?

Log in

entries friends calendar profile PenUltimate Productions Website Previous Previous Next Next
Linkback Poem: "In the Line of Duty" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Linkback Poem: "In the Line of Duty"
This is the linkback perk poem for the August 7, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  Each link reveals a new verse; if you link to different services, those all count.  Please comment below this message to indicate where you have linked so that I can post your verses.  This poem belongs to The Clockwork War series, and you can read more about that on the Serial Poetry page.  It is now complete!  Linkers include: anke, the_vulturesiegemoonwolf1988janetmilesfatfredwyld_dandelyon


In the Line of Duty

Forward Base Vapor
lay just within range
of the Command Core
for the bot invasion.

It was well stealthed
and heavily protected
due to the Special Project,
but eventually the bots
got through anyway.

When the medics
reached the task room,
they found the air
thick with a pall of smoke
from sparking consoles
and the team of programmers
sprawled dead at their stations

except for one who sat upright,
her back pressed against
a whirring bank of computers,
surrounded by a jumble
of shattered botsoldiers,
her handgun lying on the floor
just beyond her twitching fingers.

The medics took one look
and knew it was hopeless
from the ruin of her body and
the size of the red pool
spreading beneath her,
but they were determined
to try anyway, in hopes
of salvaging something.

The dying programmer
coughed blood and
rasped a few words.
The medics leaned close
to make out the meaning.
"Broadcast," she said,
and when they hesitated,
"that's ... an order."

None of the tech uniforms
bore insignia or nametags,
but the medics recognized
the voice of command.
They followed her shaking hand
as it pointed to the end
of the computer bank where
the broadcast helmet hung.

Dutifully they fitted the helmet
over her head and stood back
while her breath rattled to a stop.
The task room fell silent
except for the spitting of sparks
from the damaged consoles.
A countdown flicked through
dark red numbers near the helmet.

Then the surviving viewscreens
flared to life, glowing with maps
of the enemy forces and
nameless programs that
scrolled past too fast to read.

Command Core blazed crimson
and then suddenly went dark.
Like a shockwave spreading,
an arc flashed through the bot army
as the dots of their presence
blinked from red to black.

Human forces responded,
green motes of hope
capitalizing on the chaos
as the fleet of botships
fell out of position.
More enemy lights winked out.

The Clockwork War was over.

The vaportechs were interred
together, as they had worked,
small monuments flanking
a central spire made from remains
of the slain botsoldiers, topped
with the helmet encased in crystal.

They remained nameless,
identities sacrificed to secrecy
long ago, nine unknown soldiers
who had saved humanity

by teaching the deathless how to die.

A lone bugle wailed the sun to its rest
as the last rays glinted along
the monuments, scrap metal enclosed
in a gleaming sheath of medals.

Tags: , , , , ,
Current Mood: busy busy

9 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
siege From: siege Date: August 7th, 2012 08:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 7th, 2012 08:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

Verse posted. We're at 7/16 now, almost halfway.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 7th, 2012 09:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Linkbacks

Thank you! Your 4 verses are up.
janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: August 9th, 2012 01:31 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Linkbacks

That is both heartbreaking and uplifting.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 9th, 2012 01:37 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Linkbacks

Then I did it right.
wyld_dandelyon From: wyld_dandelyon Date: August 11th, 2012 07:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nice!
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 25th, 2016 09:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

This entire series...

I had kept away from reading this until I felt steady enough, because -yow- but I'm so happy I had the strength today. I read through them all and am just sitting here agape. This needs to be a film. Holy crow. It's... I don't have words. It was tragic and beautiful and so dense for being short and ... it's what spec sf ought to be.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 25th, 2016 09:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: This entire series...

>>I had kept away from reading this until I felt steady enough, because -yow- <<

That is very prudent, and why I use thumbnails and warnings to help readers make mindful choices about what and when to read.

>> but I'm so happy I had the strength today. <<

Yay! I'm glad you got to a place where you could do that. :D

>> I read through them all and am just sitting here agape. This needs to be a film. <<

*bow, flourish* I am honored by your regard.

>> Holy crow. It's... I don't have words. It was tragic and beautiful and so dense for being short and ... it's what spec sf ought to be. <<

Thank you. I'm glad that you found it so moving.
9 comments or Leave a comment