June 1966, Galtville, Republic of Katanga Bob Denard was scared. He wasn't used to being scared. snick Another round in the mag. Almost full. I should have stayed a cop snick He's been re-filling his Sten mags a lot these days. Shit, I should have kept selling washing machines.... except that's how I met that bitch in the first place. snick Full. He tucked it into his webbing with the others. He got up to leave. There was no way he was going to stay inside the bunker without something to distract him from that fucking idiot former car company executive standing by the telephone board, with his Panama suits and that ridiculous schoolboy part in his hair. "Well, yes I understand they're using jets but...well j-just hear me out Moise, but I've run the numbers on this and it really is more cost-effective to just re-build the tracks....." Idiot, scowled Denard as he stalked up the stairs. He walked out of the bunker into the town square. A dusty square surrounded by art-deco buildings that never had quite filled up. That ridiculous Atlas statue. At least the neon slogans had been turned off when the petrochemical depot got mortared. No juice to ask who John Galt was now. The square was fuller now, sharp barking voices in Afrikaans, scarecrow figures of, oh, what did she call them? mundanes- one of the less polite terms for 'slave' Bob had ever heard- loading green crates into Unimogs. Something about a counteroffensive, she kept saying. Moving a whole company up to that ridiculous retro-1930's train station. Keep the links to the outside world, she said at the last speech. The world's best would rally to the call. Even Col.Falques was too scared to tell her the Indians had cut the main line a week and a half ago. It was a trunk line to nowhere. The distant pop-pop-pops were drowned out by a low howl. It darted up into the sky, a stubby barrel shape, painted bright white with those two black block letters on the side. Fucking Swedes pulling another gun run, eh? Denard gave an inner smirk. The more CAS missions the Tunnans were pulling, the less they would notice a southbound C-46. Not too happy about the low altitude...but if that guy dropped supplies on gabrielle and beatrice, he could make it to Rhodesia. They were good boys- all French, all colons. RPIMS, Legionaires, didn't matter. They'd all decided to take being alive as their severance pay. Just slip out, real quiet, maybe when the saffies all roll out to the train station......oh, fuck. She's here.. Cigarette chomped firmly in mouth. Grey hair in a bun. Her lumpy, short figure was not complimented by the awkward, overstarched fatigues she had taken to wearing these days. "What the FUCK are you doing?" She wasn't screaming at him, thank god. She was stalking into the middle of the square. "Get back to work!" She screamed again at the mundanes, still cowering after the Saab's flypast. Slowly, they obeyed. One of them- one of the bedroom girls they were making haul mortar rounds- slipped and fell down when she tried to lift her crate again. Those tits don't help you work now, mon chere.. The Leader stalked right over to her. The girl looked down at the stenciled crate, biting her lip, tears streaming down her face. SHELL 82MM MORTAR HE Bob didn't think she could read. "You cow! You STUPID, IRRATIONAL COW!. Can you NOT comprehend logically what will happen if you don't pick up that crate?" The Leader fumbled with her holster, eventually drawing her Hi-Power. "SAVAGES! pop. Into the ground in front of her. The girl whimpered. pop. pop. Into her stomach. popopopopop Eventually the slide locked back. The square was silent. Even a few of the saffies had stopped to watch from behind their aviator sunglasses. "Oh, what?" Her voice rang out. "Are you sorry for her? Do you feel bad?." She waved the Browning in the air. "That is EXACTLY the kind of attitude. Which got us into this mess. You all feel too sorry, too weak! And now a bunch of curry-eating INTERNATIONALISTS"- she spat the last word- "are shelling my city!." "Get a move on, all of you!" She didn't have to tell Bob twice.