Alpha Two stares at lights in the distance. Burris counts quietly to himself; his team leader Fawcett could swear the lights are moving. "John, are they moving?" Burris tells him to shut up, and keeps counting. How many lights in the distance, getting closer? "They're too far away to lase..." Fawcett calls them in to Godfather. "We have possible enemy contact. We have 140 possible armor on the move 15 kliks due east of our position. Grids to follow. Over." Lilley's trying to get the sand out of his camera when Lovell comes running up to tell him about the oncoming army. Ray's jacking off when Walt arrives to tell Brad. "Jesus fucking Christ, Walt. Are you serious? My first combat jack." Walt shoves him. "Fuck your jack. We're being overrun by armor." Ray points down at Brad's ranger grave and Walt hops down, shaking him awake. "Brad, Brad. Alpha counted 140 T72s headed our way." Everybody runs around, shouting, getting ready.
Brad gets up out of his grave, slowly. His eyes are barely open, his movements aren't sharp; even his face seems muted and soft. Joseph Campbell calls this part the Belly of the Whale: when the hero gets too tired and fucked-with to even attempt to reconcile the screwby of his mission, he climbs into a grave for a little while. Exhausted, he won't talk to anybody and he won't do anything: he just waits for that thing, whatever that thing is that makes you a hero, he just waits for it to come back. He waits to remember, in the belly of the whale, what he's doing in this story in the first place. My favorite part is always when he comes back out.
Nate's still trying to get SA on these supposed tanks as Espera runs up: Battalion's gone Redcon One, and Alpha called in air support. Everybody talks about what they know, which is nothing. Nobody knows what kind of ammo they need, or how much, or where the enemy's coming from, or when they'll get here. Brad stands in the middle of the chaos with his eyes closed, taking it in: hearing the chatter, hearing all the supposition and the excitement. His eyes snap open: Iceman. It is beautiful.