If you've been following this blog, you already know the story. If you've stumbled on it now, welcome. Here's the lowdown.
A few years back, I was commissioned to write a story for the 'We're Alive' podcast.
Long story short, it didn't pan out.
But I spent a very long time writing it for it to languish in my computer. I spent that time not only writing it for the 'We're Alive' folks, but mostly for my readers.
So what I've decided to do is publish my initial story here, via my blog, as a work of FAN FICTION, a completely unofficial piece about a character from the series. This is completely unofficial and unauthorized, but I think my work and time spent on this project deserve to see the light of day.
I would like to encourage everyone who might enjoy this fan fiction to check out the officials 'We're Alive' website HERE. It is a fantastic and well-developed world created by a group of professional writers and expert voice actors.
In the meantime, here's the completlely unofficial, unauthorized 'We're Alive' fan fiction, originally entitled (WORKING TITLE: BURT)
BOWIE V. IBARRA
From an idea from the creators of the
“WE’RE ALIVE” podcast
Copyright 2011 PRODUCERS OF “WE’RE ALIVE” PODCAST, BOWIE V. IBARRA
5. THE AMBUSH
The door knock was unexpected and very loud. It felt to Burt that the last three knocks were unnecessary. A good door knock, in Burt’s mind, needed either five or seven knocks. Five was a friendly visit. Seven came across as business, or a good indicator of urgency.
This one came across as incredibly urgent. Burt didn’t see any sense to it.
“Who the hell?” he grumbled under his breath as he rose from his comfy chair and walked to the door. He picked up the remote and put the movie on pause.
Looking through the peephole, he saw who it was.
“Guerra,” he whispered. As he unlocked the door, he grumbled to himself, “What the hell do you want?”
He opened the door.
“Burt,” said Guerra offering his hand. “What’s going on?”
Burt accepted Guerra’s hand and shook it. “Trying to watch ‘Road Warrior’. “You?” he asked, letting Guerra in.
“I tried to call, but your line’s been busy.”
“I took the phone off the hook,” Burt replied.
“Can you believe what’s going on out there?” asked Guerra, following Burt in with urgency.
There was something wrong with Guerra. Burt detected it. What a pussy, thought Burt. He’s scared of the riots.
“When enough idiots get together, stupid things like that happen,” said Burt.
“But did you hear about…”
Burt quickly interrupted Guerra, becoming agitated. He had calmed down since first hearing the news. Now, not only was Guerra annoying him as always, he was bringing up the troubles in the city again. “I don’t want to hear about it.”
“But can you believe people are actually…”
“I don’t want to hear about it,” said Burt. “Stupid people get involved with stupid things. Now, what can I do for you, Mike?”
Mike Guerra just shrugged. “I need some firepower.”
“You got some bones?” asked Burt.
“I’ve got some bones,” said Mike, pulling out a roll of hundreds wrapped by a rubber band.
“Then I’ve got firepower. Right this way,” said Burt, leading Mike into the hallway.
The door to Burt’s bedroom was wide open. But the second bedroom was locked. The previous wooden door that once filled the space of the doorway was leaning against the hallway wall, still in good condition. It was very dusty, though.
In its place was a heavy metal door. In complete violation of his apartment contract, Burt had replaced the previous door with a heavy metal door. Four bolt locks protected it, as well as a combination lock. It was custom made.
Apartment contract or no apartment contract, the contents of the room needed safeguards.
As Burt began to unlock the locks, Guerra just had to ask again.
“So, you’re really not freaked out about what’s going on in the city?” asked Guerra, shaking his head.
“I could care less what’s going on outside my door. If those idiots bring it to my doorstep, then there’s problems,” said Burt.
“Well, I heard someone on the seventh floor went crazy already and…”
“Stupidity makes my blood boil, Mike,” grunted Burt. “So please, no more,” he said as the final security measure was unlocked. It took more than a push to open the heavy door, but it opened.
Burt flipped on a light switch as he stepped into the room. The fluorescent tubes of light buzzed in annoyance like a fly stuck behind a set of blinds. Then they flickered, then fully illuminated the room.
“So,” asked Burt. “Whatcha’ looking for?”
They both walked into the room. It was organized plainly. Pistols were set against a wall on one end. Long range rifles on another. Automatic weapons against yet another. Custom weapons on yet another. In the middle was a worktable where Burt could make ammunition, and also other storage lockers marked ‘explosives’.
“Not my usual,” said Guerra. “Something for personal and home defense.”
“Ah. Not arming the Sandinistas today, eh?”
Burt chuckled. Guerra was part of an anti-gang task force in L.A., one that was completely off the books and paid for under the table. With cash. They ran it like a CIA operation, funding rival gangs who were operating against gangs the department was targeting.
They also created strawman gangs made up of people from out of town bankrolled by the city. These people had tactical knowledge, whether by military or police SWAT training. And they ran their gang like any gang would, with strict and brutal initiations, codes, even gang signs and tagging. Members who were picked up by the police were always released. The city gangs were suspicious, but the system was run so well no one could figure it out.
Mike Guerra had been a close friend of Shirley. In fact, she’s the one that had coordinated the arming of the division through ‘Locked and Loaded’. Shirley and Mike had worked together at the sheriff’s department.
There had been a tension that was always in the air. Guerra thought he had a secret, but Burt knew it already. And Burt had always played dumb around Guerra. Shirley had shared what Guerra did for the city. And though it was clandestine, it was noble. So Burt had respected him.
However, Burt was still trying to find it in his heart to forgive him for what he did on the side. He didn’t appreciate the passes Guerra made on Shirley.
At the end of the day, however, Burt got cold, hard city money put right in his hand. So it was hard to complain.
“So? What did you have in mind?” asked Burt.
Guerra had already found what he wanted. “How ‘bout the SPAS?” he asked, pointing at the pump-action shotgun.
“Know how to clean it?” asked Burt.
Guerra was lying. Burt knew it. Guerra knew Burt knew.
“Got shells?” asked Burt, pulling down the shotgun.
“No shells,” said Guerra.
“How many boxes of shells do you have?”
“You got anything to carry them in, first?”
Burt shook his head, walking to a corner of the room. He opened a cabinet and pulled out an old satchel that looked like a mailbag. He tossed it at Guerra.
“Now, how many boxes do you need?”
“All you got,” said Guerra.
Burt winced in surprise. Guerra had never asked for that much before. But considering the payoff, he decided to let him have it.
Burt reached under the table where his bullet maker stood, pulling out a small case of 12 gauge shells.
“Great,” said Guerra.
“Wait,” said Burt, reaching back under the table. He pulled out another small case.
“Great,” said Guerra again.
“Wait,” said Burt yet again, reaching under the table and pulling out yet another box. “Here you go.”
Guerra smiled. “I’ll take all I can fit in the bag.”
“Deal,” Burt replied, opening the first case.
“And another SPAS if that’s alright with you?”
“I do have one more,” said Burt, packing the bag with boxes of shells. “It’s all yours.”
“You’ve saved my life today, Burt. Mine and my family’s.”
“You haven’t left yet,” said Burt. “So let’s get you back to your family to make sure that’s the truth.”
As Burt walked to get the other SPAS, Guerra said, “How have you been?”
“What do you mean?” asked Burt, taking the shotgun off the wall.
“Shirley,” said Guerra.
“I think about her every day,” he said, walking back to his customer. Burt averted his gaze when Mike felt his glare.
Burt and Mike packed the bag with as much ammunition as possible. Burt then handed Mike the other SPAS.
“What’s the damage?” asked Guerra.
Burt took inventory of what he had packed. But he wasn’t sure he was ready for this next time honored tradition of wheeling and dealing.
“Thirty,” said Burt.
Mike groaned. “C’mon, Burt. You’re killing me. Let’s try twelve.”
The whole negotiation process was just too much for Burt to deal with. He was tired, hungry, and irritated by Guerra. So he made a choice.
“You know what? Just go, Mike. Go.”
“Are you serious?”
“I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t mean it, Mike. Just go, alright.”
“Okay. Okay,” said Mike. “Thanks.”
Burt groaned, saying, “Don’t mention it,” as they walked out the door. Burt re-secured the room and walked Mike to the front door.
“Well, good luck with all that,” said Burt with a smile. He was happy Guerra was finally leaving. “By the way,” he said, offering his hand to Mike, “That’s a lot of firepower for some dumbass rioters.”
“It’s not the rioters I’m worried about,” said Guerra, shaking Burt’s hands and trotting away. “It’s those cannibals,” he shouted back.
“Ca…,” Burt whispered. He couldn’t even finish the word. It was the last thing he thought he’d hear. He shook his head as if he needed to rattle his brain back into reality. “Cannibals?” he finally whispered. The thought brought a twinge of fear to his heart. The rioters pissed him off to no end. But cannibals?
“Bullshit,” Burt finally muttered, closing the door. “Guerra’s out of his goddamn mind,” he groaned. He moved back to his chair.
Before he sat, his stomach growled. “I should make something to eat,” he thought.
Then he looked at the movie on pause. It was moments away from Max delivering one of his favorite lines.
Burt walked to the kitchen and took up an old, unwashed glass. He filled it halfway with water and chugged it. He then took a few more crackers from the bag. It was not even a handful.
Returning to the chair, he popped a cracker into his mouth and took the VCR off pause. As he crunched away on the cracker, he mouthed the next two lines.
Two days ago I saw a vehicle that’d haul that tanker. You want to get out of here? You talk to me.
Tanker, he thought.
“You cannon cockers got it easy.”
“So what’s it to you?”
A small group of infantrymen came up to Burt and his fellow artillery team. Burt had been in Vietnam for three months now. The teasing only happened every so often. Though Burt’s battle buddies took it in stride, Burt, as usual, didn’t like the bullying.
“Hey, take it easy there, Scott. I’m just saying you got a pretty cush job, that’s all. You don’t even get to see Victor Charlie in all his rice-eating glory.”
“We all do our part, Lombardo. So why don’t you go polish your gun some more,” said Burt, gesturing with a closed fist by his crotch. “Pretend your polishing it for that herpes-ridden ‘Mama-San’ back in town.”
“Oh, a wiseguy, eh?” said Lombardo. Burt hated his heavy Jersey accent. Even out in the heat of the jungle, the guy still greased back his hair. A patch of hair jutted from his chest and out from under his shirt. He was a big guy, nurtured on the streets of the Bronx. “That’s kinda ironic coming from a cannon cocker like you and your buddies.”
“Go fuck yourself, Lombardo,” said one of Burt’s teammates.
“Tell him, Houston,” said Burt.
Houston wasn’t his real name, but that’s what Burt and everyone else decided to call him since he was from Texas. He wasn’t from Houston, but he was a bit of a ‘space cadet’ as his friends called him.
“You dumb bastards can kiss my ass,” said Houston.
“You heard Houston, Lombardo. Get out of here. We didn’t do shit to you. All we’re doing is our job. And we back you up. Don’t forget that,” said Burt, pointing directly at Lombardo’s face.
“Guy’s backing down, Lombardo,” said one of his freckled friends next to him.
“I think you’re right, Lewis,” said Lombardo. “You backin’ down now, Scott?”
“I think you’re right, Lewis,” said Lombardo. “You backin’ down now, Scott?”
“He’s not backing down,” said Houston.
“No one’s talking to you, eggplant,” Lombardo replied.
“Fuck you, you WOP bastard,” said Houston, lunging at Lombardo. Burt stepped in front of his teammate.
“I’m not backing down, Lombardo,” said Burt.
“I think you’re backing down, Scott. I thought me and my friends here were supposed to go jerk off somewhere?”
“Not your friends,” said Burt. “Just you.”
Lombardo’s buddies ‘oooh’d’ and slapped their friend on the back, egging him on.
“You can’t let a cannon cocker talk to you like that, Lombardo.”
Burt was quick to assure the escalation, throwing down the gauntlet with audacious spirit. These battle-hardened soldiers would test Burt. He knew Lombardo would probably win the fight. After all, Lombardo was older and meaner.
In the end, it didn’t matter. They weren’t going to hurl insults at him or his buddies who worked hard at their posts without paying for it.
“Yeah, Lombardo,” said Burt. “Why don’t you come over here and do something about it?”
Burt stepped away from his team’s howitzer. His teammates spread out, as did Lombardo’s buddies. They created a space for fighting.
“Why you spunky little bastard,” said Lombardo. “Have it your way, you fuckin’ piece of shit.”
Lombardo removed his top and stepped into the fighting space. Burt removed his top as well. The two bare-chested brawlers looked like two sweaty gladiators stepping onto the bloodied dirt of the arena. Lombardo’s buddies moved to an outer edge of the improvised fight space opposite Scott’s friends. Other soldiers saw the fracas forming and joined the audience. Some even started making bets. Nothing like a little impromptu diversion to take the edge off the hot southeast Asian afternoon.
Lombardo took a puff off a guy’s cigarette before stepping back into the circle. He blew the smoke in Burt’s face to the approval of the crowd. Burt coughed once, his blood boiling.
Lombardo got back in Burt’s face. “Let me tell you right now, Scott. If you think…”
The soldier didn’t get a chance to finish his sentence when Burt popped him in the mouth with an unschooled but harsh jab-cross combination. The strikes sent Lombardo on his ass to the guffaws and incredulous cries of antagonized surprise.
Lombardo could taste the sharp essence of blood in his mouth. His lip was split, and it was starting to swell.
“Is that it, Lombardo?” asked Burt. “I thought you guys were hard as…”
It was time for Burt’s sentence to be incomplete as Lombardo bull-rushed him, crying out, “You sonovabitch!”
Lombardo tackled Burt to the ground to the joy of the men gathered around them. The crowd cheered and chuckled as the two guys threw down.
Scraps like this were old hat to Burt. But Lombardo was cut from the same cloth. As the two hit each other on the ground, Burt rolled over on top of Lombardo and began to pepper his face with punches.
Lombardo was a true street fighter in spite of his training. He picked up a patch of mud off the moist ground and smacked Burt right in the face with it. Blinded by mud, Burt tumbled off of Lombardo.
Wiping mud off his face, Burt tried to recover. But Lombardo popped Burt in the face three times with sloppy but true punches. Burt stumbled backwards only to take a swift kick to his cods. It doubled him over.
Lombardo tried to kick Burt in the face, but Burt moved to Lombardo’s inside and clinched.
“Let go, cannon cocker,” groaned Lombardo, digging heavy hooks to Burt’s kidney area.
“Go fuck yourself, asswipe,” grunted Burt.
Both men delivered simultaneous knees to the crotch, doubling both of them over. Both men were stopped in their tracks, temporarily paralyzed. They both held themselves by their respective packages, groaning and taking a moment to recover.
Every man watching the fisticuffs blurted out a collective groan of pain. Each and every one of them knew what it felt like to get kicked in the biscuits. So all of them empathized.
“Jerk off,” groaned Burt.
“Dickhead,” groaned Lombardo.
Both glared at each other. Then, simultaneously, they both threw a right cross at each other’s mouth. Both fists hit at the same time, and both rivals fell on their asses, dazed.
The crowd cheered and chuckled, totally enjoying the brawl.
Then, the blaring annoyance of the base alarm sounded. Everyone froze still for a moment, regaining their senses. The sirens only sounded when something serious was starting. The machine gun fire that tore through the air confirmed their fears.
The base was under attack.
“Charlie’s here!” someone shouted.
“Drop your cocks and grab your socks!” someone else shouted.
“Get to your posts,” shouted someone else as the soldiers scrambled to their stations.
Burt ran with his team to the howitzers. His leader, Sergeant Fowler, had just arrived.
“Get your rifles and stand by,” he shouted.
All the soldiers grabbed their sacred firearms and took a knee beside their artillery assignment.
Crouched and ready, all they could do is wait.
This is not what I bargained for, thought Burt, still recovering from the pain. Though Lombardo and his infantry buddies were dicks, they were right. Things were rosy away from the deep shit of combat. He liked his role here. It was clear now, in a war zone, nowhere was safe. The battle was about to literally crash through his front door. And Victor Charlie was doing the crashing.
All eyes were on the front gates. Heavy machinegun fire rained holy hell from lookout towers and a machine gun nest just below them. An explosion rocked the air, and orange flames puffed up above the jungle canopy at exactly the location of the road leading into the base.
“What the hell?” muttered Burt.
Then a runaway fireball smashed through the front gate, knocking down the watchtower and completely opening the front door. It was an 18-wheeler. Its cargo was a tanker that had burst into flames. A scoop from a bulldozer in the front of the truck blew the sandbagged machine gun position out of the way, sending a splash of liquid fire into the nest, setting remaining soldiers on fire.
The driver bailed out of the vehicle, letting the rolling fireball leave a trail of flames in its wake as it crashed headlong into a set of barracks.
“Hold your positions,” said Sgt. Fowler.
Burt’s heart banged against his chest like an angry lover on the hotel door of a cheating intimate friend. He gulped. He was about to see action. It was action he wished he’d never see.
Gird up your loins, boy, he remembered his uncle saying. If you want to be a Marine, you better be ready for combat.
Burt took the words to heart.
A second eighteen-wheeler plowed through the wide open front gate. Hauling another gas tanker, a rolling bomb, it drove straight to HQ.
“Hold your positions,” said Sgt. Fowler.
“Fuckin’ Charlie’s going balls-out tonight,” said Houston.
Gunfire whizzed through the air as the commanding officer shouted, “Hold your positions!”
An armored personnel carrier made a move to stop the penetration, racing to plug the gaping hole that was now the front gate of the ambushed base. It just missed the third trailer that barreled through the entrance. The armored personnel carrier hit the brakes, plugging the hole like a large middle linebacker waiting for a running back to try and hit his hole. A grumbling tank followed suite, pulling up as fast as it could behind the APC as the third 18-wheeler turned toward Burt’s howitzer position. Everyone on the team knew they were the next target.
“Listen up,” shouted Sgt. Fowler, pulling out two M-79 ‘Thumper’ single-shot grenade launchers. “We rally at HQ!”
At that moment, the second tanker truck that was targeting HQ hit its mark. The massive fireball lit up the sky.
“Rally at the HQ,” shouted Sgt. Fowler, racing headlong towards the approaching 18-wheeler. He was holding a ‘Thumper’ in each hand.
Burt and the boys wanted to watch how the sergeant vs. guerilla 18-wheeler matchup was going to play out. But everyone knew whatever happened, it was going to end in fire and twisted metal on their howitzer position. Just how much was about to be determined by their audacious sergeant.
The team bolted like kids running out of class on the last day of school.
Burt watched as his sergeant two-fisted the grenade launchers. One grenade crashed through the glass windshield and blasted the cab all to hell. The other fired at the left front wheel, blasting it away.
Crippled, the cab began to shimmy away from the howitzer position. But it was still going to strike it.
So the sergeant yanked two grenades out of his utility belt, pulled out the pins with his teeth, and tossed them at the cab. Then, the sergeant jumped out of the way as the cab exploded. It was knocked out of the way by the gas tanker that tore through the remains and tumbled on its side when it hit the remnants of the engine block. It burst into flames that washed over several howitzer positions. Though the flames set fire to some howitzer positions and its ammunition, the entire set up was not destroyed thanks to the sergeant.
Yet a fourth trailer tried to bum-rush the gate. The APC held its ground and was now backed up by the tank that had rolled up behind it. The tank fired on the trailer, blasting through it and sending flames and wreckage through the heavens and the jungle. The rolling fireball crashed into the APC, stopped dead in its tracks by the tank. Both armored vehicles were engulfed in liquid fire as the remains of the trailer jack-knifed into the fence. It tossed more flames into the base, pouring over men and equipment alike.
As Burt ran to the flaming rally point, he realized his fellow teammates were shooting. It shouldn’t be hard to do the same. It’s what he trained with the rifle for after all. But the thought of now having to actually use the weapon to kill someone made him gulp. Considering the firefight, he imagined it wouldn’t be hard. Someone out there was more than ready to kill him. The flames and the wreckage all around him made him realize he was, for all intents and purposes, in hell.
But he was a Devil Dog. A Marine. Hell was home.
Lombardo and other soldiers had rallied near the now-blazing HQ. Burt and his crew joined them.
“Charlie’s flying in from outta the jungle now, guys,” shouted Lombardo. His lip was swollen and still bleeding, but he really didn’t care. “Get those guns firing, you cannon cockers!”
Here it comes, thought Burt. His eyes were opened wide. These were no longer black sillohuettes on the range in California, or paper targets. These were actual human beings. His heart was powered by adrenaline. His soul was charged with pride.
If you want to be a Marine…
Burt took cover and began to scan for targets. The Viet Cong were jumping from out of the jungle just as Lombardo had said. With patty hats, black shirts and pants, and something that looked like rope wrapped around their chests. Their AK-47s blazed hellfire, waiting to kill Burt and his friends.
…you better be ready for combat.
Burt methodically began to pick off VC. One, two, three. The body count quickly grew. Ammo was limited, but he was in good shape, shooting only an aimed shot at a time.
Nine. Ten. Eleven.
Charlie was a noble foe, people had told him. He was seeing it firsthand. These guys were relentless. Even guys Burt knew he wounded returned to their feet before Burt put them down for good.
The small makeshift squad stood their ground valiantly. Positioned in 360 degrees, all their angles were covered.
Seventeen. Eighteen. Nineteen.
“Jesus, Scott,” said Lombardo, positioning right next to him. “You’re giving the zipperheads what for!”
Burt did not let the comment break his concentration. He reloaded again and continued plugging the enemy.
More soldiers joined them.
“Give ‘em hell, boys,” shouted Burt’s sergeant.
“Holy shit,” cried Houston. “It’s sarge!”
“Goddamn right it’s me,” shouted the sergeant, clearing the makeshift nest with a leap. “We’ve stopped their momentum. Fix bayonets. We’re taking the base back or we’re dying trying.”
Fuck! thought Burt, gulping. He wanted to say no. His sergeant was a madman. But he was in the zone as well. He felt it in his fingertips, a cruel and pure energy, the same energy that was pulsing in his leader. Today, he couldn’t lose.
It took Burt only a moment for him to pony up. He was, indeed, in the zone. It was time to push back the enemy.
“Four walls of the base,” shouted Sgt. Fowler. “Whichever wall your facing, you’re defending!”
“This is crazy!” said Houston.
“Damn right it is,” Sgt. Fowler replied. “Spread out and let’s get this done. We’ll let God sort out the bullshit!”
The sergeant was the living definition of ‘Gung-Ho’.
Burt turned to his makeshift squad. Lombardo looked back at him.
“Ready to whip some ass?” asked Lombardo with a grin.
“Let’s do it,” said Burt, chuckling.
“Charge!” shouted Sgt. Fowler.
Burt and Lombardo took to the battlefield.
Everyone on base was still on edge even three days after the battle. Engineers had taken to the base and erected a new HQ. New barracks were being thrown up next to the tents that became the soldiers sleeping quarters.
Naturally, the battle had affected everyone differently. For Burt, it was a newfound fascination for his weapon. It was not easy to kill a man. In fact, it was something he wanted to avoid. Sure, his artillery fire took lives. But he didn’t have to watch it, to see it, the harsh and cruel results of war.
The base was littered with dead VC when the battle had ended. Burt looked at the dead bodies. It was then that he realized why they were so hard to kill. Charlie had wrapped thick jungle vines around their bodies that acted as a vest that absorbed the bullets’ impact, lessening the damage done. It was quite ingenious, as if the jungle itself had provided defense against the encroaching invaders. The VC did not retreat and fought to the bitter end.
Burt’s weapon, his rifle, an M-16, had been there for him. It was responsible for many of the dead. Burt realized the frightening power of the weapon, but was proud to command it.
Suddenly the fanaticism behind the weapon, the passion for the rifle his DI’s and range instructors had, made sense. The Marine Corps Rifelman’s Creed danced through his head.
This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life…
“Hey, Scott,” said Lombardo, slapping Burt on the back. “Houston, me, and the rest of the boys are going to town for some suds and pussy. C’mon.”
Burt liked beer. Burt enjoyed pussy, too. But the battle had flicked a switch in Burt. Understanding. The Creed.
…Without me, my rifle is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless….
“No, thanks,” said Burt. “I’m going to stick around here tonight.”
“After the ‘slope’ killing exhibition you put on the other day, you don’t want to take your R&R time to bang out a ‘mama-san’ or two?”
As Lombardo stood, a bit stunned at the response, Burt pulled some Vietnamese cash from his pocket.
“Charlie had us on the ropes the other day. I just need some more time to think about what all went down.” He handed the cash to Lombardo. “Here, have some oat sodas on me.”
Lombardo looked at the cash. “Hell, for this, I’ll bang out an extra side of Vietnamese tail for you.”
Burt chuckled. Then, he said, “And hey, you think when you have some time, you can help me brush up on some fundamentals? Hand to hand. Stuff like that?”
“As long as you teach me how to shoot like you,” said Lombardo with a chuckle.
Though their swelling lips were much better, they shook hands as brothers, baptized by fire.
Burt waved as the guys took off, turning back to his weapon. The creed danced through his mind, becoming part of the blood that pulsed from his heart, filling his veins.
…My rifle and I are the defenders of my country. We are masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life.
So be it, until victory is America’s and there is no enemy.
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