Snowflakes gracefully blanket the woods. Compton, Gonorrhea, and Heffron peek out from under the tarp covering their foxhole, shivering. "Now we know how they felt," Compton muses. They have no idea to what he's referring. "The legionnaires, when they were watching the Huns, Goths, Visigoths," Compton lists. Gonorrhea rolls his eyes, lost and wondering where the hell Buck learned his smooth-as-sandpaper small talk. "Barbarians," clarifies Compton. "They came right through these trees, sweeping down to burn the shit outta Rome." The others laugh at what a long ride that is. Earnestly, Heffron inches toward Compton. "What's college like, Buck?" he asks. "D'you have time to hit the books with cheerleaders running their fingers through your hair?" Compton's expression remains blank. "Hell, Babe, I can't even remember," he says quietly.
Roe descends with his usual abrupt slide, making sure they're all intact. "Wrap up," he says, before departing. Gonorrhea marvels that Roe never addresses anyone by a nickname. "He once called me 'Edward,'" Heffron offers. Gonorrhea snickers. Buck suddenly looks surprised. "You don't look like an Edward," he says. Gonorrhea snorts with mirth and he and Heffron slap Compton affectionately. Compton shouldn't play that game -- his first name is Lynn, and that's the last name I'd have picked for Strapping Buck, Alpha Male.
Daybreak. Snow piles up on tree branches, the fog is still thick, the wind is strong, and the sky blends seamlessly with the pristine white land. Roe curls up in a foxhole, but the rumble of approaching tanks slices through the silence. It begins again. Donnie pops by for a quick understatement: "Hey, Doc, it's gonna get busy, pal!" He shouts for everyone to hold their fire, lest the tanks actually pinpoint any of them. "What the hell we gonna hit those things with, [Donnie]?" someone screams. Donnie again shouts for everyone to ready their guns; Gordon stands to prepare his, and a bullet whizzes through his shoulder and, I believe, out through part of his back. Gasping sharply, Gordon falls against his foxhole and drops hot coffee all over his pants. No! Gordon! He's been around since the beginning, scamming for those three Purple Hearts and reciting "The Night of the Bayonet," so seeing him struck like this affected me. I bit my nails and caught myself wincing. "Eugene!" screams Spina, rousing Roe with some difficulty. He seems reluctant to play the game one more time. Two men drag Gordon from the foxhole toward a more desolate clearing, until Roe can reach him. Gordon is conscious; he sees his pal remove a pistol and say, "I'm keeping it for you!" Gordon whimpers, "I can't feel my legs, Gene." In the distance, Winters screams, "Here they come!" and we hear tanks and gunfire with increasing volume and frequency. Roe tears open Gordon's shirt to treat the wound. Donnie appears and urges Roe to move Gordon immediately, then notices his pal is fading. "Stay with us, Smokey!" he shouts, slapping Gordon's cheek. "Stay with us!" Poor defenseless Gordon can't slap back, which seems a tad unfair. The duo drags him to a safe spot for the Jeep pickup, and Roe preps an IV for plasma infusion. Frantic to return to the line yet unable to leave until Roe has the situation in hand, Donnie tries to help. Gordon's eyelids flutter open. "You're standing on my hand," he croaks. Hey, at least he can feel his hand. Donnie anxiously promises Gordon another Purple Heart for his trouble. This will be unparalleled consolation for Gordon when he's lying immobile in a hospital bed, paralyzed forever. "At least I got a Purple Heart!" he can say. "I was tired of moving my legs anyway." The Jeep arrives to cart them away, and Donnie trots back to the front line.