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Gen V

The Hyuk Lao Shen Conflict was a period of civilian and military instability, taking place in the Hyuk Lao Shen province of North Korea.

The Hyuk Lao Shen Liberation Front, made up of anti-Juche partisans and people of Lao Shen ethnicity declared independence from North Korea on January 2 1992, resulting in a violent conflict as the Korean People's Army attempted to retake the province through armed force.

After five months of brutal guerilla fighting in the city of Lao Shen and surrounding areas, a peace was mediated between the two parties by the United Nations. A joint-country United Nations Asian Security Coalition was formed to oversee the implemenation of the treaty. Hyuk Lao Shen was granted independance shortly before the collapse of the North Korean government in September 1992.

The War was part of the greater Autumn Of Nations, a period of intense political instability across the world. The conflict would be detrimental in leading to the formation of the United Earth Republic.

Jason Sternfeld's accounts

A peace soldier working for the UNASC mantained a log throughout his time in HKS, regarding his views on the political, social and economic aspects of the conflict. Half of his logs were redacted due to the grotesque nature of the war.

Deployment day.  June the 3rd 1995.

I was assigned to a peace mission to a place called Hyuk Lao Shen (HLS), a small country, North of North Korea. As far as the brief goes I was to ‘Keep the peace between civilians and respect their National identity as a self-proclaimed country’. I had an idea that North Korea was still at war with South Korea, but why had I not heard of the conflict between HLS and NK yet? I just hope I won’t be like a rabbit caught in the headlights when I get there. I am Corporal Jason Sternfeld, signing off.

June 5th 0350 hours

The ESC peace teams landed in the Tu Yeon district, the most westward part of HLS. This place is amazing! You can actually see the snow-capped peaks not too far north. Since we landed around 5800km above sea level the oxygen is a bit thin, but I’m sure I will get used to it. As far as the eye can see, there are just trees and mountains. Perhaps we are too far from any kind of town or city. I have been issued a permit, some currency, standard issue military survival supplies, a GR-23 light assault rifle, an Ericsson Mk V long range sniper rifle, a p250 pistol and a few other odds and ends.  I am certainly packing enough heat for a peace mission. I guess my troops are quaking in their boots, given that there is a large credibility gap for a peaceful outcome of this war.

0500 hours

 The clouds rolled in like breaking waves on a rocky beach. The weather was uncomfortable; the humidity was that of Vietnam. Thankfully my canteen was filled right up. Water is the stuff of life. The strange sounds of birds were similar to that of hyenas and canines. Our guide said they feared mosquito death more than snakes, spiders and even tigers. One night you may sleep like a baby, the following morning you may wake up a rotten, grey shell of a man. That’s just horseshit, but to be safe, ive checked my mosquito net about 3 times for any holes.  I aint afraid of nothing tho. The bush is relatively thick and the groundcover littered with leaves. Our trap expert was on high alert for about 3 hours straight now, constantly waving a thin stick infront of us. The boys would often make a few jokes about the Vietnam war and mocked the ignorant American soldiers. These men were genuinely good men. Before we went out on assignments, we would sit in a group and pray for a peaceful outcome. Earlier today we prayed together, so the morale of the men had never been greater. Just about 5 km up was our first stop; Tao Luk villiage. It was a traditional rice field with a number of small family farms surrounding it. We should arrive there around at 0800 hours.

0846 hours

With nothing short of a warm welcome, we had arrived at the rice field. The workers and owners of the field had prepared a feast for the men and medical team. They set up a table and had plastic chairs and had a giant pot of rice and meat ready to dish. We were very pleased and gave them tips of 400 Qui’s each which was roughly 20USD. The fields were nothing special, as a matter a fact the owners and workers were pretty poor. The guide said that with the civil war going on, it was hard making a living when rice fields were being compromised by North Korean agents. Dirty tactics were everywhere. I was even told that one village’s water supply was poisoned because of one man who opposed having a propaganda poster stuck on his house. There were only a few who were hospitalised, but no causalities. The North Koreans are absolute bullies, all the people want is to be left alone and to have their own independence.

1808 hours

Turns out we had guard duty this entire time, as the farmers feared nationalist rebels would come for them, as they were North Korean sympathisers. The Rebels are said to be even more ruthless than the North Koreans. Not only did they actively hunt down Korean troops at night, but they would bomb anything if it had Kim Jong Park’s face on it. The Rebels are apparently extremely nationalistic, often having an intelligent point of view on the political side of the civil conflict. They believed the county’s century old monarchy served them perfectly and hasn’t failed them since, so why change to communism? Im not saying communism is bad or good, but if something works for a country, why change it? The public have demanded HLS was to go to war with NK, but the monarch has disagreed as there was no incentive to fight the instigators, but rather rely on the help of other neighbouring countries such as China Japan and South Korea. Seemingly, no one wanted to get involved except for the United States and the UN, of course. I will continue this log in a day or so… In the mean time… Goodnight.

June 7th 1212 hours

We took a jeep all the way to the capital city of Phu Kun Shi or ‘F*cking Shit’ as my men call it. The city was bustling with old cars and mopeds everywhere. As you may expect in most third world countries, the streets are filled with stalls and markets instead of convenience stores. In the town we were stopped by NK security who blocked off the roads to a small province. We showed our ID’s and they let us through. The guards never said a word, just used hand gestures. They stared at us from the moment we arrived at the checkpoint, to when we turned the corner around the dilapidated concrete buildings. They stood straight with an absolutely menacing stance. They had their feet planted to the ground like tree roots. Although most of the soldiers were about 5’6 they still terrified us. Around 6 minutes of driving through the old streets, we arrived at the UNASC/ESC base of operations. There were helicopters, jeeps and transport vehicles everywhere. There were around 70 medical tents in a straight line and a highly secured armoury as well as a mess hall, which was a giant blue tent. On the far side of the camp was the barracks of peace-keeping soldiers. It was in an area surrounded by forest and tall grass. I was assigned to my tent with all my men. They were all in the same tent as me which was a blessing. All the other soldiers wondering around were very friendly, but often too preoccupied. I guess I should get settled in, as I have not unpacked my clothes yet. Tomorrow I have more guard duty, but a little outside the capital city. Thankfully I’m not on the night shift, as I have heard the capital city had turned into a war zone about 5 days ago.

June 8th 0653 hours

I’m just outside of Gao Gi district which is just a few clicks south of Phu Kun Shi central. The streets are filled with civilians rushing past doing their usual thing. About 10 UN soldiers including myself wandered around with our GR-23 rifles holstered on our backs. I made the most of my time by talking to the locals and playing a game of football with the kids on the street. It was good fun. I could hold a conversation with most of the locals, as they were very open to conversing with us foreigners. They tell that we are so polite and kind to the locals and such. My buddies could not understand our conversations but they did smile and shake hands with the civilians. Making the locals like you is one of the most important things you could do in a time of war. One man invited me to his home for dinner, which I had to unfortunately decline. UN protocol insists that we are to not get too involved with the locals as it will distract us from our duties. So far everything is good, as I have not seen any bombing or attacks. It’s actually around 3:32 PM right now, and im feeling a little sketchy as the sun falls closer to the snow-capped mountains. It’s still sunny, but I sense something might go down. Maybe I’m just paranoid.

1904 hours

Shift’s over, time to head back to base. Me and my team await a hearty dinner and a cold glass of spring water. Just the thought of it is making my mouth salivate. When we got there, it turns out we had a buffet of different foods, quite the selection. I did notice they had mounds of rice and noodles, which was not bad. I’m thinking of writing a letter back to my family soon, as they might be a little worried about me. Mum, Dad, if you are reading this, know that I am okay and everything is going okay. So far I hadn’t seen any fighting so far, but I wont need to fight anyone.

June 9th 0220 hours

I heard the rattling of gunfire, seemingly the camp is on high alert. We were ordered to perform a quick tent roll call then arm ourselves at the armoury. I was issued with my GR-23. I knew it was mine because it had a rainbow peace sticker on the stock. I was also issued NV goggles and a blue helmet. Most of the camp was outposted on the surroundings of the camp. My squad commander sent us into a bushy area with our scout carrying a torch. He was screaming in the native language that they came in peace and would not shoot unless provoked. We had an eye out, looking into the dark forest. Not even the moon shone through the thick pine trees or the bush. The terrain was difficult to navigate as it was also very rocky and hilly. We walked around aimlessly screaming the same phrases. In the forest, your voice echoes into the valleys. Not knowing who can hear you is a scary thought. There were a few instances where we thought we saw black figures standing in the forest, but it turns out to be more bush. Funny how fear plays with your mind. In the forest you can physically hear everything from the birds to the frogs and even the rustling of the trees. Even with the night vision goggles it was hard to see things 10 meters ahead of you. I briefly took the googles off and there was absolutely nothing past my nose. I could barely make out my hand. We heard the sudden crackle of the radio which gave everyone a fright. They gave the order to return back to base immediately. My team were constantly asking if they found anyone, but no one knew. It was a shorter trek this time, as the way back always seems to be the fastest. I think it’s one of Murphy’s laws. We eventually returned to base. The spotlights and mounted gunners were on high alert. To confirm we were UN we had to tap our helmets with our right hand and hold the butt of the gun facing upwards. It looked silly, but we got back to base, which was good. Once all teams returned to base, a formal assembly was made to clarify the occurrence. Around 300 men and women grouped together back to the mess hall tent where the situation was addressed. From nearby witnesses, North Korean troops had shot up suspected Nationalist Rebels who were spying on their own outpost. There were around 7 causalities, 1 of which was a North Korean soldier. What a shame. The North Koreans moved the bodies into the street, which was the around the same time we were called back to base. The NK soldiers claimed there were actually around 20 men in total, but spread out around the same area. The first 2 casualties were rebel scouts. 1 rifleman was stationed in a tree, the other 20 were apparently caught in a gunfight, most of which apparently escaped. I believe they tried a hit and run tactic; Injure as many soldiers as possible then escape. It slows them and puts soldiers out of duty. Turns out there were 12 wounded NK soldiers in total. That was the end of the assembly. Right after, we got back to our tents. Thankfully we were allowed to keep our rifles close by.

0606 hours

Had a sh*t sleep. Could not sleep after what happened last night. Usually im a very lazy person, so sleep is second nature for me. Its not really what happened, it’s the fear of what’s about to happen afterward. Could those same men come back to finish them off or will they wait it out till they are vulnerable. Either way its not good for anyone. Turns out I got more guard duty in the exact same place as yesterday. Guess it’s a rematch with the kids on the street again. It’s peaceful and quiet here, not much civilians today, I wonder why. *Update* So I found out today is an annual ceremony of Bhuddah, in which the people come together to pray and sing in front of a big golden statue of him. I decided to take a break from my shift and find out where this ceremony was happening. Turns out it was happening in Wu Plaza, on the northern most part of the city. The plaza has a beautiful view of the mountains as well as having 2 temples opposite each other. In the center of the plaza was a relatively large statue of Buddha, with his back to the beautiful snow-capped mountains. On these large pillars are white and red lanterns and at the entrance of the plaza was one of those giant red gates that you see at Japanese temples. It was a unique combination of different Asian cultures rolled into one place. Unfortunately NK soldiers were standing around the plaza watching people as they entered the temple. Most of them spat at the feet of the people who went up to the temple. I think its because they hate gods other than their leader Kim Jong Park. To them, he was their god. The soldiers told people to leave if they were seen loitering or acting suspicious. To top it off, people were searched for weapons before entering the temple. I went in my civilian clothes, but I did carry my ID and p250. I showed the soldiers my belongings and handed the pistol to them. I went up to the plaza and it was an absolute delight. There were performers and people singing. Everyone was wearing such bright and colourful clothing, it was indescribable. Most certainly the highlight of the week! I sat down and prayed next to Buddha, which was so relaxing. In one part of the plaza, I think they were smoking pot or something, I could smell it. Turns out they were. There was an entire box full of joints which costed about 1250 Qui each which is pretty expensive. I did not buy one for obvious reasons; I don’t smoke, drink or take drugs. I most likely won’t in the future either. Well, I guess its time to get back to duty.

June 14th 0930

Sorry I haven’t kept up with my logs recently. In all honesty, nothing fascinating has happened so far. It’s pretty much the same thing for the past few days. Guard duty, talking to people etc. The weather has been pretty inconsistent however. On the 10th it was raining cats and dogs, 11th the same thing, 12th it was hot as hell, 13th there was humidity and mist. All throughout the week however, it has been rather cloudy. Today the weather is pleasant, which was all I asked for.

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