Lee gestured to move up and we proceeded with caution. An old church, pre-anex design by the looks of it, stood opposite the flames, figures hammering at the barred windows. Men in fatigues moved around the perimeter, weapons slung.
Dawa stood to call out a welcome as he recognised the uniforms, but Lee tackled him to the ground.
“We move in, counter sign and only then reveal ourselves. Got it,” he said angrily to Dawa. “Timish, stay out of sight until I call you up.”
The two men moved closer, using a low wall for cover, until they were in range. Lee hollered out a challenge and a moment later Timish let out a breath as he heard the proper response. Timish smiled, thankful to no longer be alone in this hellhole, as he watched his SO shake hands with ten-squads captain.
The captain gestured at the church, obviously laughing. His men were milling about, two working around the edge of the church, but the rest standing guard. Lee began to get agitated as Timish watched him through his scope. He pointed at the church, the men and reached for his radio.
The pistol shot echoed for an eternity in the small square. Lee fell back, the captain’s weapon an inch from where his face had been. Dawa tried to raise his rifle, but he was dead before he’d even got his finger in the guard.
Timish didn’t think. He lined up on the man who had killed Dawa and fired. He crumpled as a chunk of his neck was torn out. The next man was still looking around for the shot when Timish hit him centre mass. The soldiers scattered. Timish ignored the uniforms, the cries for help.
The captain barked out orders and Timish pulled his eye back from the scope as the entire church seemed to erupt in a blaze of light. The screams intensified, even over the gunfire Timish could hear the women and children.
It was one against four. Then three. Timish kept moving, trying to confuse them. He took a round to the thigh, feeling his insubstantial armour deflect most but not all of the bullet. He crawled to a gap in a wall and shot another man as he prepared to throw a grenade. The boom was deafening. No one fired back as he regained his feet.
The thrower had taken the full brunt of the blast, the man beside him howling aimlessly at his legs. Timish didn’t hesitate. He shot him between the eyes.
The captain had lost his pistol, as Timish drew closer he saw he’d lost his hand even. Running for the church he removed the heavy wooden beam from the doors, almost been crushed as those locked inside fled the flames.
Making sure it was empty, Timish returned to his last charge. The captain eyed him with hate.
“They were rebels and sympathisers you idiot!” he spat. “They’re going to spread to the hills and be a thorn in our side for months to come.”
“They’re kids,” Timish said. “Civilians.”
“They’re all enemies.”
The captain wrapped his other hand around his pistol, the grip awkward. Timish raised his rifle, steadying the barrel but unsure if he could kill a man face to face. The captain decided for him, placing a single round through his skull.
Harrington sat back on the old seat.
“Yeah,” Timish said. “Thanks for stopping a PR disaster, here’s a medal.”
“But surely someone found out.”
Timish stood and picked up a small yellow star.
“Ten-squad were ambushed by a squad in the northern province. We were never in Venosa. I kept my mouth shut and got my rating.
“But every time I see the reports now, I think back to that night and who the monsters were.”
Prompt originally posted by cyberdsaiyan on reddit and received 1 upvotes.