They were battered. Owlish stared at the ground, exhaustion making her eyes blur and her hands tremble.
“Fuck,” said Steeltoe as he crashed to the ground, sprawling beneath the weak afternoon sun.
Talent crouched down beside, slapping her hand on his chest wearily.
“Did you see Diamond? And Pamphlet?”
He groaned in response. Owlish found herself sitting on the ground, her legs finally giving up.
“Both of them, up through the gap. I think they killed everybody up there. And not a fucking mark on either of them.” Owlish blinked. She’d seen some of it, hadn’t believed it then and still didn’t believe it now.
It has been a nightmare. More than that. An ambush. One they had had no choice but to walk in to. And they had been badly bloodied because of it.
She forced herself to her feet, cinching her carbine into place. She hurt. Really hurt. In her bones and in her head.
She had to know. Had to know who had made it and who hadn’t.
There were bodies everywhere. Most were moving, exhaustion and the after-math of battle leaving them shaking, heaving messes. She came across Belvue, kneeling beside two bodies. He glanced up.
She closed her eyes and swallowed. One veteran, one rookie.
“Others?” she asked.
“I think we lost nine more. Baska, Chent, Velum, Hart, not sure who else.”
He stopped, rubbed his face, holding his hand over his eyes for a long moment before looking back up at her. The weariness in his face scared her.
“I’ve got Torvey and some others gathering them in now. We may lose another six if the medics can’t stabilise them.”
He named some names. Tamper was one of them. Fuck.
She nodded her thanks, her hand resting lightly on his shoulder and squeezing.
She walked away. She wanted to cry.
Another fucking mess.
They were getting slaughtered out here.
Last week I wrote what was effectively the last hurrah for Owlish, the Colonel, Torvey and the rest of the Company. These story pre-dates that one, and I plan to write more of these, that slowly move back through time towards the origins of the Company, of Owlish and her ramshackle collection of companions. I hope you like them.