Enemy Colonel

Captain Gates adjusted his uniform. He had borrowed an officer’s sword from Lieutenant Welch, which hung uncomfortably at his side. Evans stood at his left and Gibson stood at his right. The three started their way to the hill where the Vledscan soldier was waving a flag. They picked their way through the moaning bodies and burning vehicle. And, after a ten minute walk, they made it to the soldier. He put down the flag, saluted Captain Gates and waved for the trio to follow. Gibson slung the rifle over her shoulder.

A Vledscan officer strolled out from behind the hill, “Colonel Sokoloff of the 16th Guards, at your service.”

“Captain Peter Gates of the 202nd Infantry,” He pointed to Evans, “And this is my Acting Sergeant Major James Evans.”

“And your lovely flag bearer?”

“My escort Private Gibson of the 127th.”

“It is always strange to see women in your army. She looks in similar age to my own daughter, but my daughter is doing her womanly duties and taking care of her husband’s home.”

“And Private Gibson is doing her duty for her nation, which we believe transcends things as simple as gender.”

“Well surely you can see that she would be good for… other activities.”

Evans could see Gibson’s hands clench. Captain Gates responded with some attempted tact, “You have the wrong men to ask. I’m… otherwise interested, and Evans here is quite happily married.”

“Well she is most beautiful,” The Colonel gave Gibson a nod, “Well, on to more pressing matters, such as surrender.”

“I do not think it would be befitting of a Colonel to surrender to a mere Captain.”

Colonel Sokoloff chuckled, “You have fought well Mister Gates. It would bring no shame upon your Regiment if you were to surrender.”

“I have been ordered to make sure there are no enemy soldiers in Rogovaya Obmanka, and I sworn an oath to follow all legal orders. I am afraid that I am duty bound to hold or die.”

“You are a brave man Mister Gates. I will send a post through the proper channels to make sure you get a medal for this.”

“Thank you Colonel, but I plan on turning in a report of the battle myself.”

“Now, I cannot let you simply walk back, may I offer my driver to drop you off.”

“I would not want your driver to see any of my defense Colonel.”

“Of Course Mister Gates, Can your man drive?”

“Yes Sir, Evans is a fine driver.”

“Very well, I shall loan you my staff car. I will pick it up when I get into town.”

“And when you don’t Colonel?”

“You may keep the car, as a gift.”

“Thank you very much Colonel.”

The Colonel led the trio to his staff car. Evans got in the driver’s seat, Gibson in the passenger seat, and Captain Gates in the rear. The Colonel smiled, “Well, once you return, how about half an hour more of casualty collection.” The Colonel and Captain Gates looked at their watches, “It is 13 past the hour on my mark… Mark. See you at 43 Mister Gates.”

Evans started the car and drove his way down the hill. Once they were out of earshot, Captain Gates leaned in, “Well he is a bit of an ass isn’t he?”

“Permission to speak freely Captain?” Gibson spoke up.

“Granted Private.”

“I would rather die than surrender to him.”

“And he has made it very clear. I would be failing every woman in this outfit if I surrender.”

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