World War III. One of the most surprising fronts: UK vs. US.
Gunfire rattled off to his left, muffled by distance and obstacles. He pressed his back against the wall of a building that had somehow escaped the artillery fire that had raked the city. The distinctive sound of many booted feet running towards him made him force open the door and duck inside. As the enemy soldiers moved past, he peered through one of the broken windows out at them.
Never thought the day would come when we’d be at war with the United Kingdoms. He shrugged. Ah, well. Such is life.
With that morose thought, he pushed himself up and crept back out onto the street, creeping towards the British camp while staying as low as possible. No one challenged him, because no one saw him. One does not get a reputation for being the best soldier in Special Forces unless one truly is the best soldier in Special Forces.
When he reached his destination, a small, unassuming brick building that seemed to hide from the American shells behind a pockmarked apartment building, he paused to gather himself. His orders were simple: get in, kidnap the British general if possible, kill him if not, and then get out. He drew his MP7 and checked the clip.
Perfect. He briefly allowed himself to gloat about the higher quality of his weapons over those of his compatriots. Personally caring for your own weapons is the only way to ensure that they won’t fail you.
The small lock on the door to the headquarters yielded to his first attempt to pick it. He slipped inside, wondering at the lack of occupants. Not one to reject good fortune, he made his way straight to the room that their floor plans said the general occupied. This door proved to be much more resistant to his attempted entry. After his lockpick broke off in the lock, he decided he’d had enough.
If at first you don’t succeed… Use a bigger hammer.
He kicked the door as hard as he could. The lock remained in place, but the rest of the door flew inward, smashing against the wall. Before the man in the room could move from where he sat behind a desk, the American had taken a step into the room and aimed his submachine gun at the general’s chest.
“I would really rather not have to shoot you, so keep your hands where I can see them and don’t make any sudden movements.”
The general froze, and he slowly raised his hands over his head. “You got me. What do you want?”
“You. Either you will come with me back to the American lines, or I kill you. The choice is yours.” The soldier’s eyes showed no pity, only a hard determination. There would be no negotiating with the person those eyes showed.
“All right. I’ll come quietly.” The general stood slowly and started to walk out from behind the desk.
A sharp female voice startled them both. “Freeze, Yankee! You turn around and I’ll blow your head off.” He looked to the doorway and saw his adjutant, a fiery redhead whose name escaped him at the moment, holding a pistol on the intruder.
To the general’s astonishment, the American smiled, but his eyes filled with such sorrow that the general could not help but pity him for whatever caused it.
“It’s been twelve years, six months, two weeks and a day since I last heard your voice, milady, but I’d know it anywhere.” The American slowly turned to face her, lowering his gun.
She gasped, and the gun wavered but did not fall. “You? Here? But… how?”
“I would say it’s an amazing coincidence, but I don’t believe in that.” One corner of his mouth turned up in a half smile. “Are you going to kill me now, milady?”
Tears came to her eyes, but she dashed them away with one hand, doing her best to keep the gun steady. “I told you I would, if it came to this. My loyalty is to my country.”
“As is my loyalty to mine. This leaves me, however in a bit of a tough spot. I can’t abandon my mission, and I can’t kill you. The way I see it, there’s only one option.”
She frowned, unsure of what he meant. “What are you talking about? What option?”
“Come with me. Be taken as a prisoner of war.”
“I can’t do that! That’s treason!”
“Then kill me.”
“I…” She let out a sigh. “Can’t you just leave? Please? For old times’ sake?”
He sighed as well. “Of all the people who could use that, you’re the only one it actually carries weight with.”
The general watched this byplay, perplexed. He didn’t dare try anything, for he had seen the hard steel in the American’s eyes, but it seemed, in a strange happenstance, that his adjutant had been… what? A lover? A confidant? An accomplice? Whatever she had been, she seemed to have some control over him. He waited with bated breath to see what the outcome would be.
“You want to serve you country, yes?” the soldier asked.
The adjutant slowly nodded, again unsure of his point.
“Then let me take you in the general’s place.”
Her eyes widened. “You would do that?”
She stood still for a moment, thinking this through.
The general saw her indecision and in it, his chance to tip the scales. “I’ll put in my report that you saved me, and were taken hostage.”
“All right…” she said, slowly lowering her weapon.
The American stepped forward and took it from her. “Come, we need to move quickly.” He stepped through the doorway over the splinters he had made.
She followed him, not once looking back. As soon as they crossed the threshold, gunfire broke out as the British soldiers started shooting at the American. They managed to get into a mostly intact building and start working their way to the American lines.
Before they got near it, however, tragedy struck. One of the American snipers, only seeing a glimpse of a British uniform, fired on them. The woman gasped as something hit her, feeling as though she had been punched.
The American escorting her whirled, then froze when he saw the bullet wound. “No…” He caught her as she staggered and fell, holding her against himself. “No, no, no… Not now…”
She looked up at him, choking as blood filled her lungs. Shaking, she reached up and touched his face. “I’m… sorry… God… bless you…” Her eyes closed. They never opened again.