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Casualties of War Part V
Posted By: Tom Murphy<cunnuslingere@hotmail.com>
Date: 22 April 2004, 7:07 PM

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      Smith and Bob were both dead. Bob's body lay insecure somewhere in the marshy jungle outside the building, while Smith's lay here in front of us and we had nowhere to put it. So we left it there.
      We were all a little stunned at what had just happened, and at these alien bodies which lay in pools of their own blood and little pieces of purple skin strewn across the walls of the communications room. But Keyes wanted business. He wanted the hell off of this planet. "There's the com station. I hope they're not smart enough to figure out how to sabotage it," he glanced around the room nervously before stepping in. Once inside, he immediately made his way over to the holographic computer and started moving things around.
      Small beeps and buzzed emanated from the base of the hologram and we watched as new objects appeared and the picture of the satellite gave us the sign that it was sending data out. "Speakers are shot," Keyes said, "But I've sent text based information back to all of Earth's colonized planets. Or at least all the one's that Felix is in contact with."
      Julius had his jaw dropped, "How the hell did you learn how to do that?"
      "Before I dropped out to help fight, I spent three years in college as a satellite technology major. But I'm pretty sure I knew how to do this well before that," he said flashing us a little smile. "Anyway, I've let them know about this alien species we've encountered. I let them know that we're separated from Hawke, and that Smith and ..uh.. the other guy are dead.
      "Hey, and don't forget, I'm injured over here!" Stamos said through gritted teeth. His hand was still on his chest in the area that had been burnt. "Who's the medic in here anyway?"
      We looked around at each other. Keyes, Stamos, and Julius were the only ones still alive that I knew the names of. There's no way they would have sent us on a mission like this without a medic. Then I saw the little red cross patch on the soldiers right arm. His mouth was open and his eyes wide. His gun lay on the floor at his feet and saliva was dripping from his lower lip. His limbs were shaking slightly and his pants were soaked down to his knees. His nametag read "Stone".
      "Aw shit! I thought they were supposed to send the best of the best over here. Not some pants pissing little puss!" Stamos yelled out. Everyone else had seen Stone just when I had. "What the hell was the General thinking?"
      Stone was in shock. It was obvious that his condition was even more severe than Stamos. Extreme shock can kill anyone, but we were all afraid to help him. It seemed too dishonorable. If we had been able to stomach the fight, why should he be allowed to show such cowardice.
      Keyes took a step toward him. He signaled to me to come over with him and he told me to help him lay Stone down. Once down, Keyes forced him to drink some water and splashed some over his face and chest as well.
      Before any further treatment could be given, the hologram base beeped. Keyes got up and moved over to it. He stood there a little while, apparently reading, and then spoke, "I just got word back from... Hm. Earth, Dionysus, Zeus, and... Hades. Well good. Hades is pretty close by, I'm sure they can help."
      "Well what do they say, man?" Julius said.
      "I'll read Earth's response first. 'If you're sure the enemy is in fact and alien race, try to bring back a live specimen. If it is not possible, bring one dead. Otherwise please evacuate as soon as you meet back up with Hawke."
      "Did somebody say my name?" the old and somewhat more wrinkled face of Hawke greeted our eyes as we turned around to inspect the voice. "Looks like you boys have been busy," he said looking around at the dead bodies. "Who's bright idea was it to come here when hell broke out outside?"
      A weak voice came out from the corner of the room, "Keyes', sir. His idea."
      Hawke gave the limp body of stone a fairly disgusted look and then looked at Keyes. "Ah, of course. I should have known. It's time you finally got what you deserve Keyes." He stepped back over to the communications command console and managed to turn on the video output. "Damn, speakers are busted. Have you been sending text data?"
      "Yes, sir," Keyes replied.
      Hawke nodded at him and started pushing buttons. "Done. I just sent word back to Earth to promote you as soon as you return home. I also asked for an evacuation ship as soon as possible. I don't want to stay here another second and I sure as hell don't think Smith or Stone do. Or Stamos." He stopped and looked around for a second, "Where's the other guy?"
      "Dead, sir. Hit in the face. We had to leave him behind. Tags and all, sir," Keyes said.
      "Sorry to say this boys, but we have to go get him. You know how policy works."
      "Sir, with all due respect, Stamos and Stone won't be able to fight. Smith's out, too. That leaves only five of us to fight." Hawke walked over to Stone and kicked him in the gut. "Get the hell up. I don't see any blood so go do your job and fix Stamos up. Now!"
      Stone rolled over onto his stomach, lifted the upper half of his body, vomited, and then got on his feet. He walked over to Stamos and started working. "Okay. We'll be fine. How far in there is he Arthur?"
      "Not far, sir. Thirty yards. Max," I replied.
      "Let's go then. I'll lead, you boys just tell me which way to go."
      Keyes gave a heavy sigh of submission and started following the general as he made his way out of the building.

      And we all followed Keyes.