The Majors

“So, Private Evans… Where are you from?” Major Fitzroy pulled off his glasses and fiddled with them.

“Um… Halton…” Evans gestured to the door, “I should get back to the 202nd. There might be a truck going in their direction.”

Major Fitzroy looked at his watch, “You can wait here, the 202nd is passing through here in two days. I remember because that Colonel with the funny name is in charge. Heh… Darling.” He then shrugged, “So what do you do in Halton?”

“It’s a small town. I’m a farmer.”

The Major’s eyes lit up and he leaned forward, “A Farmer! How Quaint. So you must now all about plants. Or I guess you call them nature growers.”

“No… That’s not a real thing sir.”

Major Anson yelled from upstairs, “Ben just thinks he’s all colloquial because his wife used to be poor!”

“Marjorie worked in the factory my father owned when we first met,” Major Fitzroy smiled, “It’s just like that operetta, The Gentleman and his Lady. Have you seen it Private?”

“I live on a farm Sir, we don’t have any theaters near by,” Evans shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

“Really? If you are ever in Newacre after the war, come find me, you can visit my box and we will take in a show!” Major Fitzroy was visibly excited. He noticed the ring on Evans’ finger and pointed, “And you can bring your Farm Wife! How wonderful.”

Major Anson came downstairs, “You don’t have to call it a Farm Wife Ben. It’s just Wife.”

“What do you know about wives?”

“I have 6 years experience as one, and my 4 children are a testament to my popularity in the position,” Major Anson walked to the jar, pulled out a cookie and offered it to Evans, “So do you want another cookie little guy? I can’t believe someone as young and small as you is married. And in the Army.”

“I’m 19 Ma’am, and I’m 25 centimeters taller than you,” he paused for a moment, “And yes I’ll have a cookie Ma’am”

“Aww,” Major Anson pinched his cheek and handed him a cookie, “You remind me of my oldest. He’s five.”

Major Fitzroy put on his glasses and started doing some paperwork, “Do you have any little farmlings with your Farm Wife?”

Evans smiled, “Not yet sir… I think… Anna is pregnant. If that’s what you mean by Farmling.” Evans reached into his breast pocket and pulled out the picture of Anna in the Mauve dress, “Here’s a picture of her. She’s wearing a dress in that fancy new color Mauve sir.”

Major Anson leaned over and looked at the picture, “Ooh, I have a Mauve dress. It is a lovely color.” She nodded, “I think I’ll wear it to dinner tonight… Little Evans, do you have a cleaner uniform? We are having guests over for dinner, and I will not have you wearing that ratty thing and embarrassing us.”

“Ma’am, I only have the things I’m wearing right now,” Evans looked down at his uniform. He hadn’t taken it off in over a week. It was covered in blood and sweat, and it reeked of death. It was ripped all over. Evans looked down at the hole in his pants where the bullet had passed through. At least most of the blood wasn’t his.
“Alright,” Major Fitzroy furled his brow, “I think we might have an enlisted uniform somewhere around here that is about your size. You will have to sew your stripes on, and, since you will be doing sewing anyways, and you do not have anything else to do today, Elise and I will give you some items to sew.”
Major Fitzroy led Evans upstairs to the radio room and showed him the sewing machine and the uniform. The room was mostly empty except for the radio set up, the sewing machine, a bed, and a trunk labeled “Major Anson”. All the windows were boarded up, and the only light came from some candles around the room. Evans started working on the uniform. When he was finished, he quickly changed into his new uniform. He then started to work on things that the Majors had brought him. Over they day, the two occasionally brought him food and water. Major Anson would use the radio on occasion to call the staff headquarters.
It was long, boring work. Mostly repairing the Majors’ uniforms, occasionally repairing a flag or pillowcases. While was eating lunch, he wrote another letter to Anna. He then got excited. After this long time in Urbs, he could finally send all his letters. Then he went back to work.
At about six forty in the evening, Evans was getting tired. He had been awake for almost an entire day by this point. Major Anson came up, “Our guests are coming over soon, and I need to change, so don’t look back at me. The only living man who has seen me with my clothes off is my husband. If you look at me, he will still be the only living man. What I’m meaning to say is that I will murder you little one. Besides that, thank you for the suggestion for mauve.”
Evans shrugged and continued to work. After a few minutes, the Major tapped him on the shoulder, “I am dressed now. I need your help.” Evans turned around. The Major gestured down to her boots, “It’s hard to get these things off on my own. I hate boots.”
Kneeling down and gripping the boots, Evans averted his eyes from her dress and yanked, “Why do you wear them Major? You don’t seem to wear the rest of your uniform.”
“I wore down the general so I could wear something pretty instead, but he was a stickler on the boots,” the first boot finally came off. Major Anson pulled her sock off, waggled her toes, and held out the other boot. She smiled, “I can’t wait until this war is over. I get to wear all my own clothes. I can eat real food. Play with my children. Make another one. It will be a good time.”
Evans pulled off the other boot, “So you aren’t going to work Ma’am?”
“Of course I am Private, peacetime army allows you to be pregnant. And it’s a fun thing to do for nine months,” When the next boot came off, she pulled off the corresponding sock, “I think I will try for a blonde one this time. Brown hair is boring.” She stood up and walked to pick up another pair of shoes, “I am done with you little one. Go downstairs and set the table for four, General Maxwell is apparently very excited to hear about your adventures.”
Evans saluted and then ran down the stairs. There was a Lance Corporal in the kitchen preparing food. Evans walked up to him, “Um… Hi, I’m Evans, I was ordered to set the dishes.”
“I’m Lance Corporal Sandes, dishes are in the cabinet above my right shoulder,” the Lance Corporal finished what he was doing and pointed it out, “So you’re the new runner for the Majors? Good luck with that, they’re crazy.”
“I’m not their runner. I’m in the infantry, I uh… got separated from my unit and ended up here. It’s a long story,” Evans pulled some dishes out of the cupboard and went to the next room.

Roadblock Assault

They were about 200 meters from the roadblock when Lucy fired the first grenade. Evans heard the snap of the blank over the engines roar, saw it soar overhead and slam right on target. Flames erupted from the armory. The soldiers at the road block turned around just in time for Lucy’ second grenade to impact towards the center of their group. The remaining soldiers opened fire at the truck. Evans aimed the car towards what looked like the weak spot in the roadblock. He then drew his pistol and started to fire out the driver side window.
Another rifle grenade soared overhead. A rifle shot shattered the front window and impacted next to Evans. He heard a grunt to his right as Lieutenant Ricci opened fire.
The driver’s side mirror was blown off when Lucy opened up with the Auto Gun. Evans could barely see the roadblock now, the window was too cracked. But all in all, the plan seemed to be working pretty well. He took the pistol and started to smash the window.
They were only a few meters away now. Evans yelled, “Brace for impact!” The truck hit the roadblock. Evans heard a smack next to him. The truck broke through. It stalled for a moment. In that brief pause, Evans heard a clatter behind him.. Evans got the truck in gear and floored it.
After they were suitably far away, Evans pulled to the side of the road and shouted, “FUCK YEAH! THAT WAS FUCKING AWESOME!”
He was met with silence.
Evans looked to his right. Lieutenant Ricci was slumped over on the dashboard, not moving. Fuck. Lucy has some more bandages in the back. He slid out and ran around back. When he jumped in, he saw Lucy lying dazed on the bed of the truck. She looked up at Evans, “I think I’m dead Goldfish. Been fun.” She rolled over. Evans pulled out his flashlight and pumped it. She was lying in a pool of blood. Fuck Fuck Fuck.
Evans quickly turned Lucy onto her back, ran to back to the cab of the truck and floored it. Not stopping until he saw someone wearing a forest green uniform with a rifle ahead of him. He slammed on the brakes and ran out, “I NEED MEDICAL ATTENTION NOW!”
A soft voice called from the truck, “And the nearest radio or telephone. I’m Lieutenant Jane Ricci. Now please, before I pass out again.”
The soldiers eyes widened and he called out to the nearby building, “SERGEANT WINTERS! WE NEED A GUIDE!”
A private ran out to the building and saluted Lieutenant Ricci, “Where to go Ma’am?”
Evans grabbed him and pulled him into the truck, “Guide me to nearest medical place with a radio or telephone. FUCKING NOW!”
“Uh right. I’m Private…”
“DON’T CARE!”
“Sorry… straight down this, take the third left, and keep going. There is a roadblock at the Medical Station.”
Evans floored it in the truck. It felt like an eternity. The Private next to him was trying to wake Lieutenant Ricci.
A few soldiers were standing in front of the roadblock. One stayed back with his rifle, and another, a Corporal, calmly approached, “Password?”
The private from the previous roadblock leaned over Evans, “Bison.”
Evans then took over, “We need two Stretcher bearers right now!”
Lieutenant Ricci slightly opened her eyes and coughed out some blood, “I can walk, I need your radio.” She slipped out of the truck and started to stumble towards the building marked with a red “X.” The Corporal ran towards the Lieutenant and started helping her, he then called over some stretcher bearers. Evans guided them to the back and dragged out Lucy, who groaned softly.
The stretcher bearers ran into the building. Evans yelled back to the Private, “You can go! I don’t need you!” He then ran after the Stretcher Bearers. They entered a well lit room and yelled to a doctor. A small alarm went off. Evans looked down at Lucy. Her face was completely pale. Her jacket was entirely soaked in blood. A Nurse forced him out of the room.
Lieutenant Ricci stumbled towards him, “Evans, I need you to drive me. Radio is down. Let’s go, now.”
“Lucy’s in there Ma’am, she might die,” Evans gestured over his shoulder towards the operating room.
“And a whole hell of a lot more people will die if we don’t fucking move now,” Lieutenant Ricci coughed out some blood, drew her pistol, and pressed it onto Evans’ head, “Now I’m going to ask you one more time, before my pistol accidentally goes off.”
“You can’t drive yourself Ma’am?”
“Well, even if I wasn’t occasionally passing out from blood loss, I don’t know how to drive.”
“Right Ma’am,” Evans held his hands up, “Just let me leave some information about Lucy in case… In case she doesn’t make it.”
“Quickly Private, They might notice I’ve been shot and try and help me,” Lieutenant Ricci holstered her pistol. Evans pulled out some paper and wrote Lucy’s information on it. He slipped in and handed it to a nurse and then went back outside. Lieutenant Ricci put her arm over his shoulders, “Let’s go.”
Evans helped her back to the truck. The sun was starting to come up. He picked her up and put her into the cab of the truck. He then went around and sat in the drivers seat, “So where do we need to go Ma’am?”
“Yes, first, straight down this road, I’ll give you turn by turn directions. If I pass out, just hit me a little bit.”
Putting the truck into Gear, Evans started driving down the road. The soldiers at the roadblock quickly raised the arm and got out of the way. He heard Lieutenant Ricci counting to herself as they passed each road. After five blocks, she tapped him, “Next left, then immediate right.”
Evans followed her directions for ten minutes. They slowly started to pass a further and further bustle until they finally reached a row of buildings with a large flag hanging over the center. Evans stopped the car.
He pulled Lieutenant Ricci out and helped her to the building she pointed out. All the windows were boarded up. Using his free hand, he knocked on the door.
There was a clatter, followed by a few seconds of silence. A slit opened up at eye level. A pair of blue eyes stared out. The door opened. A short blond Major was standing there. His Jacket was unbuttoned, revealing a rainbow tie. He pulled his glasses off, pointed at Evans, and looked at Lieutenant Ricci, “Jane, who is that?”
“It’s a kid I picked up on the go,” Lieutenant Ricci pulled her arm off Evans and started limping in. Evans followed behind her. The Lieutenant sat on a chair, “So Ben, where is Elise? I have news, and it’s about her pet thing.”
The Major nodded and yelled to the stairs, “ELISE! JANE IS NOT DEAD!”
“Yay!” There was a patter of feet. A diminutive woman wearing goggles appeared from the stairs. She was wearing a blue, obviously non-uniform dress and a pair of black combat boots, “Ooh, and a new kid.”
Lieutenant Ricci took a breath in and out. The two people sat in chairs across from Evans and the Lieutenant. Lieutenant Ricci gestured to Evans, “This is Private Evans, I met him while wandering, the 198th decided to leave me.” Lieutenant Ricci then pointed to the Major and the woman in the blue dress, “And these are the Majors. Elise Anson and Ben Fitzroy.”
Major Anson reached into a jar and pulled out some cookies and offered them to Evans. Major Fitzroy cocked his head at Lieutenant Ricci, “So why are you bleeding?”
“I got shot,” Lieutenant Ricci pulled up her jacket and pointed to her bandaged wound. Major Fitzroy tried to poke it, but Major Anson slapped his hand. Lieutenant Ricci then pulled out her map, which she had marked up, “Air Artillery, about here when I saw it last night. It was still cabled into position though, it looks like it will be moving within the week. We should move those new artillery pieces into place about here and start sending feelers along the front to check for any other ones.” She then pulled out a notepad and opened it up, “This is a sketch I made, I saw three guns on each side, and a larger piece in the front.”
Major Anson nodded, grabbed the map and sketch, and skittered back upstairs. Major Fitzroy put his feet on the table, “So Jane, I need you to fill out the paperwork for your undeath. We sent it in after the 198th out without you, and it’s your fault that you aren’t dead.”
Lieutenant Ricci gestured down to her bloody jacket, “I’m going to next door to the medical building now. You can do that yourself Ben.” She then got up and started to limp out of the building.

Moving at Night

A few red and green flares went up in the distance. A white flare followed seconds later, illuminating some buildings a dozen blocks away. The gunfire rattled a bit. Evans shrugged at Lucy, “Well, if there is one thing this war has gotten us, it’s free fireworks shows.”

“Yeah, pretty lights are always nice….” Lucy pulled a folding periscope out of her pocket and started to polish the mirrors, “I especially like it when they aren’t near me.”

Lieutenant Ricci walked into the room. She played with her skirt for a moment before drawing her pistol. Weighing it in her hand, she dropped the magazine and loaded two more bullets in. After holstering her pistol, she went through the magazines tucked into her belt until most of them were loaded. She then pulled out her binoculars and looked at the airship. Sighing, she tucked the binoculars back into her webbing and looked at Lucy and Evans, “I think we should get going soon. We’ll move until about three and then hunt for someplace to stay, assuming we haven’t found our lines yet. We’ll stick to back alleys and try to just head straight west. When we cross streets, one at a time and at a sprint.”

Evans nodded and patted down his webbing. Noting that everything was in place, he picked up his Auto Gun and checked the magazine. He then slung it over his shoulder and fitted his helmet on. He then picked up the Vledscan rifle in the corner and handed it to the Lieutenant, “Lucy and I picked this up for you, hopefully you won’t need it. It’s got ten rounds in the magazine and twenty more on the sling. You do know how to shoot a rifle right?”

Lieutenant Ricci shouldered it and smiled, “Yes, it’s Intel officers that have to teach the infantry how to work enemy weapons in the first place.” She gestured to the stairway, “Shall we be going now Privates?”

Lucy and Evans nodded and followed the Lieutenant downstairs. When they arrived at the front door, Evans opened it slowly, Auto Gun at the ready. The street was dark except for the light cast by the moon. Lieutenant Ricci followed behind him, pistol drawn, electing to keep the rifle holstered. Lucy followed next, with her bayonet fixed to the end of the rifle, and shovel slid into her webbing for quick use. The three made their way to the nearest alleyway pointing West and started walking, sticking to the shadows.

They quickly came to their first street and stacked up by the edge of the building. Evans poked his head out and looked around. He gave a thumbs up behind him. Lucy sprinted across the street. She momentarily disappeared into the alleyway before popping back out with her rifle and waving her hand. The Lieutenant moved next. With one hand, she held out her pistol, and with the other, she pulled her skirt up so she wouldn’t trip. When she got across, Evans took off.

Continuing this leapfrog pattern, they managed to move five blocks without incident. At the sixth block, they ran into trouble. Lucy was able to make it across fine. She waved to the Lieutenant, who started running. A shot rang out. The Lieutenant tumbled. Evans waved to Lucy. She scanned the area for the sniper and started firing. Evans ducked low and ran to the Lieutenant. He dragged her behind the nearest cover, an Ethslin Army truck parked on the road. He heard another shot.

“Fuck,” Lucy collapsed onto the ground. Evans started to show signs of panic. He first looked after the Lieutenant, since she was closest. He ripped open her jacket and looked for bleeding. He then grabbed his knife to cut open her blouse and undershirt to get at it. He reached into the Lieutenant’s webbing and pulled out her bandages. After bandaging the wound, he quickly fired a burst down towards the sniper and sprinted to Lucy.

Lucy had crawled up to a seated position by the wall and was unbuttoning her jacket. Evans helped with the last two before cutting open her blouse and shirt. Lucy attempted to point at her chest and said deliriously at Evans, “Like my breasts? See how great they are?”

Evans ignored her and started bandaging the wound on Lucy’s waist. She laughed at him, and then coughed out a sentence, “Oh come on, I bleed like every month, it’s nothing to worry about.”

After finishing, he pulled the periscope out of Lucy’s jacket. He unfolded it and scanned the buildings. He saw the glint of a rifle scope. He slowly pulled back the periscope. He had one shot. Evans grabbed Lucy’s rifle and took a deep breath in. After he counted down from ten, he turned around the corner and fired a shot.

Taking the fact that he hadn’t been shot at as a sign that he had been successful, Evans started to drag Lucy towards the truck. He lifted her up into the covered bed and handed her his Auto Rifle, “I’m going to drive us out of here, if anyone chases us, shoot them.” He pulled out his loaded magazines and slid them into her waistband, “And don’t die on me, alright?” He started to crawl out of the truck before he went back to Lucy and buttoned up her jacket, “Wouldn’t to offend anyone’s sensibilities.”

Evans then went to the Lieutenant. She was trying to hide her pain while drinking from her flask of whiskey. Evans helped her hobble into the passenger seat of the truck. He then walked around to the drivers seat and attempted to start the truck. It took two tries, but it finally started. He slowly started to drive the car down the road, attempting to avoid attracting any more attention than the firefight had already brought.

It didn’t work. Evans heard a few rifle shots. He looked in the side mirror and saw a rifle platoon taking up positions. He heard a burst go off from the Auto Gun. Evans started driving faster, taking the first westward turn he could. He then floored it. After a few minutes, he quickly pulled to the side of the road and looked around the truck for something to identify it. He went around to the back of the truck and jumped into the bed.

Lucy smiled at him, Auto Gun in one hand, Jacket in the other, “Sorry if I offend your sensibilities, I’m way too fucking hot, I’m right above the engine.”

Evans started rooting through some of the boxes, “I see you’ve regained your pluck.”

“Hey, you know what rhymes with pluck?”

Finding a flag, a long rod, and some rope, Evans chose to ignore Lucy and started stringing up a flagpole so he could be identified. After he was done, he got back in the driver’s seat, “I found a flag in the back Ma’am. It’s from the 198th Infantry. I put it up so we don’t get shot by our own people.”

Lieutenant Ricci coughed at him, “But now it will be obvious to the Vledscans.”

“Very Fucking obvious Ma’am,” Evans started the truck again and started driving. It was quiet for a few minutes, until Evans spied some lights in the distance. Roadblock. From the looks of it, it was Vledscan. Evans idled the truck and went to the back again. He whispered to Lucy, “Any weapons back here? Especially some explosives?”

She nodded and gestured to a crate, “Some rifle grenades in there, and three rifles under my seat.” Lucy smirked at Evans, “Why, we run into something fun?”

Evans nodded, “You feeling good enough to fire off some of those?” He crawled up to the rifle grenades and started priming them. Lucy nodded and slowly stood up. She pulled out her knife and cut a slit in the trucks covering that she could aim the rifles out of. She then slid back down, took a drink out of her canteen, and buttoned her jacket.

Lucy then pulled out the three rifles and loaded a few blanks into each and passed them to Evans, who fixed a grenade to each. He shrugged at her, “What, it get cold all of the sudden Lucy?”

“Last time I fired a rifle grenade topless, I had a bruise for a month,” She then switched out the magazine on the Auto Gun and drank a little more water.

Evans handed her the three loaded rifles and scooted the crate with six more primed rifle grenades, “I’ll have to hear that story later.” He then went around front of the truck. Lieutenant Ricci was sitting in her chair inspecting the roadblock with her binoculars. She looked pale. Evans offered her his canteen, “Don’t want to die before the fun starts Ma’am.”

She accepted and took a drink, “See that building near the left, that’s the armory. If we can blow it up, they should be distracted enough for us to drive straight through the roadblock.” The Lieutenant opened her jacket and looked down, “You have any more bandages?”

Evans nodded and wrapped her wound with some bandages before heading back to give the final information to Lucy. He checked his magazine and then sat down in the drivers seat and started to drive as fast as the truck could go.

Airships

“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.”

Ricci

Lieutenant Ricci dropped the magazine and fished around in her skirt pocket. Three measly rounds. She ducked down behind the wall and loaded them into a magazine. This was the end. A platoon of riflemen, all coming for her. She slammed the magazine in, took a deep breath.

A loud staccato pierced the air. She heard the clop of hooves. She looked to the right. A lone horseman appeared through the fog. He reared next to her and looked down, “Evening Ma’am,” The horseman fired off another burst, “Do you know how to ride side saddle?”

” Um…” Lieutenant Ricci holstered her pistol, grabbed on the saddle and hoisted herself up. She put one arm around the horseman and held on. The horseman spurred the horse and cantered out. He drew a pistol and fired a few rounds downrange.

After they moved out of range of the platoon, the horseman slowed the horse to a canter and angled his head back towards Lieutenant Ricci, “I’m Private Evans Ma’am. 202nd Infantry. And whom might be?”

“I am Lieutenant Ricci. Staff Officer. As you can see by my skirt,” Lieutenant Ricci swished her skirt a bit with her left hand and tried to look through the fog. She could barely see down the block, “Where are you headed Mister Evans?”

“I was sent to hook up with the 401st Ma’am,” Evans slowed the horse to a trot and started to look around, “I’ve been lost for about a day now. The lines have been changing too fast. We should probably find some place to hide Felicity and sleep for the night.” Evans stroked the horses mane.

He pulled the reigns back and looked back at the Lieutenant, “You want to hop down Ma’am? I think this house looks promising.”

The Lieutenant slid down and drew her pistol, and thumbed the hammer. She turned to Private Evans, “You have any extra magazines for the Benett?”

Evans had dismounted Felicity and was tying the reigns to a fence post. When he finished, Evans reached into one of his magazine pouches and pulled out two. Handing them to Lieutenant Ricci, he swung his Blaire Auto Gun out in front of him. He checked the magazine and moved to the door. He turned the knob and threw it open. He waited a few seconds, took a deep breath, and burst in to the room and swept the muzzle around. Nothing. He waved Lieutenant Ricci in. The two cleared the bottom two floors.

The Lieutenant looked at Evans after they finished the two floors, “It doesn’t seem like anyones been here in a while. We can check the rest after you hide your horse.”

Evans nodded and moved downstairs, “So what is a staff officer doing out here?”

Lieutenant Ricci shrugged, “As you said, lines change. I was an Intel officer for a staff headquarters, when an attack hit. The unit I was attached to held them off. When the unit fell back, I had to stay behind to destroy all our code books and the radios. By the time I finished they had taken over the position and I had to hide in a dresser.”

“Ah,” Evans pulled open the front door with his left hand and aimed his Auto Gun with his right. He gestured for the Lieutenant to move outside. She obliged and he followed soon after. He set up a firing position next to Felicity while the Lieutenant untied her from the fence post.

The Lieutenant moved into an alleyway and around the back of a building. A few seconds later, she ran back out. Evans nodded and moved back indoors. Lieutenant Ricci followed him and locked the door behind them. The Lieutenant looked around at the dusty entry room, “We should try and find something to eat and a place we can sleep tonight.”

“Right Ma’am,” Evans shouldered his Blaire Auto Gun and moved ahead, “I think I saw a kitchen this way, why don’t we check for food there.

The kitchen was small, only a few cupboards next to a coal fired stove. Evans started rooting through the cupboards. He paused a moment to put his Auto Gun on the counter. After a few seconds of rooting, he had a small collection of cans on the table and a few candles. He opened a few up and prepared a rudimentary dinner.

For dinner, the two had chosen an inner room of the house, so the passing patrols couldn’t see the candlelight. It was quiet for a few minutes while Lieutenant Ricci scarfed down the food, she hadn’t eaten for days. After she had eaten her fill, she started talking, “So Private Evans, you’re married?”

“Yeah,” Evans played with his ring and smiled, “Anna’s pregnant with our first child back in Seahaven. She moved out there because the 202nd was spending a lot of time at White Beach, and as soon as we get the apartment, bam. Vledscan’s pull back and the 202nd is sent to Urbs.” He reached into his breast pocket, pulled out a photograph, and passed it to the Lieutenant, “Here’s a photograph.”

Lieutenant Ricci looked at the small pocket sized photograph of a young woman in a dress smiling at the camera. She looked up at Evans, “Anna is quite beautiful Private.”

Evans smiled a bit more, “Yeah, I can’t wait to go home and see her again. How about you Lieutenant? Anyone in your life?”

The Lieutenant took a drink from her canteen, “No… I had thing, but he left me when I joined up.” She then reached into her coat pocket and pulled out a flask and took a sip, “He wanted me to keep my current job instead of joining up. But you know what, I am glad.” She shook her head, “Sorry, it’s just that… I don’t know.”

Taking a quick swig from the flask, Lieutenant Ricci pulled a pad of paper from her skirt pocket. She then pulled a pencil out of her jacket’s breast pocket. She looked up and Evans, “So, about tonight. I haven’t slept in days, so you’ll take the first watch. Now until one. I’ll take one to five. We can have breakfast. We should wait throughout the day and move out at night. I’ll want you to take a look around from the roof of this building.”

Lieutenant Ricci offered the flask to Evans, who declined. She shrugged, took it back, and moved to the corner of the room, where she curled up to sleep, using her jacket and helmet as a pillow. Evans picked up the picture of Anna and leaned back in his chair, with his Auto Gun on his lap. Every half hour or so he took a walk around the building, staying low around windows. There were no patrols that he could see. He found a blanket on one of his walks around the house and draped it over the Lieutenant.

Eventually, one finally arrived. He tapped the Lieutenant on the shoulder, “Lieutenant, time for your watch Ma’am.”

Yawning, Lieutenant Ricci brought up her hand to wipe her face. She sat up, pulled on her jacket, and put her helmet on. She pushed the blanket off of her. She held out her hand towards Evans.

Evans grabbed her hand and pulled her up. Evans slung the Auto Gun and saluted, “Ma’am request permission to go to sleep.”

Returning the salute, Lieutenant Ricci responded, “Yes Private, I’ll take the Auto Gun as well.” She reached out and grabbed the Auto Gun from Evans.

Evans shrugged and pulled off his jacket and helmet. He packed them together to use as his pillow, pulled the blanket up, and went to sleep.