Ancillary Casualties

 

Commander Bragg lit his Camel with the smoldering butt of his last one, smoked down to a nubbin.  Lieutenant Roy did not remark on this. The eyes of the world are upon you.

“You’re sure they are all evacuated,” said Commander Bragg. It was not a question.

“One hundred percent, sir,” said Lieutenant Roy. “Triple checked.”

“Because if anyone is in the zone, anyone at all, they’re dead. You understand that?”

“Understood, sir.”

But in truth, Lieutenant Roy was only 90% sure.

Language barriers and the innate stubbornness of the islanders, especially the old ones, made ancillary casualties a real possibility.

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