Furtive glances with my periscope showed no movement. Not from the foxholes of my comrades, not from the front – shrouded as it was by billowing fog or smoke of whatever it was. Still and dead like a foggy day on the ocean.
I grew bolder, the dreamlike quiet surreal after the hours of bone jarring explosions and cracking gunfire. I scrambled out of the foxhole, and fashioned crude a Dobbshead out of the debris, setting it up next to my pit. Then I unbuttoned the tunic of my uniform, opened my standard-issue lawn chair, and sat down right there in the open. I even brought out my canteen and calmly sipped.
Slack was almost oddly easy to find. Must've been my state of mind; the lack of sleep and trauma making it far too easy for me to accept quiet and respite. I even dozed, that sort of skipping-stone napping you do when you’ve been keyed up too long, and are starting to let down your guard. I don’t know how long I was there, the fog obliterated the disk of the sun into a pale wan diffusion, and it seemed like far too much work to reach for the dust cover on my timepiece.
I was still debating this expenditure of effort when I heard the movement – from the WRONG direction. (How can I explain why I knew it was the WRONG direction? It was the direction that had been spitting HE and mid-caliber ammo at my position for a small eternity. You get a sense for this, if you're savvy). It was four Pink Boys, cubicle grunts with uniforms and rifles slapped on the hustled out into the fog, tentative and uncertain. Replacements, expendables. They didn’t hustle like trained troops in a hostile area, or even stride the cocky walk of fighting men taking it easy. Their faces HAD once been locked in the permabliss ™ smiles of their kind, but were beginning to sag with concern and stress. I almost felt BAD for them. You need more than just drugs, meaningless trophies, and prepackaged experiences to get you though BS like this.
They looked at me and their weapons all fumbled up to ready. Pneumatics, likely with nothing worse than tranqs or pink soma darts. Great “Bob” some bureaucrat didn’t even think they deserved a real gun in no man’s land! Keeping my cool I sat in my lawn chair and regarded them calmly. Then donning a cocksure smile I raised my canteen in a sort of salute to them.
“At ease gentlemen.”
Their smiles went back up a tick towards their trademark bland grins, somehow reassured by someone who was ACTUALLY relaxed, and their pneumos lowered.
I shot them.