In armed conflict and in daily life, ships have become an integral part of modern commercial and military systems. Fishing boats are used by millions of fishermen throughout the world. Military forces operate vessels for naval warfare and to transport and support forces ashore. Commercial vessels, nearly 35,000 in number, carried 7.4billion tons of cargo in 2007. As of 2011, there are about 104,304 ships with IMO numbers in the world.
Ships were always a key in history's great explorations and scientific and technological development. Navigators such as Zheng He spread such inventions as the compass and gunpowder. Ships have been used for such purposes as colonization and the slave trade, and have served scientific, cultural, and humanitarian needs. After the 16th century, new crops that had come from and to the Americas via the European seafarers significantly contributed to the world population growth.Ship transport has shaped the world's economy into today's energy-intensive pattern.
Ship's A.I. was created untold millennia ago by the Celestials as the operating system for a data collection device. The Celestials had genetically manipulated humanity, and they left the Ship in the area that would come to be known as Mongolia to monitor humanity's progress.
Circa 1100 A.D., a Mongolian immortal known as Garbha-Hsien (later known as Saul), discovered the Ship and lived next to it while he researched its mysteries. Saul never attempted to enter the Ship.
In time, the Egyptian immortal En Sabah Nur learned of Saul and sought him out as another immortal. In a confrontation, En Sabah Nur slew all of Saul's guards. Saul then sought to humble his fellow "forever-walker" by revealing the secret titanic vessel. Having had previous experience with futuristic technology due to his encounters with Rama-Tut, Nur attacked Saul and left the other immortal for dead and entered the Ship. He emerged later as a vastly changed being who now called himself Apocalypse.
In civilian usage, a casualty is a person who is killed, wounded or injured by some event, and is usually used to describe multiple deaths and injuries due to violent incidents or disasters. Casualties is sometimes misunderstood to mean fatalities, but non-fatal injuries are also casualties.
In military usage, a casualty is a person in service killed in action, killed by disease, disabled by injuries, disabled by psychological trauma, captured, deserted, or missing, but not someone who sustains injuries which do not prevent them from fighting. Any casualty is no longer available for the immediate battle or campaign, the major consideration in combat, and the reason for lumping together all these different cases. The word has been used in a military context since at least 1513.
The story is presented as a flashback of Max Eriksson, a Vietnam veteran. A platoon of American soldiers is on patrol when they are suddenly attacked by the Viet Cong. While on flank security, the ground cracks under Eriksson as he is above a Viet Cong tunnel. Sergeant Tony Meserve pulls Eriksson out of the hole and eventually, the Americans stave off the attack.
The platoon takes a break outside a river village in the Central Highlands. While relaxing and joking around, one of the platoon members, Specialist 4 "Brownie" Brown, is killed when the Viet Cong ambushes them. Shortly afterward, Private First Class Antonio Diaz arrives as Brownie's replacement.