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The year is 1969, and America is at war. The spread of Communism in the Far East is a grave concern to the patriots of the United States government, who have sworn to stop the Red Menace at all costs. Despite intense anti-war protests filling the streets, the machine of war rolls on. The draft is in full effect, and the nation's boys, both those unlucky enough to pull their ticket and the ones foolhardy enough to volunteer, are being sent across the ocean to a nation most of them couldn't point to on a map, to fight and bleed and die in a jungle far from home.

You are one of them.
>>
>>2120134

Updates: http://twitter.com/ravenkingquests

Previous Threads: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Thug%20Quest

Discord: https://discord.gg/3HegtNU
>>
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>>2120134

Soundtrack: Creedence Clearwater Revival - Fortunate Son
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40JmEj0_aVM


Your ears are filled with the rhythmic thumping of rotors and the roar of the engine as the helicopter cruises north above the jungle. You and a fellow recruit, a black kid called Williams, are being brought in alongside supplies and equipment to reinforce Dog Company, 25th Infantry, in their position close to the front lines. From what you hear, they're right in the thick of it.

You watch the trees of the jungle waving under the air pressure from the helicopter, and the truth of your situation begins to sink in. It's really happening. You're really here.

Vietnam.

A lot of bad choices led you to this place. Maybe the worst was saying "yes" to that judge who gave you the choice to avoid prison by joining the military. Maybe it was doing the crime that put you in front of that judge in the first place. Or maybe it was just getting caught. Whatever it was, you're here, and there's fuck all you can do about it except keep your head down and try to survive the next year.

The helicopter lands, the grass rippling underneath like water. You hustle out carrying your gear, thinking about how the ground you're standing on seems like ordinary dirt, even if it is a hostile country at war with America. GIs hustle to grab the equipment off the supply chopper, not paying any mind to the new recruits. Nobody greets you or tells you what to do.

Williams comes up beside you, carrying his own gear. "You see any officers?" he asks you in his Lancaster accent. You shake your head. The two of you go to find somebody in charge.

(Continued)
>>
>>2120154

A big man in a sweat-stained undershirt and dog tags is barking orders and directing traffic. When he has a moment available in the chaos, you and Williams approach him.

"Morning, sir!" You salute. "Private Bones, reporting for--"

"Goddamn it, get your hands down you pieceashit FNGs!" The man strides towards you, raising a threatening finger. You and Williams immediately lower your hands, scared shitless. "Fuckin' Charlie's got snipers crawlin' all over these woods," the man growls, pointing at the nearby jungle. "Never salute when you're out here, understand? Fuck me."

The man folds his hairy arms and looks you over. He doesn't like what he sees. "Goddamn but you're a big caveman-looking motherfucker. Bones, was it? Bonehead is more like it with that goddamn caveman skull o' yours. Can you even read, Private Bonehead, or are you as dumb and illiterate as you look?"

"Sir, yes sir! I mean, uh --"

"Don't "sir" me you fuckin' ape, I ain't a officer. I work for a living! I'm "Sarge" to you. Now is that primitive brain o' yours capable of shootin' a gun and followin' orders, private?"

"Yes, Sarge!"

The Sarge glares at Williams. "Your skin's the same color as the shit I took this morning. What about you, maggot?"

"Shoot and follow orders, yes Sarge."

"Good. Those two things are all we need from you pieceashit FNGs. Keep yourselves alive in country a couple weeks and the men might even bother to learn your names. Until then shut the fuck up, do as you're told, and try to learn something, that is if you two apes are capable of such an intellectual feat. Now you two are gonna be in 2nd Platoon, that's Lieutenant Thorn's. Go find him and get yourselves set up." Sarge grins. "Oh, and one more thing. Welcome to Dog Company."

You and Williams head into the base carrying your packs. It's a mess of equipment, awning and hammocks, jeeps and trucks. In the storage you see weapon crates next to flats of beer cans. There's a big tent nearby, that might be some kind of command post. There's also a circle of guys clustered around something and shouting, like there's a fight or a contest going on. You look around through the crowd of GIs, seeing American working boys of all kinds, but nobody who looks like an officer.

A group of GIs is relaxing with a hand of cards around a tree stump. As you pass by, a skinny white guy holds out a half-full bottle of Wild Turkey. "Hey, fuckin' new guys!" he says. "Stop and have a drink, why don't ya? You'll probably get killed tomorrow, so might as well enjoy yourselves today!"

>Have a drink with the skinny guy.
>Check the big tent.
>See what the circle of people is excited about.
>Find some space for yourself and think.
>Write-in.
>>
>>2120164
>Find some space for yourself and think.
>>
>>2120164
>Check big tent.
>>
>>2120164
>See what the circle of people is excited about.
FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT
>>
>>2120164
>>See what the circle of people is excited about.
>>
>>2120164
>Take him up on his offer
>So, what's the fuzz about?
>>
>>2120178
>>2120184
>>2120194

>So, what's the fuzz about?
>See what the circle of people is excited about.

Writing.
>>
>>2120217

You hold up a hand to politely refuse the offered drink. "Thanks, but uh, maybe later. Gotta report in and stuff."

"Smart man," one of the card-players says. "You don't want Thorn finding out you stopped for a drink first."

You point a thumb towards the circle of cheering and shouting GIs. "What's the fuzz about?"

"Oh, y'know," says the skinny guy. "Just an ordinary day in Dog Company." He chuckles and takes a drink of bourbon straight from the bottle.

Williams says, "You know where we can find Lieutenant Thorn, man?"

The other card-players overhear him and laugh. The skinny guy grins and points towards the circle.

You warily approach the crowd, seeing GIs jostling each other as they push for a better view or hastily exchange bets. You couldn't believe it at first, but as you get closer, you see it's exactly what it looks like. A fight circle. Through the crowd, you catch glimpses of a the two fighters. Curious, you approach the edge of the circle, your height letting you see over people's heads into the muddy patch of earth in the center.

A man stands in the center in a stance of easy confidence, stripped to the waist displaying a compact muscular frame and impressive collection of scars, including a jagged rip across his jaw. His opponent is much bigger, with a significant weight and reach advantage, but as he advances, you can already see that he doesn't stand a chance. The big man moves in aggressively and throws a big punch, but the scarred man knocks the attack aside and counters with a strike to the ribs. He grabs his opponent's wrist and forces it the wrong way, sending the big man to his knees in pain.

"I could break this wrist of yours like a fuckin' twig right now," growls the scarred man, twisting just hard enough to cause extreme pain but not injure. "But that'd give you a nice little relaxing break in the field hospital, and I need every man in the field whether I like 'em or not." He lets go of the man's wrist, plants a mud-splattered boot on his back, and shoves him into the mud. Then he spits on him and turns away. Someone hands him a cigarette and lights it for him.

"We got FNGs," you hear someone mutter, and the crowd turns to look at you. Williams hides behind you, while you try to summon the courage to face down this whole group of hardened veterans.

After a moment of tense silence, the scarred man asks, "So who the fuck are you?"

"Just arrived," you say. "We're, uh, looking for Lieutenant Thorn."

The man takes a drag from his cigarette. "You found him," he says, and exhales smoke.

>Report for duty.
>Challenge him.
>Ask how an officer can do this to one of his men.
>Write-in.
>>
>>2120308
>Report for duty.
>>
>>2120308
>Eh..reporting for duty sir
>You don't mind if I don't salute right? Sarge said not to
>>
>Report for duty.
>>
>>2120308
>>Report for duty.
>>Challenge him.
>>
Yes be a lil pussy and
>Report for duty
>>
>>2120308
>Report for duty.
>>
>>2120308
>>Challenge him.
>>
>>2120308
>Report for duty.
>Challenge him to an arm wrestling match

We're not gonna beat him in a straight fight, but a table and some rules might help us even the odds a bit.
>>
>>2120313
>>2120316
>>2120317
>>2120319
>>2120320
>>2120321
>>2120369


>Report for duty.

Writing.
>>
>>2120308


Your fighting instincts are stirring, and part of you want to challenge this guy right here and now. But you think about it, and make yourself back off. There's more than one type of fight, and you recognize that this isn't a competition or a contest. This is about proving who's in charge, and it isn't you. Even if you won, that'd make more trouble than it was worth.

Not that you give much for your chances. The more you watch this guy, the more you realize he's the real deal. Not some thug like you. He's stared death right in the eye without blinking. Some street punk from Heat City wouldn't even count as a notch on his belt.

So you decide to play it cool and follow the rules, at least for now. "Uh, me and Williams here are just off the chopper and reporting for duty, sir." You don't salute, which seems to be the right call, since no-one calls you out on not saluting an officer. "Sarge said we were in 2nd, with you."

Thorn takes another drag. He waits a moment, taking his time, sizing you up with cold eyes like a butcher deciding what cut to make. Everyone waits for him to speak. Eventually he says, "Sarge give you the basics?"

"Yeah. It went something like, shoot, follow orders, try to learn something before we get killed."

He nods. "That's about right." He waves to a Corporal nearby, who steps forward. "Beckett, get them sorted. Rest of you, show's over. Get back to work."

Thorn walks off, a knot of NCOs following him. The one called Beckett approaches you with a disgusted look on his face. "All right, fresh meat. Let me get this out of the way right now. I don't want to know your names, I don't know want to know what little hick town you're from or what ugly-ass girlfriend you've got waiting for you back home. I fully expect you both to be dead by this time tomorrow, so I don't care. Got it?" Without waiting for an answer, he turns and walks away. "Come on."

You and Williams hurry after him. "We don't have enough tents," Beckett says at the supply cache. "But you each get a poncho, canvas and rope, and together they make a hammock. So that's something. Set them up over there," he says, pointing to a little-used corner of the camp. "We're hitting the bush tomorrow, so get a good night's rest. You'll need it." He sniggers, hyena-like.

"Yeah, thanks, man," Williams says with heavy sarcasm. "Appreciate it."

>Ask Beckett something. (Say what)
>Let him leave and talk to Williams.
>Go get that drink with the card players.
>Find some cigarettes and a moment's peace by yourself.
>Write-in.
>>
>>2120500
>Ask Beckett something. "What's the bathroom situation? Any specific spot to use for number 1 and 2s or something to watch out for?"
>>
>>2120500
>>Let him leave and talk to Williams.

Man I sure hope our new best friend doesn't die
>>
>>2120507
Supporting
>>
>>2120500
>Write-in.

Your walking to your the corner of the camp to set up your hammock and a familiar smell hits you, dope. It triggers your inner street punk and all the stories that were circulating about the opium trade coming out of this part of the world. Maybe I can make a racket out of this and come back a rich man. You decide to follow your nose and find out who's smoking pot.
>>
>>2120507
Supporting
>>
>>2120507
>>2120523
>>2120534

>Ask Beckett something. "What's the bathroom situation? Any specific spot to use for number 1 and 2s or something to watch out for?"


Writing.
>>
>>2120134
>even MORE gooks

kek
>>
>>2120565
dead?
>>
>>2120708
nah just technical difficulties
>>
>>2120500

"Just one question," you say to Beckett. "Where's the shitter?"

The corporal points to a makeshift outhouse nearby. "Sometimes we're got TP. Otherwise, better get used to the feeling of leaves. Don't use the wrong ones, though, or your ass will regret it." He sniggers again as he walks off.

You and Williams shrug at each other and start figuring out how your hammocks work.

"Fuck this bullshit, man," Williams says. "Out here fightin' the white man's war n shiet."

"I don't want to be here any more than you do," you say.

"Guess so." He looks up at the darkening sky. "Three hundred sixty-fo' days to go."

The night is humid, stinking, and full of insects, but at least you can see the stars. Can't see those in Heat City.

Less than twenty-four hours after you landed in Vietnam finds you on your first patrol in the bush. 2nd and 3rd Platoon are advancing alongside each other in double column, or at least that's what you heard. From where you're standing somewhere in the middle of it all, you can't see anything but jungle plants and bugs, and an occasional glimpse of the grunt ahead of you in line.

Supposedly you're here to kill communists, but soon you feel like the jungle is the real enemy here. The very air is hot and wet, difficult to breathe. Bugs swarm and crawl, and it seems like every other step brings you next to a nest of something wriggling and horrible. Everywhere there are trees and ferns, strangling vines, strange flowers, creeping roots. Your shirt is already drenched with sweat, and you have to keep wiping your forehead to keep the drips out of your eyes. It seems impossible to carry your M16, push the jungle out of your way, and keep your balance all at the same time.

The soldier ahead of you signals a halt, and you stumble up against a tree, gasping for breath. This is crazy.

"First time in the jungle?" asks someone. You turn around to see a Jim Morrison type approaching. "Here, drop your kit for a minute." Too exhausted to argue, you unsling your bag. The man takes it from you, which is when you notice the officer's bars on his uniform. "Relax, kid," he says. "You've probably heard, but you don't have to salute around here."

The Lieutenant unzips your backpack and starts discarding things. "You don't need this. Or this. Definitely not this." He looks at you. "Look, man. A soldier's kit is a lot like life. You want to hold onto everything, but it just ends up slowing you down. You gotta always be thinking about what you can let go."

"You must be, uh, 3rd Platoon leader, sir?"

"Mmhmm. That's me. Lieutenant Shepard." He hands you your bag, which you find is now considerably lighter.

>Thanks
>You some kinda philosopher?
>I liked those things ...
>Any idea where we're headed?
>What should I be watching out for?
>Write-in.
>>
>>2120750
>>You some kinda philosopher?
>What should I be watching out for?
>>
>>2120750
>>Thanks
>What should I be watching out for?
>>
>>2120750
>What should I be watching out for?
>Thanks for the advice sir
>>
>>2120750
>Thanks
>What should I be watching out for?
Gotta leech experience.
>>
>>2120750
>What should I be watching out for?
>>
>>2120750
>Thanks
>What should I be watching out for?
>>
>>2120758
>>2120759
>>2120761
>>2120762
>>2120767
>>2120771


>Thanks
>What should I be watching out for?

Writing.
>>
>>2120750
>>Thanks
>>You some kinda philosopher?
>>What should I be watching out for?
>>
>>2120750

"Thanks for the advice, sir," you say, taking your bag back. "You some kinda philosopher?"

"I like to think of myself as a student," Shepard says. "This world has had many great teachers. Buddha, Jesus, Timothy Leary. I just try to learn from them. You wouldn't think of the military as a place to learn about life, but you'd be surprised. There's a kind of purity to this life, you know? Everything unnecessary gets stripped away."

"I never thought of it that way," you admit. "Hey, I know you gotta get back to your unit, but uh, can you tell me what I should be watching out for here, sir? I've got no idea what I'm doing, I can't tell one leaf from another."

"Tigers," he says.

"Uh -- seriously?"

"Yep. They're the ultimate killing machines. Magnificent animals, really. Years of evolution have honed them to perfection. Stronger, smarter, and way, way stealthier than the VC." Shepard grins. "So if you're looking hard enough to spot a tiger, you'll definitely spot the VC. You get me?"

"Sure," you say, not really getting him.

"Oh, and watch your feet. Plenty of tripwires and pits out here." He waves as he heads off. "Good luck, kid."

The whole patrol you're tense, expecting the Viet Cong to appear from any shadow. But you see nothing. No evidence that they even exist, that this isn't all a big joke played at the expense of the American military. One man has to be evacuated due to jungle rot in his feet, and you resolve to change your socks frequently. Another is set upon by stinging insects that raise huge venomous welts all over his skin. Both platoons eventually head back to base camp, having taken two casualties without even contacting the enemy.

The next few weeks go by in a haze. You try to adjust to routine at the base.

You go out on patrols.

You see nobody.

The company can't find the enemy.

Maybe a foxhole or a trench, maybe a tripwire rigged to a grenade or a tiger pit with punji sticks in the bottom. Signs. Nothing more.

Injuries start to mount. One man is killed when a frag grenade trap fires a piece of shrapnel into his throat. Choking on blood, unable to say his final words, he bleeds his last into the dirt of the jungle in a land seven thousand miles from home.

You keep your head down and do your job. Mostly your life is miserable. But there is one bright spot, an incident that provides a moment of solace and gains you some small favor with the veterans:

>Catch a huge wild hog for dinner.
>Accept someone's challenge to a fist-fight and come out on top.
>Win a company-wide contest of strength.
>Stop someone from setting off a trap on patrol.
>Write-in.
>>
>>2120903
>>Win a company-wide contest of strength.

It IS Johnny's thing, after all.
>>
>>2120903
>>Win a company-wide contest of strength.
Good for morale.
>>
>>2120903
>Stop someone from setting off a trap on patrol.
Saving lives, baby.
>>
>>2120903
>Catch a huge wild hog for dinner.
>By suplexing it
>>
>>2120903
>Stop someone from setting off a trap on patrol.
>>
>>2120903
>>Stop someone from setting off a trap on patrol.
>>
>>2120903
>>Stop someone from setting off a trap on patrol.
>>
>>2120916
Swapping to this. This is our jam. We practised for the gator on this hog.
>>
>>2120903
>Stop someone from setting off a trap on patrol.
>>
>>2120916
>Catch a huge wild hog for dinner.
>By suplexing it
A thousand times this.
>>
>>2120930
changing to this.
>>
>>2120930
Changing to this. Sorry for the clusterfuck Raven.
>>
>>2120941
>Catch a huge wild hog for dinner.
>By suplexing it
I was told to
>>
>>2120916
>>2120927
>>2120930
>>2120935
>>2120941
>>2120944

>Catch a huge wild hog for dinner by suplexing it.

Writing!
>>
>>2120903

Nobody would have believed it except that Pierce and Dallas, both reliable NCOs, swore up and down that they'd seen it with their own eyes. A lot of people still had a hard time believing the full story. That you'd really caught that big hairy hog in the jungle with your own hands, and suplex slammed it to the ground like a wrestler on a sunday night pay-per-view. But the hog was real enough, and the meat was tasty when it was cooked, and everyone had some good laughs around the campfire when you were goaded to re-enact the hunt.

From that day on you felt some measure of acceptance by the company. The lack of combat meant you and Williams were unable to fully shake the stigma of being unblooded new recruits, not yet officially part of the unit. But it was something.

One day finds you, Williams, and Dallas on shitter duty, shoveling out the accumulated excrement of the camp into barrels for disposal. It's the worst job in the camp by far, and as the new guy you get tapped for it more often than not. You can't wait until a new bunch of FNGs shows up to take over the role.

You take a momentary break, leaning on your shovel and wiping your forehead. Nearby you can see the company commanders talking. You just thought about how cleaning the shitters was the worst job, but trying to act in charge of this rag-tag outfit might actually be a step down.

Officially the company's commanding officer is Captain Miles, but the man is a non-entity. You've seen him once or twice, emerging from his command tent to querulously demand something of a nearby NCO. But never as a part of the strategy sessions held by the other officers, and definitely not in the field.

The leader of 1st Platoon, Lieutenant Jenkins, is a West Pointer, a fresh-faced kid who wouldn't know a Viet Cong foxhole from his own asshole. The kid is at least smart enough to shut up, admit what he doesn't know, and let the veterans handle things. But he's not exactly the picture of inspiring leadership.

So then you have the leaders of 2nd and 3rd Platoons, Lieutenants Thorn and Shepard. They both are competent officers and decisive leaders. They both are respected by the men of their platoon. And they both hate each other's guts. Out in the field, their rivalry simmers, both men putting it aside to make sure their job gets done and the men make it back to camp. But when they're here, all that bad blood comes pouring out.

That leaves Sarge.

As the company sergeant, Sarge's position is directly under Captain Miles, assisting his command of the entire company. He's a First Sergeant, which means he's technically outranked by the platoon commanders, all Lieutenants. But you learned pretty quick that it's Sarge who calls the shots around here. The big man has a smoking cigar in his mouth as he jabs his finger at a map, telling the platoon leaders how he wants their teams set up.

(Continued)
>>
>>2120994

"Sure glad I'm not in charge of any of this," you muse out loud.

"You right about that, Bones," Dallas says. "Glad I ain't no sergeant I tell you hwat. Corporal's bad enough, I got four other assholes to wipe 'sides my own. Now c'mon, we got shit to shovel."

You turn back to your grim task. As you do, you ask the guys about:

>What they think of the command situation.
>Their lives back home.
>The anti-war protests.
>The craziest thing they've seen here.
>Write-in.
>>
>>2121000
>The craziest thing they've seen here.
>>
>>2121000
>The craziest thing they've seen here.
This should be fun
>>
>>2121000
>The craziest thing they've seen here.
>>
>>2121000
>>The craziest thing they've seen here.
>>
>>2121000
>The craziest thing they've seen here.
>>
>>2121004
>>2121005
>>2121008
>>2121011
>>2121017

>The craziest thing they've seen here.

Writing.
>>
>>2121000


"So I think one thing we can all agree on," you say, grunting as you drive your shovel blade deep into the pile of shit. "Is Vietnam is pretty goddam fucked up. What's the craziest thing you guys have seen so far?"

"Bitch, you know what neighborhood in Lancaster I'm from?" Williams says. "I've seen some shit already, man. I seen a ten year old boy dealin' on the street corner. Ten years old, man. I ask him what he was doin' and he said he got kids to feed. Vietnam gotta get weirder if it want to impress me, that's fo' sure."

"I seen a hooker in Sah-gon suck a golf ball through a hose," Dallas says. "Oh and one time, we was chargin' across a field and I seen a fella get hit by a mortar? And his boots, they went straight up in the air. The man himself just disappear in a spray o' blood but them boots, whoop! Right up into the sky."

"That could be worse," you say, somewhat relieved he didn't have any stories about GIs strung up by their own intestines, left in the jungle as a warning, or something equally horrific.

The strategy council has ended, although Thorn and Shepard's argument continues. You hear their voices escalating in volume until Thorn grows tired of the argument and storms off. Shepard shouts after him, "The farmers don't want this any more than we do, Thorn!" Your platoon leader's only response is a raised finger.

Dallas watches Shepard leave, then spits into the shit bucket. "That fuckin' nancy boy. Wish Sarge or the L-T would shut him up. If we was listenin' to Shepard we'd be sendin' them Viet Cong flowers n shit 'stead o' bullets. Probably a goddamn commie. Thorn knows what he's doin'. He's the one gonna get us through this war." He nods, then looks over at you and Williams. "How many days you boys got?"

"Three hundred twenty-three," Williams says.

"I'm comin' up on one hundred myself," Dallas says. "Startin' to think I might actually get out of this shithole alive."

(Continued)
>>
>>2121123


Your section leader, the man under Thorn in charge of your half of the platoon, is a huge black man with a thick south country accent called Big Joe. He was the owner and cook of the sole restaurant in some small town in Georgia, and now does most of the unit's cooking whenever there's actual food to be had. He's the one who roasted your wild hog over an open fire, and laughed uproariously at your story of suplexing the animal to the ground, although he still calls you "Bonehead" like half the platoon.

Your feat of strength apparently impressed Big Joe, because for better or worse, he's tasked you with manning the section's heavy machine gun, a huge metal beast officially known as the M60 but usually called to as "The Pig". Williams has been assigned as your loader, and the little guy now has to carry a set of ammo belts in addition to his regular kit, day in and day out across country, while you of course get to carry the Pig itself. Wonderful.

"Don't worry about it, pal," Corporal Pierce is saying as you move through the jungle together. "Being the heavy weapons guy is all right. I mean sure, you have to carry the thing, and you get shot at more cause you draw attention, and you don't get paid extra, but uh -- hmmm." Pierce scratches at his chin. "That's funny, I had something good to say about it, I swear."

"Thanks for trying, I guess," you say.

"I can't wait for my next R&R," Pierce says. "I found this one place in Saigon where they whores, they, uh -- hey, do you hear--?"

His eye disappears. One moment Pierce is talking to you, the next there's just a red splatter where his eye used to be and he's falling, landing on his knees with a look of surprise on his face. He falls and lands on his side, twitches once, lies still.

"Cover!" someone shouts before it all turns to shit. AK-47 fire comes in from what seems like every direction. The GIs scramble for cover behind dirt, trees, rocks, anything. They shoot back with their M16s, but they have no idea what they're shooting at. Big Joe yells orders above the din, trying to form the section into a firing line. "There, goddamn it!" He points at muzzle flashes in the trees. "The fucks are over there! Pour it on 'em!" He spots you among the chaos. "Bonehead! Suppressing fucking fire! Now!"

>Roll! First three d10s count, each for separate objectives.
>>
Rolled 3 (1d10)

Here you go
>>2121126
>>
Rolled 5, 7, 9 = 21 (3d10)

>>2121126
>>
Rolled 8 (1d10)

>>2121126
>>
Rolled 10 (1d10)

>>2121126
>>
>>2121127
>>2121130
>>2121133

Your inexperience with the machine gun proves to be an issue as you're only able to unload a few bursts into the jungle before jamming up. Fortunately the section quickly rallies around Big Joe and digs in, firing back with their M16s. The American guns break down faster than the Russian AKs, but when they actually work, they've got superior range and accuracy, and the American troops have better training and discipline. They quickly gain the edge in firepower. An NCO tosses a grenade in an arc, and the frag burst draws a pained cry.

From the jungle to your right comes more fire. You panic for a second before recognizing the sound of M16s. The other section has come to your aid. Lt. Thorn appears at Big Joe's side, holding his M3 grease gun. "Status, Joe," he growls.

"We's holdin' 'em off," Big Joe says. "We got 'em in a flank now that the rest of y'all are here. Let's push 'em back, boys! Go get 'em!"

With a battle cry, the GIs charge forward. Finally unjamming your M60, you pick it up and hustle after them, with Williams running alongside you with the ammo belts. By the time you get there, the VC's forward outpost has already been cleared out by a fierce assault from the platoon, glad to finally have a tangible enemy to battle. The guerillas crumbled under the attack, and there's no-one left for you to fight. You're not sure if you're disappointed or relieved.

For the first time you see your enemy, the feared Charlie, the Viet Cong soldier, the legendary communist guerilla. A teenager, skinny from not eating enough, dressed in what looks like blue pajamas. Dead from a gunshot wound to the head. You look down at his limp form, wondering if a kid like this could really have shot Pierce. You replay the memory of seeing his eye disappear in a spray of blood, knowing that you'll be seeing that for a long time to come.

"Nice work jammin' your gun back there," Dallas says, and claps you on the shoulder. "That's all right, son. Some boys have trouble shootin' off on their first time and all."

The outpost is a dugout that leads into a tunnel under a hill. "Goddamn VC are like rats," Big Joe says, shining a flashlight into the darkness.

"Grab anything useful you can find," Thorn says. "HQ says they need intel bad, and we're short on supplies ourselves. But be careful. Fuckers might've left traps around here."

You check:

>The weapons cache.
>The map table.
>The radio.
>The VC corpses.
>>
>The map table
>The radio

We need info, we raid the weapons later.
>>
>>2121155
>The map table.
We have no idea if their bullets are the same calibre is ours, or at least I don't. I doubt we want their corpses. And fuck knows if anyone in here can speak their language, the radio's quite possibly useless.
>>
>>2121155
>>The map table.
>The weapons cache.
Intel and guns, the two most important things in war.
>>
>>2121155
>>The map table.
>>The radio.
>>
>>2121155
>map table
>>
>>2121159
>>2121160
>>2121161
>>2121162
>>2121177

>The map table

Calling the thread for tonight, I will resume tomorrow.
>>
>>2121181
been fun thanks enjoying the subtle nods to nam pop culture
>>
>>2121155
>>2121181


You, Williams and Dallas start exploring the VC tunnel complex. The dark caves and tunnel-rat hallways are lit only by your flashlights and the occasional sputtering torch. One tunnel opens up into a wide space, an assembly area or command post maybe. Inside you find a table strewn with maps drawn in contour line on grids, some of which bear markings and notes.

"Hot damn," Dallas says. "We got intel here, boys. Grab whatever you can for the big shots, let them sort it out later."

"Shiet, this one looks like VC outposts," Williams says. "But uh, what about this one? What the hell is this purple stuff?"

Williams hands you the map. You take the damp sheet of paper and look at the scribbled purple blotches covering certain areas. "No idea."

"Ain't out job to figure it out," Dallas says. "Just gotta pass it up the chain."

The maps get collected up, and Dallas, who says he's hungry, "volunteers" you to go present them to Lt. Thorn while he goes to find someone with grub. You find the platoon leader having a smoke and talking with Corporal Beckett. You clear your throat nervously. "Uh, sir, we found some stuff that might be useful. Maps of the area. Might have some VC positions on 'em."

Thorn takes the papers from you without comment. He looks through them, unruffled, until he gets to the map with the purple scribbles. He frowns. "Shepard!" he barks, not looking up from the map. The 3rd Platoon leader heads over, and Thorn shows him the map while tapping his finger on one of the large purple patches. "What do you suppose this shit means?"

Shepard scrutinizes the map. "Looks like farmland to me. Rice paddies. But only some of them. I can't tell why some are marked purple and some aren't."

"Supply caches for the VC?" Thorn says.

"Bad positions to supply the troops from, though," Shepard says. "Too far away from the trails."

"Mines? Traps?"

"Why would they trap their own farmland this far from the front?" Shepard shakes his head, stumped. "No idea what else it might be, though."

"Guess it ain't for us to decide anyway," Thorn says. "Gotta turn this over to Battalion and see what they do with it." His eyes land on you for a moment. "Nice work finding the map, Private. But don't let me catch you with your weapon jammed again."

You nod, swallowing your embarassment and resolving to take perfect care of your guns from now on.

(Continued)
>>
>>2121807


When you see the two platoons coordinating in the field, working together and coming to each other's aid, the two Lieutenants consulting each other, it gives you hope that maybe this time, when you return to camp, some of the bad blood will be cleared up.

It doesn't happen.

Within days the men of 2nd and 3rd are glaring daggers at each other again, their officers' feud passing down through the ranks to their fiercely loyal troops. Thorn's men, committed to his tough but fair "survival of the fittest" attitude, clash repeatedly with Shepard's followers, inspired by his attempts to help his soldiers hold on to their humanity and compassion, even in war. The two sides argue about ordinary camp stuff, about the protests back home, about the nature of man. But mostly they argue about what should be done with the Vietnamese civilians caught in the middle of all this. Shepard says they don't want this war any more than you do, and that while some of the villages do store weapons for the VC, they only do so out of coercion and violence. Thorn says it doesn't matter why they're helping the enemy, just that they are.

It all comes to a head one night when a fight breaks out between the platoons. It's just two men at first, but their friends get involved, somebody throws a punch, and the whole thing erupts into a brawl. By the light of campfires, GIs struggle in the sand, striking out at anyone they recognize as belonging to the other team.

>This is crazy! Try to stop the fight.
>Wade into the fray on 2nd Platoon's side, loyal to your team if not Thorn.
>Fight for 3rd Platoon. Loyalty to a man like Thorn doesn't matter here, just doing what's right.
>Intervene to save Williams from a beating, but that's all.
>Stay out of it entirely.
>Write-in.
>>
>>2121819
>Intervene to save Williams from a beating, but that's all.
>As Sarge said keeps your head down and follow orders nothing else
>>
>>2121819
>Intervene to save Williams from a beating, but that's all.
>>
>>2121832
Supporting
>>
>>2121819
>Intervene to save Williams from a beating, but that's all.
>>
>>2121832
>>2121843
>>2121849
>>2121859

>Intervene to save Williams from a beating, but that's all.
>As Sarge said keeps your head down and follow orders nothing else

Writing.
>>
>>2121819
>>2121863

Shut the fuck up and do as you're told, Sarge said, and that's exactly what you plan on doing. Sitting on a fallen tree away from the brawl, you light a cigarette and watch the GIs go at it, intending not to intervene. That lasts until you see that scrawny kid Williams get dragged out from a hiding place by two men from 3rd. You sigh, get up, and head over there.

When you get there, the two men have Williams pinned down while one of them strikes him in the face. You flick your half-smoked cigarette into the sand next to them to get their attention. "Hey. Leave him alone, or pick on someone your own size."

They throw Williams down and get up. "Yeah? You think you're some kind of tough guy cause you took down a pig, Bonehead?" Their blood is hot with battle. One guy throws a punch that's a little too fast for yout to block, and it connects solidly with your jaw.

You were just intending to save Williams from a beating, but something snaps. Without knowing how it happened, you realize that you're holding the GI who hit you several inches off the ground by his collar. Then you're not, instead he's sailing through the air towards that tree where he hits his head and falls to the ground. You turn to see the other guy and you don't like his face so you bring your forehead straight down into it and feel his nose break with a satisfying crunch.

The rage is coming on you and you go to stomp his head into the ground and splatter it like a fucking fruit but something is holding you back, and you realize it's Williams tugging at you with all his strength. "Don't do it, man," he's saying. "It's over, just -- just let it go, all right? Let's get the fuck out of here."

Your head hurts. Not from headbutting that guy, but from the inside. You try to shake it off, wiping the man's blood off your forehead, and let Williams lead you back to the log you were sitting on earlier. There you light another cigarette with shaking hands, and you watch as the brawl continues.

Sarge arrives, announcing his presence by knocking down three privates at once with a single lariat. He shouts over the chaos, wading through the crowd, punching or grappling anyone who dares so much as look at him wrong, until he's single-handedly restored order to the entire unit with his own hands.

But the damage is done. Dog Company is now a unit at war with itself, as well as Vietnam.

(Continued)
>>
>>2121807
Are the V.C growing opium or something along those lines
>>
>>2121966

The intel you retrived from that VC tunnel goes to Battalion, who passes it up the chain to Brigade and finally to Division. They don't seem to know what it means either, because some time later your battalion gets assigned a patrol in force, striking deep into enemy territory in that direction. Impressed with the victorious assault on the enemy trench and the captured intelligence, Battalion bestows on Dog Company the honor of spearheading the column. That's how the Army works. If you survive a dangerous mission, your reward is another one, even more dangerous than the last.

In some ways the mission is a relief, because tension in the company has reached a boiling point. Giving the men something to focus on besides their own squabbles is maybe a good thing. At least, that's what you tell yourself as you head out into the jungle with nothing between you and the VC besides a thin line of scouts ahead of you.

Days pass, and begin to blur into one another, until you lose track of time completely. You grab an unrestful sleep each night in your hammock, hoping not to be eaten alive by insects in the dark. You carry the M60 over hills and down valleys, across parasite-infested rivers and through thick dense foliage that needs to be cut back with a machete.

The VC are out there, and occasionally make their presence known with a trap or some fire from a marksman. A new set of FNGs arrived, three boys from Arkansas, and one of them takes a bullet in the forehead when he foolishly raises his head to try and spot a sniper. Another has to be evacuated when he falls into a tiger pit and gets impaled on sharpened bamboo stakes smeared with Charlie's shit. Only one is left, scared shitless that he'll be next. You start to understand why Beckett didn't want to learn your name on that first night.

Sarge is making sure that 2nd and 3rd platoons are on opposite sides of the line, which keeps them away from each other but leaves the ineffective Jenkins to cover the center. Nobody is thrilled with the arrangement, least of all Lt. Thorn who has to consult with him over maneuvers. The two of them are up there now, arguing over whether that Vietnamese village down in the valley, with flooded rice paddies spread out all around, is the one on their map.

(Continued)
>>
>>2122000
If you payed attention during the priveous thread you’d knew.
>>
>>2122003


"I dunno, Thorn," Jenkins is saying. "Are you sure it's not this village here?"

"I'm telling you, that's east of us. This village ain't on the official map. But it was on that map we handed upstairs." Thorn looks around with cold eyes until he spots you. "Bones. Get up here."

Leaving the M60 with Williams, you head up to the two officers. "Yeah, L-T?"

Thorn shows you the map. "We're right here," he says, tapping a blank area. "Down in that valley ahead of us is a village. It's not on the map. But this is where that purple shit was on the map you found in the tunnel. Right, Private?"

"Pretty sure, yeah, L-T."

"All right." Thorn thinks about it. "Bones, you've got good eyes. Tell me what you see down there."

You squat down to get a view through the thick fern branches and squint as you try to see as far as you can. Down there is a small village that could've stepped out of a painting of the middle ages. Buildings of wood and straw. The place is surrounded by flooded fields filled with plants, where tiny figures in conical straw hats are bent over tending to their crops.

You try to look closely for:

Choose 2:
>The best way down there, and out again if something goes wrong.
>What happened here recently.
>What you should be on the lookout for.
>What here is useful or valuable.
>What here is not what it seems to be.
>>
>>2122020
>The best way down there, and out again if something goes wrong.
>What here is not what it seems to be.
>>
>>2122020
>The best way down there, and out again if something goes wrong.
>What we should be on the lookout for
>>
>>2122020
>What you should be on the lookout for.
>What here is not what it seems to be.
>>
>>2122020
>What you should be on the lookout for.
>What here is not what it seems to be.
>>
>>2122010
Dude, I'm just here for the veitnam stuff
>>
>>2122070
Well if you like what you see check out the main quest it's pretty rad
>>
>>2122080
I've read half of it and I'm reading the other half now, it is really interesting
>>
>>2122026
>>2122031
>>2122039
>>2122040

>What you should be on the lookout for.
>What here is not what it seems to be.

Writing.
>>
>>2122020
>>2122146

"Something ain't right here, sir," you say to Thorn.

"What is it?"

"I'm not sure yet," you admit. "Something feels off. Is that rice in those fields? It looks weird. Like it's the wrong color."

"What else would they be planting?" Jenkins. "Fuckin' gooks only plant one crop, right?"

"I dunno. It just looks wrong." You take another few moments to scan the village and the small farmers in their flooded fields. "I can't see any weapons. Too wet out in those fields to keep them, even for AKs, and nowhere to hide for soldiers. If there's any VC waiting to ambush us, or any hidden supply caches, they'll have to be in the village, right?" You point towards the central cluster of huts. "Any resistance, it'll come from there."

Thorn says, "Charlie's getting support from someplace around here. It could be this village. That, and ..." He hesitates to say anything, but you can tell he's burning with curiosity. What did that map mean? "Let's check it out. Jenkins, bring 1st Platoon around, spread out over this hill, cover our asses. I'll take 2nd in."

"Shouldn't we wait for Sarge?" asks Jenkins. Thorn fixes him with a frosty stare, and the West Pointer gulps in fear. "I-I'll bring around 1st."

Thorn gives you a single nod, glowing praise really coming from him. "Back in line, Private. Get ready to head down."

You head back and pick up your M60 from Williams asks, "What's the deal, man?"

You shake your head. "Feels weird. I don't like it. But we're going down there anyway."

"Aw, hell. I knew somethin' was goin' bad today, I just knew it."

(Continued)
>>
>>2122341

2nd Platoon slowly descends the hill. You half-expect someone to get their head blown off by a hidden sniper, but nothing happens. No-one attacks.

At the base of the hill, you step out into ankle-deep muddy water, the warm sludge flooding your boots. The men spread out into a line and begin the sweep. Slowly, advancing in concert with rifles at the ready, the line of GIs walks forward through the flooded fields. You draw attention from the farmers, but none of them show any signs of resistance. The children dash off towards the village, shouting, while the adults just stand out of your way and let you pass with sullen expressions on their faces.

You reach the village without a shot being fired. Feeling foolish, you stand with your M60 over your shoulder, Williams beside you, while a flock of chickens waddles past. Thorn is arguing via his SVA translator with what looks like the village headman. "He says the Cong hasn't been through here," the translator says.

"Bullshit," Thorn says. "Tell him he'd better give me something. Troop movements. Weapons. Something."

The translator relays the message. The village headman waves his arms in denial. You don't need to speak Vietnamese to understand his anxious pleading with Thorn. The Lieutenant isn't impressed. He draws his 1911 pistol. "You fucking commies. You're all in this together.

Beckett says, "Sir, I bet if you rounded up those kids, their parents would talk real fast. Sir."

"I won't bring the kids into this," Thorn says. "That is, not unless I have to." He aims his 1911 at the ground between the headman's legs and pulls the trigger, sending a bullet into the dirt with a loud cracking sound. The headman jumps back, startled. Thorn raises the gun to point at his chest. "Where are they, huh? Where are the soldiers? Where are the weapons? Tell me!"

"Hey, L-T!" Dallas arrives, holding something dripping wet in one hand. "You'll want to see this." He drops the thing on the ground. Some kind of plant, with leaves that fade from a bright, sickening purple to an almost-black violet.

(Continued)
>>
>>2122353

"What the hell is it?" asks Thorn.

"Don't know, sir," Dallas says. "But they got whole fields of it. They ain't growing rice in this village. They growing this shit."

"Fuck me," Beckett says. "I know what that is. You hear about Echo Company? How they got people fucked up on drugs? Some people were saying it was heroin, but I heard it was something new. Something never seen before, that you can only get here, in deep country. What did they call it?" He scratches his head under his helmet, then snaps his fingers. "Black Lotus, that was it. They say it makes you faster and stronger, like speed, but then you get all fucked up. Start having crazy dreams, freaking out, shit like that. And you get hooked fast."

"I heard half of Echo and Foxtrot are strung out on the stuff," mutters one of Beckett's men.

Thorn looks back at the village headman. "You're growing this instead of food, huh? For what? Trying to sell to American soldiers, huh? Make some scratch by getting GIs hooked on this shit?"

The headman babbles in gook-speak. The translator tries to interpret it. "I think he's saying the VC forced them to, sir. They come back every few weeks to check if it's still here, if the farmers are still growing it. When he protested, they took his daughter and, uh -- oh." You see tears flow from the headman's eyes as he recalls the memory.

"Fuck that," Thorn says. "Tell him to stop those fuckin' crocodile tears or I'll give him something to cry about." Disgusted, he turns away and walks to the edge of the village. You and Beckett follow him to see him look out over the fields of Black Lotus. He turns around. "Beckett, is that M2 squad still with the company?"

"Yessir."

"Go fetch them," Thorn says, and lights a cigarette.

The flooded fields of Black Lotus might stand up to ordinary fire, but they're no match for the napalm-spewing flamethrowers of the US Army. The M2 portable flamethrower crews wade through the fields, spewing the flaming liquid in great gouts up to 100 feet long. Soon the fields are aflame The villagers wail and protest, but they can do nothing. Thorn's troops keep order, preventing them from doing anything that might require a reprisal.

>Say something to Thorn. (Say what)
>Shut up and follow orders, like Sarge said.
>>
>>2122357
>>Shut up and follow orders, like Sarge said.
>>
>>2122357
>Say something to Thorn. I hope you can't get hooked by inhaling it sir maybe we should pull back a little ways
>>
>>2122357
>Shut up and follow orders, like Sarge said.

Just put a bandanna over your mouth and nose, try and get William to as well.
>>
>>2122401
>This.
>>
>>2122401
I'll support this.
>>
>>2122401

this
>>
>>2122376
>>2122401
>>2122407
>>2122411
>>2122422

>Shut up and follow orders, like Sarge said.

>Just put a bandanna over your mouth and nose, try and get William to as well.

Writing.
>>
>>2122455


You don't know what to think about this. It's too big for a grunt like you. Shut up and follow orders, Sarge said, and that's all you can do. At least, that's what you tell yourself.

You stand behind Thorn, watching the flames rise higher and higher. Plumes of black smoke begin to rise as the fields light up. You pull up your bandana around your nose and mouth, thinking that you're not sure if that Lotus shit works when it's burned, but you're not about to find out after you go crazy. Thorn seems to have realized this could be an issue as well. "Round up the men," he says to Beckett. "We're getting out of here before the smoke affects anyone. We'll keep watch over the valley and see if this draws the VC's attention.."

Beckett starts shouting at the other NCOs, organizing the platoon. You head over to Williams. "Pull up your bandana," you tell him, which he does. "No telling what this smoke might do."

A gunshot rings out. You look around, wondering who misfired. Then you see Big Joe, section leader, the cook from Georgia, stumble and fall to the ground. His chest heaves as he tries to breathe, but nothing works. GIs cry "Medic!" and run to his aid. Doc Taylor appears, dashing forward with his medkit. But before he even gets there, it's over. Taylor checks his pulse, then sits back, shaking his head. Big Joe is dead.

"Who did that?" Dallas shouts, wheeling on the cluster of Vietnamese farmers and pointing his M16 at them. "Who the fuck did that?! Which one of you fuckers was it? Huh?" He fires a burst into the air, and the farmers shrink back in fear.

"Who cares, man?" Beckett says, joining him. "We should fucking waste them all, the goddamn gooks. They're all in this together. What do you say, L-T? Let's grease them!"

Thorn's face is grave. Without a word he walks up to the village headman and looks him right in the eye, raises the pistol -- and shoots past him. One of the villagers, a young woman, drops to the ground. A young man, perhaps her husband, falls to his knees beside her, holding her limp form as he begins to sob.

You get a sick feeling in your gut.

Beckett laughs that hyena laugh. "Nice one, L-T! Why stop there? Let's keep going, what do you say? Let's have a little turkey shoot! C'mon!"

Thorn says, "Everyone, sweep the huts. Beckett, take Bones and check that one." He points to an inconspicuous-looking farm hut.

(Continued)
>>
>>2122664

Still with that sick feeling, you follow Beckett into the farm hut, thinking about how Big Joe will never go back to Georgia, how he'll never return to the one restaurant in his small hometown.

Inside the hut is a teenage boy, maybe thirteen or fourteen years old, holding an AK-47. He tries to point it at Beckett, but the corporal slaps the weapon out of his hands and delivers a swift kick to the boy's ribs. He crumbles and lies sobbing on the ground.

"This little fucking gook piece of shit killed Big Joe, can you believe it?" Beckett asks you. "And what do we have here?" He spots a disturbance in the straw floor and levers up a secret panel to reveal a stash of weapons and ammunition inside. "Those fucking farmers were hiding weapons for the VC the whole time."

You're staring down at the boy. He really did this, you realize with a strange feeling. There was no-one else around. It was him. This boy killed Big Joe.

Beckett comes up to you with a grin. "Do it, man," he hisses, pointing at the boy. "Do him. Right now. This fucker killed Joe. He deserves it. Do it now!"

You take out your 1911 and slowly raise it to point at the boy.

>Pull the trigger.
>Let him live.
>>
>>2122664
Hoo boy. Here we go lads. Time for shit to get mighty fucky.
>>
>>2122682
>Pull the trigger.
Tit for tat.
>>
>>2122682
>>Pull the trigger.
We're a killer already.
>>
>>2122682
>>Let him live.
>>
>>2122682
>Pull the trigger.
" You brought this on yourself kid"
>>
>>2122682
>>Let him live.
Do it yourself, Beckett. You'd seem to have a good time doing it.
>>
>>2122682
>Let him live.
>>
>>2122712
Seems like he digs seein others do the deed, with how much he wants to egg everyone on. Fuck this place. Fuck shootin a kid.
>>
>>2122732
>>2122712
>>2122693

It's like you don't want Johnny to have PTSD.
>>
>>2122682
>Pull the trigger
"Enjoy cleaning up the mess Beckett."
>>
>>2122751
Pffft. It's like you think we're getting out of here with just a kid's death on our hands. This may be the last decent thing we do here. We were almost killing each other before the crazy voodoo drugs came into the picture.
>>
>>2122664
>Kill him.
This is for all the damn pancakes I'm gonna miss because of you.
>>
>>2122682
>>Let him live.
>>
>>2122688
>>2122690
>>2122708
>>2122765
>>2122776

>Pull the trigger

By one vote.

Writing.
>>
>>2122799

You can hardly believe this is happening. Your gun hand trembles. On the other end of your sights is the boy.

"Do it!" Beckett encourages you with reckless glee. "Waste the fucker, Bonesy! Do him now!"

"Shut the fuck up, Beckett!" you shout. The corporal shrinks back. "You enjoy this too much," you growl at him. "Fuck this place. Fuck shooting a kid. Fuck everything about this. God dammit."

You turn back to the kid, and you give in to that hollowness.

You pull the trigger.

A gunshot resounds.

A red blossom appears, and the kid falls.

Smoke rises from the end of your pistol.

It's over. It was that simple.

Beckett laughs that fucking laugh. "Fucking awesome, man! Right in the kisser! Love it!"

"I'm gonna miss a lot of pancakes because of him," you say.

"Thorn!" you hear someone shout at the top of their lungs.

"Uh-oh," Beckett grouses. "Here comes Jesus Freak."

You exit the hut with Beckett to see Lt. Shepard and one of his squads approaching from one of the few fields that isn't burning. "What the hell is going on here?"

Thorn sets his scarred mouth in a grim line. You notice he's still holding his pistol. "Step off, Shepard. This ain't the time. You don't want to do this."

Dallas says, "The fuckers killed Big Joe, sir!"

"And that justifies this?" Shepard waves at the burning fields, the dead girl, all of it. "You think that makes this all right?" He looks at you, at the smoking pistol in your hand. You stay silent.

"I'll telling you, Shepard," Thorn says. "From one man to another. Don't do this."

"No, I'm telling you," Shepard says, raising his M16 before Thorn can react. "Call your men off. Now."

The men of 2nd platoon shout in anger, raising their weapons in defense of their leader. Shepard's squad raises theirs.

And then, just as all hell is about to break loose --

One of the huts explodes.

(Continued)
>>
>>2122858

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbmS3tQJ7Os#t=0m49s

You hit the dirt as chunks of flaming wood and straw rain down. Gunfire roars to life, the ripping sound of machine gun fire, bullets whistling over your head. You pull your helmet down tight and watch as flames climb up the side of another hut, which then explodes in turn, showering another round of debris and flames.

What the fuck is happening?

Okay, a VC arms cache was set on fire and went off, firing bullets and explosives at random--

No, wait. Charlie's attacking their own village, knowing they might catch some GIs--

Or -- did someone in the unit set off the explosion, and all this is just friendly fire--

You can't even tell. You lost both your weapons when you ditched, and if you move or stand you're fucked. The bullets and chaos just keep coming. Another explosion goes off. All you can do is hold on and hope. Someone is shouting, screaming at the top of their lungs, and you realize that someone is you--

Finally the air clears. You dare to raise your head an inch to look around.

You see dead GIs, dead farmers, huts on fire. Silence, but for the moans of the wounded and dying, and the crackle of flame. You get to your feet, staying low, looking around.

Beckett is nearby, a wound in his chest, a surprised look permanently fixed on his face.

You find Shepard, blood smeared on his face but alive and standing. He's looking down at something. You join him and look down to see Thorn. Two bullets in his chest. One in his neck. A strange look on his face. Almost like satisfaction.

You say to Shepard:

>Did you kill him?
>What do we do now?
>Write-in.
>>
>>2122867
>>Did you kill him?
>>
>>2122867
>>Did you kill him?
>>
>>2122867
>>Did you kill him?
And to think the kid was supposed to give us ptsd.
>>
>>2122867
>Deck him
YOU SELF RIGHTEOUS PIECE OF SHIT HOW IS THIS ANY DIFFERENT THAN WHAT HE DID
>>
>>2122892
Add
>THAN WHAT I DID
>>
>>2122867
>>Did you kill him?
>>
>>2122906
>>2122892
Monologue at the dude most likely to monologue. We all know where this is gonna go. Let him say his shitty peace and cap his ass.
>>
>>2122867
>Try to find Williams
>>
>>2122868
>>2122872
>>2122877
>>2122908
>>2122985

"Did you kill him?" you ask Shepard.

The Lieutenant looks at you with a sad smile on his face. "Does it matter now? And would you believe me if I said I didn't?"

You don't have an answer for either of those questions. How would you react if he just said "no"? What about "yes"?

Looking down at Thorn's body, and the silent question it poses, you don't have an answer for that either. He wasn't a good man. But he earned your respect. You'll remember him.

Sergeant Mendoza, the surviving section leader of 2nd Platoon, approaches Shepard after seeing the situation. "Sir, what are your orders?"

Shepard looks around at the scattered GIs. "What the fuck happened here?" you hear him say to himself.

"Sir?" asks Mendoza.

"Find the NCOs, get what's left of 2nd Platoon together. If we hurry, we can help the wounded and still get back up the hill before the fire spreads."

"Yes sir." Mendoza heads off to find any corporals who are still alive, although he throws a suspicious glance behind him as he does so.

Shepard sighs, looking as though a great weight has settled on his shoulders. He takes out a pack of cigarettes and lights one. He kneels down and places the lit cigarette balanced vertically, like a stick of incense, on a stone beside Thorn's head. Then he straightens up, takes out a second cigarette, and lights it for himself. "Farewell, you grouchy son of a bitch. You got what you wanted in the end." He says something in an Asian language you don't recognize, something like a prayer.

There's nothing you can do. Even if it was him. With Thorn gone, the company needs Lieutenant Shepard, otherwise you'll be stuck with Jenkins and Captain Miles in command, and that would be a disaster for everyone. You have to let this go.

Right?

You think about shouting at Shepard, hitting him, even shooting him. But in the end, you walk away, and go to find the survivors.

After a minute of searching, you hear a familiar voice coughing, and out from the rubble of a destroyed hut crawls a familiar figure. "Fuck this," says Williams, and coughs out dust. He gets to his feet and starts dusting ash and debris off his uniform. "Fuckin' explosions, fuckin' burnin', fuckin' shootin', fuck everythin' about this." He sees you. "Bones! What the fuck happened, man?"

>Shepard shot Thorn.
>An arms cache exploded.
>The VC attacked.
>The two platoons attacked each other.
>I don't know what the fuck happened.
>I'm just glad you're alive.
>Write-in.
>>
>>2123017
>>I don't know what the fuck happened.
>>I'm just glad you're alive.
>>
>>2123017
>I don't know what the fuck happened.
>I'm just glad you're alive.
>"Ours is not to know why ours is to do or die" or some other fuckin bullshit they'd just tell us if we question it
>>
>>2123017
>I don't know what happened.
>I'm just glad you're alive.
>>
>>2123017
>I don't know what the fuck happened.
>I'm just glad you're alive.
>Gonna be honest. I'd have been happier buried under that hut you were beneath.
>>
>>2123017
>The VC attacked.
Let's jump to a conclusion, why not
>I'm just glad you're alive.
>>
>>2123017
>>Shepard shot Thorn.
>>An arms cache exploded.
Basically FUBAR.
>>
>>2123017
>>I don't know what the fuck happened.
>>I'm just glad you're alive.

"I see a red door and I want to paint it black..."
>>
>>2123017
>>I don't know what the fuck happened.
>>I'm just glad you're alive.
>>
>>2123024
>>2123027
>>2123035
>>2123047
>>2123165
>>2123167

"I don't know what happened," you admit. "Ours is not to know why," you say, trying to remember some old bit of poetry you read. "Ours is to die when they say, or uh, some other fuckin' bullshit they'd tell us if we question it. Really I'm just glad you're alive." You clap Williams on the shoulder and help him brush off some of the ash. "Kinda wish I was buried under that hut myself. Might've been happier under there."

"Yeah, you tell yourself that," Williams says, and coughs out a small ash cloud. "Hut explodin' on top of me, yeah, I was real happy."

The remnants of 2nd platoon follow Shepard out of the burning village, out of the valley, and back up into the hills to the company camp. He reports to Captain Miles that Lieutenant Thorn had dispatched the M2 squad to deal with an unknown biological hazard, but that he and several of his platoon were killed in a tragic accident when a VC arms cache exploded. No-one contradicts his story.

The push north continues, despite the losses taken in the unnamed village, unmarked on the maps. Sergeant Mendoza turns out to be less than capable of shouldering the burden left behind by Thorn. The platoon takes several losses in skirmishes with the Vietnamese.

You wonder if the top brass who set this operation know about the black and purple plant, the Black Lotus. Has someone taken them back a sample to prove it exists? Did they know about it already? Was that story Beckett told about the plant being a drug even real, or was that just some made-up bullshit he said to spur Thorn into burning the fields? Did Shepard kill Thorn, or was it just bullets flying at random, a tragic roll of the dice?

You find no answer to your questions. Shepard keeps command of 3rd, and between him and Sarge, they hold the company together.

Two hundred fifty days and a wake-up until you board the chopper out of here.

(Continued)
>>
>>2123237

Soundtrack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLV4_xaYynY

The war begins to blur into itself. One day of trudging through the jungle in mortal terror begins to seem just like another.

Extended contact with VC skirmishers. Day after day of firing the Pig, metal slamming into itself over and over, bullet casings streaming from the gun's ejector port in an endless river. Williams is beside you, loading the gun and keeping the ammo belt steady, but you barely register his presence. There's only the gun, and the jungle, and the killing ...

Two hundred nineteen days until the chopper out of here.

Dallas gets his ticket out of here. You were sure he was a goner a few times, but somehow the bastard stayed lucky. You and Williams see him off. "I'll be seein' y'all back Stateside, you hear?" he shouts over the din of the rotor before running across the grass field for the helicopter. He waves to you as the chopper ascends into the sky.

One hundred seventy five.

The unit is rotated off the front lines for repairs and replacements. You get a hot shower for the first time since you arrived in Dog Company, all those weeks ago. A new batch of FNGs is added to the platoon, six awkward youngsters who look like they've never held a gun before. You tell them you don't want to know their names. Two of them are dead within a week.

One hundred forty.

A new Lieutenant, Eubanks, arrives to take over command from Sergeant Mendoza. The new kid is a military brat who graduated from some elite school, full of stories about reforming the army once he gets promoted to a higher rank. You tell him not to use his binoculars so much, that it makes him a target, but he says he has to observe the terrain properly. A few days later he takes a sniper bullet through one of the binocular's eyepieces and dies instantly. Sergeant Mendoza takes over command again.

One hundred twenty.

The unit listens on the radio to news about increasing anti-war protests, about soldiers being attacked in airports on their return to America. The President address the nation. He talks about how American soldiers will gradually be phased out and replaced with troops from South Vietnam, that the war will be in their hands. You've all seen how well the SVA fights, or rather, how well they don't. You all know what will happen if the country's defense is left in their hands.

(Continued)
>>
>>2123243

One hundred days.

A desperate night-time assault surges past your foxhole as you fire the Pig into the endless waves of enemy soldiers in the shadows. The gun barrel burns red-hot in the darkness. Williams is shouting over the radio. "I say again, we are under attack! They're fuckin' everywhere, man! We gotta pull out!"

"Negative, outpost!" the voice on the radio crackles. Something explodes in the background. "There's nowhere to go! The entire battalion is under attack! Stand and fight, son! Hold that line!"

"We can't!" screams Williams.

"Listen to me, son! You! Will! Hold! Oh, shit--" You hear pistol shots from the radio, then silence.

You barely hear them. You keep firing. The reaper is here, just over your shoulder, waiting for you. The only way to satisfy him is to do his work for him. You can feel his approval as you fire round after round into the oncoming soldiers, and you smile.

The night stretches on.

Somehow you survive. Another ashen sunrise strewn with corpses, the bodies of friends and enemies lying skewered in death alike. Miles is dead, Jenkins is dead, Mendoza is dead. Dog Company is broken.

Shepard survived, even though he was in the thick of the battle. People say that no bullets could touch him, that he stood right in the path of the VC attack and dared them to fight. He gets promoted to Captain, and is given charge of what's left of Dog.

Your own role in the battle garners less heroism, but you wouldn't want that anyway. You've done your best to keep your head down and act stupid, and you've avoided promotion the whole war so far. You plan on keeping it that way.

The company is brought south to be rebuilt.

Fifty days.

You saw in a movie once that soldiers were supposed to go home if they were wounded twice in the line of duty. If only that were true, you think, examining one of your growing selection of scars in your shaving mirror. You've lost track of the number of times you took a bullet, a piece of shrapnel, or even a sharp splinter of bamboo blasted from a mortar shell.

Once of the replacements, a city kid, is talking about what he'll do when the United States wins this war. "When we own all this, I'm gonna set up a trading business. I'll marry a rich girl, use her daddy's money to get a stake out here, and then boom. These fuckin' gooks are hillbillies, they don't know what they've got in this place. Plenty to see out here for a man with vision. Yes sir, when we win this war--"

"Shut the fuck up, will you?" you growl, midway through your shave. "And wake up already. We ain't gonna win this war. Ain't you heard on the news? "Vietnamization." Means we're pulling out." You scrape the rusty blade across your stubble.

"That doesn't make any sense," the replacement says. "We're the United Fucking States of America. How could we lose?'

You lower your shaving mirror and consider the question for a moment.

>Because war is fucked.
>Because we don't have the stomach for it.
>I don't know.
>Write-in.
>>
>>2123256
>Because we don't have the stomach for it.
>>
>>2123256
>>Because we don't have the stomach for it.

"All of those pansy-ass hippies and rubbernecking fucks at Woodstock preaching their "free love" means we can't go all out."
>>
>>2123256
>We're in a fucking war kid we're all losers
>>
>>2123256
Pretty much what >>2123268 said.
>>
>>2123256
>>Because war is fucked.
>>
>>2123268
Supporting
>>
>>2123268
Supporting
>>
>>2123268
>>2123279
>>2123297
>>2123302

>We're in a fucking war kid we're all losers

Writing.
>>
>>2123256

"We're in a fucking war, kid," you say meditatively as you look in the shaving mirror for your remaining patches of stubble. "We're all losers."

Williams scoffs as he thumps down a new set of ammo boxes. "Ain't got no reason to be over here fightin' anyway," he says. Your loader is a lot leaner and more muscular than when he first showed up here in the bush, and although he's still pretty skinny compared to you, his alliance with you, the big man, lets him be as cocky with the new guys as he likes. Someone compared you to those cartoon dogs, the little loud one and the big quiet one, and you figure that's about right.

"Listen here, kid," Williams is saying. "There ain't gonna be no trade business, no stakes, no nothing. All you got is a mouth to shut the fuck up and a year to serve. Keep quiet and learn something, and maybe you'll survive." He sighs and wipes the sweat from his forehead with a bandana, then looks at you. "Fifty days, my friend." He gives you a high-five in passing.

Twenty-five days.

Near the end of your tour, even the Sarge buys it. You thought he was invincible, that he'd live out the war and retire to some log cabin where he'd tell stories and write his memoirs, maybe be invited out to the training camps to chew out youngsters. Instead he's on the last evac chopper out of the hot zone when it takes a hit from a stolen American rocket launcher and goes down in flames. The Sarge emerges from the burning wreck, seemingly unharmed, but surrounded by hundreds of Viet Cong troops as they close in from all sides.

"Go back, dammit!" you shout at the pilot of your chopper, pointing down. "We have to help Sarge!"

"Negative!" the pilot says, shaking his head. "It's too hot down there! If I go down we'll just get shot up and killed!"

You grab at the pilot's collar. "You son of a bitch, listen here--"

Williams and the other Private in the chopper pull you off him. "Dammit, Bones, look!"

You look down to see the Sarge waving you off. He gives a final salute, then turns to meet the oncoming VC soldiers. You see a muzzle flash from his rifle as he fires. And then the jungle hides him from you, as the helicopter flies away.

You collapse back into your seat. "God dammit, Sarge ..."

It feels like you just watched a mountain fall, something stable and unyielding you thought would always be there. And now it's gone.

(Continued)
>>
>>2123365

Soundtrack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5al0HmR4to

Finally the day comes. You stopped believing it was real, for a while. The count was just a number, something without meaning. But day zero is real, and it's here. The chopper out of Vietnam is in front of you here, today, now.

Williams took a minor wound a few days ago, got evacuated to a field hospital, and was sent home early. He gave you the news over an excited phone call to a field telephone, telling you what he'd do when he got back to the States, and where you could contact him. You wished him all the best.

The only man still in country you have any kind of bond with is Shepard. He's now a Captain, busy commanding the entire Company and keeping Battalion off his ass, so you don't expect he has any time for a lowly Private from Thorn's old platoon. But to your surprise, there he is, waiting for you at the edge of the clearing where the helicopter lies waiting for you. He's cut off the Jim Morrison hair, and looks about ten years older.

"Captain, sir," you say, unsure of how to greet him.

"You still don't have to salute, if you were wondering."

"I wasn't sure. You look like a proper officer now."

"Hey, no need to be insulting." He grins. "Not many of us left these days, so I thought I'd stop by to see you off. I'm glad you made it out, Bones." He reaches out his hand to shake.

Choose 1:
>Shake his hand.
>Reject it.

Choose 1:
>Ask him again about Thorn.
>Tell him you'll see him back in America.
>Don't say anything.
>Write-in.
>>
>>2123367
>Shake his hand.
>Don't say anything.
>>
>>2123367
>Shake his hand.
He's been through the same shit we have.

>Tell him you'll see him back in America.
>>
>>2123367
>>Shake his hand.
>Write-in.
What happens in 'Nam, stays in 'Nam.
>>
>>2123367
>>Shake his hand.
>Tell him you'll see him back in America.
It's a lie, but you say it anyways.
>>
>>2123367
>Shake his hand.
>Tell him you'll see him back in America.
>>
>>2123367
>Shake his hand
>Tell him you'll see him back in America.
>>
>>2123374
>>2123377
>>2123378
>>2123379
>>2123380
>>2123397


You take his offered hand and give it a firm shake. He's been through the same shit you have. A fellow soldier of Dog Company, whatever that's worth. Now's not the time to cast disrepect on that.

"I'll see you back in America," you say. You're not sure if it'll happen. But you say it anyway. "I'll be going back to Heat City. Look me up any time."

"Maybe I will," Shepard says. "Although now that I think about it -- I'm embarassed to admit it, but I never learned your first name."

"It's Johnny," you say. "That's what my friends call me."

Shepard smiles. "Well, Johnny, I hope I see you again someday. Good luck out there."

You pick up your bag and head out into the clearing. You feel like you're walking through a dream, hardly daring to breathe as if you'd break the spell. The down drafts from the helicopter rotors feel real enough. You sling your bag inside and get in. You're the only passenger.

The chopper begins to rise. One last time you look out at the jungle of Vietnam, the grass rippling like water under the wind from the helicopter, the tree-tops waving. You see Captain Shepard watching, a small figure that grows smaller as the chopper starts to move away, until finally he's gone.
>>
>>2123414

That concludes Thug Quest Origins. Thanks for playing, and I hope you enjoyed reading.
>>
>>2123417
Thanks for running, boss! Great to learn more about our MC!
>>
>>2123414
Can't wait until we find Will, or Shepard... maybe.

Thanks for running man.
>>
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>>2123417
always nice to get some thug-lovin' bossman
>>
>>2123365
SAAAAARGE!
>>
>>2123431
>Find Will mid fire fight
>Turns out Shepard started a cult
>>
>>2123414
Excellent work, QM. These are definitely the most fun thing to read on qst.




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