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Bunker #5, 2.84 km Northwest of Comunne di Adrano, Regione Siciliana, Rebupplica Italiana, 15 October, 02:57 hrs +1 GMT
Owen came around the corner, “The way is clear, captain.”
Captain Winters signaled the rest of the team. Owen leaned against the concrete wall.
I unscrewed my canteen, “Here, have a bit of this.”
He took a swig then wiped mouth with his sleeve. I kissed him on the temple. He gave me the tiniest of smiles but I felt the yawning drain of his emotions like been pull deeper to the bottom of sea. He took a breath and the emotional tide receded. I followed him to where the demolition crew where set their charges. Along the way I saw the blood spattered corpse of a pair of sentries. Owen sliced neck of one open and carved the eyes of the other. The magic of Owen’s knives meant that they literally never saw the attack or their attacker.
Captain Winters patted Owen in the back, “Good work.”
“Thank you, sir,” said Owen.
Winters leaned in, “Is he alright?”
“He is. And I wish you stop calling me that,” I said.
He nodded, “We need him to get us back out through the minefield.”
“He will,” I said.
“Good,” Winters turned lead demolitionist, “Johnny?”
Corporal John “Johnny” Jones gave a thumbs up.
We egressed along the same route we came in, through narrow rock strew paths in mine fields, underneath enemy pillboxes and bunkers. Owen cloaked us in a veil subtle enough to distract most onlookers. Each torturous step down the mountain brought us closer to safety. A few meters from the last line of barbwire the ground rumbled beneath us and the ridge above us lit up . Fountains of dirt, concrete and fire erupted all along the Etna’s southern slope. I focused my will and sent a mound of earth to cut through the barbwire. Gunfire joined the cacophony behind us as guards fire wildly into the air. We ran until we reached our safe house at the outskirts of Adrano. There we collapsed, our backs to the wall and saw the spectacular results of our work.
Captain Winters got on the radio, “Hornet, repeat, Hornet.”
The Guns of Etna went silent.
The invasion had begun.