(( Originally submitted as my whitelist application background. ))
Memoirs of David Miles
I was born in May of 1979 at Massachusetts General Hospital, a relatively dull year with little to speak of, Red Sox didn’t win the pennant, the Unabomber was still a threat, unemployment was low, China and the US were finally talking diplomatically, and tensions were high between the US and the USSR, everyone had itchy trigger fingers. Basically, a great time to be growing up. Six months after my birth, I was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma – cancer of the retina. I was quickly rushed to Massachusetts Eye & Ear Institute and had a successful surgery which isolated the tumor growths in my left and right eye, however due to the damage done from the cancer in my left eye, the eye had to be enucleated leaving me with a prosthetic eye.
Throughout my childhood, I had a chip on my shoulder, my father died from leukemia in 1982 after battling the disease for seven years. It was just my mother and I, and it was us against the world. Growing up in Boston is tough, sometimes you get lucky and make a few friends along the way and thrive, or if you’re less fortunate you never quite fit in – as a result you never really thrive. I was fortunately the former, I had a small but strong group of friends growing up in South Boston. My mother worked for Proctor & Gamble, made good money, but we never seemed to be able to get out of the city.
I remember when the wall came down in Berlin, it was supposedly this historic moment in history when as my mother said “The Russian’s finally came to their senses.” She told me that on this day, a sigh of relief was heard around the world. I was a ten-year old who cared more about playing his NES than politics, so nothing changed in my little world, it wouldn’t be until many years later that the political landscape would begin to shape my world.
By the time I was fifteen, I had a skewed view on the world. I was cynical, unruly, and my idea of a vacation was driving out with my older friend Matt to the Cape to drink cheap beer that we had stolen from behind O’Malley’s Mart on Hardings Beach. My mother tried very hard, and worked her ass off for me, but I didn’t seem to understand what she was trying to do for me. I was too busy being a punk kid. When my mother got promoted at P&G, I found out I was moving to Cincinnati, Ohio. I was devastated. What would I do without my friends, summer days on the Cape, and the camaraderie that came with being a South Boston kid? I’d have to start all over again from scratch; that prospect horrified me.
By the time I was twenty-one I was enrolled in the Police Academy for Clermont, I was a graduate of class 10 and certified by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission. I had a job at Clermont County Sheriff’s Department out the gate, and made SRT in 2004, at the age of 25. I was the youngest SRT member on the team, and got a thrill out of kicking down doors and getting the “bad guys.” However, in 2007, at the age of 28 I suffered an injury which ended my career on the SRT. Due to regulations regarding being fit for patrol, I was left with two options – I could spend the rest of my career as a detective mostly working a desk job, or I could pursue other career paths.
I chose to leave the world of law enforcement and went back to school for some time. In 2009, I applied for a job as a defense contractor at a company called Xe – formerly known as Blackwater USA. I worked as a Principal Handler, doing security detail for political figureheads in Iraq and Afghanistan. I was seen as a “nanny” by military forces we worked with on a regular basis, and to some extent they were right. I was a glorified babysitter, taking very important people from one place to another. The catch was I got to carry a rifle and look scary all while wearing Oakley sunglasses and having a shaved head. It was well paying work, but it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. I worked for Xe until they had their “company reimaging” in 2011. With the change of name from Xe to Academi, new people were brought in – and unnecessary assets were liquidated. I got a severance package, and a bruised ego. Newer, younger, and more military oriented personnel were coming in to replace me. I was both heartbroken, and a little PO’d.
In 2012, I found myself work in the way of an international securities group called NAFTO – the North American Force & Task Organization. NAFTO was a small startup company that had gotten DoD contracts to work abroad in various countries providing security to the highest bidder. My handler, Iosif ‘Sif’ Semyonov, was a Russian born immigrant who spent a lot of time overseas before coming to work in the states. He worked as an instructor for Funker Tactical – a group of individuals who help hone skills to both Military and Law Enforcement around the world. Iosif took me under his wing, and as my handler provided me positions for jobs of deployment.
I spent a lot of time in the states doing domestic work, working at Nuclear plants as a station guard – 18 hour days of standing around being bored. Waving trucks in, and waving trucks out. I spent a year with NAFTO before Iosif told me he was leaving the company as he had gotten a job with Moran Security, a group based out of Russia. He was to be tasked as an operations and intelligence handler for Moran during diplomatic crisis. He offered me an opportunity to come with him, I would have to move all the way to St. Petersburg however. I didn’t speak a lick of Russian, and my Boston accent probably wouldn’t play well with the others, but Iosif was insistent – saying he would need to work with someone he knew out there. He hadn’t been back to Russia since he was a boy, and he would rather be with someone familiar. I wrote in a formal request for a letter of recommendation from NAFTO and Xe (Now Academi), and phoned all my Lieutenants and Captains for their letters of recommendation as well. I submitted my formal letter of request for employment to Moran with my referral vis-à-vis Iosif, and much to my surprise I received back a letter of intent for employment. I was promised a wage of $5000 USD a month for working as a guard for Syrian energy facilities, this was in January of 2013. It was good enough money for a single, white, now 34 year old Boston kid. It was during this time-frame the Syrian conflict was beginning to break out. I took the job, thinking it’d be easy money with maybe the chance of a little action.
After spending three months training with Moran and learning as much Russian as I could possibly do in such a short time, Iosif sent me my brief for the job. I was to go through Beirut, to finalize a contract already in progress with a chemical processing facility.
Upon finishing the contract, we were transferred to Damascus at a temporary subsidiary office, shortly thereafter, in July of that year – I was transferred to a Syrian army base in Latakia. We were supposed to get transferred to our respective energy plant duties, but as we were getting our duties finalized, the Syrian Civil War had started to heat up significantly. Borders were closed, and the reality of the situation became strikingly clear we would have to become participants in this battle in order to be able to leave – our gear that was promised to us initially was incredibly outdated and outmoded. The FSB had contacted our handlers and explained they would reequip us with new armaments fit to defend the facilities from attackers, including a slew of Russian T-72 tanks to help fortify the area; instead we got metal plate covered, retired school buses. A few other contract groups had arrived at this point. Mostly Russian contractors ranging from members of Spetsnaz, the VDV, and even OMON, with a few scattered foreign contractors like myself spread through the group. There were 268 of us total, split into two major companies. It was at this time I began to realize we had become cut off from our initial duties, and that the FSB (Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation) and the Syrian Government had little to no involvement with the operation anymore, meaning we were essentially operating outside of the board of play. At the time, Russian criminal law would have classified us as Mercenaries – and even if we did get home, all of us would have been arrested and thrown in jail.
We had a convoy to escort a group of technicians and personnel to Deir ez-Zor, we had a Syrian Air Force patrol escorting us and giving air support. It was dark, and a pilot in the front of the formation had lost control of his helicopter, it ended up crashing into one of the buses and injured one of our guys. At first we thought we were under attack – but it turned out it was just poor piloting, the guy had hit a transmission line and crashed into the convoy. On October 18th, 2013 we received orders that we were to reinforce Syrian army forces in the city of Al-Sukhnah. We didn’t make it even half way there when we came under attack, a group of Al-Nusra insurgents ambushed us with Toyota trucks mounted with cheaply made Serbian RPKs and riddled our convoy with rounds. We retreated back to a defensive position and had a few Syrian assets – a SPG (Self-Propelled Gun) and one Syrian pilot in an old MiG-29 fighter. We got put down pretty fast, and I swear had it not been for some sort of divine intervention with a desert storm engulfing the area, a lot of our guys could’ve been killed – but only four were injured. Our handlers realized at some point that we were outnumbered some two thousand to 268. We retreated and pulled out of Syria. Iosif had arranged for me to fly back to the states but enroute back to Lebanon I got a call from Iosif who was in a panic. Iosif explained to me that due to Moran’s involvement with the Syrian Civil War, we were entered in battle as civilian freelance combatants… mercenaries by another name. Russian law strictly prohibits mercenary work, and as such we were being prosecuted as mercenaries. We were to be arrested upon arrival to our destinations. Iosif had arranged a plane for us to fly out to a remote area where there was little law enforcement presence and was off the radar enough that we would be able to lay low while this whole situation settled in. A few other guys hopped on too, but were arrested as they boarded the airbus. It was an out-of-the-way place called Chernarus, a small post-soviet block country with not much going on, and out of FSB’s jurisdiction. I boarded a small private plane, and made my way there.
Arriving in Chernarus, Iosif and I shacked up near the coast, near a small village located just outside the city of Solnichniy. The people were friendly enough, but reserved. They kept to their own affairs, and I liked it that way. Rent was cheap, the misty rain-drenched countryside was nice enough, and all-in-all it would make a good place to lay low until this all was over with.
3 Months Prior to October 7th, 2014
July was colder than normal that year, I was used to a more humid and hot climate in Ohio – but I doubted I’d see the states for quite some time. Iosif was good company, and we worked at a local hardware store in Solnichniy. The job didn’t pay well, and hours were inconsistent, and it was a far cry from what we had been doing. Iosif had become a manager at the store, and I was just a clerk there. Honestly though, we loved it. After dealing with the mess outside of Al-Sukhnah in Syria, I was quite happy to just be “normal” for awhile. I wasn’t worried about extradition to St. Petersburg, simply because Moran purged most of the files related to contractors working in Syria at the time. We were content to just live out there and be merry as we could be. I was even talking to a girl named Petra who lived in an apartment near the city of Elektrozavodsk – the name to this day still tongue ties me. Life was good.
October 7th, 2014
I woke up on the couch to hear Iosif snoring like a bear in the other room, the TV was on and was loud as all get up. Iosif had left a note on the coffee table, “Weird shit in Myshkino, watch news. –Sif” I watched as a report of the story was rerun, “Couple traveling to Myshkino finds deranged man in road – bites woman in bloodlust.” I wrote it off as another drugged up, strung out schmuck. This stuff happened back home in the states all the time, and it was always chalked up to ‘Bath Salts’ or PCP, or some other crazy household chemical derived substance that made the perp lose his mind, and think little angels were dancing on his teeth. Besides, that was a good way away – not anything I was going to have to concern myself with. I went on with my daily routine.
October 10th – 11th, 2014
On my way to work I had turned the radio on to local news to hear “Several deranged people attacking others in Myshkino.” Apparently a few had died the night prior. People in the area had started getting bit and others were very ill – apparently people were getting taken to the hospital in Zelenogorsk by the bus load. I thought it was odd, but chalked it up to coincidence… though I did find it odd. What I do remember is suddenly hearing that this story of a small town in an even smaller country had gone national. People calling it the “Terror Night in South Zagoria.” This close to Russia, I was now a possible blip on the radar. Iosif and I were a little paranoid, to be sure, but we called off work for the following day, the 11th, and stayed back at the apartment just talking and drinking.
“Weird shit huh?” Iosif said.
“Yeah, no kidding – I remember hearing stories of people eating others faces off though in the states. Bath salts or some shit, but this seems like it’s a little more widespread population wise. And what’s with all the sick people?” I responded.
“Dunno. Just don’t get bitey with me, or I’ll mash y’er face in pal.” He snorted.
The events of October 12th through October 21st are as follows…
Things just kept getting weirder, Zelengorsk was entirely quarantined and scenes of reporters in the area showed people running wild and attacking others, conservative estimates were dozens of people dead with many more sick. I wasn’t sure what to make of it – but there was CDF troops rolling in the area trying to bring some order, but needless to say Zelengorsk, Myshkino, Vybor, Lopatino and Pushtoshka were reporting “civil unrest”, and some areas were so rampant with destruction, looting and chaos – government press statements gave the impression that the situation was under control but that western South Zagoria was an “ill-advised destination.” Iosif and I were getting a little antsy, we hadn’t left the apartment in days. We got dressed and headed down Tulga to get some supplies, as most of the stores in Solnichniy were cleared out already. We got some food, gas, milk and eggs, but the place felt like a ghost town. There was no traffic, and we even saw an alarming amount of “FOR SALE” signs along the way.
A few days had passed and reports coming in that this was some sort of highly contagious and fast-acting rabies virus had come into the population. People were getting attacked in the middle of the night and by October 19th there was total chaos all over the western side of South Zagoria. Petra, the girl I was seeing, told me she was going to see her father who lived in Rogovo. Dangerously near the epicenter of all of this. I told her to take care, but I knew there was a good chance I’d never see her again – I remember thinking “Huh… what a pity, probably never going to see that girl again.” Things got progressively worse from there. Rioting and disease was spreading rapidly outward from Zelengorsk – reports of growing unrest further east were beginning to show, news of Russian Nationals in the area had Iosif and I on edge, this was all we needed. Then bad went to worse, in the middle of a broadcast the TV went dark, then followed by a standby message. I felt my stomach sink into itself, I don’t remember exactly when I realized it, but at some point that night – I knew things were going into the gutter. The proverbial fecal matter had hit the extra-proverbial bladed oscillating device. Journalists were arrested, cameras and phones were confiscated by CDF personnel on the streets, door to door “check-ins” were frequent near us. Iosif managed to get on the internet and view a BBC broadcast from Chernogorsk. They said the disease wasn’t rabies, and it was “unlike any virus they had seen before.” It was extremely virulent and spread via body fluid exchange, typically through a bite. This was unreal… I mean sure, I had seen all those movies with the zombies but this was extreme. That stuff is fiction for a reason, and now something like that was happening… here… in Chernarus.
October 22nd – 28th
The word on the street was Chernogorsk had gone dark, and most of central South Zagoria was a no-man’s land. Death tolls were in the thousands if not more, and we were under total Martial Law, with the advice given “Stay indoors, make no contact with your fellow neighbors. Consider everyone as dangerous and possibly infected.” Occasionally you could hear the echoes of gunfire on the horizon. Chernogorsk’s harbors had closed and borders we closed off. Reports of people trying to leave the country were getting shot on sight, and news of Russia and the UN in talks to shut down all aid and relief to South Zagoria were in the rumor mill. It was eerily quiet outside, with only the occasional sound of gunfire to break the silence. The next day, Iosif and I heard the sound of a large explosion – apparently a plane had crashed in Chernogorsk, hitting a hotel setting the city ablaze. You could see the smoke from our apartment, for the first time in a long time – I felt the clench of fear rip down my spine. Iosif and I went into the kitchen and pried up the board getting a bag out from the under the floorboard. It contained an IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) for each of us, two Smith & Wesson 686 revolvers, a few flashlights, a box of Speer Gold Dot .357 for each of us, batteries, and some extraneous items. I hadn’t held a firearm in almost a year, the feeling of the rubberized stock felt alien to me – but what I saw in Iosif had me feeling uneasy. He looked blank, pale, and absent… I’d seen that before, it had a few different names in the paramilitary world – but most would know it as Shellshock or PTSD. I wasn’t sure if he heard me, but after telling him we had to hunker down he just stared at the floor and slowly nodded. This guy, who was far more “battle-hardened” than me – was blank. We hear that there is essentially a slaughter happening all over western South Zagoria – hordes of people bursting through checkpoints decimating all that they come in contact with – reports of infection spreading as far east as Elektrozavodsk, Berezino and Nizhnoye are coming in, as well as cases going all up the coast.
Today the first infections hit Solnichiy. I actually saw someone running down the road being chased by ten or fifteen of those fucks. I saw as they caught up to him, tearing at him with their teeth. Iosif started vomiting in the bathroom, I remember checking on him making sure he was okay. “Board the doors.” He gasped. You could hear screaming outside, sounds of glass breaking, and just total horror. We just turned the lights off and hung out in the kitchen. We didn’t talk much, the silence was overwhelming. Iosif piped up at one point, the sudden break in the silence startled me.
“I’m not going to become one of those fuckers.”
I didn’t know what to say, even if I did I don’t think I would’ve managed to speak, too afraid the chit-chat would draw those… things near us. My breath escaped me, I couldn’t fathom what was happening, and it was starting to get dark outside. I remember grabbing a bottle of opened whiskey that was sitting on the counter… I drank, passed it to Iosif – he drank, and that repeated until the bottle was gone. And then we opened another one…
I plan on having a memorial service at some point for Iosif…
I woke up still drunk, and sick to my stomach. Iosif was just lying there, one hand clenching an empty bottle, the other hamfisting his revolver. It made me uneasy, but I got up and went to the window peeking out the blinds. It was like a ghost town, nothing moved. That’s when I heard Iosif stir. He just shuffled out into the living room, looking like a shadow of himself. What happened next is a bit of a blur, but I remember Iosif putting his hand on my shoulder, squeezing and saying “Good luck my friend.” Before I could turn around the sound I heard made my ears ring, and my stomach turn. I hunched down, scared for my life. I looked down at the floor, Iosif lying there, blood spattered on the wall adjacent to us, the still smoking Smith & Wesson 686 in his hand. I vomited, lurching over and sliding down on the wall… I cried for the first time I can remember in years, not just cried – sobbed. I felt like doing the same, putting that cold steel barrel in my mouth and just ending it. That was, until I heard the shriek and rumble of footsteps. I could see the shambling mess of men, women and children climbing over each other towards our apartment building. “That selfish fuck!” I thought, and cursed under my breath. They were coming fast, and looked mad as hell. I scrambled to the door, leaving my bag on the table. I ran out the back door – I distinctly remember hearing the clawing of fingernails on glass, and the ravage chomping of teeth on teeth. I had no time to pause, to breath, to worry – I had to run.
October 31st to Present.
I’ve been on the move for a while now, not much has changed. I mostly keep to myself, not wanting to risk getting involved with anyone. It’s not just these … things… I have to worry about anymore. I saw a woman and child get brutally beaten to death by a group of kids who just wanted her wool coat. It’s best I move north, I heard there’s some safety near the military outposts, and further up north near Svetlojarsk… but I’m not sure about that anymore. Hopefully, I can just stay alive long enough to see the end of this, but I have a feeling this is just the beginning. I found a radio the other day, while I had it working I heard of reports in Russia, Takistan, Ukraine, Georgia, Turkey among others are reporting infection… and I’m just a kid from Boston in this shit.