Lieutenant Ricci dropped the magazine and fished around in her skirt pocket. Three measly rounds. She ducked down behind the wall and loaded them into a magazine. This was the end. A platoon of riflemen, all coming for her. She slammed the magazine in, took a deep breath.
A loud staccato pierced the air. She heard the clop of hooves. She looked to the right. A lone horseman appeared through the fog. He reared next to her and looked down, “Evening Ma’am,” The horseman fired off another burst, “Do you know how to ride side saddle?”
” Um…” Lieutenant Ricci holstered her pistol, grabbed on the saddle and hoisted herself up. She put one arm around the horseman and held on. The horseman spurred the horse and cantered out. He drew a pistol and fired a few rounds downrange.
After they moved out of range of the platoon, the horseman slowed the horse to a canter and angled his head back towards Lieutenant Ricci, “I’m Private Evans Ma’am. 202nd Infantry. And whom might be?”
“I am Lieutenant Ricci. Staff Officer. As you can see by my skirt,” Lieutenant Ricci swished her skirt a bit with her left hand and tried to look through the fog. She could barely see down the block, “Where are you headed Mister Evans?”
“I was sent to hook up with the 401st Ma’am,” Evans slowed the horse to a trot and started to look around, “I’ve been lost for about a day now. The lines have been changing too fast. We should probably find some place to hide Felicity and sleep for the night.” Evans stroked the horses mane.
He pulled the reigns back and looked back at the Lieutenant, “You want to hop down Ma’am? I think this house looks promising.”
The Lieutenant slid down and drew her pistol, and thumbed the hammer. She turned to Private Evans, “You have any extra magazines for the Benett?”
Evans had dismounted Felicity and was tying the reigns to a fence post. When he finished, Evans reached into one of his magazine pouches and pulled out two. Handing them to Lieutenant Ricci, he swung his Blaire Auto Gun out in front of him. He checked the magazine and moved to the door. He turned the knob and threw it open. He waited a few seconds, took a deep breath, and burst in to the room and swept the muzzle around. Nothing. He waved Lieutenant Ricci in. The two cleared the bottom two floors.
The Lieutenant looked at Evans after they finished the two floors, “It doesn’t seem like anyones been here in a while. We can check the rest after you hide your horse.”
Evans nodded and moved downstairs, “So what is a staff officer doing out here?”
Lieutenant Ricci shrugged, “As you said, lines change. I was an Intel officer for a staff headquarters, when an attack hit. The unit I was attached to held them off. When the unit fell back, I had to stay behind to destroy all our code books and the radios. By the time I finished they had taken over the position and I had to hide in a dresser.”
“Ah,” Evans pulled open the front door with his left hand and aimed his Auto Gun with his right. He gestured for the Lieutenant to move outside. She obliged and he followed soon after. He set up a firing position next to Felicity while the Lieutenant untied her from the fence post.
The Lieutenant moved into an alleyway and around the back of a building. A few seconds later, she ran back out. Evans nodded and moved back indoors. Lieutenant Ricci followed him and locked the door behind them. The Lieutenant looked around at the dusty entry room, “We should try and find something to eat and a place we can sleep tonight.”
“Right Ma’am,” Evans shouldered his Blaire Auto Gun and moved ahead, “I think I saw a kitchen this way, why don’t we check for food there.
The kitchen was small, only a few cupboards next to a coal fired stove. Evans started rooting through the cupboards. He paused a moment to put his Auto Gun on the counter. After a few seconds of rooting, he had a small collection of cans on the table and a few candles. He opened a few up and prepared a rudimentary dinner.
For dinner, the two had chosen an inner room of the house, so the passing patrols couldn’t see the candlelight. It was quiet for a few minutes while Lieutenant Ricci scarfed down the food, she hadn’t eaten for days. After she had eaten her fill, she started talking, “So Private Evans, you’re married?”
“Yeah,” Evans played with his ring and smiled, “Anna’s pregnant with our first child back in Seahaven. She moved out there because the 202nd was spending a lot of time at White Beach, and as soon as we get the apartment, bam. Vledscan’s pull back and the 202nd is sent to Urbs.” He reached into his breast pocket, pulled out a photograph, and passed it to the Lieutenant, “Here’s a photograph.”
Lieutenant Ricci looked at the small pocket sized photograph of a young woman in a dress smiling at the camera. She looked up at Evans, “Anna is quite beautiful Private.”
Evans smiled a bit more, “Yeah, I can’t wait to go home and see her again. How about you Lieutenant? Anyone in your life?”
The Lieutenant took a drink from her canteen, “No… I had thing, but he left me when I joined up.” She then reached into her coat pocket and pulled out a flask and took a sip, “He wanted me to keep my current job instead of joining up. But you know what, I am glad.” She shook her head, “Sorry, it’s just that… I don’t know.”
Taking a quick swig from the flask, Lieutenant Ricci pulled a pad of paper from her skirt pocket. She then pulled a pencil out of her jacket’s breast pocket. She looked up and Evans, “So, about tonight. I haven’t slept in days, so you’ll take the first watch. Now until one. I’ll take one to five. We can have breakfast. We should wait throughout the day and move out at night. I’ll want you to take a look around from the roof of this building.”
Lieutenant Ricci offered the flask to Evans, who declined. She shrugged, took it back, and moved to the corner of the room, where she curled up to sleep, using her jacket and helmet as a pillow. Evans picked up the picture of Anna and leaned back in his chair, with his Auto Gun on his lap. Every half hour or so he took a walk around the building, staying low around windows. There were no patrols that he could see. He found a blanket on one of his walks around the house and draped it over the Lieutenant.
Eventually, one finally arrived. He tapped the Lieutenant on the shoulder, “Lieutenant, time for your watch Ma’am.”
Yawning, Lieutenant Ricci brought up her hand to wipe her face. She sat up, pulled on her jacket, and put her helmet on. She pushed the blanket off of her. She held out her hand towards Evans.
Evans grabbed her hand and pulled her up. Evans slung the Auto Gun and saluted, “Ma’am request permission to go to sleep.”
Returning the salute, Lieutenant Ricci responded, “Yes Private, I’ll take the Auto Gun as well.” She reached out and grabbed the Auto Gun from Evans.
Evans shrugged and pulled off his jacket and helmet. He packed them together to use as his pillow, pulled the blanket up, and went to sleep.