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Prologue

Jensen’s face slammed to the ground beneath our feet, the small cone of metal tearing through the base of his neck.  His last breaths were used in an attempt to cry out.  Blood was steadily streaming from the area beneath the back of his jaw, just below the right ear.  His fatigues, already worn and tattered from the patrol, sat tight to his form.  The ground beneath his body gripped them as his dying body made contact with the ground.



  

We were surrounded on all sides.  Muzzle flashes, and moving plants directly in front of the firing weapons were all we could see.  Voices speaking a foreign tongue, only a few orders being barked from time to time were all we could hear.  Our crew-served opened up, as well as a few shots of the grenade launcher, the first of which was a sleeved buckshot round.  I quickly maneuvered around in my small firing position I had inherited as soon as I went prone, snapping off a few bursts from my own weapon.



  

Like clockwork, as soon as we began laying down a base of fire, and preparing to flank, the perimeter went silent.  Sooner than they ambushed they were gone, back into the depths of the highlands.  Jensen's corpse lay sprawled out across the jungle floor, a failed attempt to save his life in the form of his half opened field dressing lying next to him.  His body was a testament to what we had long been accustomed.  Yes, on paper, we were winning this war, raking in these numbers that were body counts.  But on the ground, in reality, the only thing we could see were losses.  Losses of life, limb, and sanity.

Every good story should start with a bang.
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