Brad wobbles on his pins, knife twisted, as the surgeon returns shaking his head. Nate keeps hope alive, and the surgeon's like, "Under the rules, we have to provide him with care until he dies." He immediately comes up with the idea of taking him home: he's billeted next to Godfather. "If he's in my care and Godfather has to watch him die, he might change his order." Doc doesn't even think about it: this is exactly his style. And the way that you can tell is that it's good. Doc is good. They heft the board and carry it down a berm toward Battalion, like pallbearers at a funeral. Trombley sits inside a cave and watches them go by; he doesn't get it. And then he does.
Brad's in front of the party, with Doc, when fucking Sixta comes out hissing and spitting like Aunt Bea. "What the hell is going on here?" he screeches, and Doc doesn't blink. "We brought him here to die." Sixta lamely orders them to get him out of there as Young Guy comes out of the tent. Nate cocks his head at Q-Tip and they carry the boy a couple meters away to the surgeon's area, start him on a drip. "Sergeant Major, what the fuck is going on?" Sixta gets his tattletale face on and stands proud next to Godfather. "Sir. Bravo Two in rebellion. Because they thinks they shot an Iraqi child." Q-Tip and the surgeon tend to the boy, quietly, while the rest face off.
"You're requesting that I send this wounded civilian to the RCT for aid? Problem. Our tactical situation is extremely precarious here. These are the northernmost Marines' positions. And we are 30 kliks north of them. We are far behind enemy lines. We have incomplete intel as to the disposition of the Iraqi units here, here and here. We don't even know what happened to the 4,000 troops that were at this airfield six hours ago. And there's only 350 of us. What can be done? Option one: casevac by helicopter. Doesn't exist. Army, Marines are engaged. Taking casualties." Doc doesn't take his eyes off Godfather. "Last night the Iraqis stopped the Army advance. They turned back 36 Apache helicopters, shot a few down. Option two: I detach a platoon and have them drive 30 kliks -- through enemy lines -- to the shock-trauma unit here. If any of you were a casualty right now, I don't think I could casevac you. But supposing I could, I imagine there are some of you think we have to give wounded civilians every consideration we would give ourselves. That is not true. The ROE say we have to give them the same medical care they would get by local standards. The standards here are fucking zero. It's a shitty situation for us, but nobody put a gun to our heads and forced us to come here. We're all volunteers."