Lieutenant Hudson whipped up her mapboard, made a mark with a grease pencil, then said in her cheery voice, “There’s an old artillery proving ground up ahead. We’ll need to take a pretty big detour to get around it. We won’t get to the camp for quite some time, so we’ll make our own little camp near an abandoned well marked on the map. No word if it’s dry or not. Let’s hope it isn’t. Keep an eye out for movement. This area is off limit to civilians, so anyone here not in uniform is possibly a rebel and should be apprehended.”

Evans nodded and grunted a response. How was the Lieutenant doing it? They had been hiking for at least an hour in the hot sun and she was still scampering around. She’d see a rock she liked a dozen meters away, dash over, take some notes and mark it on her map, then run back to the group. It didn’t even seem like she had had anything to drink so far.

After what seemed like an eternity, the group reached the edge of the proving grounds and were getting ready to skirt it when one of the Lance Corporals shouted that he saw a building. Lieutenant Hudson waved for everyone to stop and pulled up her binoculars, “Looks like it’s abandoned. But, we’re near a munitions dump, so we should check it for signs of rebel activity.” She turned to Evans, “I want you to take three privates and check out the building. Three of you with pistols, one with rifle and bayonet. We will cover from the wall about fifty meters to the Northwest.”

“Yes Ma’am.”

“Ugh and stop calling me Ma’am, I’m Noelle. It’s not like you’re in my chain of command or anything, so stop making me feel like I’m some weird different person.”

Ma… er… Noelle?”

“Lieutenant Hudson is all shouty and an upstanding officer, and Noelle is a laid back girl who does what she wants and finds petroleum,” Lieutenant Hudson drew her pistol and waved forward, “Let’s move. Stay silent unless absolutely necessary. All who want to volunteer to be part of the Sergeant’s team, give him a tap on the shoulder. We’ll divvy up weapons when we get to the wall.”

Evans drew his pistol, quickly racking the slide to put a round in the chamber, and followed after Lieutenant Hudson. On the dash to the wall, he got four taps on the shoulder. Three from Privates, and one from a rather muscular Lance Corporal. Lance Corporal would come with the rifle and bayonet, and he’d just pick the two Privates closest to him when they got to the wall.

The dash to the wall was uneventful. Lieutenant Hudson brought up her binoculars again, scanned the windows, and whispered, “I don’t see anything. Evans, take a look and grab your team.”

Evans grabbed the binoculars and scanned the building. The windows were curtained, so if there was anyone inside, Evans couldn’t see them. Passing the binoculars back to Lieutenant Hudson, Evans pointed to his three and gathered the weapons for them. It was a Lance Corporal Kelsey, Private Mackenzie, and Private Franklin. Lieutenant Hudson spread the rest out along the wall.

There was no cover between the wall and the building. Fifty meters at a double time means a little over twenty seconds exposed. Evans whispered to his team, “Follow me, weapons ready, double time. Stack up on door. Kelsey kicks in door. I go in. Then Mackenzie, then Kelsey, then Franklin.” Evans turned to Lieutenant Hudson and then drew the front of the building in the sand. The building had two windows on the left spaced about a meter apart, then the door on the right side of the building. All in all it was about ten meters wide. He whispered to the Lieutenant, “Ma- Noelle. If we take fire from the building on approach, we’re going to move right at a sprint then stack on the door. I would request a heavy burst of fire from you on the windows. We’ll then go in fast, hopefully catching them in cover.”

“Sounds good. You want any initial covering fire?”

“No, we have limited ammunition and I don’t want to alert anyone unaware of our presence.”

“OK. Good luck… What’s your name again?”

“Sergeant James Evans.”

“Good luck Jim.”


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