The story splits in two. Nate explains that Alpha's been detached for a different mission: A Marine supply unit was ambushed to the south, and a captured Marine was executed in the city center. "We have our own mission. Let's keep our focus."
Morale is affected, to put it lightly. Even Espera, especially Espera, goes quiet. He just stares into space. But Lilley has heard something about it: "Bro, this is what I was telling you about. That Marine from that supply unit that was captured, they strung his ass up in the middle of the town." Garza and Leon discuss how actually, he was crucified. Like on a cross. Espera doesn't blink, just stares at the road in front of him. Garza: "Maybe it's bullshit. I mean, they say they killed a thousand Marines in Nasiriyah and that's bullshit. And that thing about J. Lo? Man, she ain't dead. At least I don't think so..." Lovell asks Nate if that part's true, and Nate and Wynn look at each grimly. It's true. The worst thing in the world. Leon, I think, crosses himself; Lilley is sad, and very lonely. Trombley and Evan look at each other in the back of 1A, quietly. The roadsign says BAGHDAD as they pass. Brad stares north.
At Alpha's position, there's a Colonel talking to Patterson. I don't know who he is, I think he's from RCT-1 and not the Battalion, but I don't recognize him either way. He explains that Al Shatra is basically empty of civilians, but full of Republican Guard, plus this dead Marine. They discuss tactics and how it's going to happen. All the major streets have been renamed in English, as SOP; this time it's all after strip clubs: MSR Cheetah's, ASR Crazy Horse, ASR Seventh Veil. Alpha will be holding one of the ASRs and in reserve for the units looking for the Marine. "If the Army wants to lose a supply unit, then cut and run while a captured female soldier becomes a poster girl on Al Jazeera, that's their business. But Marines will not go down that path." It's all going down at dawn; the Navy sends in missiles to hit the Ba'ath headquarters and some barracks, and then the tanks and infantry goes in. Patterson will be targeting artillery on anything moving between the streets he's defining for the mission. "You can be as loose with the ROE as you like, this whole city is declared hostile." Patterson is, as usual, overjoyed by this.