That's what he remembered.
Just the two of them left, Smoke and Northrop.
Half a klik from the beach, the ground had opened up and Smoke was amazed at how swift the warrior bugs separated the squad. The team didn't stand a chance.
The last words out of the lieutenant's mouth were orders to retreat.
Somehow, Smoke and Northrop managed to escape, using up their ammo in the process.
Now, as Smoke leaned against the hull of the skimmer, he drifted in and out of consciousness. The pain in his leg both soothed and tortured him.
The screams of the warrior bugs seemed... distant to him, and he was unclear as to why they hadn't reached him yet.
In the dark, swirling clouds of his mind, he berated himself for leaving his team behind. His soul hungered for revenge, and he hoped to have one last chance to take down a slew of bugs before he died.
If he could just open his eyes.
He did, and found himself staring into the gaping jaws of a warrior.
He cursed, waiting for the pincers to close.
Only, they didn't.
They were open in shock and sudden death.
From behind the warrior, stepped an MI trooper. The dark-skinned soldier knelt beside Smoke.
"I'm from the Roughnecks," the man said, "I need to look at your leg."
Smoke blinked twice, trying to clear the fog.
"Northrop," Smoke whispered.
The other man shook his head. "Your leg first." Gently, the trooper eased the leg of the dead warrior bug out from Smoke's thigh.
A wave of nausea hit Smoke, and he blacked out.
Doc grimaced as he shoved the warrior over, checking out this survivor's leg.
The femur was smashed. Sure, this guy would walk again, but with a limp. And if it hadn't been for the arrival of Razak's Roughnecks, the entire existence of Dixon's Devil Dogs would go down in the books as one more squad lost.
Razak approached the skimmer.
Doc turned and looked over his shoulder. "He's fine, El-tee. We got here just in time."
Razak shook his head angrily. "No. We didn't."
His gaze fell on Northrop's mangled body.