Disclaimer: Fan fiction based on Combat! the TV show. Combat! and its characters do not belong to me. Selmur Productions, ABC, Image Productions or whoever/whatever currently owns the show rights. I received no monetary compensation for this work of fiction.
He was point man now. The hand signal from Sarge deflected them towards the side of the lane. A second signal gave him the job. The squad headed off the one-lane road, up the slope into the trees. They needed cover and concealment. With luck, the tree-covered ridge would yield both. A radio call came in while they were headed to the CP. Too risky to answer it on the move, out in the open like they were. Usually, the squad initiated communication to check in, report progress, send back information, or occasionally ask for assistance of some sort.
A call from base. He shook his head; those were another matter. Rarely a good thing. Like never. He could count on the fingers of one foot when one of those transmissions sent them straight home, mission accomplished or canceled. Nine times out of ten it meant a change in orders. Mostly, a risky add-on to whatever the original mission was. Sometimes a different mission altogether. The tenth; check on progress and tell them to hurry. Some brass was getting his knickers in a twist. Likely thought if they pressured Sarge to hurry up, that was all it took. Right. He would have snorted but he was saving breath for the scramble up the hill.
As point, he led the clamber. He had to pick a way that would be easy for everyone. They had wounded. He hurried up a steeper slope to get ahead and survey for an easier route. He waved a hand towards a gentler way and pushed ahead. He still had to find a good spot for a break, and for a good transmission signal.
This was it, he thought, surveying the small clearing. Far enough off and up from the narrow road to be well hidden from enemy eyes and ears. Defensible. He signaled for a halt. Wordlessly, he waited for the sergeant to make his own appraisal. Sarge nodded, and he felt a little surge of pride. Those nods meant a lot to him, who often earned a scowl for some of his comments and antics.
The sergeant assigned sentries. One to guard the back trail and another to go several dozen yards ahead on the little road. "Stay hidden," he cautioned. "Watch for any activity. Report back if you see anything, hear anything. Anyone. Even a civilian. Not sure who we can trust."
He went on, "otherwise, stay put."
To the man guarding the rear, "I'll send someone to fetch you when we're ready to move out if we leave out another way." "You," pointing to the advance man, "we'll pick you up on the way out."
He fixed both of them with a serious look. They were new to the squad and he didn't know them well. "Questions?" Both men shook their heads. No questions.
"Got it?" Nods this time. "Sure?"
Then, almost together, the pair said, "Yep, Sarge," and headed off.