No water, no food, no sleep, just heavy steps and sweat on head. March was long and lasting, which caused many to die in rout. We lost our commander weeks ago, but the goal was to get to the city and help them repel the invaders. Our cargo probably got covered with dirt by now or the wild animals drag it through the forest we barely got out off. Plan was simple, drop all of the things we would not need for combat and bring only the necessary things like weapons and ammo. Few weeks later, we threw our protection, all of our heavy ceramic plates, exoskeleton, shoulder pads and body cover ups, but the iron tools of death still pulled us to the ground.
– Our last mule died. – a friend spoke kicking the metal machine that just lost it’s power to walk.
– It lasted us for so long. We will soon follow her, just when we get to the outskirts of the city. – I said absent breath and will to live.
– Who’s bright idea was to take us on a death march? We were so far away for an effective aid. – friend paused and looked at the clear sky where the Sun burned his flesh, turning it lobster red.
– We were told to engage the incoming force. They were raiding villages in our reach and left inland when we came in pursuit. Motherfuckers are fast and nimble. You saw what they did to Tadmir and Ivilion. If Zaria falls, the whole war is lost… Keep moving.
Fire broke off at the head of the cologne, rising our eyes up in curiosity, then the platoon charged forward to catch up with the exposed line that kept rifling the distance.
– Ildocians!!! – one of the scouts shouted pointing at north, which was strange for Ildok to run from that direction.
Nevertheless, we stepped up the pace and filled the small hill by the whole stretch, lining our blaster muzzles on the top edge. Bursts of fire were destroying our cover with each bullet breaking the rocks and throwing dirt in eyes. Strong yelling consumed the repetitive flashes, when a Zarian war cry came from there. The platoon stopped firing back, and one of our men rose the flag, showing the friendly colors.
Riffling went on for a few more moments, then it gradually stopped to a dead silence. There were no volunteers to exit the cover and approach the hostile position where we couldn’t find a trace of Zarian uniform or symbol. I stepped out, feeling tired of this walking and losing and went out there like an angry general to find out what is going on.
I thought it was a lost unit from the siege or a pack of deserters that left the “Big Battle for Ildok”, but it wasn’t that. What I found out was, that one of our boys in the middle had a heat stroke and the others thought he was gunned down by an enemy sniper. It was normal not to hear a shot when the shooter was miles away, so they opened fire onto the first line in front of them. The first line though we were ambushed by a stronger enemy force, so they returned fire. We lost dozen men on that hill, battling the imaginary force. We had to implement the obligatory rest schedule and start a nights watch which slowed us even more, but we didn’t fought any imaginary army again.