We rolled out onto the road back to base, and I attempted to get an explanation of the earlier engagement from Rob.

"Righto, McCormack, what the hell happened in there that resulted in only one person out of a four man squad suviving? This better be good."

He turned to look at me, and his face had suddenly turned white, as if the very story was a bit much. But he did respond.

"Well, we went in at about 1200 hours to scout the place out for your squad's arrival. We were going down the Science corridor when we were ambushed and the rest of my squad were taken. I only escaped by hiding behind that table you found me at and firing wildly. During a lull in the gunfire, I could hear gunshots from where the tangos had taken my squad. They had killed them. I still can't believe it."

He turned back round, and then I saw his hands were shaking violently. I decided to find out more at a later date, to take the weight off Rob's shoulder and let him recover mentally. We pulled up at base and I turned round to see the rest of my squad. Intestive work was still being done by Julie to remove the bullet in Duncan's arm.

"Julie, how's Duncan's arm? Any luck getting that bullet removed?"

"No, it's in quite deep and I'm having trouble reaching it in the first place." She was going to need more time. Or my help.

"Right, everybody out, those not wounded may go back to the tent." I said to Rob and Roy. I got into the back with Julie and Duncan. "Duncan, you better be ready for this." I pulled out my knife and a pair of small pliers.

"Oh no, not pliers. That's going to do nowt for his comfort having pliers jammed in," Julie observed, "... but if that's your idea, go ahead."

I got in the back of the Saxon and moved up to Duncan. He had been drugged, so he wouldn't feel a thing. Hopefully. I stuck my knife in and searched for the bullet. Which was a mistake. Duncan hadn't been drugged.

"AAAAGHHH!!! WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?!" He screamed in agony. A small metallic clink signify the bullet. Now to insert the pliers. This was probably like torture, but it had to be done.

"Careful, careful... Stay still. Hold him still please, Julie." She grabbed his arm and held it still as I pulled the bullet out. Julie quickly put a painkiller drug syrette in him to prevent another expletive-laced outburst.

"See, Julie? Old-fashioned stuff still works... No pain, no gain, as they say." I was pleased. I had done more to remove the bullet in two minutes using pliers and a knife than Julie had done in thirty using modern medicine.

I hauled Duncan out of the Saxon, with Julie coming out soon after. We headed back to the tent. She looked downtrodden. Maybe I shouldn't have done what was actually her job.

The End

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