“Private. Wake up,” Evans felt someone shaking his shoulder. He heard a bubbling noise coming from a few meters away.
“Uh, Fuck off Newey,” Evans rolled over, “Gimme five more minutes.”
He felt the blanket being yanked off of him. The voice, now clearly female and annoyed called to him again, “Private Evans, Wake up now.”
Remembering where he was, he stood up and saluted, “Morning Lieutenant, sorry for my insolence Ma’am.”
“Morning Private,” Lieutenant Ricci returned the salute and offered him a ceramic cup that smelled like coffee, “I had to let your horse go last night. It was making a lot of noise.”
Evans groggily grabbed the cup of coffee, “Thanks Ma’am. And I feel like that was probably for the best Ma’am.” Taking a sip, he picked up his jacket and helmet, “So whats on the docket for the day Ma’am?”
“I’ve got a map of the city and a compass, we’ll find out where we are, so we can move out tonight,” Lieutenant Ricci handed the Auto Gun to Evans, shut off the portable stove, and gestured for him to follow her, “Let’s grab some food and head upstairs.”
“Yes Ma’am,” Evans followed the Lieutenant up to the third story of the building. As the Lieutenant started to look out the window, Evans put his hand on her arm, “Wait, I’ve got a little periscope.” Evans crawled forward, pulled a periscope out of his pocket, unfolded it, and looked out the window. He scanned the street, nothing. He then moved to the buildings and… Evans folded the periscope and put it in his pocket.
Evans stood up and stared out the window, “Holy Shit.”
Lieutenant Ricci looked at Evans, “What is it?”
“I have no fucking clue Ma’am,” Evans stared at the mysterious object, “It’s like a cloud, but not… natural.”
“Shit,” Ricci pulled Evans away from the window, pulled out her notepad, and looked out, “We need to get down to Army Group Headquarters right away.”
“What is it Ma’am?”
Ricci quickly wrote something on to her notepad, “There should be two officer’s at AGH. Major’s Anson and Fitzroy. If all goes well, I can deliver it, if not, bring this to them.” She looked at the object in the sky, “Do you know what a hot air balloon is?”
“I’ve heard of them,” Evans looked back out at the terrifying behemoth in the sky.
“Well, this is like that, except of hot air, it is filled with hydrogen and bristling with artillery guns. Some of our spies reported these were moving into the area, but not so soon. They probably are prepping for a big push. We have to sneak back to our lines. If we don’t get this information back, Urbs could be lost. So we will probably keep moving at night. We will leave at sundown, a-”
Lieutenant Ricci was interrupted by a familiar voice, and the crack of rifle fire, “COME ON YOU FUCKERS! I WILL FUCKING KILL YOU YOU BASTARDS!”
Evans picked up his Auto Gun and looked outside at the road. He saw a lone soldier being closed in on by a squad of Vledscan infantrymen. He looked down at the cart of hay below in the street near the building. He looked at Lieutenant Ricci, “I regret this already Ma’am.”
Private Lucy Chambers pulled the trigger, and another Vledscan soldier fell to the ground. She ducked down behind the brick wall and bolted her rifle, just missing another volley of fire from the Vledscan soldiers.
One of the soldiers made a break for a low wall closer to her, but Lucy brought him down with a shot to the chest. She yelled out, “COME ON YOU FUCKERS! I WILL FUCKING KILL YOU YOU BASTARDS!”
She then hid behind the wall and bolted her rifle and waited for a break in the fire, she could probably take out one or two more before they got to her.
Breath in, breath out. Wait, what’s that in the window down the block?
“Oh Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii…” Evans ran forward and jumped out the window, wildly firing his gun into the air, aiming for the cart.
Lucy and the Vledscans both stopped firing for a moment to watch the man jump out the window. The soldier was wildly firing his Submachine gun into the air. She took the opportunity to reload her rifle while they were distracted.
She managed to wing one of them in the shoulder while he tried to take advantage of the distraction.
Evans loaded a new magazine into the Auto Gun and started limping towards the firefight. This was without a doubt the worst decision he had ever made. He reached the end of the road where the firefight was taking place. He poked his head around the corner and surveyed the situation.
Lucy was pinned down behind a pillar by a small group of Vledscan infantry with Rifles. They were slowly trying to advance, overturned cart to overturned cart.
Ducking low, Evans gritted his teeth and sprinted to the pillar next to and slid next to Lucy, “OK, I might be starting to see your whole sidekick thing, but…” Evans popped up and fired a burst into an advancing soldier and ducked back down, “I think I’m the hero, saving you from all your troubles.”
Lucy popped up and shot one of the soldiers. She ducked back down, “You jumped off a building for me.”
Evans fired another burst, “Yes, and I regret it immensely. My leg really fucking hurts.”
Lucy stood up and fired two shots, “They’re retreating.”
Standing up, Evans fired the rest of his magazine at the retreating soldiers, taking down one of them. Lucy shot the other two. Lieutenant Ricci ran over with her pistol drawn, “Private Evans are you alright? And who is this soldier?”
Lucy saluted, “I’m Private Chambers Ma’am, from 2nd Battalion of the 202nd Infantry. I was sent to link up with the 401st after Private Evans here disappeared.”
Evans gestured the way the Vledscan soldiers had come from, “Ma’am, Should Chambers and I clear these bodies and scout out the area while you work on our location?”
“Sounds good Private, Come back to the building in two hours,” Lieutenant Ricci turned around and returned to the building.
Evans and Lucy both loaded fresh magazines and started walking down the street towards the bodies. They picked up the closest one and started carrying him to a building with a broken window. Lucy looked at Evans, “So that Lieutenant, how is she?”
“She’s not Infantry, in case you didn’t see the skirt. She said Intelligence officer.”
“Of course I saw the skirt, not an idiot.”
The pair started to swing the body. Evans counted down from three and they tossed it into the building. They slowly worked their way from body to body until the street was clear. Evans gestured to the building where they dumped all the bodies, “So, you want to wait in there until the two hours are up? See if they have anything to drink?”
“Sure, what the hell,” Lucy led the way into the building, climbing through the window over the bodies. She walked into the back room and started rooting around the cabinets.
Evans followed her and sat on the counter, “So what happened to the company after I left?”
Lucy frowned, “Lot’s of wounded and killed. Don’t ask me who. Captain Simmons actually sent me to tell the 401st that we were pulling back. Lieutenant Moore stayed behind with the wounded to surrender to the Vledscan forces,” She pulled a bottle of whiskey out of the cabinet and yanked off the cork, “Well then.”
The two passed it back and forth for a while. Evans eventually broke the silence, “So, Lucy, there’s something I’ve been wondering for a while… It’s an awkward question.” Evans kicked his feet back and forth and looked down, “So, how are you not… um… pregnant? I can’t imagine you brought enough stuff for all that.”
There was a pause. Lucy pointed at the scar on her face. She pulled up her shirts and jacket, revealing a long scar on her waist, “Same shell that got me up here got me down there… Doctor says theres almost no chance I can… I figure that means I have some chance. I really want to have kids. But I guess there isn’t. Doctor said that they might need to remove it. Something called a historiography. That’s kind of why I do it. Because it’s the last chance I have.” Lucy grabbed the whiskey bottle and took a few gulps.
Evans looked at his watch, “Let’s head back early. See if the Lieutenant has anything for us to do.”