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?”
“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.”
“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.”