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Denard Steps Out..


Captain Enema
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[b]Khartoum[/b]

"Are you sure you two will be ok?" Shellani asks again.

"Look honey, I've survived how many assassination attempts, wars, suicide bombings, and drunken binges in 3rd world countries? What could possibly go wrong?" Denard asks.

"You are taking our son on a trip around the world to show him the sites on his summer holiday. I can't begin to imagine what sort of trouble you'd get into. However, you two do need to spend some time together and I do need some time to myself. I warn you Bob, if one hair, just one hair on his head gets harmed, I'm going to skin you alive after I make you eat your own balls," Shellani promises.

"Err, well that's motivation enough for me to bring him back safe and sound," Denard replies.

"Yes, it better be," Shellani says as she walks over to their son and gives him a kiss on the head and tells him, "You have the satellite phone, call me if anything goes wrong. Do not give the phone to your father and don't let him take you into any brothels."

"Yes mother," the boy says.

"Good, now run along and try not to get into any firefights you two," Shellani says as she dismisses the two. Denard and his son needing no further invitation grab their packs and head for the door.

"Dear god, you mother hasn't loosened up a bit in 30 years," Denard says as they run for the road.

"She wasn't so bad before you came back," his son replies.

"Must be my charming personality," Denard giggles.

"That or you have a tend to bring out those deep seated fears for her and my life when you are around," his son says.

"Who told you that?" Denard asks.

"My therapist."

"What the hell you going to therapy for?"

"Unresolved issues involving being abandoned by my father at a young age and finding out he's the leader of a renegade break away African nation and a wanted war criminal in some parts of Africa."

"Oh, I can see that might be a bit of a burden," Denard says carefully as he waves down a taxi.

"Where we going first?" Jeb, Denard' son, asks.

"Well, I'm thinking we head to Europe. We can visit a few places there. Been hankering to visit some friends in North America for awhile. Maybe take you over there and introduce you to some of your aunts and uncles who live in the New York City area. After that, I have no idea."

"Shouldn't we plan this out?"

"Oh hell no, best to go where the road takes you. Now, first thing you are gonna do is empty out your pack," Denard orders as he helps Jeb empty out all the various bits and pieces. "Sweet Allah child, how many pairs of socks do you really need? I carry exactly 3 pairs." Denard says as he tosses the rest aside and begins to downsize Jeb's rather hefty load.

"But Dad, mom said I'd need all of this stuff," Jeb protests.

"Well is your mom going to help you carry all this crap?"

"No."

"Right then, listen to what the man who knows what he is doing then," Denard replies as he repacks his son's much reduced load. "Enough clothes to bed down a family of circus clowns, four books, an ipod, and a psp? Damn kids these days," Bob mutters as he sets aside a variety of books, electronic gadgets, and other heavy items.

"DAAAD, I need my ipod," Jeb protests.

"No you don't boy. You'll be needing one of these," Denard replies as he hands him a brand new Android phone. "It has an international sim card in it. We can use them everywhere. It's got a camera and internet access. Saves you hauling around all this crap. And seriously, get rid of that clunker satellite phone. Your mother bought it surplus at a Legion salvage auction. It's great if you want something that can survive a bomb blast, but horrible for backpacking."

"Oh ok dad," Jeb replies as he sneaks his possessions back into the house.

"Kids these days," Denard says as he opens the door to his waiting car and revs the engine. "I'll say one thing though, Shellani kept my baby in good repair. What a woman," Denard says as he waits for Jeb to get in the car.

[img]http://www.quaiswaseeq.com/top-5-muscle-cars-of-all-times/muscle_cars/1966-pontiac-gto-convertible.jpg[/img]



**Character RP only, involve yourself at your own risk of being run over or possibly left naked in a snow bank.

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"This my child is what we call a Baker rifle," Denard says.

"It's a rather decrepit piece of junk isn't it?" Jeb asks.

"Well, in truth the shabby state of it hardly matters. It is the significance of the rifle and the role it plays in the history of Legion," Denard replies.

"This piece of junk has some sort of historical significance?" Jeb asks incredously.

"Well, there once was this fellow named Executive Minister. He was in charge of the Nodic Militancy. Rather wild bunch, but we got on quite well with them after a period of... err... adjustment. When the Legion rose again in Sudan after our fall in Somalia he sent a case of Baker rifles as a caustic barb," Denard explains.

"So he meant to insult us?"

"Indeed he did, but the insult wasn't taken harshly. We merely filed away this case of rifles to return the favor."

"Did you ever give them back?"

"Certainly, not long ago the Princes of Aeon got her back up over something to do with the Irish and they raised their force levels along our borders."

"So what did you do?"

"I left the same case of Baker Rifles at a border crossing in response. I figured someone down there might get the hint and take it for the message we intended it to be," Denard expounds.

"Dad, has someone ever told you that your diplomatic skills have a great deal to be desired?"

"Oh all the time, that's why I have Dellion take care of that crap, I just focus on making people angry and blowing things up. Speaking of which, let's move onto the next exhibit," Denard says as he leads Jeb to the next exhibit in the Legion Museum in Port Sudan. It's a rather shot up looking tank with the turret blown off and the outside is covered in rust streaks.

"What happened to this thing?" Jeb asks.

"Oh Private Baraby drove it into one end of a brothel and right out the other directly face first into a convoy of enemy tanks," Denard says as he begins to regale Jeb with the tale of Baraby defeating an entire enemy convoy whilst so drunk he couldn't even drive straight, which is probably why he's still alive today due to all his weaving around the road.

"Is this Baraby still with the Legion?"

"God I hope not, every time we go anywhere with him he gets in some sort of trouble. Last I heard he's still fumbling around an Artemis base called Terror Mountain."

"I'd quite like to meet Baraby," Jeb says whimsically.

"Trust me, you aren't missing much," Denard replies as he guides Jeb to the next exhibit. It's a small case showing pictures of Promised Lander agents poisoning the water supply of the capitol of the Republic of Somal. It also has a selection of articles and other items linked to the vent along with the note left by Promised Lander agents on the desk of the Republic of Somal Intelligence Service Chief of Operations.

"What's this all about?" Jeb asks.

"Promised Land, hilarious name for that lot I know, but none the less they poisoned the water supply of a city and killed five hundred or so of our people during a war between us, the Aether Empire, and NoN."

"Biological Warfare?"

"Yep, filthy buggers they are," Denard replies with a hiss.

"Whatever happened to them?" Jeb asks.

"Well at the time we were allies with a bunch called the Dragon Empire. It is my belief the Dragon Empire raised a bit of a fuss and then let it all blow over to protect their allies in Promised Land at the expense of our people. It's a hard one to prove, but in the end I suppose it makes sense. There was a lot on the line with the Dragon Empire and the stability it provided to the Indian Subcontinent," Denard says.

"So no revenge was gotten for them?"

"Eh son, look, revenge is all good and proper for me. For your generation you have to think beyond revenge. Life isn't black and white like it used to be for me. In my day there were good guys and bad guys. It was a simple matter of deciding which side you wanted to be on. Now, you got politics and such. That's something you are going to have to learn if you ever want to get ahead in life, how to understand politics and diplomacy," Denard says.

"I wouldn't mind that, I really have no desire to be in the Legion," Jeb states.

"That's your mother speaking, you are already part of Legion whether you like it or not. The question is how you plan on serving Legion and the ideals we cherish."

"War, killing, and destroying? What sort of ideals are those?" Jeb asks bitterly.

"Boy, war is an ends to a means. We fight so we don't have to fight. You ought to look around the world. Every bit of territory Legion controls we provide jobs, health care, schools, and stability. We leave places better than we find them and we certainly don't exploit the natives. We form partnerships with them and share the wealth to help them raise themselves up. That's Legion for you, we exist to provide opportunities for others to make something of themselves and damn it, sometimes that means we have to fight for those opportunities," Denard barks in a low voice.

"Mom puts it quite differently, she says Legion is nothing more than a haven for thugs," Jeb retorts.

"Well she's not all that wrong about that. We do have our share of thugs and villians and outright criminals, but in our service they follow the rules or they get a noose. A thug in our service has a chance at becoming a proper gentleman, because we demand it of them. Other nations coddle their thugs and criminals, they make excuses for them, while we tell them to shape of or we will shoot them."

"Saves a trial I guess."

"You damn well got that right, look boy, this is a harsh world we live in. You have to rule the people with an iron fist. There must be no uncertainties about the consequences. The people under our care know full and well what will happen if they rape or murder. That's a noose, no questions, no excuses, no whining, no bawling, its just a noose and a shallow unmarked grave. But those kids who work hard in school, we give them scholarships to go to university, we pay for their doctors, we do all of that. One hand might be an iron fist, but I promise you, the other hand is a damn decent place to be if you can follow the rules."

"What is this thing over here," Jeb asks as he points to a shot up and half destroyed Mi-8 helicopter.

"Son, that's not something I want to talk about," Denard says as he instantly recognizes the helicopter as the one he was shot down in during the Kickapoo war.

"Why not Dad? It is just a helicopter, why can't you tell me?" Jeb asks as he walks over and examines the plate describing the events surrounding the shoot-down of the helicopter, the capture of Denard, his torture, and finally his rescue. "Oh, I guess that makes sense why you don't really want to talk about it."

"Yeah, anyway, let's get out of here, we got a lot of miles to cover. I want to get to a decent hotel by dark," Denard says as he leads the way out to the parking lot and gives the retired Sargent Major at the front door a salute and a smile.

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  • 2 weeks later...

[b]Dengali National Park, Legion[/b]

“Once I came down here late at night and I swear to god I could hear the whispers of the dead,” Denard quietly tells Jeb as they sit under the scant shade of a raggedy bush that flanks the dry creek-bed that runs right through the heart of the old battle site.

“Probably just wind Dad,” Jeb remarks as he wipes more sweat off his head. Sitting around a dusty creek bed in 40 degree plus weather is hardly what he had in mind for a holiday with his father. Still, he knows enough to keep quiet about his annoyance. There is something about the place that has turned Denard from his normal jovial self to a quiet haunted withdrawn sort of specter of a man.

“You are probably bored, I know I would be if I were you. Why do you go over to that large rock in the center, the one with that bronze plate stamped on it,” Denard tells Jeb as he points to the specific rock in the creek bed.

“Yes sir,” Jeb quietly replies as he climbs his way to his feet and then makes his way across the jumble of larger blindingly hot rocks. The fury of the heat causes him to drip sweat at even a more furious pace. He ignores the discomfort as he looks down at the bronze plate and reads it out-loud, “37.”

“Odd isn’t it boy?” Denard asks from the shade.

“What does it mean?”

“It means 37 enemy bodies were found at and around that rock.”

“Who cares about the enemy dead?”

“Son, soldiers… real soldiers always care. You honor the fallen of all nations and tribes… you show them the same respect you show your own. It doesn’t matter if they mutilate your dead, they torture your wounded, or they set one of your captured men on fire with gasoline in front of your positions to scare you into surrender. You honor the dead,” Denard replies.

“Did they really soak a man in gasoline and set him on fire?” Jeb asks as he returns to the shade and pulls a bottle of water out of his pack.

“Yep, about 300 yards that way on the second day.”

“What did you do?”

“I shot the man myself to put him out of his misery and then had our mortar teams plaster the area, not that it did much good, we only had two mortars then,” Denard says as he takes a drink of his own water.
Jeb notices he only has a few swallows of water left and he looks uncomfortable. Denard snorts and hands Jeb a nearly full bottle of water. “You’ll learn not to guzzle down all your water so quickly in the future. Just enough to take the edge off your thirst. You know we spent an entire two days trapped in this creek bed, no cover, no water, no food, no medical supplies,” Denard says as he can hear the screams of misery in his mind.

“Mother told me, she says its why you are such a contrary person.”

“I’m sure you are just phrasing it gently for my sake, but the reason why I am who I am is far more complicated. When I grew up men weren’t allowed to express themselves. Men were told to swallow their tears and man up. I grew up in the poorest part of New York City with no father, he was murdered in broad daylight right in front of me. My mother, bless her heart, was a fearsome woman. Much like your mother, but Shellani, now she’s a different type of fearsome and at heart a very sweet and kind person.”

“Why did you two divorce?”

“She’s too good of a woman to be around a person like me, I just wanted her to be free of all of this,” Denard says as he motions to the creek bed and the legends attached it.

“She talked about you as if you were going to come home at any moment.”

“Well, that’s not to my credit, I really should have grown up and went home. I really should have left all of this behind and settled down and been a father and a husband. You’ll find that in life either you make the right choice or you don’t and you’ll probably end up regretting both in one way or another.”

“Are you going to come back to Khartoum after this trip?” Jeb asks.

“Yes, most definitely, and while I might not move back in with you and your mother I will be close by. Maybe I’ll give it some time and see if I can make things right with Shellani. Though to be honest I wish she’d find herself a decent banker or something and get remarried, she deserves a decent fellow, not a worn out old bum like me.”

“She did try dating.”

“Really?”

“Her dates all got told by ex-Legionnaires in Khartoum if they showed up for a second date they’d end up dead.”

Denard busts out laughing and says, “I’ll have to get that stopped when we get back. Still, my boys, ahh… my boys.. god bless them. They sent me regular reports on both you and your mother. Neither of you ever spent a moment of your lives in Khartoum without having someone watching over the both of you to keep you safe.”

“Why didn’t you come home then?”

“You know all the stories you hear about the big bad Mad Dog Bob Denard?”

“Kind of hard not to hear them in Khartoum where at least half the city is either ex-Sudanese Defense Forces or ex-Legion.”

“Right, well deep at heart there is a simple truth. One so simple it’ll boggle your mind.”

“What?” asks Jeb.

“I’m a chicken#$#@ when it comes to your mother..”

“Oh,” replies Jeb as he takes another drink of water. “Well that’s not exactly what I expected.”

“What did you expect?”

“Some long winded story about your responsibilities to the world.”

“I can make one up if it would make you feel better,” Denard replies with a chuckle as he pulls his water bottle back from Jeb’s hands and takes a drink from it before his son guzzles down the rest of it.

“No, I think the simple truth is the most refreshing truth.”

“It generally is, so let’s get out of this heat before I end up having to carry you back. Tonight we are going to have dinner with a nurse who patched me back up after they rescued me from Greenly Morris and his lunatics towards the end of the Kickapoo war,” Denard says as he stands up and feels a few popping noises erupt from various parts of his body that give off these minor spasms to remind him he’s no longer a young man.

“Dad, why are we really on this trip?”

“You are here because your mother wants to make sure that you at least understand your own father and I want to make sure you damn well never join the Legion like you’ve been telling your mother you will,” Denard replies as the two climb out of the creekbed and onto the rough trail above it and begin to make their way back to the car.

“Why shouldn’t I join the Legion?”

“Because you are ten times smarter than me or your mother by some fluke of genetics and you’d be far better off getting a good college education and being something more useful than some random international jag-off who pushes the big red button on his desk all day long,” Denard replies.

“What does the big red button do?”

“Orders more sandwiches is my guess, I know the big red button on my desk in Port Sudan used to order me up a lovely corned beef sandwich and a side of scotch. Other leaders actually have their hooked up to their nuclear weapons, now why the heck they’d do that is beyond me, imagine what would happen if you got too drunk one night and thought the red button was for ordering more beer?” Denard asks as the father and son duo walk in the staggering heat back to the car.

“Are most international leaders so capricious?”

“Yep… most international leaders get to be international leaders because either they are too stupid to do anything useful or too ego-driven to be in any other position. Remember this important tip, international leaders love it when someone polishes their apples.”

“Polishes their apples?”

“It’s an expression, not to be confused with knobs,” Denard expounds as they walk.

Edited by Tidy Bowl Man
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“This is where it all started,” Denard says as he and Jeb walk through the ruins of the once prosperous Sudanese village.

“What happened here?” is the first question out of Jeb's mouth as he takes in the ruined huts and occasional yellowed bone, very human appearing, protruding from the ground.

“A massacre, rapes, murders, all manner and type of human evil that you probably and hopefully will never be able to comprehend.”

“Who did it?”

“Doesn't really matter to be honest. I'm here, they aren't.”

Jeb looks at Denard for a long time without speaking. He's intelligent enough to read his father's sudden hesitance to speak. He's seen it before when they toured the Dengali Battlefield and saw it again when they ate dinner with the wife of Ben Russel, the man who helped free Denard from the torture of the psychopathic religious lunatic Greenly Morris. He's also seen it during conversations between Denard and his mother when they've spoken about Vietnam, Germany, and other countries where Legion has seen conflict and the blood of its men spilled.

Denard says nothing as he walks through the ruins lost in his thoughts. He's in a far away place with a distant figure of his past. The Gunfighter, the elusive warrior of the pistol who showed him how to even the odds against a far superior numbers. Denard's first blood, drawn not more than four hundred yards away in where he approached in the dead of the night marked the first of many to die by his blood soaked hands. This too haunts him, right to the very depths of his soul, which tends to be the way it is for men who live with one hand constantly hovering over the grips of their guns.

“So what do you mean by you are here and they aren't?”

“Son, there are somethings you shouldn't ask. Though, to be fair, I did bring you here, so I ought to be willing to speak on it,” Denard says as he walks to the edge of the jungle and sits down on a log.

“Dad, if it is too much to talk about, you don't have to talk about it.”

“It's one of those things you need to hear. I don't want you to be a man who resorts to violent means. I don't want you to have to kill another human being. Because no matter what you say or do, you'll end up in a situation like this, a good group gone bad. This used to be a village of farmers, I was sent here as a volunteer. Every single person in this village was murdered. The women were raped first, they killed them slowly, they took their time with them. They raped and killed the children as well, typically of them, they did that first while their parents watched. You could say they weren't the most imaginative bunch when it comes to murder, rape, and torture.”

“Where were you the whole time?”

“Laying right behind this log being held down by a local who was protecting me. The rebels came to kill me, the village refused to give me up, they slaughtered them for that refusal. After that, I learned a thing or two about handling a gun and balanced the scales of justice just a bit in this out of balanced world.”

“You killed one of the rebels?”
“No son, I killed them all, every god damn last one of them. And then I made it a career of hunting down and killing more like them. And then, one day when I least expected it, I ended it nearly becoming like one of them, another unimaginative trend in an otherwise bland world.”

“How?”

Denard sighs and says nothing for awhile. He mulls over an answer and gives up on the chore of sugar coating the truth for Jeb. Finally he says, “Executed some folks on national TV to make a point.”

“HOW does that make you almost like one of them?” Jeb asks incredulously as he's inclined to believe that such an action would make his father exactly like one of the people he professes to loath so very much.

“Boy, you watch your tone with me. I did what I had to do to project strength and to bring about order. It was a ruthless and heavy handed message to dissidents and other foreign adventurers who were sniffing around at the time. I didn't execute a man who wasn't already under the sentence of death in the first place. But, in the end, what I did was wrong. No man no matter how heinous deserves to be shot in the head on international television just to make a point even if it is in the name of justice. Remember this lesson boy, give a man dignity, even on the day of his death, always give a man his dignity.”

Neither of the two have much to say after this comment. They quietly finish touring the village and in silence return to the car where Denard allows Jeb to drive back to the nearby city they are staying in. As they drive Denard says, “Well, this will be the last we'll be in this car for awhile, tomorrow we fly out for Asia. Stay away from the whores, your mother will kill me if you end up with the drippy dick.”

“What's the drippy dick?”

“Every man's worst nightmare, trust me on this, you'll know it if you ever let it get you.”

“One could almost say I'm getting a well needed education in geopolitics, ethics, and degeneracy,” Jeb says somewhat scathingly.

“Not in that order either boy, just remember that.”

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[b]Legion Valley[/b]

“Seems Denard and his seed took a detour.”

“I thought they were heading to Asia?”

“No, they've turned and are on the way to Europe.”

“What do we have in position in Europe?”

“Nothing, but it doesn't matter. We know he's going to be heading for Asia sooner or later. We'll catch up with him there and settle this.”

“Yep, Asia it is then. I'll try to get a few people in the general area of him to at least keep an eye on him.”

“Tell them to keep a very low profile, Denard isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he's no stumbling idiot either.”

“Will do.”

[b]Legion France[/b]

“Well what do you think of France so far?” Denard asks.

“Very French,” Jeb replies.

“It's apt to be that way,” Denard comments as they retrieve their vehicle from the Legion Port Authority. It's a different vehicle than the beast they used in Africa. Europeans just don't appreciate the majesty of a finely tuned muscle car. Probably the hammering roar of a 451 big block with a dual-hemi carb upsets their refined ears or some rot. With this in mind Denard requested and had delivered a vehicle suitable for the job.

[img]http://www.rkrage.com/images/porsche993_17.jpg[/img]

“it's a bit old isn't it?” Jeb asks.

“I'm a bit old and I can still whup your behind,” Denard growls as they ease themselves into the 904.

“Where did you get all these cars anyway?”

“Spoils of war.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Look, you take the average tinpot despot and look in his garage. He's got at least 4 high end cars and 5 more classics. It's like something on that type's checklist of things they need in order to be a proper bloodthirsty villain.”

“So you took these off people you fought in the past?”

“Well I might have liberated one or two for my own uses, but I'm no Deltrane. That gold grubbing one armed thief will steal anything that is gold that isn't nailed down.”

“Mom mentioned him.”

“Anything nice?”

“No.”

“Suspected that might be the case.”

“She likes Dellion, she says he is a good influence on all of you.”

“Dellion is the biggest trouble-maker of us all. He just waits until he's away from his wife to really cut lose.”

“So where are we going first?” Jeb asks.

“Welp, first we are going to Crecy. I've wanted to tour the battlefield for years now. Then off to Verdun to stand on Morte De Homme and look over the old battlefield. After that we might hit up Paris and see some of their museums. The last time I was in Paris I was laid up recovering. Didn't get out much.”

“As I live and breathe father, no old Legionnaire friends to spend the night carousing with?”

“Jeb, Legionnaires don't carouse, we party till we drop.”

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  • 2 weeks later...

[b]Near Crecy Battlefield Site, Hotel Room[/b]

Denard ducks again as the high pitch scream of incoming fire drives him to the ground. The hammering reverberations of exploding ordanince dances on his body like a stuttering series of sledgehammer blows that shakes him every which way. He wipes a bit of dirt and other debris out of his eyes as he dimly hears Dellion screaming, “DENARD, RALLY! RALLY! OUR FLANKS ARE BREAKING!”

Denard grunts as he comes up to his elbows and pulls his rifle close to his chest as he scans for targets. He might be addled, he might not even be sure where he is, but he knows what his rifle is for and he fully intends to use it. Muscle memory takes over and his training kicks in as he brings the rifle up, finds a quick sight picture, and holds his breath as he gives the trigger a squeeze. For a split second the howl and roar of the battle around him is dimmed by the chatter of his own AK-47 rifle as it barks.

He holds the sight picture a second longer to confirm a solid hit, notices his incoming target flop to the earth as the man's brain suddenly loses the ability to keep his legs function due a clean hit on the spinal cord, and only then does Denard shifts to a new target. He fires again, again, and again as he the battle suddenly shifts away from him for a few precious seconds to let him gather his wits. “Dellion, Sitrep!”

“Les Terribles have been routed and are trapped in the creek bed. The Mal Hombres are hit hard but they are holding on their front. They are shifting a squad to their left to plug the gap between them and the Les Terribles. Suwi Duval and his Cooks and Bakers are holding position for the time being,” Dellion replies.

“Any sign of Mustapha and the Twisted Sisters?”

“No, we lost contact with them completely. Reports are coming in that the Auxos are avoid the Twisted Sisters last reported location though for some odd reason.”

“Damn wenches probably ate someone.”

“Well they are cannibals.”
“Bob, we gotta break contact and do it fast.”

“We can't, be break contact we'll be in a muddle and they'll hit us again. We gotta firm up our lines and hold them till we wear them down. Start shifting all our troops inwards and tell them to salvage whatever they can carry.”

“We could try a bug out.”

“The Auxos know this place front and back, they'd hunt us down one by one.”

“The Alamo it is then.”

“Yeah, good luck Dellion,” Denard says as he pulls another curved magazine out of his chest carrier and slides it into his rifle.

“You too Bob, it was a good run.”

“Yep, have the boys gather down in the creek bed towards that bend where the 2nd Platoon of the Les Terribles are holed up. They'll have more coverage and it's mostly open ground for the Auxos to cross. It'll be hell on us when we run out of water, but I doubt these gomers are gonna want to wait that long.”

“Risky, but we'll do it,” Dellion says as he slides away on his elbows and knees.

“Yeah, you'll do it alright,” Denard mutters. He leans his rifle on a log to keep the action out of the dirt. It's an AK-47, but no sense it taking the chance of having a jam due to foreign debris. He pulls out his right-hand .357 pistol and extracts the six empty shells from it. He pulls a cleaning rod out from his chest rig, attaches a bit of rag to the top of it, and slides it down the barrel and each chamber. He cleans and reloads both pistols and holsters them again. It calms him as it brings him to a quiet place inside of him that is away from the hell and fury that surrounds him.

Once centered he takes up his rifle and moves down the line taking a moment to talk to each of the men in his personal escort and the remains of the Gatos Negros, one of the shattered companies under his command. “Sir, where the hell are we anyway?” one of his men asks him.

“Dengali,” Denard replies.

“Place is a damn pit.”

“Won't argue that son, just watch your front and keep your sector in mind. That PKM of yours is keeping us alive right here. We'll need it when we move back,” Denard says.

“Copy sir,” the gunner responds.

“Keep...” Denard starts to speak and then stops as the entire world explodes around him as the Auxos open up on the center of the Legion line with a massive concentration of RPGs, mortars, and machine gun fire.

“HOLD THE LINE DAMN IT!” Deltrane screams as he moves up next to Denard. “BOB, bug out now. I'll hold them here.”
“I got first backstop on my FIVE,” Denard orders as he looks over to the gunner and orders him to make ready.

“BACKSTOP ON FIVE!” Deltrane screams loudly four times through the roaring din of battle.

“1, 2, 3, 4, 5! BACKSTOP GO!” Denard shouts as half of his remaining men begin laying down a heavy pattern of fire and the rest begin falling back by squads. Half of the moving squads firing and the other half moving. They leap frog back a full fifty yards and then take up positions.

Denard losses himself in the vibrant hum of war. It's far from a peaceful place as more than once, far more than once, men around him die violent deaths. Their spirits ripped from their body and sent to whatever afterlife in which they believe with an abrupt swiftness. Despite this Denard and his men make a new line that allows Deltrane and his boys to backpedal past him to repeat the process all the way back to the creek bed. Somewhere in this mess none of them men notice that Denard goes down, hard.

It's one of those things. A fluke accident that takes him out of commission in the haze of war in such a way that it's unnoticed as the automatons of battle around him carry out their tasks in the precise that they've become known for. As the Gatos Negros and his personal team fall back across the creek bed Denard lays slightly dazed and out of his senses with the body of a fellow soldier laying across him.

It doesn't take him long to come to terms with the world around him. He first notices the coppery smell of blood. It's followed by a wet feeling on his face. After that the crushing heaviness of the dead man's body. Terminating with the sudden knowledge that the man's intestines are hanging out of him and all over Denard. This prompts Denard to come to his feet and find himself face to face with four Auxos.

Denard looks at them. They look back at him. Denard's rifle is gone and he has no back up. Denard smiles and thinks, 'Not even a fair fight' as his hands drop to his pistols. “The Boys” as he calls them come up with a sickening speed that defies the physical properties of time and space. The long arms of Denard stuffed with lean fine muscles honed to a rapid quickness move spouting twin pillars of fire and destruction as the heavy .357 rounds rake the four Auxos down from left to right.

“DAD!”

Denard moves back down the bank and he hears the voice again and a jolting movement, “DAD!”

“Damn it,” Denard says as he wakes the rest of the way up. “Where the hell am I?”

“France.”

“Who are you?”

“Your son Jeb.”

“Since when have I had a son?”

“DAD WAKE UP!”

“What? RALLY GOD DAMN IT! INTO THE CREEK BED!” Denard shouts at Jeb.

“I'm calling mom!” Jeb whispers in terror as he drags the satellite phone out of its bag.

Denard ignores him as he crawls under his bed and pulls a blanket in with him. It'll be safe under here. The Auxos won't get him. He'll wait here till it's dark and infiltrate the Legion's lines in the creek bed and fight out the rest of this mess with his men. He has his pistols and a captured rifle and plenty of ammo with some water. He's not sure who the young boy is and he highly doubts the kid is his son. He has no son, he only has the Legion, and that's family enough for him and always has been.

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