Surrounded

Evans burst into the room where the Lieutenant and Ustinov were interrogating the civilians as the platoon started to fire, “Sir, we have an armored car with a company of Infantry to the West. Unknown fire has started up to the North and East. We need orders Sir.”

Lieutenant Stoddart cursed, “Go run down, get Calepino to take out the Armored car, and then go find Captain Simmons to reinforce us.”

“Sir,” Evans nodded and ran downstairs, nervously fiddling with the safety on his shotgun. When he got to the front door, he peered outside at the Armored Car.

WHOOSH!

A shell from the armored car flew past and impacted near Sergeant Campbell’s team. Evans sprinted behind the lines and nearly ran into Calepino, “Armored car, West Road.”

Calepino nodded, “I fucking know already, I figured by the explosion.”

“Sorry, it’s just that the LT told me to tell you, and you know how he gets kind of ehhh… sometimes?”

“Yeah, sorry to snap at you,” Calepino unslung his Charles Rifle and shrugged, “I just made the…” Another shell impacted a few meters away, “Right, I should probably go deal with that.” Calepino scurried away.

Evans then looked around for Private Clark. Nowhere nearby. He then sprinted down the southbound road towards the rest of Fox Company. As he got closer he heard rifle and machine gun fire. Shit. Evans reached to his belt and yanked his bayonet out of the frog and fixed it to his shotgun. He turned the corner to where Fox Company had set up a temporary firebase earlier and was now engaged in a pitched battle. Evans ran up to Captain Simmons and waited for him to finish giving a fresh set of orders, “Sir! Update from Second Platoon. We have encountered at least a company of enemy infantry as well as an armored car after our previous engagement.”

“Right, And where is Private Clark? Shouldn’t she deliver this news?”

Evans looked around the battle line, “She isn’t here, I thought she had gotten caught up here.”

“Shit,” Simmons yelled over the fire towards a soldier, “CHAMBERS, OVER HERE NOW!” The soldier turned around, it was Lucy. She quickly jogged over and shouldered her rifle, “Privates Chambers and Evans, Get to Second Platoon, tell them to fall back to our position. Then search for Private Clark along the path. MOVE!”

Lucy nodded to Evans, “Still think you’re not my sidekick Goldfish?”

The two sprinted off back towards Second Platoon. The fire hadn’t died down since they had last come by. Evans ran right to the Lieutenant, “Sir! Captain Simmons orders you to fall back to his position immediately. Private Clark is missing, and the Captain ordered Chambers and I to find her.”

“Alright, do it,” The Lieutenant turned and started yelling orders.

Evans shrugged to Lucy, “So where shall we look first?”

“Move along the road until we see an open door? You take right side I take left side?”

Nodding, Evans started jogging down the road, scanning each building. About halfway back to Fox Company, Evans yelled over to Lucy, “Hold up! Broken window. We should check it out.”

Lucy nodded and moved over to the window. Evans came up beside her and peered inside. There was a wadded up army jacket covered in glass. It appeared to have the rank of a Private on the shoulder boards. Evans aimed his shotgun. Lucy shouldered her rifle and drew a revolver from under her jacket. She vaulted into the window, and rooted through the wadded up jacket. Lucy produced a pay book from the breast pocket, “It says Kristin Clark.”

Evans stepped through the window, “Much more graceful than at the restaurant.” Evans raked his shotgun over the room and moved towards the door, “Clark? You in there?” He carefully opened the door.

The cylindrical barrel of a rifle was pointed in his face, “I’m not going back there. You can’t make me go back there.”

Putting his hands up, Evans backed away slowly. Lucy poked her head in and saw the rifle, “Really, the bolt flange is locked in the larboard position. You expect to shoot us like that? The Bolt will probably fly back and hit you in the face.” Clark turned her rifle to look at the bolt. Lucy quickly kicked the rifle to the side and knocked Clark to the ground, “Really Miss Clark? Larboard? Didn’t that sound a little made up?”

Shouldering his Shotgun, Evans walked back and picked up Clark’s jacket. He handed it back to her, “Might want to look for bits of glass.”

“You’ll have to drag me back there. I’m not going,” Clark sat up and crossed her arms.

Evans squatted down across from Clark, “You know, everyone feels this way. Hell, If I could, I’d be back in Seahaven with Anna right now. But if you run away, what’s going to happen? Either you get shot by the enemy because you’re a soldier, or you get shot by our army because you’re a deserter. If you stay around, there’s the chance you could survive this whole show.”

Lucy stroked her revolver, “Yeah, and we’ve already found you, and we need to report back to the Captain, so either you come with us and we say you got lost, or we drag you, the Captain borrows my revolver and puts one between your eyes. So put your jacket on, pick up your rifle, and let’s go back to the Company.”

Clark reluctantly put on her jacket and picked up the rifle. Lucy waved the revolver to tell Clark to take the lead out the door. Evans whispered to Lucy, “This is why Runners are usually combat vets.”

Nodding, Lucy ran outside and joined the fray.

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