Slim Winnings, Strong Hopes
Reading Time: 3 minutes
If one were to look at a battlefield without the prior knowledge of it having been a regular city street only two years ago, they would be hard-pressed to recognize it.
Yet, despite the near-endless destruction and carnage along the front lines, the fire of hope remains strong.
Though the lanternflies continue to advance no less than three blocks a week, increase their men by hundreds per day, and pursue riskier and riskier tactics, our men on our front lines continue to give it their all. Every day, more and more reserves are being flown in, turning ordinary high-rise buildings into unexpected landing pads for helicopters.
While the losses are hard, many servicemen arrive every day to fill in for their fallen comrades, never letting up for a moment in the fight against these pests.
These bugs are quite formidable. Spotted lanternflies, or as locals call them, “polka-dotties,” “Why-are-you-in-my-houses,” or “crap-get-it-away-from-mes,” have boldness that puts even the most adventurous roach to shame. Their tactics make even raccoons retreat in fear. Their numbers outclass even the most fecund of flies.
The lanterflies’ advantage in numbers and tactics have proven decisive in most skirmishes so far, lining the streets with red gore. Among the torn wings, left behind helmets, and empty cans of Raid bug spray, a few battle survivors and fearless civilians linger.
“They come at you. They charge even as they are ambushed. Downed and yet still fighting. My comrades… I can hear their screams,” one survivor, Private Dathly Afra Idofbugs, said when asked about his time on the front line. He had been found alone at a skirmish only the week prior, and drenched in enough liquids to the point that you couldn’t tell if it was Raid spray, sweat, tears, or his own blood. Around him, his unit was downed, covered in the remains of their week-long stay amidst the fighting. He was the only survivor.
Lanternflies continue to press their advantage against our fresh forces. They take their chances to divebomb unexpecting soldiers, causing many to drop their cans of Raid to flee with their tails between their legs. Despite their aggressiveness, unsavory tactics, and quick getaways, our men continue to push on, resisting their charge.
Civilians, too, have taken up the call to arms. A few civilians have been spotted on the battlefield looting Raid cans and fly swatters off downed servicemen to defend their homes and communities.
“Darn buggers have to leave my garden alone,” said Baals Ofsteell, a local elderly retiree, who has recently taken to defending her property with her own homemade bug weaponry—the slipper.
“Serves them right for coming into my garden to eat my plants. Anyway, these carrots are the best I’ve ever grown. Care for some carrot cake, dearie?”
Together, the locals who have remained despite the evacuation orders have taken quickly to their new lives of turmoil, which in turn has fueled many of the soldiers.
“Every time Granny invites me to her house, I get to eat her cake. I sit there eating it and listening to her stories while I ask myself, ‘Who would do such a thing to such a nice lady?’ Then, I remind myself that it’s for people like her that I fight for,” a nameless soldier said before rushing back off to the fighting.
As the death toll continues to rise, little is known about the enemy’s condition. Current intelligence has asserted that our continued resistance against their invasion has caused at least a little unrest among their troops, yet their numbers stay strong.
We can only hope for a quick end to this conflict, lest another generation be lost to these cruel beasts.