? Sam asked.
Yea, its me. I replied.
Prove it. I heard the guy say.
Okay, what is the serial number on your M16? Sam asked.
074452. I replied.
What is the nick name of your truck.?
Who gave it that name?
What is your favorite video game?
Gears of War 2.
What weapon do use the most?
Longshot sniper rifle.
Last question. What was the reason why you got into airsoft?
To get you out of your room.
Ethan, it is you. She said as rapped her arms around my neck.
You dont really think a little thing like this could get me? I said.
Man, you had us worried for while Farm. James said.
Hey, why dont you open your eyes? asked Pat.
Because, when I do open them, I will see what I am preparing myself for. I replied. I was busy mentally preparing myself for the shock.
Come on, said Will in his sly voice, itll be fun.
With that, I opened my eyes. I could see very well, even though it was dark out. A lot of people were about thirty feet away, all with scared looks on their faces. I was still on the ground, so I decided to lay the a moment to catch up with myself. I ran down a little check list in my head. I pick up a red rock, I crushed red rock and I turned into a red dragon. At least I like red dragons.
So, how do I look? I asked.
Like a monster. The guy said.
Will you shut up, said Sam, You look like a big red dragon.
About twelve feet long from snout to tail with about a fourteen foot wing span. she replied.
What about my eyes? What color are they?
Theyre gold and theyre vertically slit. She replied.
Do I have my hair?
Yes. You have no horns, but you ears are pointed. You also have a red plate ridge running down your spine.
Okay, I think I can get up now.
I pushed myself up on all fours. Strangely, I felt as if I could walk like this, but I squelched that thought. I was determined to hold on to as much of me as I had left. I pushed off the ground with my hands and got to my knees. I carefully started to transfer weight on to my legs. I couldnt stand on the arches of my feet, my heels wanted to be in the air. So I tried to stand on the balls of my feet. This worked. My tail balanced me out. I was standing on two legs, I had done it. From my new height I could see I was a little taller the Lurch, by about a foot or so. Everyone was looking at me. I guess I couldnt blame them; I was a dragon standing in their camp.
Well, thats impressive. said John.
Man, you sure are big. said Kramer in a very awed tone.
I looked at my hands. I still had my thumbs, which I was thankful for. Each digit had a long, sharp, black claw on it. I flexed my hands to make sure I still had good range of motion. It checked out, the claws did little to limit flexibility. I looked over the rest of my body. I had a tail, which I moved around a little to get a feel for it. It was a little weird to have basically a limb behind me. The joy department was gone, just yellow scaly plates. That was kind of a bummer. I checked my wings out; I opened them and folded them at least three times. As I looked over my wings, I saw that ridge that Sam mentioned. It was a long line of plates that were layered on top of each other and slightly darker and thicker than the regular crimson scales, my guess was its there to protect my spine. I rotated my shoulders to get my arms in order and moved my longer neck around to get an idea of what I could do with it.
How does it feel? ask James.
Weird. I replied.
Well, now the beast is happy, said the jerk, We can all decide on what we should do with it.
Hey now! I yelled, I really dont like you calling me that. I didnt ask for this.
I just know there are two types of creatures in this world, he replied, animals and humans. You are not human and therefore an animal.
Hey, watch what you say, yelled Jake.
Yea, Farms a good guy, said Pat, dont you dare call him an animal.
What do you mean by, do with it? asked Sam.
I mean, what are we gonna do with this beast. He said rather bluntly.
Okay, I have had enough of you, said John, Your Ted arent you?
Yes, thats me. said the guy now revealed to be Ted.
Okay Ted, sternly replied John, Here is what we are gonna do, since I am in charge of the OP. We are going to get back on track. Everyone, get something to eat. The night games will be starting shortly.
You cant really be serious about just letting that thing continue living are you? said Ted, sound a little more than upset.
Are we going to have a problem with you? ask John.
I cant believe this. he said up in arms. You are going to let a dragon live.
That dragon is someone I have known for two years and to a lot more people here, a good deal longer. John said, now a little upset with himself, I put this OP together, I invited him here. He wouldnt have been here to be turned into a dragon if this OP wasnt made. Now I am putting this OP back on track and everyone who was invited can play. If you dont like that, you can leave.
Ted didnt have a response to that. He just turned around and walked back to the bonfire. I just knew that wasnt the end of it, but at the time I had more on my mind then I cared to have.
What am I gonna do now? I asked to really nobody in particular.
Well, lets take this one thing at a time. replied Sam, We came here to play airsoft and everyone here already knows you are a dragon. So, we play and we worry about the next step later.
Well, okay. I said in a rather droopy tone. I guess one thing at a time.
Shape up, Colonel! boomed James, Weve still got an OP to win. Youre no good to us depressed.
After all thats happened in the last hour, they still put me in charge. I guessed I would have to work out the kinks in field. I still felt like I was me, despite the changes. So, I guess I could still lead. I just hoped my tactics still worked; its going to be hard to hide now. Thats when the thought hit me, I didnt have a stitch of clothing on me. There was nothing there to see, but still.
Right, I replied in a more confident tone, No time to be all weepy, we still have battles to fight. I will do the best I can do.
Theres the Farm Fresh we know. said Will.
Now, to a matter of importance. Sam? How good are you at sewing? I asked.
Good enough to modify your uniform to fit. She said, I have a sewing kit to fix rips and tears. It could be used to modify your BDUs
Great, I said gratefully, I really dont like the idea of fighting like this.
Yea, said Will, We really dont want you to fight in the buff. The mental scarring alone.
You know you like it. I said as I walked away.
I collected up all the tatters that used to be the clothes that I didnt get off in time, my watch and my hat. With any lights we had, Sam and I set to work to make my uniform fit me again. First came the pants. They were simple enough. Removing a large hole in the seat to allow my tail to come out, but keeping the belt loops intact to make sure they stayed on. The extra fabric was folded and sewn around the new edge to make it stronger and cleaner looking. A T-shirt was next. I had brought three gray T-shirts, but we only modified one. Two holes where cut for my wings. They had to me a good size and length because the bases of my wings where wide and the membrane attached all the way to just above the center of my back. This meant the back of my shirt and jacket had to have two long slots cut into them with a hole on the top. It didnt take long to cut the holes and slots, but it did take about a half an hour to sew on the seams around the edges. Much to my dismay, I could not come up with an idea for boots. I like boots and the prospect of fight while barefoot was not a pleasing idea for me. I knew my feet had thick enough pads so that I could probably walk on barbed wire and not feel it, but I like boots. I resigned myself to fighting barefoot for the time being, but I made a mental note to make boots that fit me.
Now that my uniform fit me, I looked it over. Thanks to military design, uniforms are designed to fit a wide range of sizes. Since I gotten quite a bit taller but only a little wider, all I had to do was adjust all the straps to as wide as they go. It was a little tighter then I would like around the waist, but there was still space. I had to slide my shirt and jacket over my wings first and then try to get them over my chest, that was a bit of a trick. The jacket was still long enough to cover the top of my pants. Most of my new height was gained by my longer legs and longer neck.
Now on to the harder stuff. I said.
What harder stuff? asked Sam
My plate carrier, I responded, it has a large back and it needs to have the same thing done to it as my shirt and jacket.
Well, lets get started then. She replied in a huff.
It took an hour to modify that plate carrier to fit. Two layers of fabric and an insulation layer. Tough straps that are used to hold the adjustable pockets called MOLLY straps, had to be cut away to make room for the hole. Finally, we got it to fit right. My hydration pack (A rather large pouch that runs down my plate carriers back. It has a hose attached to a bladder inside it so the user can drink without getting a canteen out) had to be mounted in the middle of my back, between my wings. My radio pouch had to be moved to my lower left side of my back, right behind my arm and the cords run under the straps to keep them out of the way. Other than that, all my pockets could still work right where they were. I put my 1-inch tactical belt though my pants belt loops and attached my leg holster. I had to lengthen the straps to fit my new leg.
Now for the critical part, I said, My goggles.
I have a pair of ESS combat goggles. They are military grade ballistic goggles. If they did not fit over my new face, I would have to come up with another idea. I put my Multicam hat on backwards, like I always do. I had to adjust it out to fit and lowered the goggles over my eyes. Apparently my eyes moved a little further apart, but not too far that the goggles didnt cover them. They sat a steeper angle then they used to because of my muzzle, but the seated around my face and I could see fairly well. I checked to make sure there were no gaps around the foam seal, there were none and I was pleased.
You look good. said Pat as he walked up from the bonfire.
Thank you. I cheerfully replied.
I just can over to see how things are going and to tell you a night game is getting started in about a half hour.
Great, I am just about done.
Yea, thanks to me. said Sam in huff.
Yes. Thank you so much. I said as I got down on my knees, putting my hands on her shoulders. I still was taller than her.
No problem. She replied with a smirk.
I loaded up my mags and gassed up my pistol. At least my hands didnt get too much bigger, my fingers still fit in the trigger guards. I slid the Colt into my holster and strapped on my watch to my left wrist. As I pinned my eagles on my collar, it dawned on me of what I look like. Red and yellow dragon with black claws and dark brown hair in a Multicam uniform, plate carrier and leg holster to match. Backwards Multicam ball cap with an tan American flag on it and OD green rimed combat goggles. A month ago I would have paid to have a picture of this. I picked up the Buzzsaw and put a fresh mag in. With a click, I was ready to get back to doing what I came to do.