Monday, May 5, 2014

ON PATROL

Mekkar grew up in a region where the power nations of the world seem to have interest in. For what reasons, he was unsure. The historical records show that his homeland has been desired through the ages for specific resources. To him that means those are items that can be used for specialized military means. For these very reasons there was a great need to protect their lands from being overrun. Some resistance had to be exhibited to prevent outright thievery. Thus, when Mekkar came of age he had to be trained like a soldier and go through the mandatory military training.

Normally, the first extensive combat related drilling and instruction time period usually was around two years. There was also required retraining intervals of a few months every five years until a person their very late elder years. Women were not excluded either, as there were just not enough people in the region. Females had a choice between regular and militia duty. The ladies might have to turn any type of manufacturing company into one producing military equipment or goods in a very short period of time.

After the initial boot camp, everyone also had military weapons that they took home with them. Each town and many villages even had more sophisticated weapons mini-armories located within them. With this type of open access, Mekkar felt that being trained in these areas would be grasped easily. Past history also played a part in the preparation readiness of the inhabitants. It was due to numerous enemy invasions, brutal treatment of the local natives, and havoc created upon their lands.

Henrik’s oldest son, Mekkar remembered when enemy warplanes and helicopter gunships would arrive overhead and started firing away at them when he was younger. The first time Mekkar was aware of a skirmish happened when he was seven years old. The boy was on a reindeer trek and remembered Asnak, Antti’s brother, had gotten shot in the back by a fully armed, swooping helicopter and a number of animals being picked off as well. Poor Asnak didn’t make it and lost his life that day. Mekkar had been aimed at from the sky also. He figured that, as a small boy, he was a hard to hit target. This occurred as the adults were shouting instructions for any inexperienced, younger members to be hidden from danger.

Those memories fueled Mekkar desire to be properly trained on who the enemy was and how to defeat them. Exacting a little revenge for being shot at as a boy was also justified by him. Soon afterward, Mekkar had the various leaders of the community teach him how to properly use the military items available in his village. He absorbed the information like a sponge and caught on quickly. He now felt he was ready for next time the enemy would show up. Later on as a teen, Mekkar experienced these arms in action himself when Antti had him shoot at an elevated enemy fighter plane in the sky. Mekkar missed. Antti did not and blew it apart with a hand-held surface to air missile launcher.

Near his village anti-aircraft guns and rocket launchers were strategically placed and camouflaged by the terrain. It seemed that some of the batteries were old, from an earlier period, possibly World War II. Hand-held weaponry was also hidden in the brush and could be used to fire back when loaded and physically cranked into position. Mekkar didn't understand some of the implications to all these activities until he reached his service age. He couldn’t accept that a powerful outsider wanted to pick on them. Mekkar contemplated the potential reasons, but arrived at few answers. However, his desire was to help fight back in any he could and not be completely defenseless is a trait that became more ingrained as he grew up. Mekkar was not one to take the hit and turn the other cheek. His passion to seek of immediate retaliation was exposed as a weakness in other endeavors such as hockey. It resulted in much time spent in the penalty box.

After recovering from major surgeries that ended his ice hockey career, Mekkar was finally ready to complete his obligations of military service. He was the oldest person in his platoon. On one occasion, a group of four soldiers had to go on patrol to find an enemy aircraft that had been brought down, by someone else, after invading their airspace. The goal was to pinpoint the location and bring back the pilot – dead or alive. All of the four were natives of the region. However, none of them were from the same village and their homes were far away from this place where they were stationed. This meant there were some differences among them. The loaded up their gear and headed out on their skis to navigate on the snow topped ground. They had to search a specifically determined section in an area that none of them was truly familiar with. Fortunately, cross-country skiing covers a lot more area quickly than on foot.

The four troops had been out for a number of hours carrying out their mission, in the freezing temperatures. After extensively searching, they never found any signs of a grounded plane or aviator. Instead, they did encounter a single polar bear in the distance. Mekkar had seen larger ones before and didn’t spot any cubs nearby. As the animal reached a specific range away from them, Mekkar set his sight on his standard issue machine gun and fired a shot. He was an excellent sharpshooter when on the hunt back home. Thus, Mekkar knew that he had hit his target and confirmed it in his scope. He saw a metallic object lodged in the bear’s skull, right between the eyes. The arctic bear continued coming their way at a faster pace now. This panicked the rest of the patrol and they deserted Mekkar. As they were leaving one, in the group, gave Mekkar a grenade launcher along with some of the ammunition. The patrol had been supplied, at the outset, with only one of these weapons.

Next, Mekkar fired another shot from his gun and the bullet impacted the same exact spot right behind the first one. The polar bear sped up his approach. Mekkar thought to himself that if the animal could have laughed in his face right then, it would have. The village where Mekkar came from had a tradition of no retreat from a battlefield for any reason. Alf and Lasse both say that is the basis for Mekkar’s extreme stubbornness in many parts of his overall personality. He was now stuck with figuring out a solution, and fast. Mekkar began loading up the more powerful armament and positioned it in the correct position. At the same time, began to get defiant in his attitude. Even challenging the bear with “Let’s go!” and other similar comments.

Yet, Mekkar is not stupid and aimed the grenade launcher at the polar bear’s stomach as opposed to his head. Since, the two earlier shots were not effective in slowing it down. Mekkar fired his weapon and then dove into the snow to avoid any potential shrapnel as the gap of space between them was narrowed now because those large bears have a rapid pace. The arctic soldier figured he would get just one attempt to take care of the problem, otherwise he would be dead. The explosive device did its job and blew the bear apart sending blood and guts in all directions. Some of the remains ended up on Mekkar’s all white military apparel as well. Even though this grossed him out, Mekkar felt it was still better than being a snack. He was hoping that someone else had heard the explosion and come back to help him. After an initial pause, Mekkar realized that he was on his own and removed his outer layers of clothing to burn them. Then, he buried them in the snow as he knew that wolves would soon be attracted to the remains. Fortunately, Mekkar had heavy long-john underwear underneath and it was still a good distance back to the base. Even though it was about zero degrees Fahrenheit (-17.77 degrees C°) outside, at least the skiing would keep him somewhat warmer. Later, when he reached his destination Mekkar sought out those three that had left him alone. He wanted to chew them out and kick their butts. Nevertheless, his superior officer approached Mekkar instead and told him, “At least, you are still alive to tell the story”.