hile Doc. Wilson did not care for the smell of rotting corpses, he could block it out in order to learn something from it.

The first of five bodies brought in from the area close to the river had several rifle wounds, one entering the body from about the four o'clock direction, one from either side coming from about three o'clock and one about seven o'clock.  This man was shot to prevent him escaping back across the river.

Any one of those shots had been survivable and had failed to knock the man down.  He knew that because the last shot coming from approximately ten o'clock literally tore the mans chest off.  That was the Reaper kill shot.  The second cadaver had one Reaper shot, again from the ten o'clock position.  The third had three shots almost identical to the first cadaver, but the liver had been penetrated with death within seconds.

The last two cadavers had self-inflicted shots coming up through the bottom of the chin exiting out the top of the head.  The biggest part of the head was gone.  According to the reports each were found with a Russian Makarov pistol chambered in .380.  With powder burns to the under chin the men probably killed themselves with their own "pig blood free" ammunition.

"Were there many of these found?" asked Doc. Wilson.

"There have been eighty-seven that died like this.  It's very possible the leaflets dropped had much more of an effect than we realized."

"Back to our John Doe" said Doc. Wilson.  That man had not been shot with a simple military M4.  He was shot with a .300 Win Mag.  The mans chest was blown nearly out of his body.  His uniform was the only thing that kept it from being blown clean out.  There's no doubt in my mind, this man was killed by one of our snipers.

The findings were pretty much all confirmed by bed time.  They learned there was seven Reapers at the battle that day.  Their job was to pick off the strays - those who'd somehow managed to slip outside of the net.  Long after the brunt of the battle was over, the Snipers were still shooting from their high places.  There was only one sniper in the position to fire the kill shot at the river if the M1's failed to bring a man down.  And that man was Carl Risenor

GR Patch
bar = 20CK's
Star = 1CK

James was the leader of the Reapers having one-hundred-eighty-seven CK's (confirmed kills).  And he added greatly to his score on that day using a video to confirm thirty seven kills.  The largest number of his kills were those that were outside of the melee.  The only time he'd chance a shot into the melee was when he had a clear shot and the man was going to escape.  He had video on his scope which proved his kills and proved he was shooting safely.

2Lt. Carl Risenor was there on the hill behind and directly in line with the crossing of the river.  It was from this point the net was pushing all the insurgents back.  The shots he made were above the heads of Americans . . . unless he was shooting at one of them . . .

He was watching the melee from before first light and noticed the one soldier was hanging back behind the others.  But he wasn't firing his rifle.  It was slung across his back instead of hanging down one side from the shoulder like the Americans which made it close to hand.

What he was firing was a pistol.  Looked to be like a Luger.  And it didn't seem to be having a whole lot of effect on the men at which he appeared to be shooting.  Carl could easily see them flinch from the shots.  That's how he determined the back shots were coming from the Luger.

Then he saw a man within twenty feet of him fall.  He saw the deliberate shot one of his own company in the back.  Carl was horrified.  Hard to tell much about his nationality except he was NOT a black man.  Carl had glass on him and at the next clear shot . . . . he pulled trigger.  But for a better solution he would have taken his head off, but he had to eliminate the guy who was shooting his own men in the back.

Any higher with his shot would put the exit bullet too close to our men for comfort.  Carl kept a watch on the men and saw nothing else except Patriotic Americans fighting with a vengeance.  Those were the men he swore to protect.  His fellow man.

Gold Star merit

Carl did find lots of targets as they wove in and out of the bushes outside the skirmish.  There were many who were slipping through, probably by crawling up inside bushes.  Carl had the second highest count that day at thirty seven kills.  All on video.

But the shot he'd taken to stop the man who were killing our own men would gain him the only Reapers patch with a Gold Star of merit.  His own kills as of today would be reflected on his growing number on his patch.  Also he would be promoted to 1Lt.

The day after the shooting was finished Beau regrouped his men, the Grim Reapers.  They had performed perfectly and were heartily commended by General Randolph and William.  It was at that meeting that Carl was promoted and his heroic deed for the battle was shared.

The Ben Stodges imposter still had not been identified and may never be.  But had he been using the rifle he could have killed a devastating number of Americans.

Afterwards Andrea asked Beau the question.  "By the way - what's the latest on the real Ben Stodges?"

"Let's go find out" he answered.

"Yeah, let's!" she echoed.

They would well appreciate the professionalism of Doc. Wilson and Ladasha.  When they got the camera on the foreign matter within the rectum of Ben Stodges, they broke out in a sweat.  Ladasha stepped to the phone and ordered in an ied container immediately to the hospital operating room.

Beau and Andrea were approaching the hospital when they saw two men in full bomb flak suits making haste to get into the hospital.  Ladasha was outside with all the other operating room attendants at the order of Doc. Wilson.

"Ben Stodges has a glass vial about four inches in length lodged in his rectum.  From what Doc. could tell it had small charge of explosives in one end and he had no idea as to the fuse mechanism.  Neither had he any idea as to the means of keeping it in place.

Beau had that stupid grin of his when he thought something funny.  "All right Mr. Adams.  Give . . ." Andrea demanded.

Beau chuckled then said "If that thing blew poop was going to be hitting more than just the fan!"

Andrea thought it hilarious, but Ladasha said "please, this is not the time to be cracking funnies!  Doc. could get hurt if that thing were to go off!"

"Hmmmm . . . " thought Beah.  Wasn't she worried over the fate of Ben as well?  Or did she only care about the safety of Doc. Wilson?  He had a twinkle in his eye when he glanced at Andrea.  She scrunched up her eyebrows in a threatening manner and slightly shook her head no . . .

Hmmmm . . ." he thought.  Have I discovered something that Andrea knows?  He looked at Ladasha, then back to Andrea.  She shook her head no again.

The door to the operating room opened and Doc. Wilson stepped out covered in sweat.  Came out to change my scrubs and put on something a little more protective.  Beau, would you mind suiting up?  I'm going to have to open him up.

"I'm coming instead Doctor Wilson.  You need someone in that knows how to help you.  Beau, excuse me, but colonel Adams ain't got the foggiest notion how to assist you.  Plus, all these attendants need to be doing their jobs so you can do yours.  Here.  Off with that sopping wet top!"

Doc. turned to Beau.  He shrugged his shoulders as Ladasha helped him off with that top.  She then grabbed a towel and started drying him off.  Beau just stood there for once not having anything funny to say.  Finally, he said "I'll go tell William of the latest developments in this case" then he turned, held his arm out for Andrea to take, and led her toward the door like a real gentleman.

"I'll be ready to hand if you need anything" Beau said as they stepped out.

Hmmmm . . ." Doc. Wilson thought to himself.  "What kind of deal is this?"

All the attendants reentered the operating room where Ladasha was already prepping Ben for surgery.  This was going to be a long night.

When Beau stepped around the corner to speak with William in the Ready Room, he noticed the lights were off.  They swung around and headed for the mess hall to get a cup of starter fluid.

William, Sharon, Sung Wu, General Randolph, Jesse, Amy and Ginger were sharing a freshly baked peach cobbler and a cup of coffee.  "And you didn't call us?" Andrea said.

"What's the latest Beau?"

Beau laid it out for them what they'd just learned.  "From what I gather, Ben is a lucky man!"

Sharon swallowed he cobbler and took a gulp of coffee.  "What do you all think about having a party when Ben is back on his feet?"

"Sounds pleasant enough" agreed William and the crew.  Then William ventured "who all were you planning on inviting?"

"Well, we could invite the Sabres, Lyons, Tanks, F9's, Arnies Ape, and the Paradigms . . . and have a dance!"

Most all the others chimed in their thoughts and talking all at once.  William applied the binders firmly planting both feet for the onslaught of all the members at present party.

"That's an awful lot of men to plan a party for.  Besides, they are all busy.  End of discussion.  Goodnight."

General Randolph followed him out and said "you thinking they are still going to rib you about the fight?" he said.  They were pretty adamant about that fight.  Is that the real reason you put the skids on?"

"Dad burn it Sherman.  You know me too well" William complained.

"Well, I ain't the only one who knows your secret.  Everybody at that table knew you'd be hard pressed to okay the fight especially if all those groups got together."

William did not turn toward the Ready Room but headed for his and Sharons quarters.  Together they walked down the quiet halls, in step like they grew up doing.  At his door William paused then asked "what would you do?"

"Here's some food for thought.  Make an announcement about the dance and a few fights.  On the announcement sheet sent to each invited group, list the need for help, an RSVP request for attendees and if anyone was interested in fighting for a prize, sign up on the RSVP return slip.  State the contestants will be only be selected by drawing."

"I'll consider that William said.  Then "would you be agreeance with that?"

"I just thunk it didn't I?"

"Ok let's discuss it with the group and see what turns out.  Good night Sherman."

William stepped in and shut the door .  "YES!" said General Randolph under his breath.  "The fight is ON!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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Chapter XXIII