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Through binoculars I carefully was watching a two metres high rampart, which with its two parts cut off a large clearing. The whole clearing was mottled with numerous craters of the energetic brunts, torn away short bushes and lesser stone bulks. On its oposite site streatched an immense dense wood, which covered larger part of the mountain Morad. Six months ago there a battle was fought against the Amsker wariours. Now all was silent.
I was worried for there were no animal heat prints on the whole area, what was very oddly with regard to that on the planet were many autochtonous species which hunted at nights. Not taking off my look from the clearing, I asked lieuftenant Carlos Hortiz, who next to me was lying on the wet grass.
- Have you spotted something around the ramparts?
- All is clear on this part!
- Too much for my taste!
- Why are you worrying?
- I don't know, something...but it's not essential. Inform the other ones to move nearer to the underwood and occupy positions1
Crawling he descended down the mild slope behind my back to the commanding officers, who were waiting for him in the dense underwood.
- Jon, you and Arondo go with your squad to the left flank, and Ken with Horatio the right one! Major I will take the middle. Adjust your watches for we're crossing the clearing in ten minutes. Is it clear to us?
Accustomed to the accomplishing of the commands, they worthless resolutely saluted and moved to carry it out. When he repeatedly lugged nearer to me, he curiously asked me:
- You're that sure that there some forgotten Askers in those trenches?
- - I haven't perceived any, as I remember you have been even better than me in discovering them at simulations. Besides, according to the informations from the headquarters, there hasn't been anybody for six months... Hastilly I stopped for it semed to me that spotted some movement at the brink of the wood , I concentrated myself to that wood part, but there wasn't any movement. This considerably irritated me, I was too much anxious, I also react to a shit of a breeze, which kept moving the branches - ... you have seen in the ordiance, till the first Askers' camps we have to walk for good one hundred and fifty kilometers.
- Wasn't it any easier to transport us by our transporters till their positions?
- I've got an answer that they are busy with transffering of Smith's division on the Sanan peninsula.
- I 've heard that there violent battles are beeing fought, right?
- More precise informations are as ever some army secret, unavailable.
- And we get an assignment in this desolate place! I haven't hoped to this when we set off from the base.
- Friend, I think this isn't going to finish that soon!
- But why they haven't given to us a right task? We have got an easy walk in a wood..
I significantly have looked at him, and pushed him with a hand.
- You had better to bring our group over here well, why are you wailing all the time?
- To your order! Since he has never been able to keep something for himself, he asked me:
- To bring a guide as to show us some sightseeing of this nice area as well?
He got back with two soldiers, mapped them out at the very underwood brink, and knelt beside me.
- All is ready for a movement.
- Very good!
I stood up and threw a stuffing into an energetic rifle and commanded:
On the half way between the underwood and the ramparts, my face was lit by the first explosion.
- What the hell is... ?!
The second plasma grenade echoed behind my back, to what I exclamed:
- Run up to the trenches!!!
The dark around me was cut up by the green traces of the plasma buffets. One soldier from my right side was torned to pieces, splashing my uniform and the light armour with mix of mud, blood and hot plasma. I didn't stop myself. Numerous explosions blinded me; the earth mixed up with plasma, was flying all around as in a wilde fireworks. I was running as long as my legs were able to carry me toward a shelter on this dangerous clearing, and I litterally threw myself onto the rampart. The painful crash with the hardly stamped ground brought me back to reality. I was furious, it wasn't clear to me for how long could they be hidden that I wasn't able to perceive them. Carlos crawled to me and shouted:
- There's nobody!!! What the hell is this now?
- As far as I remember you asked for a bit of action!
He laughed at it as an insane person cleaning his muddy rifle:
- Are you sure that we're on a right place?
- A hundred procent!
- I'd only like to know what a shit man gave the information that nobody is here!
- It isn't essential any more. I resigned confirmed, biting myself from inside. What's nothing happening here at all, and from where they are scattering with all these grenades? Look at the men, and I'm going to look out over there!.
While he was going away, the opposite area of the trenches they literally started to scatter in all directions by grenades. As soon as the bombardment subsided, I crawled up to the top and tried peeped over the rampart, but one of the left grenades hit on the other side of the place, right under the place where I peeped.. The hit wave of the explosion trew mw together with a heap of the ground down the slopy side. I furiously sweared, while I was raising myself to a sitting position.:
- Mother of a bitch! Here something is really wrong!
On my back tapped me lieutenant Hortiz.:
- Be careful a bit when peeping.
- I threw off the earth from me and and confirmed:
- I'm all right. Have you done what I ordered you?
- We've lost four men from our group, and five of them are wounded! I think that soldier Fenian won't live longer., the wound is fatal!
- To the Hell! They've pressed us well!
- To attack the wood ridge with hand mortars?
- Use the radio, for there's no more use to hide us! Inform the rest of ours to attack the ridge of the wood, an I'll peep over the trench ridge once more!
- Before long it also started to fall our missiles, but unfortunatelly they didn't hit the place from where they shed us with grenades. Flashes of their plasma guns were coming from the wood depth, so I soo quickly issued an order:
- Carlos, let them attack the wood depth, for nobody is at the ridge of the wood!
- OK. And he continued to transfer the new order to the radio operator.
Satisfied with the correctiom, I praised them:
- Very good! Let them only to continue it!
As I got no respond, I shouted, outvoting the gun thundering:
- Lieutenant Hortiz!!! But he even didn't move. I anxiously slipped down the slope and caught him for his shoulder:
- Why aren't you giving a voice of ...? His body feebly fell on the ground, and smell of the scorched flesh filled my nostrills. On his breast, where he usualy wore his light armour, was a deep dark hole, from it still it was smoking, most of his face was disfigured and totally unrecognizable. The grenade exploded between him and the radio soldier, both of them were dead. Shocked I watched the disformed face of my friend, and the the Amskers' fire silenced. That brought me to reality. Hurridly we had to be prepared for their main attack, which should follow before long. I turned to the next soldier and asked:
- - Is there seargent Eliot?!
- - Dead, Sir!
- What's your name?
- Corporal samuel Lampard!
- Take over the command of the group! Is that clear!
- Yes, Sir!
- Let all of them on the top of the trench, for it's most probably that they'll attack on us!
- I see, Sir!
From my right side voiced himself seargent-major Timoty, who was listening to our conversation:
- Sir, let me to inform the rest of them?
- Yes, Let them be ready! And no more fire to the wood!
- All right.
I Quickly climbed up the rampart and searched the wood ridge, but save the broken and scattered trees I couldn't spot any move. It wasn't clear to me why they broke their gun fire, for between the wood and us was a hundred and fifty metres distance, full of different small hills. Strategicaly it wasn't proper for a military advancement, for they'll be perfect targets of our trench snipers
- What the Hell they are going to any way?
And I got it, what I all the time was missing. Those small hills were to much ordently heaped, they couldn't be natural at all, and there were hundreads of them all around on the clearing. Taking a bomb off my armour I shouted to seargent Timoty:
- Timoty, inform all of us to hit with bombs on the nearest hills!
He watched me confusedly:
- Let them bomb, they are below you. Right now!
I threw a bomb and aimed using a rifle in direciton of those small hills. The explosion threw in the air one of the hidden Askers, and the rest of the survived ones I shot down with precise hits in the chests. Then started a hell. Dark was lit by explosions of the plasma bombs and the energetics rifles, and hundreds of Askers fulfiled the clearing rushing toward us. I shot without thinking, killing the nearest ones, who were approaching to me. Then I spotted one who was about to jump onto Samual Lampard with two-edged laser Sachat knife in his hand. I shot one into his head, and he fell down at Samual's feet, but it didn't save the corporal, for another one impaled him on a long laser bayonet, and holding him up threw him down the slope. I caught sight of a huge Asker jumping toward me with a twisting Sarhat in his hands. I shot him in the last minute, but I didn't succeed to avoid his dead body, which hit me as a rammer, throwing me off down the wet slope to the bottom of the trench. While I was trying to push him off me, a terrible explosion echoed, and a heap of the ground with dismembered bodies literally buried us under. For the strong pressing on the cheast I wasn't able to breath and soon dark swallowed me.
When I came to my senses, it was still dark as in a horn, I hardly was breathing for lack of the air I tried to move, but it was impossible. For a moment I thought I was dead, and I heard muffled voices. I almost fainted when I still called for help. Luckily the pressing on my cheast mitigated and I again was able to breathe. At the same time through dark penetrated a thin ray of light and to me a rough voice reached to ma ear's:
- Here! Somebody survived this slaughter! That somebody leaned over and shouted:
- Endure a little! Now we'll take you out!
Soon they moved off me the ground and the dead bodies, and seat me on the ground.. One of the soldiers provided me a bottle of water and asked:
- What's your name?
- Major Henry Broncon. I hardly responded, and then I drank off a good gulp of water, from my throat was as dry as powder. The soldier made a move to salute me, but I stopped him waving away with hand.:
- Forget it! Tell me are there any survived?
- Men are still looking for, but here was a right slaughter. You're the first one whom we found living.
I tried to raise myself, but if it weren't for his support I would fall down.
- You aren't able to walk yet, Sir.
- I am! Wrath in me already boiled, and that frenzy kept me on my feet, I looked at another soldier who startled at the sight of my bloody eyes.
- Find me my binoculars! It must be there where I was lying!
- Right now!
- And we two are going upstairs.
He caught me firmly under my arm and we together set off to the top of the rampart. At the moment ran up a soldier who handed me my binoculars:
- It was not far from the place where you were lying, Sir.
- Very good.
- You need something else?
- No, thank you..
Soon I was standing on the top of the rampart, and appealed I was watching the clearing. With my trembling hands I took my binoculars, and watched the clearing, from which appeared Askers. All around there were numerous dead bodies, mixed up in the whirpool of death. It was a horrible sight. Hundreds of dead soldiers and Askers were lying everywhere on the clearing, on the ramparts, and all over till the wood ridge behind us, where my guys tried to withdraw. Numerous medical orderlies and soldiers scattered all around on the field of death, looking for the survived, but I knew that their labour was in vain. A look itself on the scaffold showed me that all were dead. The soldier who supported me, confirmed with respect in his voice:
- It must have been a hell here!
Spasmodically I pressed the binoculars, my heart beat wildly. Pain and sorrow fulfiled me completely. In my soul I was screaming, and my fellow-fighters and friends were watching me with their dead eyes. When I finally spoke up, the whole my body shivered, and from me only a whisper came out:
- They passed a hell, and I only have entered in it.