Chapter 1: Preface
By the mid 1980's one could seriously make the argument of human overreliance on technology, particularly in the United States. No place was this more clear than in the military. Guided missiles, incredibly accurate bombsights, explosives of a destructive power inconceivable to those only a few generations previous.
The enemies of Humanity, beings from beyond, of great intelligence, understood this. Twice now, the entity known as "The Mindflayer" had been thwarted by the actions of a small group of heroes. This was a humiliating blow to the prestige of the Upside Down on both the Galactic and Dimensional level. Other powers now took an interest in Earth and Humanity. The planet was rich in resources and strategically located. The Galactic powers near Sol signed a treaty, agreeing to partition the upstart human planet and "enlighten" its backward people.
The only problem was that Human weapons technology, in its current state, was far too advanced for an easy conquest. However, what if the playing field could be leveled? Would Humans still be capable of resistance at an earlier level of weapons technology?
Another issue that had contributed to the Mindflayer's defeat was the culture present among Humanity.. While often portrayed in science fiction as being incredibly efficient, a hivemind had proven to be vulnerable to simple virtues and values: Loyalty, Friendship, Honor, and the willingness to sacrifice for said things.
What if the beings at the Mindflayer's disposal possessed such virtues? Or at least some of them? Could Humanity be brought to heel through such simple concepts? Could such beings as he had at his disposal even be capable of what humans called "patriotism"? Nearly two years of bloody and horrendous carnage proved the answer was "yes".
The War of Alien Aggression, as the conflict would be called on Earth, would see 1980's culture collide with 1810's warfare in a conflagration of violence the United States had nothing in living memory to compare to. Valor, heroism, and determination were present on both sides, and the actions of these brave beings would shape the future, and never be forgotten.
From a Human perspective, the war was a triumph of the Human Spirit. The defense of our dimension and planet is still celebrated, and rightly so. However, far too often, the motivation and reasoning of the opposing troops are forgotten. Why would a Demogorgon pick up a musket and fight in another dimension for a being who did not care at all whether they lived or died? To answer questions such as this, we have to understand what motivated soldiers of imperial powers throughout history. The words read in letters from a soldier loyal to the Upside Down or the Covenant are nearly indistinguishable from those written by Humans in any war.
The actions of the Animated Peoples of Earth are no less important than the Flesh and Blood Humans, particularly in the Western Theater. The creation of the Animated Empire was something wholly inconceivable to anyone before the war.
The mass slaughter and terrible suffering of this war are still remembered, and old wounds seldom heal. I hope this humble author's work will contribute to healing, mutual understanding, and above all: peace. Remember the fallen and their sacrifices. But do not forget that sacrifice was not species-limited.
This document will tell the story of this conflict from the eyes of those who fought in it. Those remembered, those forgotten. Those condemned, those revered. This is their story…
Chapter 2: Invasion
October 25th, 1985
Day 5 of the Invasion
Corporal Alexander Gallagher was roused from his sleep by his sergeant. It was not yet daylight outside his tent, and it was bitter cold.
"Gallagher, wake up. The Colonel wants everyone assembled."
Alexander nodded, trying to blink the sleep from his eyes. He was exhausted. All the previous two days had been spent drilling. Drill and more drill, occasionally interrupted with shooting or bayonet practice. He never expected he would ever need to fight with a bayonet, but that seemed a likely possibility since The Event occurred. In his three years of service in the 151st Infantry Regiment in the Indiana National Guard, Gallagher had proudly prepared to fight for his country. Prepared . The much feared Third World War never materialized.
Instead, something happened that no one except the Eggheads responsible for it could have predicted: an invasion by extraterrestrials. What's more, the invaders had wiped the tech level of Earth, which is why he now carried a smoothbore musket that would not have been unfamiliar to his ancestors in The Revolution.
Alexander got up and stretched. If the usually distant and reserved Colonel Stephen Maxwell had something to tell the men in person, the chances were it was important. Gallagher put on his uniform, forage kap, and greatcoat and went out into the early morning air. He looked like an anachronism of the highest order, wearing a uniform identical to the Union in the Civil War.
In front of the command tent stood the colonel. His face was hard to read, and Alexander could not tell if the news was good or bad. He didn't have long to wait, as Maxwell began to speak to the gathered crowd of sleep-deprived soldiers, “Men of the 151st! President Reagan has made a declaration: The invaders are to be repelled at all costs! The territory of the United States, land of the free, is to be liberated to the last inch. The aliens who now violate Liberty’s sacred soil are to be punished. The counterattack has begun, and will carry the invaders to their graves!”
The Colonel paused for a moment to allow the effect of the proclamation to sink in, then continued, “Gentlemen, we are being sent to Hawkins. The invaders from the Upside Down haven taken over the lab there. Our orders are to garrison the town and prepare to attack them. I have no doubt every one of you will prove yourselves worth 100 of those alien bastards. However, this will be a tough fight. I expect every man to do his duty, and to prove my confidence in you is fully justified. Get some sleep men, there are hard days ahead. Thank you all. Dismissed.”
Gallagher did not yet know it, but Maxwell had just made the understatement of the century…
Animean Embassy, Toontown
Los Angeles, California
October 30, 1985
Shinji Ikari woke up from a dead sleep. He yawned and looked towards his alarm clock, then remembered it wasn't there. "Dammit", he said under his breath. He was still not used to the lack of technology, and didn't think he would be for quite a while yet. The Event had occurred less than two weeks ago, and he was already feeling the loss of technology.
He had also been following the news of the war with great alarm. There had been a skirmish outside of Sacramento, and two on the Oregon border. The invaders in this area had announced themselves as troops of the Galactic Empire, and claimed they were here to "bring order". To Shinji, it seemed their idea of order was very flawed. Order doesn't include fleeing columns of refugees and the shelling of towns by howitzers.
Shinji's father was the ambassador to Toontown and not at liberty to discuss the full extent of the crisis. Not that he would talk anyway . Shinji was staying with Misato, head of the military mission to Toontown. His father had moved into the embassy fulltime, and was absent essentially at all times. His father only ever cared about his work .
Shinji shook the thought from his head, and went to fix coffee. As he started a fire in the fireplace, he thought about his friends, Toji and Kensuke. Their parents were also staff at the embassy, and became fast friends with Shinji. Both had mentioned their parents looking more and more stressed as the days went by, and being very hesitant to talk about anything political or military related.
Shinji's father was implacable and never showed stress in any form, but even without his friends' input, it was obvious that the United States was already losing control of the war. Even without a major action, the reality of war was already becoming brutally clear. The casualty lists and columns of wounded seen coming into Los Angeles were a clear sign of things to come.
Class had been cancelled for the week due to the war, and Shinji had plenty of time to himself. This was a blessing and a curse, as he did not do well at all without structure. However, being able to avoid people was also a positive, and he was able to read in peace. He had also started writing a war diary at the advice of Kensuke, who had read more than one in his time.
Shinji began to grind coffee, taking time to do it right. He had become a coffee fanatic recently. It sure as hell beat the drinking of Misato. When he finally finished his cup, he got up and went to take a walk. Walks cleared his mind, and his mind could sure do with some clearing.
Outside, there were men in uniform seemingly everywhere. A band was playing "Stars and Stripes Forever" nearby, and handsome officers with sabers at their sides strutted about. These men also had no idea of what they had in store for them...
Chapter 3: Preparation
November 3rd, 1985
Jim Hopper set his cup of coffee down on his desk. It had been a hell of a week. He never trusted the feds since all the nonsense at the lab, yet now he had a U.S. Army adjutant assigned to him. Lieutenant Daniel Hayes was an idealistic and inexperienced man of 22. Hopper know the young officer was in way over his head, but nonetheless found his enthusiasm refreshing.
Since the first day of the invasion, Hawkins lab had been under hostile control. Demogorgons armed with muskets were occupying the lab, with more arriving every day. Their engineering could be heard in town, as they dug in and moved artillery into position. However, they had not fired a shot. It seemed plane as could be to Hopper what they were doing, waiting until they were at full strength before moving. Nevertheless, the army did not listen to his advice to attack immediately. Time was not on their side, and the longer they waited, the longer the odds would be.
More and more American troops had been arriving over the past month, and Hawkins now had more soldiers in it than civilians. In all, three corps were to be in position before the attack was to begin. For now, the aliens and humans merely monitores each others' progress with curiosity. Insults in their respective languages were exchanged, but not a shot had been fired in anger.
Despite his opinion of the United States Government as a whole, and the military in particular, he felt a sense of pride at the sight of the Indianan troops in their tall hardee hats. A new Regiment, the 3rd Indiana, was being raised in Hawkins and the surrounding area, and Hopper was currently writing paperwork recommending a commander. A knock at the door interrupted his pondering, "Enter!" he called out.
Callahan entered the room, "Morning Chief, I have a letter for you from the Defense Department. It looks important." Hopper opened the letter and began to read. What he read shocked him almost as much as the need to replace his revolver with a flintlock. At the recommendation of Hayes, he was to take command of the 3rd Indiana Volunteers, effective immediately. In addition, the Hawkins Police Department was to be merged with the regiment, and the town put under military jurisdiction.
Hopper threw the letter aside. He had decidedly mixed emotions. On the one hand, his town was under martial law and he had just been drafted. On the other, the military seemed to be finally getting off its ass and acting.
Also, to be quite honest, Colonel Jim Hopper had a nice ring to it. He began to hum, "You don't Mess Around with Jim" to himself, and made a mental note to see a tailor for his new uniform. He walked out of his office with a new spring in his step, and was met with a small gathering. Joyce, Jonathan, Nancy, Will, Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and Eleven were all there. Oh no. They had a cake. Oh no no. They had a sign which read, "Congratulations Colonel". Oh no no no.
Hopper found himself smiling uncontrollably, "Either my conscription is common knowledge, or a new KFC just opened". This brought laughter from everyone. Joyce spontaneously embraced him, much to his surprise. Maybe being a colonel won't be so bad after all .
After the impromptu celebration, Hopper went to take command of his regiment. They were assembled next to Hawkins High, on the football field. As he approached, a fife and drum band struck up "Hell on the Wabash" and cheers resounded from the assembled men. Hopper smiled and spoke with the elected NCOs. Steve Harrington and Jonathan Byers were both Sergeants, which Hopper saw as good. They both had experience facing aliens, and would certainly aid in briefing the others.
Hopper appointed Powell as Major and Callahan as Captain, as he knew the worth of both men. His troops did not want for enthusiasm in the least, but were very undisciplined and poor shots. Hopper realized with irritation that drilling would be the name of the game for the foreseeable future.
And so it went. Every day for the next two weeks consisted almost entirely of drilling. Hopper watched with pride as his men (and himself) slowly but surely learned the trade of war.
On November 20th, he knew they had it down. Every man performed with perfect precision, and marched as if with one mind. On that day, the new flag of the regiment was unfurled, and everyone broke into an enthusiastic rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. How could anyone stand against men such as these? That question would be answered soon.
November 21, 1985
Shinji looked at the morning newspaper with serious concern. The headline read: "Major Engagement in Fresno! At Least 9,000 American Casualties! Enemy Beaten Back!" As he started to read the details of the battle, he was interrupted by a knock on the door. When he opened it, he saw Kensuke and Toji standing there, looking very excited.
"Hey Shinji! Can we come in?" Kensuke said, in a tone that stated something big had happened. Shinji ushered them inside. Shinji sat on the sofa, but the others remained standing, Kensuke pacing nervously and Toji looking just as excited.
"Guys, what's up?" Shinji asked.
"I can't believe you haven't heard!" Toji exclaimed, but before he could continue, he was interrupted by Kensuke.
"Our government has sent a military mission here! Two whole corps! I can't wait to see them! One of the units of the 2nd Corps is the Third Tokyo Three Regiment. Can you believe it! Our own city is contributing to the fight!"
Shinji was overwhelmed with Kensuke's enthusiasm as usual, but he had to admit the cheery attitude was very nice. Toji spoke now, "Some of our old classmates have family in the regiment, and are coming as well. All reserves have been called up. Looks like it will be quite the party here."
Shinji pondered that. He had never been close with any of his other classmates, and was a bit worried about old drama. The three passed the time playing board games and trying not to reminisce about T.V. Kensuke and Toji chattered about how hot American women were, what they would do if they were rich like Hollywood Stars, and (Kensuke at least) gushed about how fascinating the differences between uniforms of different regiments were. Shinji feigned interest. He was thinking about the war, and what would happen if it came here. If Kensuke was to be believed, the Animean troops would give the aliens the bayonet and drive them back to their home planet. Shinji was not optimistic. He feared life under occupation, and wondered if he would be part of one of those refugee columns.
Kensuke and Toji left around eight, leaving Shinji alone with his thoughts. He fed Pen-Pen, had a quiet dinner, and went back to his room, feeling melancholy. By god he wanted his walkman again. Music always helped him to unwind and think. He would have to get a gramophone sometime, so he could listen to something .
In the distance, he could hear a military band playing "The Battle Cry of Freedom". He strained to hear it as much as he could, trying to enjoy some sound besides that of his own breathing. He was asleep before the song ended.
Chapter 4: We Who Are About to Die
December 1st, 1985
The first shell to explode in Hawkins crashed into a vacant lot. No one was hurt, but it was soon followed by others. Not too many, it was a harassing fire, not a barrage. Nonetheless, to Hopper’s simultaneous dread and relief, the timetable for the attack was moved up substantially. They would now attack with only two corps, the date being set for December 5th.
Hopper knew there was a damn good chance that many of his men would not survive the week, and was not sure how he should feel. The reality of their situation was becoming apparent. It was not a game any longer. With every passing day, Hopper felt as if his life was slipping away.
For the first time in a long while, he revised his Will and Testament. He didn't have much, but he decided that leaving the majority of his money to the Byers' was the least he could do for them. Thoughts of his own mortality now plagued him more than once a day, and he could no longer suppress them. He wondered how the rest of his troops were feeling, and guessed they were having similar thoughts.
Ah what the hell. I survived worse than some reenactor’s wet dream. Hopper was determined to give back to the invaders a taste of what they had given the people of Hawkins. Revenge may be petty, but damn was it a powerful motivator.
Will Byers was weeping openly and inconsolably. He hugged his older brother as tightly as he could, as if that could somehow prevent the inevitable from happening. They were staying at the Wheelers', seeing as their house was now under Demogorgon occupation.
Jonathan had told them that the attack was scheduled to begin in less than a week in the same tone he would use to announce the positive results of a cancer test. Joyce had broken down right then and there, and Will had soon after. Mike had done his best to comfort him, which Will was very grateful for.
There was a haze of unreality hanging over The Party like a dark cloud of misery. Surely this couldn't be happening? Surely Jonathan, Steve, and Hopper were not about to be thrown into the furnace of combat? The world had become a nightmare that everyone seemed to be collectively dreaming.
Dustin was horribly worried as well. Steve was his mentor, and he worried about Steve almost as if he were a brother of his own. Steve did his best to laugh it off and act as if nothing was wrong, which Will saw as a remarkable demonstration of character, especially coming from Harrington.
As the days until the attack slipped away, everyone held their breath. The fate of their country may very well be decided in their own small, forgettable and relatively unimportant town. Destiny had apparently decided Hawkins would play a role far larger than its diminutive size, whether its citizens wanted it or not.
To Will's utter astonishment, he saw Troy in tears on the day before the attack. To his even greater astonishment, Will could not help but feel sympathy for his childhood tormenter. His father was in Hopper's regiment as well, and Will knew what the bully must be going through. He may have given me hell, but god I can’t help but pity him.
That night, Will found Jonathan sitting alone in contemplation, "Hey," Jonathan spoke in an odd tone.
"What's the matter?" Will asked, trying his best not to lose it.
"Nothing, just thinking. I don't wanna bother you about it, it's pretty heavy stuff."
"Jonathan. You're my brother, and you have helped save me twice now. I would be dead or worse if not for you. Tell me."
"Just thinking about death I guess. All that shit with the Upside Down and monsters and you being taken. Throughout all that, I never gave myself time to think I could get killed. I guess adrenaline and determination to save you just got me through it. Now though.."
Jonathan sighed, "Now, I am just wondering things. If there is an Upside Down, is there a Rightside Up? Do we go anywhere after we die? Will I see Bob again?"
Will stared at his brother, not knowing what to say. He had had similar thoughts on more than one occasion, but had never voiced them. Will suddenly found strength within himself, strength from God knew where, "I certainly think so. If it's like Heaven from the Bible, or something else, I don't know. But with all this insanity that has happened, an afterlife is pretty believable to me." Will embraced Jonathan, and to his shock did not cry, "Good luck tomorrow. Send those things back to the Upside Down. Give em' one for me if you can."
Jonathan smiled, "Yes sir, oh Will the Wise." He ruffled Will's hair. The two sat there for a while. Two brothers, one going to war, the other wondering what would happen, but both finding strength in each other's support.
The American artillery barrage against the area around Mirkwood and the lab began at 4:00 am. Round shot and explosive shells pounded the entrenched aliens, and brought great cheers from the U.S. troops preparing to attack. There was only disconcerting silence for a response. The green troops took this to mean the aliens were simply cowards, and hurled insults and jeers at them. The more experienced troops knew the real reason: the aliens were merely conserving ammunition for the American infantry attack.
Alexander Gallagher, his unit attached to Galloway’s Brigade, part of the 1st Division of the 2nd Corps, was preparing to attack. The mood among the men was one of confidence. They had been preparing for this for quite a while, and the time had finally come to teach this invaders how real Americans fought. They were just south of the quarry, in wooded area but a small river.
Gallagher saw Brigadier General Andre Galloway gallop up to his unit, as it was the center of the attack. He dismounted his horse, drew his saber, and took his position in front.
“Brigade, at the double quick, forward, march!” With a loud cheer the blue coated soldiers surged forward like a tidal wave. On they went, cheering, laughing, some even singing. The first shell to burst amongst them replaced the sounds of joy with horrific screams. Gallagher was spattered with blood from the man to his right, who had been hit with a piece of shrapnel. They continued to surge forward, not with joy now, but with determination and bloodlust.
The faces, if they could even be called that, of the aliens who were dug in ahead of them could now be seen. They rose and fired a volley into the oncoming mass of blue. Alexander saw man after man drop all around him. A cannon went off, and at least a dozen men were shredded with canister shot.
“Brigade, halt! Ready, aim, fire!” the U.S. troops fired a ragged and uncoordinated volley, and began to reload. The sheets of fire being poured on them were dropping men by the score.
“Dammit! Godammit! Fall back!” Galloway shouted, with genuine fury. Gallagher started to back away with the rest of the men, but soon, the attack collapsed completely, with men running in utter terror. Under the intense enemy fire, the retreat became a rout very quickly. Alexander was swept up in the panic, and fled for his life.
The day was far from over, and the carnage would continue…