McGilligan’s Vignette

“McGilligan, You’re Up!” Evans shouted down from the bell tower, “Building Three!”

McGilligan checked her scarf, grabbed her rifle, turned to Nivelle and Howe, and said, “Stay low, ten meter spacing, follow me, and don’t die.”

She ran out the south door of the building. Shells were falling all around her.  And she was in the open. Just like Second Tsiv. Smithie. No. She can’t think of that now. Just on the battle.

She got to Building Three. It was one of the 127th’s buildings. She ran in through the back door, “Reinforcements!”

A Soldier poked his head down, “Sending down the ladder!”

The team then scrambled up the ladder.

After… who knows long of fighting, someone shouted over, “Armored Vehicle Broke Through Artillery Screen!”

McGilligan turned to the Sergeant, “I’ll get rid of it. Just give me a bucket of grenades and covering fire.”

“Alright… What’s your name?”

“Catherine McGilligan.”

“Good Luck.”

McGilligan smiled, nodded, pulled out the cloth bucket tucked in her belt, and went from soldier to soldier collecting grenades. Once she got a nice bucket full, she dropped her whole kit. She grabbed her shovel and the bucket and jumped out a back window to the ground floor and waited for the covering fire to start.

Once the fire started, McGilligan ran out. Only 30 meters to the vehicle. That’s like a 5 second sprint. The machine guns on the vehicle were attached to the sides, so if she ran to the center, the guns shouldn’t be able to hit her. With the bucket in her left hand, her shovel held in her right like a sword, she charged towards the vehicle, screaming, “FOR ETHSLIN!”

The bullets danced around her. Shrapnel was whizzing past her head. With a leap, she landed on the front of the vehicle. She took her shovel and pried open the hatch. A Vledscan cavalryman climbed out and clubbed her with the butt of his pistol. As she fell backwards, she dropped the bucket of grenades and hugged the cavalryman. The two tumbled off the armored vehicle. When they hit the ground, the impact forced the cavalryman to release the pistol. She looked at his face. Even through the rage, she could tell he was a handsome man. He was strong, muscular. In the midst of her fantasy, she kneed the cavalryman in the groin. While he winced, she opened her mouth, chomped down on the cavalryman’s nose, that beautiful nose, and ripped it off. The rage turned to horror. The cavalryman was paralyzed with fear, so she let go with her left hand, reached for her pocket knife, and drove it through the back of the cavalryman’s neck.

She dumped the lifeless body off of her and quickly collected the grenades. Hopefully no one else would come out of the vehicle. She clambered back up, pulled the pin on one, dropped the bucket in and ran.

When she got the the building, she ducked in and climbed the ladder dropped down for her. The Sergeant smiled at her, “Good Fucking Job kid.”

She nodded, moved to speak, realized she still had the nose in her mouth, and spat it on the floor. “Thanks Sergeant.”

Advertisements

Battle Commences

Evans crawled back and got in the truck, “Let’s get the hell out of here.”

“Language,” Tiscornia put the truck in drive and started towards the town.

“What?”

“Those newspaper serials don’t have swearing. You were disciplining some soldiers once and used the word ‘goofuses.’”

“So I can sleep my way through the entire officer corps, but no swearing?”

“Well we can’t possibly have children reading words like ‘fuck’ when their reading about some good wholesome sex and violence.”

There was the report of several artillery guns firing.

“Well this should be fun.”

The shells screeched overhead and impacted on the hill, ripping into the head of the Vledscan column. By this time the guns were firing their second salvo. A few Vledscan infantrymen had started firing at Evans and Tiscornia’s truck.

“Anna’s gonna fucking kill me if we get killed.”

“Well I’ll try not to crash too hard,” Tiscornia twisted the wheel, flipping the truck on its side, sliding it across the road, ending at a stop in line with the buildings perpendicular to the road.

A few seconds passed before Evans could climb out of the truck. He stumbled and vomited. Tiscornia followed momentarily. Evans looked at him, “I can’t believe that fucking worked.”

“I think I broke a rib.”

“Well we can check back at the church.”

Tiscornia nodded and the two started jogging back to the church, hopefully getting there before the Vledscan shells started coming in. There was already plenty of outgoing fire, and hopefully Corporal Johnson and Ollie were going to take out any observers on the hill.

It felt like an eternity, but Evans and Tiscornia made it back to the church. Evans pulled a cigarette out from his jacket, lit it, and took a puff. He looked at his squad, “Ready for some fun?”

The first Vledscan shells started to hit the town. Evans grabbed the rifle he had leaned up against the wall, slung it over his shoulder, and walked to the ladder for the church tower, and shouted up, “Good To Come Up?”

Ollie shouted down, “Go Ahead Sergeant.”

Evans climbed up the ladder and looked around. The Vledscan forces were arraying themselves on the hill. Johnson was firing shots off at the officers to slow down the organization.

If all went well, Evans would only have to observe the battle from above.

Hostile Contact

There was a hill on the Southeast side of town. Evans had parked the truck just behind it and set himself up with binoculars in a bush. Captain Gates ordered him to set up there and wait for contact. Tiscornia was sitting in the truck, ready to make a fast getaway. They were to wait until the Vledscan column started going up the hill and drive as fast as they could back to town. Major Sutcliffe’s observer would then call down a fire mission to the artillery, shelling the oncoming Vledscan column. There was a partially completed barricade in the main road to town. Driving the truck at high speeds, Evans and Tiscornia would complete the barricade, report to Captain Gates about the strength of the Vledscans, then run to the church.

“Evans!” Tiscornia shouted from the truck, “See anything fun?”

“Nothing yet. Some smoke on the horizon so probably soon.”

“So, is this the end of the unkillable Sergeant Evans. Will the Vledscan foe finally defeat our intrepid hero?”

“What?” Evans took a quick glance back.

“I got a package from Zwev right before we left. It’s a surprise for you. It’s a newspaper serial about the adventures of you from a Medway paper. She clipped all of them up to two weeks ago. I read ‘em on the way out.”

“Huh. So that explains why she didn’t want me to read any newspapers when I was home.”

“She isn’t the hugest fan of them. It’s that standard schlock, and happily married man doesn’t make for good schlock. She isn’t mentioned, but you’ve got some new lover every week, mostly officers, and of course, the reason for Major Kestel’s disappearance is that you put her in the family way. You’ve been the cause of about six confirmed illegitimate pregnancies, and possibly many more. I think the leading cause of female officers being taken out of the fight is your inability to keep it in your pants.”

Evans put down his field glasses, “I wonder if I can get any money from that.”

“That’s your first thought? Being accused of putting half the officers you encounter in the family way and all you can think of is money. How will the Lord feel when you enter his house with Mammon on your heart?”

“Mammon?”

“Personification of wealth and greed. One of the Princes of Hell. There was a semi popular cult about six hundred years back. Worshipped Mammon. There was even a duke that declared his territory the domain of Mammon. Rejected God and the like.”

“What happened?”

“Well, it turns out that wasn’t a good idea. Pretty much all of Velia came down with fire and sword. Nothing gets everyone cooperating like a good old fashioned Holy War. About 40 towns were wiped off the face of the Earth. It was one of the most-”

“Contact.” Evans saw some Vledscan troop transports drive over the horizon. Driving three abreast along the road packed rather tightly. They were confident. The vehicles were driving at a pace to get to the hill in about half an hour, “Well, shelling is gonna rip the front of the column to shreds. So we’ll only be vastly ridiculously outnumbered. Turner could probably give me some fancier words.”

“Yeah, well, we’ll have to ask her once this is all over.”

“If your massive libido doesn’t spontaneously cause her to give birth.”

“I only defile officers, remember. One has to have some standards.”

Speech Before Battle

Standing in the back of a truck, Captain Gates looked over his motley group of soldiers. Besides Second Platoon, be had a platoon of infantry from the 127th, two machine guns from them, and about 40 riflemen from various units. Most everyone else had been too caught up in the retreat. Well. Now, Everyone knows a good battle has to start with an heroic speech. So, here it went.

“Men and Women of the Ethslin Army, Last Stands have a nice bit of romanticism. A few hardy soldiers fight back the onslaught of evil. Our modern army that treats men and women as equals was founded on a last stand. Our armies great moments in this war have been fierce stands against the foe. The famed Belaya Valley was three dozen soldiers against a regiment. And to those from units that are not my own, fear not, for you are in good company. For the 202nd is used to a final desperate stand. Just in my time with the Regiment, I’ve been part of several last stands. I commanded a company as a mere Lieutenant at the Battle of the Crate after Northern Gate. All of my Sergeant’s and many of my Corporal’s fought in Urbs, where their company was surrounded and cut off on two separate occasions.

“And guess what? Each time we held. And that’s what I want you to do here. Hold the line. I’ll be officer in charge at the front line. Lieutenant Welch will be in charge of the second line of defense, so you can fall back there if you’re overrun. Worst comes to worst, we fall back to the church. Sergeant Evans, his squad, and Corporal Bryant’s rifle team will be stationed there with the two Marksmen in the bell tower. If you need some relief forces, wave a green flag towards the church, and he will send three soldiers to you. If no one comes that means he’s fresh out of troops. Now, Good luck everyone. Enemy troops about two hours out by latest report.”

Captain Gates smiled. He jumped down from the truck. Before he was able to go to Lieutenant Welch to go over the final details, he noticed someone.

There was a line of trucks parked along the road, and there was a good looking, blond, tall major leaning on the side of one. He wore the well cut uniform of an artillery officer. He shouted over, “Peter! What brings you to this podunk little town?”

“Rog? I’ve been ordered to make sure the town is free from enemy soldiers,” Captain Gates’ smile grew as he walked over.

“You don’t have very good chances Peter.”

“I’d have better chances with some artillery support.”

The Major gave Captain Gates a quick semi-discrete hug, “The Duchess Medway’s insanity really rubbed off on you Peter.”

“Someone has to bear the torch Rog,” Captain Gates leaned to the Major’s ear and whispered, “Plus, there’s something romantic about two lovers going into battle facing impossible odds.”

The Major whispered back, “That’s hardly my idea of a romantic time.”

Stepping back and speaking louder, Captain Gates responded, “Ahh, you’re thinking of the wrong definition Major Sutcliffe. Romantic as in a lone sailor feeling the spray on his face as he sails towards a storm.”

“I have to discuss it with my officers and artillerymen.”

“I’ll be in the Southeast planning the defense.”

“Sounds good Peter, If I am too stay, I’ll set up the artillery in the square and put an observer in the belltower. And I trust you’ll be putting range markers along the road?”

“Yes, We actually plan on putting two marksmen in the tower.”

“Very Well. And if we make it out of this, you owe me.”

“Owe you what?”

Smirking, the Major responded, “You know what.”