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.”