Challenge

“Evans. Come here.”
Standing up, Evans crouch walked over to Lieutenant Kestel, who was kneeling behind a window, scanning into a periscope across the courtyard. He came alongside her and whispered, “Yes Ma’am?”
The Lieutenant quickly drew a diagram on some paper. It was a crude map of the courtyard. There were X’s and O’s on various parts of the map, “Here is our position, and here are the Boxers. Knnecappers are spread out all along the sides, so we can’t flank. Our ammunition is low and so is theirs. The only solution is a direct assault with knives and bayonets. In which case we would be butchered by their remaining machine gun. The same is true for the Boxers.”
“Should I get the Sergeants for orders?”
Shaking her head, Lieutenant Kestel put her hand on her sword, “I’m going to make sure we have only one casualty at most.” She gestured to one of the bedrooms, “Get a white sheet and tie it to the end of your rifle. Meet me at the entrance in a few minutes.”
Nodding, Evans moved to the bedroom and got to work. He felt a tinge of guilt ripping apart the nice sheets, knowing that someone had paid quite a bit of money for these. He fixed his bayonet and tied a small rectangular piece to it. He then went downstairs to the entrance.
The Lieutenant was talking with Sergeant Campbell. She finished up and walked over to Evans. Her 80 centimeter officer’s sword was in it’s scabbard on her left hip. She looked up at him, “Poke the flag out the door and prepare to move out on my command. When we leave, stay on my left, keep you’re rifle aimed vertically, and stay silent.”

“Yes Ma’am,” Evans approached the door and leaned the flag out. He waved it for several seconds to try and get the attention of the Vledscan’s. He half expected a rifle grenade land right next to him any moment now.

Instead, he heard a voice shout, “Come! We meet at the fountain!”

Lieutenant Kestel tapped him on the shoulder and started to march out. Evans matched her step, when he cleared the door, he leaned the rifle on his left shoulder and rested it on his hand. She stopped him at the fountain. In a few moments, a bookish looking officer wearing an eighty five centimeter small sword approached. He was accompanied by a younger officer carrying a white flag on a rifle. Evans wished he knew the Vledscan officer ranks. Lieutenant Kestel spoke to him, “Stand easy.”

Evans quickly slung his rifle. The elder Vledscan officer seemed to issue a similar order, because the younger officer slung his rifle and nervously scratched his face. Lieutenant Kestel stretched out her hand, “Lady Demetria of Medway, whom do I have the pleasure of acquainting myself with?”

The officer took her hand, “The pleasure is all mine. I am Baron Semyon of Kalach. Now I must say Lady Demetria, I had heard stories of your great beauty, and they did not give you nearly enough credit.”

She gave a quick curtsy, “Thank you Baron. And I believe I have met your sister, the Lady Maria. Another specimen of beauty.”

The Baron nodded, “Now, on to business. Why have you arranged this meeting with me here Lady Demetria?”

She gestured to the two buildings, “I think you will agree Baron, that we are in a bit of a stalemate here. The only way for my soldiers to take your position, is by a bloody bayonet charge. And from what I’ve observed, you share the option. We are both soldiers of honor, and cannot back down from a fight, but we should not needlessly throw away the lives of our young soldiers.” She rested her left hand on the hilt of her sword, “So I propose a duel. Tonight, at sundown, we shall fight here, in the courtyard. Whoever loses, their unit will fall back, reporting the death of their officer, allowing the advance of the others unit.”

The Baron shook his head, “I would, but it is against my ethics to strike a Lady.”

Nodding, the Lieutenant looked to Evans, “Lance Corporal, hit me.”

“Ma’am?”

“Hit me Lance Corporal, on the face.”

Evans hesitantly held out his hand towards the Lieutenant. At her nodding, he lightly hit her face. She then turned back to the Baron, “My honor has been affronted. Is it not your duty to fight the Lance Corporal?” Before the Baron had a chance to answer, she continued, “I suppose tonight, about sundown. I shall be his second,” She pulled out her knife, grabbed Evans’ hand, cut his palm, and slid it back into it’s sheath, “Oh well, it looks like Evans has injured himself and can’t fight. I suppose I will have to fight in his stead.”

The Baron nodded, “I see you have forced my hand. It will be a shame to kill someone as beautiful as you.” He knelt and kissed her hand. He straightened himself up, “I will order my men to stand down for the night. We can recover the dead and wounded. And perhaps, Lady Demetria, you will give me the honor of dining with you before our duel?”

The Lieutenant nodded, “I will Baron Semyon. I will meet you here one hour before sundown. My man will cook. When the meal is done, we shall bring out our soldiers, and one of us will leave. And I do agree about the parties.” She then pulled to attention, “Detail. Atten Shun!”

Evans snapped to attention.

“About…” Evans drew the semicircle with his right foot, “Turn!” On the command, Evans turned around, while switching the rifle to the other shoulder.

“Forward March.” Evans stepped off with his left foot.

After a few paces they neared the door, “Ready… Halt.”

Evans obliged.

“Fall Out And Wait For Me With Sergeant Campbell.”

Evans took a step backwards, “Yes Ma’am!” He about faced, then walked through the open door. Sergeant Campbell was standing in the corner with an eyebrow raised, “So how’d it go Evans?”

Looking around to make sure the Lieutenant was out of earshot, he whispered to the Sergeant, “She is insane. But at least she cares about us.”

“Yes. At least she does,” Sergeant Campbell nodded, “I just wish she would show us in ways that didn’t involve her attempting to get herself killed.”

“Do not worry lads,” the Lieutenant seemed to appear out of nowhere, “I am a better swordsman than the Baron by far.” She then waved the other Sergeants in, “Alright soldiers, we have a momentary truce with the Vledscan unit. So I want each team to collect bodies and wounded. Since Sergeant Campbell is the Senior Sergeant, he will organize the parties. Evans, I need you to prepare a meal for the Vledscan officer and me. You may have one other soldier to assist you. Everyone, at Sundown, I will be engaging in a duel to the death with the Vledscan officer, so I want our entire unit mustered in the courtyard ten minutes before. If I win said duel, the Vledscan unit will back down. If I lose the duel, you are to collect your belongings and pull back. All Good?”

The Sergeants and Evans nodded. Evans raised his hand, “Might I have Lance Corporal Tiscornia Ma’am?”

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Courtyard Push

The Company was getting ready to push for the courtyard. Evans looked at Sergeant Knowles gathering his rifle team. He then looked at the Lieutenant, “So what is going to happen to the Sergeant Ma’am?”

“Do not worry Evans. Once we take the Courtyard, he will die. I just need him for now. I’m reassigning Boswell under you as one of my runners. And for Lance Corporal Drummond…” She gestured to Evans’ rifle, “In the heat of battle, sometimes soldiers are accidental shot by their own side. I fear that in the chaos, poor Drummond might be killed. I accidentally dented his helmet while inspecting his platoon earlier. So…”

“Yes Ma’am,” Evans checked his rifle and got ready.

The Lieutenant pursed her lips, pulled up her whistle, and blew. The Company started to move out.

Evans walked alongside the Lieutenant, who was acting if this was an afternoon walk. She made idle conversation with Evans. It was obvious that she missed the more ‘refined’ company she was used to.

After about an hour, the Vledscan’s opened fire. Evans first moved the Lieutenant into cover. She seemed a bit annoyed that Evans pushed her down, and no doubt she would remove herself almost immediately. He then moved and looked for Drummond.

It was hard to find in the firefight, but eventually he saw the helmet that the Lieutenant had dented. He was unsure how exactly a dent that large could have been played off as an accident, but, that wasn’t the matter. Evans took aim with his rifle, pretending to aim for a window downrange, and pulled the trigger. Lance Corporal Drummond was knocked forward and collapsed. Evans yelled out, “Drummond’s been hit!” He then ran back to where he had put the Lieutenant. She was not there. Evans looked around the battlefield.

The Lieutenant was near the front, directing the fire of a few riflemen. A grenade landed near the group. One of the privates dived down it and closed his eyes. Nothing happened. He stood up, tossed the grenade away, and smiled. Evans ran forward and waved for the private to get down. The private was knocked over. Evans dove and crawled to the Private.

The Private stared at him and yelled, “I think I’m lucky today!”

Evans looked at the soldiers helmet, it was slightly too large, and a bullet had passed through the extra space.

Slowly the fire petered out. Evans ran forward to the Lieutenant, “Are you alright Ma’am?”

“I am fine Evans,” She looked over towards Third Platoon, “Anything happen?”

Evans nodded, “I saw a Lance Corporal get hit.”

She smiled, “Damn. Now, quickly check for casualties and then send a runner back to report our losses.”

“Yes Ma’am,” Evans ran from Sergeant to Sergeant, getting each count. Light casualties. Good. He then tracked down Boswell, “Private!” He wrote the casualty numbers on a piece of paper and handed them to her, “Run this back to the Lieutenant Colonel.”

“Yes Lance Corporal,” Boswell grabbed the note and ran.

Tiscornia walked up to Evans, “You’re growing up so fast. When I first met you, you were a little kid. Now, you’re a Lance, with people who do errands for him, and you’re married and expecting a child.” Tiscornia extended his arms to hug him.

Evans cocked his eyebrows and laughed, “That was… like… four months ago.”

“Me and Mom are so proud of you.”

“Wait, is Giuliano Mom?” Evans looked at the Company, starting to get together.

Tiscornia shook his head, “Ew, no, Chilly is the Mom. Why would Giuliano be the Mom?”

“Because you two are inseparable, and obviously dating.”

“Shh… I she doesn’t know I’m into her,” Tiscornia jokingly looked back and forth.

“Right. So you were just platonically kissing her while on watch the other day.”

Nodding, Tiscornia responded, “I was um… helping her… She had something stuck in her teeth, so I was finding it… with my tongue. Because I’m helpful. That sounds like a real thing. I’ll go with that.”

“Great. That definitely sounds real.”

Grabbing Evans’ shoulders, Tiscornia shouted at him, “Wait! I remember why I’m talking to you!” Tiscornia took a step back, “Chilly wants you to tell Lieutenant Kestel that our team is running low on ammunition. About twenty rounds per person.”

“Right,” Evans nodded, waved goodbye, and ran back to the Lieutenant. She was talking with the Sergeant Major, so he stood at parade rest and stared at her.

Eventually, the Sergeant Major left, and Evans approached the Lieutenant, “Ma’am, Sergeant Chilcott’s team is running low on ammunition.”

She nodded, “I’ve been getting news from the other Sergeant’s to that effect. I need you to run back to the Lieutenant Colonel and request more ammunition.”

“Yes Ma’am,” Evans turned about and sprinted back towards Battalion headquarters. He tried to remember which streets Battalion Headquarters was on today. A horseman rode by, Evans flagged him down.

The man, a Corporal, rode over and pulled up next to Evans, “What do ya need Lance?”

“I’m looking for the 2nd Battalion Headquarters of the 202nd.”

“No shit!” The man dismounted, “Are you with Fox?”

“Yes Corp.”

“Right, I was sent in advance of your runner Boswell. You need to advance fast, Intel reports that a Vledscan unit is advancing to the courtyard you are pushing to.”

“We need Ammunition.”

The Corporal shook his head, “You’ll get resupplied once you take the Courtyard.” He handed Evans a bag, “Green Flare when you take it. Red Flare if you fail.”

Evans looked in the bag. Two green and two red. He ran back to the Lieutenant, “Ma’am! No ammo until we take the courtyard.”

“Well, I guess we will have to take it fast then,” She drew her sword and pointed towards the courtyard, “Tell the Sergeant’s to pool their ammunition, and get ready to push forward.”

“Yes Ma’am.”

Boswell

It was the First of November. Two days since the Lieutenant Kestel had taken over command of the company. They had pushed forward with little resistance to their present position and set up in two buildings. They then stayed in position awaiting orders.

Evans was sitting in the makeshift company headquarters with his feet on the desk. The Lieutenant was sleeping quietly in the corner on a mattress Evans had moved in. She looked weird in sleep. Instead of her normal, slightly crazy, war enthused self, she looked peaceful and happy. Evans would have called it cute if that wasn’t a completely inappropriate thing to call someone of her stature.

He shook his head. He was way too tired. One more hour and he could sleep. Just one more…

There was a loud knock on the door. Evans snapped awake and opened the door. An unfamiliar Private was standing at the door, smiling holding out a letter. Evans grabbed the letter, “Is this for Lieutenant Kestel?”

Nodding, the Private pushed past Evans, “Yes, is she in here?” She looked at the Lieutenant, smiled, and bounced up and down, “She is so pretty! Can I have like a little bit of her hair?”

Evans shook his head, “No, that’s weird. Why would you want that.”

“Can I touch her?” The Private stepped closer to the Lieutenant, and Evans stepped in between the two.

“No. Don’t touch her. Seriously, go away.”

The Lieutenant sat up, “Evans, is that you?”

“Yes Lieutenant,” Evans opened up the letter, “We have orders from Lieutenant Colonel Strummer.”

The Private bounced up some more, “And I’m Private Harper!” She pulled a piece of paper out of her pocket, “Can I have your autograph Lady Demetria?”

The Lieutenant ignored Private Harper and grabbed the letter from Evans. She quickly scanned the letter, “Evans, assemble the Sergeants.”

“Yes Ma’am,” Evans left the room and shook his head. He quickly roused the four Sergeants in the current building and went to the exit door to rouse the next three and the Sergeant Major. Evans hooked his helmet onto his rifle and slowly pushed it out of the door. Nothing. He put his helmet back on and sprinted across. He slammed against the wall and knocked on the door, “Lance Evans Open Up.”

The door opened and Evans rolled in, looked at the Private, “Nice to see you again Wesley, Can you tell Sergeant’s Howard and Stark to report to the Lieutenant?”

She nodded and ran upstairs. Evans then walked to the Sergeant Major’s office and knocked on the door. In a few moments a private answered the door, “What do you need?”

“The Sergeant Major needs to meet with the Lieutenant as soon as possible,” Evans waited until the Private turned to wake the Sergeant Major before he ran to the stairwell. Fifth floor was Sergeant… something Damn. Evans should really know his name.

Evans got out onto the second floor and looked around. A Lance Corporal was drumming on his legs.

“Hey, where’s your Sergeant?”

The Lance Corporal nervously looked around, “He’s ah… Giving specialized instruction to one of the privates.”

“I didn’t ask what he was doing, where is he?”

“I’ll get him,” The Lance Corporal walked to the stairs. Evans followed a few steps behind. They went up to the sixth floor, then the Lance Corporal knocked in an odd pattern. There was some clattering in the room, and Evans thought he heard a woman crying.

The door opened a crack and a Sergeant slid out, glistening with sweat. He swore and quickly did his belt and fly. When he saw Evans, he quickly snapped at the Lance Corporal, “What the Hell is he doing here?”

“Se… Sergeant…” Evans stuttered, “The uh… Lieutenant wants all Sergeants to meet at her office.”

The Sergeant muttered, “I hate that bitch.” He then looked back at Evans, “Now, what the hell are you still doing here?”

Evans nodded, “I’ll, uh… go wake the other Sergeants.” Evans ran to the stairwell. He paused a moment. Why had he said that? Evans ran part way up to the seventh floor and laid himself as flat as he could in the shadows. It was uncomfortable. This was really dumb.

After about a minute, the Sergeant and Lance Corporal walked down the stairs. The Lance exited on floor five, but Evans had to wait while the Sergeant plodded all the way to the ground floor. Once the stairwell was silent, Evans snuck back onto the sixth floor. He slowly approached the door and put his hand on the doorknob, twisted it, and slowly pushed it open. He heard someone softly cry “No.”

Evans pulled out his lighter and lit his candle to illuminate the dark room, “Whose there?” His eyes slowly adjusted and he saw.

All the windows in the room had been blocked out. Most of the furniture had been moved to the walls, and, in the center, was a cot. A Private was sitting there, who had been in the midst of dressing herself when Evans came in. Evans quickly averted his eyes and whispered, “Sorry… Private. Are you alright?”

More crying. “No.”

“What’s the Sergeant been up to?”

There was a long pause.

“They’ll kill me if I tell.”

Evans didn’t know what to do. He shrugged, “I’ll protect you. Give me their names.”

“S… Sergeant Knowles. And… And… Lance Corporal Drummond.”

“Are you decent yet?”

“I am, Lance… What’s your name?”

“Jim Evans,” he slowly turned around, transfered the candle to his left hand and extended his right, “And you?”

“Madelyn Boswell,” She grabbed his hand and pulled herself up. She seemed cold and clammy. Evans then waved her to follow him downstairs, to the first floor.

Wesley was standing at the entrance, and she waved at him, “I sent the Sergeants through, Sergeant Knowles passed me, and the Sergeant Major’s office is empty except for Joe.”

Evans nodded, “Good. Now,” He gestured back at Boswell, “This is Boswell from Third. I want her to join you on guard duty for the moment… Do you know Lance Corporal Drummond?”

Wesley thought to herself, “Tall, blond, little mustache” She smiled a bit, “Kind of cute?”

Evans looked back towards the stairs, “If He or Sergeant Knowles come by, find a place for Boswell to hide. And you didn’t see her if they ask. Once Knowles does go back upstairs, bring her across the street to the Lieutenant’s office.” Before Wesley could respond, Evans opened the door and sprinted across the street. He slipped into the door and walked to the back of the crowd of Sergeants. The Lieutenant saw him and gestured for him to head back to the office. He nodded, walked past the group, and entered the office.

Evans sat impatiently and waited for the Lieutenant to come in. She threw a notepad onto his desk, “Evans, I need you to copy this down and get it run down to the Lieutenant Colonel.” She started back to her bed, “We move out at dawn.”

“Ma’am… Wait…”

The Lieutenant turned around and raised her eyebrow, “Yes Evans?”

“There is an issue with Sergeant Knowles,” Evans heard a knock on the door, “I think that might be about this.”

Evans opened the door, Boswell was standing there, shrouded in a blanket, and Wesley was standing next to her. Evans ushered Boswell in. He stepped outside, leaned in, and looked at the Lieutenant, “I’ll leave you two to discuss.” He then shut the door.

“So what is going on with her, Knowles, and Drummond?” Wesley cocked her head at Evans.

He pointed across the street, “Shouldn’t you be getting back to your post Private?”

“Nah,” She shook her head, “I got off duty a few minutes ago.”

The Lady in Charge

The ground in front of Evans exploded and Evans was thrown to the ground. He saw Captain Simmons waving his arms, yelling something inaudibly. Evans felt someone grab his shoulders and start dragging him. It was Clark, the Lieutenant’s runner. She started to smile at him when a bullet ripped through her neck and the blood started pouring out. She dropped Evans and grabbed at her neck, before a bullet ripped through her skull, ending her life.

The body fell quickly. Evans got up, grabbed Clark’s rifle, and ran to the side of the road, behind cover. Sergeant Gabriel pointed towards a destroyed car about a hundred meters down the road and patted Evans’ rifle grenade pouch.

Nodding, Evans loaded a rifle grenade and waited for the Sergeant to lay down suppressing fire. Then Evans took to a kneel, adjusted his aim, and fired the grenade right behind the car. Evans then ducked back down and looked to the Sergeant, who signaled for him to keep firing his rifle downrange.

Eventually, a smoke grenade was thrown between the Ethslin and Vledscan positions, and the billowing smoke obscured the view. The Captain ran down the line holding up his pointer finger and gesturing to a side alleyway. Taking the signal, First Platoon quickly moved up towards the alleyway. Running back, Captain Simmons pointed his fist at the Vledscan position with one hand, and switching between a two and a three with the other.

Captain Simmons attempted to take cover again while Second and Third platoons opened fire, but a stray Vledscan bullet slammed into his shoulder, turning him around like a top. Evans shouldered his rifle and ran to get the Captain into cover. Once the smoke cleared, the Vledscans would take the chance to kill a wounded officer.

Evans knelt behind the Captain and started to drag him to the side of the road. He saw Lieutenant Claybrooks from Third Platoon run out to take command and focus fire as the smoke started to dissipate. Evans then looked down at the Captain once they got behind cover. The Captain looked up, “Thanks Evans.” He then passed out.

Nodding, Evans reached into the Captain’s jacket, pulled out some dressing, and applied it to the wound. When he was finished started firing downrange. He saw a rifle grenade soar over, collide with Lieutenant Claybrooks’ haversack, and she ceased to exist. Evans then heard a machine gun open up to the right.

Lieutenant Kestel took over. She grabbed the rifle off of a dead soldier and one of his rifle grenades. Then, with careful aim, she fired it into an abandoned grain truck, partially obscuring the enemy position. She then ordered a salvo of rifle grenades, drew her sword, and gave the command to charge. Evans drew his bayonet, fixed it, and started running forward.

As the dust settled, a surviving Vledscan officer started to rally his men to resist the attack. They didn’t have time to set up a machine gun before Fox Company struck.

Leaping over a machine gun nest, Lieutenant Kestel hacked down with her sword into the neck of a soldier. Evans jumped next to her and skewered a soldier in the stomach. The Lieutenant chopped into another man, looked at Evans, and grinned. The firefight was over, and the surviving Vledscan soldiers surrendered.

Evans looked towards the alleyway where First Platoon had gone. A machine gun had been set up facing straight down the alleyway. A few survivors from First Platoon came out of the alleyway, stunned.

The Lieutenant was looking around, and, not seeing Clark, pointed at Evans, “Go to find Lieutenant Woodward. He needs to take command of the company.”

Evans nodded and jogged to the survivors of First Platoon, “Is Lieutenant Woodward alive?”

The Sergeant wiped the blood from his face and looked past Evans, “Maybe… It was charnel house back there. Evans nodded and walked into the alleyway, looking for the Lieutenant.

Most of First Platoon lay dead and dying in the alleyway. Evans picked his way through the bodies, looking for Lieutenant Woodward.

Eventually, he saw the officer’s body lying face down on top of a private. Evans rolled the body over, and half his face was missing. There was a whimper from the private. Evans knelt down and helped the soldier up. She was covered in blood, but otherwise, unharmed.

The Private looked at him and started bawling. Evans tried to comfort her, “It’s alright Private. We beat them. Now what’s your name?”

Trying to compose herself, the soldier responded, “I’m… I’m… Private Emily Wesley,” She looked down at the Lieutenant, “He fell on me… Knocked me to… And I just stayed there. I didn’t try and fight I just hid.”

Evans gave her an awkward hug, “Wesley, your not in the army to die. Look around you. If you had gotten up, you would have been cut down. All that you could have accomplished would be providing a fleshy place for a few bullets to rest… Is this your first show Wesley?”

She nodded.

“Just stay down, keep your rifle loaded, follow your orders, and you might get out of this. Now, if in a week, you still want to go home, talk to me. I might be able to give you some advice… And I’m Evans,” He let go, bent down, picked up a rifle, and handed it to her, “You should report to your… Someone in your chain of command. Or a Sergeant in your platoon.” He turned around and jogged out of the blood soaked alleyway.

Stopping for a moment, Evans wiped some of the blood off of his clothes and walked to the Lieutenant, “Ma’am, Lieutenant Woodward was killed in the alleyway, along with most of First.”

Lieutenant Kestel nodded, “Evans, Clark is dead, and I need a new runner. You are it. First things first, find out how many members of First Platoon are still active.”

Evans nodded and ran back to the Sergeant he had seen earlier, “Sergeant! The Lieutenant wants to know how many soldiers are in your platoon.”

The Sergeant nodded slowly and then shouted, “First Platoon, on me!”

A half dozen soldiers worked their way over. One Lance Corporal and Five privates. Wesley had wiped some of the blood off of herself. The Sergeant shrugged, “This is it Lance.”

Evans nodded and went back to the Lieutenant, “Seven Ma’am, a Sergeant, two Lance Corporals and five Privates.”

“Right,” She drummed her leg, “Run back to Colonel Strummer, Request a company to recover our wounded, and tell her we will be moving forward with two full strength platoons. Take a Private with you just in case.”

“Yes Ma’am,” Evans walked towards the survivors of First. Maybe a few minutes off the line would help Wesley. He waved to the Private, “Wesley!”

She looked over, “Yes Lance Corporal?”

“I need you with me to deliver a message. Lieutenant’s orders.”

“Yes Lance Corporal,” She looked towards First Platoon’s Sergeant, “Sergeant Howard… The Lady needs me.”

“Don’t die.”

“Alright, let’s move,” Evans pointed to the rear of the unit, “We need to update Colonel Strummer.” He started to jog back towards the rest of the battalion.

“Yes Lance Corporal,” She started to jog after him.

“So Private, did you call Lieutenant Kestel, ‘The Lady’?”

“That’s what everyone calls her… She is a Lady.”

“No one in Second says that. We just call her Lieutenant Kestel.”

Evans saw Wesley smile for the first time, “I like calling her the Lady. It makes me feel like someone important. Plus she’s so fabulous. I saw her in normal clothes when my train arrived. Her dress was so beautiful.”

The Battalion came into view, Evans pointed, “Let’s find the Lieutenant Colonel.”

The pair worked their way through the crowd until they found an officer. Evans saluted, “Sir! We have been ordered to report to the Lieutenant Colonel.”

The officer looked at Wesley’s bloody uniform, “She is over there.” The officer pointed behind him.

Evans and Wesley walked to the Lieutenant Colonel. She was holding a mug of coffee in her left hand, sipping it. Evans and Wesley Saluted. Lieutenant Colonel Strummer returned the salute, “News from Fox Company?”

Nodding, Evans responded, “Lieutenant Kestel is requesting a company to deal with the wounded. She also reports that she will continue moving forward with two full platoons.”

There was a crash as Colonel Strummer dropped her mug, “The Hell? What the Fucking Hell happened to Fox Company. Why is the junior Lieutenant in charge, and why are there only two platoons.”

“We were ambushed Colonel. Captain Simmons ordered First Platoon on a flanking maneuver. The Captain got hit. Lieutenant Claybrooks took command, and was immediately killed by a rifle grenade. First Platoon was then hit with a machine gun…”

Wesley spoke up, “Several Grenades as well Ma’am.”

“Lieutenant Kestel then took command. She ordered a charge across the ground and we took the Vledscan position.” Evans paused, “This is when we found out about first platoon. Seven of them uninjured. Lieutenant Woodward was killed by the machine gun.”

“Shit,” Colonel Strummer punched a wall, “Tell her that we will mobilize Eagle, and to push forward. She has the company.”

“Yes Ma’am,” Evans and Wesley saluted, did an about turn, and ran back to the company.