Compton flags down Donnie, who hands his shovel to Malarkey and heaves himself out to chat with Buck. The officer wonders where Lt. Dike might be. "He's around," hedges Donnie, clearly ill-at-ease but unwilling to demean the man. "Could you be more specific, Sergeant?" Compton asks, his lips twisted into an amused scowl. "Uh, not really," Donnie says, evading an insult again. "Dammit," Buck curses in his most strapping voice. "I haven't seen him all day, I haven't since we went through the woods, and I have to figure out how we ended up." From memory, Donnie informs him that Brown and Stevens are wounded, but that's it. "Goddammit, where the hell is Dike?" Compton hisses to no one in particular, then shrugs helplessly. "Where the hell does he ever go?" Malarkey, digging a foxhole behind them, says what no one else will: "I don't know, but I wish he'd stay the hell there. Be nice if he took Lt. Shames with him, too." Donnie immediately silences them. "Shutting up, Sarge," Malarkey says pleasantly.
A lone gunshot cracks through the air, sending all men diving into the nearest foxhole -- in this case, the one Shifty and Malarkey are digging. They hear nothing else, and jumpily whisper that they can't fathom what the noise was: it's not a patrol, and it wasn't a sniper's rifle. "No one out there," Shifty reports, confusedly.
"Ah, Jesus, it's Hoob!" screams a soldier. Frantic, the men scour the area for the source of fire. "No, no, he shot himself!" screams the man, who then hollers for a medic. "Stupid, stupid," Hoobler pants, twitching and wincing from the pain. "It's my fucking leg!" he moans. It seems he had the loaded Luger in his pants and it just went off without warning. Any euphemism scouts will be happy with this. Buck scolds him. "Shit, Buck, I wasn't touching it!" gasps Hoobler, struggling for strength. Perconte shrieks for a medic again. Blood gushes from the leg wound. Everyone scrambles to help, shedding layers of their own to keep heat from escaping Hoobler's body. "It hurts like a sonofabitch," Hoobler wails. "I think I hit bone!" More screams for a doctor; the men smack their friend's cheeks to keep him conscious and try to keep him talking. Hoobler is shivering and convulsing. Blood pools on the fabric of his pants. Pvt. Eugene Roe slides into the hole and teases, "Did you think it was a German leg, Hoob?" Oh, so Roe's a joker now. Right. But, heh. Roe desperately tries to cut through Hoobler's layers to dress and treat the flesh wound itself. "Hey [Donnie],"Hoobler breathes shakily. "You said I was a great shot, right?" Donnie soothingly assures him that he is, and tries to cheer up his weakened friend. "Come on, Hoob, you can jump out of planes, you're a tough man!" someone insists. Buck props up Hoobler's head; the patient's body still jerking and twitching beyond all control. Quietly, Roe despairs that he can't see a thing and desperately must take Hoobler to an aid station. Suddenly, Hoobler stops quaking. "Doc!" Buck blurts, his hand on Hoobler's neck. Everyone looks, as Buck leans back and sighs with frustration. Everyone exhales, looking like it's the first time they've drawn a full breath in hours. Donnie stares sadly at the Luger that dehoobled the division. I always knew the Luger hunt would backfire tragically. Hasn't Hoobler been watching?