“Fire in the Hole!”



Everyone on the gun team stopped for a moment and enjoyed the fruit of the last forty seconds’ labour and then they began to move like a well-oiled machine to cycle the gun’s breech, bring up another shell, load and fire; all in the same forty seconds.

Lieutenant Peabody was calculating the impact of keeping her most senior pilot on the rotation as well as the entire gun crew, as she worked the team through the orders and watched for opportunities to improve their performance. She wondered if warfare had always been about ‘cost-per-round’ and activity targets, budgets and spreadsheets, but only as much as keeping her mind on the battery protocol and her real-time budget would allow.

Off to one side, O’Hare, the pilot that was costing her forty units more than anyone else, was completely in the zone, guiding shell after shell into the target margin as if he was born to be a shell-jock.

Only time would tell about the budget, but the old man would like the hit profile.