IT IS THE ENEMY SENTRY HIMSELF, my brother Li Thi, who makes the first kill. I know this, as does most of the patrol, because all eyes are on the man he kills: the Major, struck above me and left standing, stunned, his chest shattered by the shot, before moving a foot in the charge. Needless to say most of the men immediately withdraw; a few others take only some token shots before retreating from what otherwise would be a bootless suicide mission. The enemy holds.

Stretchers take the Major's body to a clearing three hundred meters away, where it is airlifted to be pronounced a proper mortem.


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