The party was gathered at the end of the sap. Captain Kestel was looking at her watch. Evans looked at the pistol in his left hand. He slid it back into its holster and hefted the trench club. Hopefully he wouldn’t have to use either. He felt a tap on his shoulder. He looked up and Captain Kestel nodded. He turned around and tapped Corporal Giuliano on the shoulder. She turned and continued the chain.
Shells started to rain down on the Vledscan line. Three quarters explosive, the rest smoke. Distracting machine gun fire opened up to the right, hopefully drawing the attention of any Vledscan soldiers on watch. Two flares went up a bit further down the line to add to the confusion
The Captain then disappeared over the edge of the sap. Evans quickly followed. Slowly the party worked their way towards the bunker, dashing from shell hole to shell hole. They got halfway there when the Captain stopped. She looked back and whispered, “Long flat up ahead. About ten meters. Evans first, Lewis second, Tiscornia third, Giuliano fourth, Riley Fifth. The rest of us will stay here and provide fire if need be. You have all the equipment, so you should be able to set the charges in place. Move.”
Taking a deep breath, Evans drew his pistol. He wasn’t really sure why. It wouldn’t help him in any way. He scrambled over the top and sprinted as fast as he could. He dove down and took a deep breath. Lewis dropped in behind him with the bag of explosives. Tiscornia came across with the wire and smiled. There was a burst of machine gun fire and Giuliano tumbled in.
Tiscornia’s eyes widened, “Marie? Marie?”
“Ow. That hurt a bit.” Giuliano stared blankly at the stars
Riley dove in next with the blasting machine, “Oh shit.”
Lewis started to pat down Giuliano, “She’s hit in the chest. Very Bad.”
“She’ll be alright?” Tiscornia leaned next to Lewis.
“I do not know.”
“Dom?” Giuliano stared through Tiscornia, “I love you.”
Tiscornia snapped, “Lewis, you’re a pastor. Can you marry us?”
“Marie, will you marry me?”
“Of course. You might be a widow soon though.”
Lewis looked at the two, “I can do this quickly. Riley, can you try and patch up the Corporal?”
“Alright Pastor,” Riley put down the machine and started to apply gauze to Giuliano’s wounds.
“Lance Corporal. I mean Dominic. Do you take this woman to be your wife?”
“Marie, do you take this man to be your husband?”
“I know pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride.”
Tiscornia bent over and kissed Giuliano. He then grabbed the bag of explosives and plugged one end of the wire in. With a quick motion, he drew the pistol from Giuliano’s holster, “I’ll be borrowing this honey.”
Hefting the bag, he rolled over the top.
There was a beat.
“Oh Fuck,” Evans poked his head over the edge of the shellhole. Tiscornia was running as fast as he could while trailing the wire behind him. Evans saw the Tiscornia disappear into the bunker and heard four muffled gunshots.
A few seconds later, Tiscornia emerged from the bunker and sprinted low. He tumbled over as a bullet caught him in the leg. Tiscornia then dragged himself slowly towards the shellhole and rolled in. He looked at Giuliano, “You’re right, bullets hurt.”
Giuliano coughed, “I told you so. Riley. Do it quickly.”
Riley nodded and connected the end of the wire to the blasting machine. She raised up the plunger and slammed it back down. An explosion ripped through the air.
Evans poked his head back up. The bunker had been ripped apart. Machine guns from both sides started to strafe back and forth over the bunker.
Giuliano spoke up, her voice slowly getting softer, “Riley and Lewis, Help Dom run along. Evans, I am afraid that I can’t really walk right now, so can you carry me?”
“Right. Riley and Lewis, move out now. Evans and I will join you in a moment.”
The two Privates nodded and put Tiscornia’s arms over their shoulders and ran across. The machine guns didn’t seem to notice them. Evans bent down to pick up Giuliano. The warmth of her blood was somewhat of a surprise to Evans as it trickled down the back of his neck. He then stumbled as fast as he could towards the shellhole the Captain was in. He slid into the hole and looked around.
Rifle grenades started to fall nearby. Captain Kestel drew her pistol, “I’ll provide cover with my pistol. Fall back to the sap. I’ll come back once this fire dies down.”
Evans put the Corporal down slowly, “Ma’am. I should stay with you.”
“If you insist James. Nazarri, take the Corporal with you,” She shrugged, and pulled a cylinder out of her greatcoat, “I’ve got one smoke. Evans, want to toss it?”
“Yes Ma’am,” Evans grabbed the grenade and pulled the pin. He ran up the edge of the shellhole and threw it onto what looked like an open flat. It shot out and slowly billowed. He waited for the rifle team to leave and then pulled his pistol and fired it wildly towards the Vledscan line. The Captain joined him and they fired until empty. The machine guns focused on the pair, while the rifle team escaped unmolested.
Three white flairs went up and rifle grenades started to rain down. The Captain and Evans slid down to the bottom of the shellhole and waited. After about an hour, the fire died down. The Captain looked at Evans, “Shall we?”
“Alright Cap. To the sap?”
“To the sap,” She climbed to the edge, “Last one there is a rotten egg.” She then vaulted over and started sprinting. Evans followed a few seconds later and ran as fast as he could machine gun fire started to whiz past. Shrugging, he drew his pistol and fired blindly as he ran. A bullet slammed into the pistol and shot it out of his hand. “Holy Fuck!” He kept running. He eventually slid into the sap moments after the Captain. He stared at her and burst out laughing, “Shit that was a rush. I did lose the pistol though.”
The Captain put on a serious face, “You dare use that language in the presence of a Lady?” She laughed, “Let us head back James.”
“Yeah, le…” Evans paused and listened, there was a whistle. Evans knocked the Captain to the ground and attempted to cover her with his body as much as possible. The shell burst and Evans felt a few impacts onto his back. He patted his back, feeling where shrapnel had embedded in his haversack. He looked into the Captain’s face, her eyes, which were centimeters from his, twinkling under the light of the flares. He whispered, “You alright Captain?”
She smiled, “No, there is this guy on top of me and he’s really heavy.” The Captain laughed, “Also, I think you pushed me onto some barbed wire.”
“Sorry Cap,” He nodded towards the newly formed shell hole, “That was one of ours that fell short. We should wait a bit in case they haven’t adjusted their range.”
The Captain looked at him, accidentally hitting his nose with hers, “Can you move then James?”
“I’d rather have a shell hit you than me Cap. All the other Orderlies will make fun of me if I get you killed,” He bit the air in front of her face, “Ooh, if I kill you, will I become a Duke?”
“Ugh, You should know this. One, I am not the Duchess yet, and two, if I was, that is not how titles pass down. Think, if I killed you, would I become a poor peasant farmer?”
“Damn, it would have been a cool surprise for Anna, ‘Hey Honey, I’m home on leave, also, I am now the Duke of Medway.’”
Another Ethslin shell burst nearby. The Captain craned her head back to see where it hit, “Back in the good old days, I could have you beheaded for all this. You tackled me, you refused to let me up, and now this talk of assassination. Actually, I might be able to get you executed if I really push it.”
Evans shrugged, “I think they’re done Ma’am. Let’s scram.”