by Max Barry

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by The Resurrection of Yugobatania. . 14 reads.

"Ghosts Among The Forest"

Part III of “The Circum-Cision Chronicles”

5 miles from Saint-Paul, Greater Saint-Paul
Yugobatanian Special Operations Division (YSOD)
Grumble Squad


The dark sky and the rustle of the trees hid their footsteps. Distant explosions were heard in the distant, muffled by the forest. The four figures ran among the trees, hiding in the shadows. They heard the barking of dogs in the distance and dropped to their knees.

One of them signaled to the group with a hand motion, and immediately, they slid on their night-vision goggles, activating them. They sat behind some trees in the dark, as a patrol of trucks drove by. They shut off the safety in their firearms, pointing them at the Paulistian patrol, and waited until they passed by.

The group continued on. One of them pulled out a satellite phone and turned it on.

“This is Grumble Squad, over,” he said. His voice was husky and weary. “1 klick south of supply depot, over.”

“Copy Grumble Squad,” a voice on the phone replied. “Remain under complete radio silence until further notice, over.”

The man shut off the remote, and Grumble Squad continued on. They had landed during the invasion of Greater Saint-Paul and The Soviet States of Europe. Grumble Squad, consisting of twelve men, all dropped in teams of four at different drop points. The 1st and 2nd Yugo Fleets had given them air cover as they were being flown in. When they first arrived, the Yugo landing ships had met fierce resistance from the Paulistians, but they were able to make headway - but at the cost of about one-fifth of the landing force - a loss of over 20,000 lives.

Grumble Squad hid behind some trees again to take a break.

“Corman, check the map,” the man from earlier said.

“On it,” Corman said. He pulled out a small portable GPS from his backpack and checked their area on the map. “We’re almost there Reg.”

The GPS also showed coverage of the Yugo forces as well, indicated as small dots far away from their dots. It was a complete overview of Operation Poltergeist, the name of the operation. It was a fitting name. For one, it was an operation that would employ shock and awe - as well as the classic military strategy, is known as blitzkrieg, or “lightning war”. It was also fitting for Grumble Squad’s current position too - they were ghosts among the forest, hiding in plain sight.

Grumble Squad, as well as the other squads deployed across GSP and FSSE, were special unit squads that were a part of the Yugobatanian Special Operations Division, or YSOD (pronounced as “why-sod”), an independent Yugobatanian black operations group within that Yugobatanian government that was only known to a few - even Supreme Emperor Solomon had limited knowledge of what went on in the YSOD.

In all technicality, all members of the YSOD didn’t even exist in the eyes of the public nor the government. They were that top-secret in their works.

Their mission was “ sabotage and disrupt enemy supply lines in secret, blowing sh*t up along the way, as well as gather intel through any means necessary. Torture practices are allowed. And maybe the good old military official assassination here and there, if possible.”

This was literally what it said on their debriefing file that they were given before they were deployed to the front, all handwritten by Supreme Emperor Solomon himself, who remembered that the YSOD existed while using the toilet in his mum’s house.

Joshua, one of the other squad members, sat next to Corman, as well as Halden, the fourth member of Grumble Squad.

“Looks like the boys are making headway,” he said, pointing at the dots. They were slowly moving slowly across the map of GSP. Apparently, they already took the cities of New Riga in the north of GSP, as well as New Victoria in the west, and Frankonia in The Soviet States of Europe.

“Alright, break times over chums,” Reg said, putting out his cigarette in the dirt. “Let’s move out.”

The men continued on into the woods, ghosts among the forest.

The Resurrection of Yugobatania