When I woke up, the conflict had already started around me. Men who started this war friends, now shouting at each other, throwing things and hurling insults, like a room full of schoolchildren. Without thinking, I yelled. Nothing in particular, just a yell. And they all became quiet, maybe in surprise of how loud I was, or in fear, thinking I was the general. Then they just all seemed to stare at me for longer, seemingly willing me to speak. So I did. "Right, we haven't gotten off to a good start, clearly, but you shouldn't fight like children everytime something goes wrong! War is full of wrongs, but we must stick together as a team if we are to get through this. Stop with your petty quarrels, and whatever differences you had before, put them aside, because if this team is to work together, we must be like family. The general will be here soon, so we need to be prepared to listen to whatever he has to say, and follow his orders. We have lost a few great men lately, but that doesn't mean we have to lose spirit. So stop fighting, look smart and listen!" I heard a few cheers among the crowd, and with my speech over, I felt I had finally earned some respect with these men.
Soon after my speech, the general turned up, with a slightly grim look on his face. I knew in my gut that something hadn't gone right.
"So, I've just gotten off of the phone with the chief of transport, and he says that there are too many hostile things in our location to land anywhere near, and the closest place would be 25 miles west, which is past the battlefield. I asked him what we could do, and he told us that all we could do was walk. So that's what we have to do."
A collective groan gathered throughout the crowd of men, and I knew straight away that we all felt the same. Dread. However, without a word more, the general looked down at his compass, turned west, and paced on. Of course, he knew exactly what would happen. We would all follow him like a flock of sheep. As more and more men began the excruciating and tiring trek west, I found myself regretting my decision to sign up even more than before.
We had cleared the first six miles easily when someone began to drop. Slowly but surely, he stooped towards the ground, pale as ever and getting paler still. Until finally, he collapsed in a twitching pile. Everyone just kind of stared, frozen to the spot. We all watched until he stopped twitching, his chest stopped heaving, his heart stopped beating, and his eyes rolled back into his head. There was nothing we could do. He was a goner before we even set off. Plus, he was the medic. From then on, no one spoke as we walked. Not until the last ray of sunlight had disappeared into night time, and everyone slept. The next day, we only had fifteen miles to go.