The Price of Friendship – a story from my youth in the atmosphere of war

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The price of friendship arose when I was still in high school. The text was created spontaneously in a few fragments. I’ve always been interested in military and film making. America’s Army game, which simulated warfare at the front, attracted me to my computer for hours. Everyone could download this title for free and play as much as they wanted. First, there were trainings that ended with an exam. There were: basic training, medical lectures, special forces tests. Then, depending on our results, we were able to join various missions in dozens of locations. It was my vibe.

I liked the game so much that I joined a nationwide forum devoted to this subject. Regular games have started not only among Poles, but also with players from all over the world. I was even doing so well that I was invited to one of the Polish clans, who had a very professional approach to the game. Despite my young age, I quickly became one of the leaders who led the group to successive victories. I will always remember wonderful colleagues from all over Poland, with whom I have such long stories that I could tell them for many hours. Each person was unique and had strengths and weaknesses. As a group, we began to inspire respect not only in Poland. Finally, together we managed to win the European TWL (Team Warfare League) Championship in three categories. After that, players from England, the Netherlands and even Spain started knocking on our door.

This novelette was created in the heyday of a clan with a dark name – Black Hands of God, to pay tribute to all the great stories that have brought us together over the years. The whole thing was fictionalized and set in a war-like atmosphere. The text is a dozen or so pages long, so to make it easier to read, I will divide it into a few more entries. Of course, if you like it and want to read it.

The price of friendship

December 22, 16:00 – Prologue

Falling snow completed the pre-Christmas mood. At this time of year every year, the world seems to go crazy. Final preparations for Christmas, shopping for gifts postponed until the last moment. Everyone is in a hurry somewhere. You can hear Christmas carols in the distance, and see a Christmas tree in each window.

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Everything seemed so normal, but more than once this moment comes and the world never returns to its former form. Jotem, as was his habit, after several hours of strenuous work, wandered aimlessly through the streets of the city. Despite his young age, he has gone through many things. As a mercenary, he fought and killed. He used a rifle better than a soup spoon. The wars he took part in taught him to appreciate evenings like today. He knew nightmares would begin with the coming of night. He was afraid to sleep. The faces of his enemies and friends who had died haunted him every night. He often wakes up in a sweat, screaming on his lips.

The ringing of the cell phone broke him out of his thoughts. He looked at the display and smiled. Szczepi, his friend, called. What was his surprise when, instead of Christmas wishes, he heard shots in the receiver. The conversation didn’t last long. Probably Szczepi has run out of battery in the phone because he always waits until the last moment with charging. In the noise, he managed to say that a group of masked terrorists had visited him with the intention of seizing very important documents.

fot. Jakub Markiewicz

It only took a moment for Jotem to understand what had happened. Szczepi had serious problems. He knew that if he did not help him – Szczepi would die. Szczepi could fight like no one else, but how long can you fight an unequal fight with a much larger enemy? Jotem once promised himself that he would never pick up a gun again. However, a friendship born on the battlefield is a friendship for life and death. It is worth everything. If he had any problems, Szczepi would be the first to come to the rescue. He couldn’t let him down.

He needed a squad and weapons. He quickly dialed Snap’s phone number. He had known him for a long time. They fought together in Borneo and in several smaller conflicts. He admired him for his professionalism and composure. He didn’t know a better sniper. In everyday life, a buddy for everything, a womanizer, a joker. During the fight, he changed beyond recognition. He was becoming a killing machine. As soon as the opponent made the slightest mistake, he was already dead at that moment. He killed without feeling, in cold blood, always respecting the enemy. The conversation was short. Snap understood what Jotem was asking him to do. He agreed without hesitation.

Another person he needed was Dugena. He knew him for the shortest time, but he knew his skill in combat. Many times a cold sweat would come to him at the thought of fighting against him. He always wondered that such a big man with the appearance of a murderer could be such a nice guy. He also needed him because only he could get them weapons quickly. Talking to him on the phone took longer than he had imagined. Dugena drank so much he probably didn’t know his name. But as soon as he heard that Szczepi had a problem, he sobered up in the blink of an eye. Jotem knew Dugen would not say no. He owed his life to Szczepi.

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Jotem didn’t have much time. It was necessary to act quickly. He sprinted the way home. In the garage he opened a chest that he was never supposed to open again. Inside was everything you need to fight. As he changed his clothes, he found, not without fear, that as he put on more pieces of equipment, he felt better and better. Had the wars twisted him so badly? The uniform was his second skin. He looked in the mirror. His reflection was the opposite of a person who had not stood out in the crowd just a moment ago. Camouflage, wearing the traces of more than one fight, long military boots, a bulletproof vest, a tactical vest, pads and a balaclava on the top of his head changed him beyond recognition. All he needed was a gun.

fot. Jakub Markiewicz

He was very afraid, but he was not a coward. It was the fear that every soldier experienced before fighting. He didn’t know who they were going to fight or where. He knew that he could only count on himself and a handful of friends with whom he would soon fight side by side. He got into the car and, as silently as he could, pulled down the driveway. He did not want to wake up his loved ones.

He reached the agreed meeting point along dirt roads. The last thing he needed now was to explain to the traffic police why he looked as if he had just returned from the training ground.

 

        22 December 17:00 – Meeting after the years

 

He parked the car by the road and covered the final three hundred meters to the young grove that was the meeting point on foot. When he got there, his two friends were waiting for him. Nothing had changed since the last time he saw them. Snap, smiling like he was on a date, and Dugena looking offended at the world. Once again they became mercenaries going to war. Now, however, they will fight not for money, but for the sake of friendship. There was no time now to remember the old days, they needed equipment. The matter of getting a weapon did not look rosy. You had to “borrow” it from the armory of a nearby special forces unit, but to steal weapons from commandos is not a walk on the beach. However, they had no choice. Dugena drew a plan for the unit. His idea was simple but risky. They decided to take advantage of the surprise and the fact that the military warehouse guards did not expect the attack. Because who would be stupid enough to start a fight against a platoon of an elite unit? It was them three who were the idiots. They approached the unit’s fence from the grove.

Thick snow and a moonless night were their allies. With the ease of the ballet masters, they overcame the fence. Now there was no turning back. They approached the warehouse, hiding from the floodlights in the shadow of the buildings. There were two guards. They patrolled the area around the armory to keep themselves in sight at all times. They had to “put them to sleep” at the same time. Otherwise an alarm will be raised. Jotem and Snap settled into position. There was only one second when the guards could not see each other. It was the moment when there was a transformer between them. And at that moment they must have struck. The difficulty was complemented by the fact that they could not just kill the soldiers. After all, their enemy weren’t commandos.

fot. Jakub Markiewicz

They attacked just as the guards lost sight of themselves. It is not easy to stun a person in an instant with your bare hands. For them, however, it was daily bread, and in a split second the armory lost its protection. Dugena quickly searched the stunned guards for the correct key. It took a moment for the armored door to give way. His friends carried the unconscious inside, took their weapons, and went outside pretending to be guarding the warehouse.

fot. Jakub Markiewicz

If no one sees the change of guard, the plan should work. They tried to look calm even though adrenaline was filling their veins. Their eyes were around their heads, looking for threats. Every second felt like an hour. They knew their chances of stealing diminished over time. At last… Dugena appeared in the door of the warehouse with two stuffed travel bags. It was obvious that they were not light. Without stopping, he huddled towards the fence. He shuffled through the bags and, with the agility of a cat, made his way through the net. Now it is their turn. They had climbed the fence equally deftly, and now the three of them ran down the grove. The theft paid off. They had several rifles, handguns, sniper rifles, radios, ammunition and grenades at their disposal. Now they could fight. They had to hurry. They will surely detect the theft. A manhunt will begin. And then they must be far away …

As he ran towards the car, Snap remembered the days of military school when sprints like this were part of their daily lives. As standard, Dugena did not keep up, but this time not because of his dimensions, but because he was running with all the previously stolen loot. Suddenly they noticed a smoldering light in the middle of a dark field, near a parked car. Jotem drew his gun and aimed it at the point of light. After a while, loud laughter began to emerge from the abyss of darkness. The rest ran up to Jotem, who had a stranger at gunpoint. Dugena, soaked in all the sweat, completely unable to do anything anymore, recognized the laughter. He dropped the bags and ran to the car with the last of his strength. Yes, he was right, it was Bartolus.

Bartolus was another officer in an elite detachment that was “not talked about”. In the commando community, they were known as the Black Hands of God, because they were never wrong and they were the best. No one really knew who was hiding under the pseudonyms, but everyone was afraid to stand in front of them, thanked God that they were on their side. Major Bartolus, laughing at Jotem, stated that nothing had changed since their last meeting. He’s still hot-tempered and reaches for a gun for whatever reason. But they had no time to remember. As Bartolus lit another cigarette, Snap was already standing over his gun bag, reserving his favorite M24 sniper rifle. Jotem began to wonder when Bartolus started smoking, because he can’t remember a single time he saw him with a cigarette.

– Time to go, gentlemen! Snap shouted, tossing Dugen the last clip from the bag. They got in the car and drove away. The winter landscape and the constantly falling snow seemed to put the participants of this specific trip to sleep. Suddenly, a faint glittering neon appeared from the mountains of snow. A well-known place was emerging – the “Crazy Gumball” bar. Bartolus loved the food there, and Snap loved the ladies there. Dugena, on the other hand, had never been able to remember how he got home from there. But no one, except Jot, knew so much why he was here, since they had no time to remember the wars and fights in which they had participated. They pulled into the parking lot.

Moving towards the premises, they could not see the black Hammer parked next to it. They didn’t know then that Jotem had a surprise for them. They stopped and got out. Jotem step confidently entered the bar through the enormous wooden door. Inside, Zecior and the Black Monkey were waiting for them.

Zet (that’s how they affectionately called Zecior, because on the front it was simply easier to pronounce it) and “Black Monkey” were the next members of the non-existent unit. Zecior, radio and communications specialist. He was easily recognizable in the crowd by his dark hair, combed in a wavy side. The monkey could literally blow up anything, several times almost even himself.

Both they and the rest of the team vowed never to put on a uniform again and to pick up their weapons after they lost their favorite, even the squad’s mascot – Gosia. Gosia did not stand out among the soldiers of “God”. Her professionalism, intuition and a very good eye made her the best of the best. Jotem always thought she was too impulsive, very impatient and, as it turned out, too confident. She felt no fear, and it was a sure step towards meeting death. For the last, both her own and the unit’s action, she set out a few years ago, when the Black Hands were tasked with rescuing a group of American soldiers who had been captured during an unsuccessful mission in Iraq.

fot. Jakub Markiewicz

It was a difficult mission, which unfortunately Gosia did not complete. Jotem, seething with the desire for revenge, without hesitation pulled the trigger of the weapon aimed at Gosia’s murderer. From that moment on, he became the same as Gosia’s killer. Jotem was a soldier, it was daily bread for him. However, he was sent to compulsory retirement for loneliness. Since then, there have been two dramatic changes. Jotem deposited the gun and uniform in the basement chest. Nevertheless, every day, when he looked in the mirror, the scars from the fight and the irreversible wounds after the loss of his soldier did not let him forget the past for a moment, yet he tried to lead a normal life …

End of part one

 

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Jakub Markiewicz
Jakub Markiewiczhttps://jotem.in
Hi, I am the author of the Jotem.in blog and series of thematic portals since 2013. I have nearly 15 years of experience in working in the media, marketing, public relations and IT. If you are interested in cooperation, you would like me to write about something or test a product - let me know.
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