Swamped Chapter 14 Page 12

You look around, and spot a log on the farther side of the hill. Too far to get caught in the explosion, it seems. With a little effort, you manage to drag it along to the other side.

Then you toss a twig into the water as hard as you can. The beast rushes towards the ripples, desperate for something to take its anger out on, and you’d rather it not be the log. You shove the log in carefully, tossing more twigs in when you need a diversion. The rest of the group throws things as well, and you eventually get the log into the water.

“You expect that to work?” Alexander calls out.

“The beast doesn’t see too well in the muck,” you call back. “It detects its prey through motion. If you don’t move the log too much, you’ll be fine.”

He looks skeptical, but resigned.

“All right then. Bogknights – I shouldn’t have to say this, but don’t start any fights, understood? We need to know what happened, and we’re not going to have much of a chance if a brawl breaks out.”

“That goes for my squad, too,” you call back. “Any of you pulls any stunts, you’ll answer to me.”

With the orders issued, Alexander carefully makes his way along the log, trying not to disturb it too much. It takes him a good ten minutes to cross, but the log holds steady.

“Not looking forward to getting back,” he grumbles. “Well, let’s see what we can find.”

You’re already walking over to the site of the explosion. It’s easy to identify, thanks to the charred grass. At a glance, you can’t see anything there except a pile of blackened powder.

“Well, let’s see,” you mutter. “No obvious sign of any armor, or human remains.”

“There’s no way that explosion could have blown them clear. It didn’t have nearly that much force, and we would have heard a splash if either landed in the water.”

“Agreed. And it didn’t have the force to turn them straight to ash, either.”

“Especially as the Captain was in my armor. It would have held up for a good while if it caught fire. This doesn’t make any sense. They couldn’t have just vanished into thin air…”

You take a closer look at the powder on the ground. Most of it is just cinders from the grass, but there’s something lighter in color.

You pick up a handful and try to sort out what’s charred grass and what isn’t. And that’s when it hits you. You know what this is, and you have a good guess as to what it means. You turn to Alexander and show it to him.

“What is it?” he asks.

“This is sand.”

You’re now John Recordkeeper, and you’re not in the best of moods. You’ve been woken up because the Captain disappeared, after knocking out Sergeant Ash, and Vera was incapacitated while training two recruits on watch duty.

So, as the oldest officer on the base, you’ve been tasked with managing this emergency meeting to work out who’s in charge. And there aren’t really any good options. You’re left with support officers, such as yourself, who lack experience with either combat or tactics; the corporals, who typically wouldn’t be given command over a sergeant; and while you have four sergeants to choose from, they’re the most inexperienced ones. The longest-serving one was only promoted four years ago.

Everyone else seems to be waiting for someone to make the first recommendation. This obviously won’t do, so you’ll have to be the one to step forward. Who will you suggest as acting commander?

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Suggestions:

Pick the shortest one in the corner, Sergeant Roxley, Professional Rookie.

 

Burgundy, duh.

There’s still a group that supports Ash as commander, however. They’ve grown suspicious of Long’s passive tactics and Ash has impressed them during his rise in the ranks.