I made sure I kept myself as low as possible. My body felt like I had just ran 20 miles in full combat load. Moving in a long practiced manner, I kept my head level with the highest piece of the concrete foundation I had chosen to prolong my life. My rifle scraped against the smaller pieces of rock, as I crawled a few more inches upward. As my eyes eclipsed that solid piece, they adjusted quickly, from the mass amounts of adrenaline that had been pumping through my body since I had come into this town.
The street was a total of four lanes, divided by only the regular double yellow lines. What I was looking for, was now in a total of four pieces of it's former image. Sparks still showered the street from two of the sections, as the other two lay emitting a heavy smoke. There was an odd, almost purple fluid leaking from one of the pieces. I had hoped that my order would be able to take it down, but to be honest... I really was not expecting to walk away from this. Behind and up a side street, the distinct sound of a General Dynamics made transmission switched from the main drive gear, to neutral. The engine itself whined thru the 1500 cyclic horsepower, settling down to an idle. Even in Neutral, the idle sounded like a banshee about to assault the soul of a person. To those who were never around it much, considered it the modern "Sound of Death".
I stood to full height, as the parking brake of the M1A1 Abrams tank was heard grinding into use. I looked from the wreckage of the enemy, to across the street. In an alley, there was a team of Scouts. One of them gave the typical "thumbs up" my way. I returned the gesture with a nod. I looked to my tank, where the driver was busy popping open his hatch. The loader gave a hand signal, indicating I was needed on the radio. Probably to report just what the hell had happened... I returned his signal with one of my own that said, "Whatever. Tell 'em I'll get back to 'em".
The Scout team used a movement called, "Bound and Cover" to get to where I was standing. It was more or less, a team of guys leap-frogging each other. Sort of pointless, since our enemy had been taken down. But.... they were Scouts. They do these things for no reason, alllllll the time. The team leader, a 1st Lieutenant, addressed me first.
"Staff Sergeant, 1st Lieutenant Willis. Tell your boys, nice shot," he said as he gestured to my tank. The other three tanks were still on the same road, set up in various positions for security. I wasn't really worried about anything at the moment, other than what the hell we had just come in contact with.
"No problem sir," I replied with a quick salute. "It was a point blank SABOT shot. I'm sure my gunner didn't even have to lase the target. I'm just glad it actually took that damn thing down. You wouldn't think something like that....." I went silent as I stared at the remains of our fallen foe.
Willis nodded, "Yeah... I wonder where they're from..." We shared the silence for a moment more, before he turned to me, "I'm going to report back to Regiment. I'm sure they are gonna want yer side of the story, too."
I shrugged vaguely, as my eyes were still locked on the remains, "Roger, sir. I'll get around to it." I secured my rifle as it hung from my vest, and made sure it was loaded, and ready to fire. "First I'm gonna make sure that whoever was in that thing is either down, or dead." I turned, and made another hand signal to my loader, who immediately grabbed his rifle, and climbed down the M1. He ran up to me, still out of breath with excitement.
"What's up Sergeant?" He looked at me with wide eyes. It was gettin harder and harder these days to remember there were now guys coming into the ranks who probably wouldn't see a deployment to the Middle East. I had gotten so used to it...
Gesturing in the direction of the wreckage I replied, "Well. We're gonna see if we caught our wabbit. Stay 'in my pocket' as we get close." In other words, I wanted him as close as possible, that way I could throw him out of danger, if there was any. It was some sort of instinct that warriors for generations had. Protect the youth, ensure they gain experience, so they could watch out for their own, later on.
My thumb turned the fire selector switch from SAFE to SEMI without even a thought. I brought the front sight and muzzle of the M4A3 rifle to match up, so I could see into the ACOG 3x powered scope. I had an eye on what I thought was the cockpit. As I began moving one foot in front of the other, I maintained that sight right on it. After years of practice and practical experience, letting your feet get you forward without looking down becomes second nature. This was one of those times. Twenty meters away, I began to notice another fluid. This one, a red so dark, it was almost blue-black. It seemed to be forming a trail from the slight sideways incline of the road from the point I had assumed was the cockpit. At ten meters, I stopped moving. Breathing. I felt the younger soldier behind me suddenly become as still as a reed on a summer day with no breeze in sight.
From the darkened glass of the cockpit debris, what looked to be a hand suddenly fell out. Only it was much larger than that of a normal sized man. And the six.... fingers(?)... Almost yellow in color, blotted with darker shades moved slowly in the air. I blinked slowly, as I began to breathe again.
From behind me, my loader said, "You have got to be shittin me..."