Futurama

Fan Fiction

Futurama/Band of Brothers Crossover, Part 1
By Ramon 51

This Fan Fiction is dedicated to the brave men - living and dead - of Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, whose sacrifices in World War II made our enjoyment of freedom possible. Nothing in this work is intended to dishonor their memory.

Normandy, France - June 9, 1944

The men of Easy Company sat on the floor of a half-ruined barn, cleaning their weapons, smoking, and discussing the bizarre events of the past two days. They were waiting for First Lieutenant (1LT) Richard Winters to "give them the word" on how they should handle questions about the visitors from the future.

1LT Winters entered the barn suddenly and shouted, "Group, attention!" They sprang to their feet in surprise. Colonel (COL) Robert Sink entered the room, followed by 1LT Lewis Nixon. A short but dynamic man, Sink was every inch the combat leader. He did not look happy.

With all of the men still at rigid attention, Sink spoke in a tone that let everyone know he meant business, "Easy Company, I want you to understand something. This business about people and robots from the future never happened. As God is my witness, if one of you breathes a word about this, even in his sleep, I'll have you in Leavenworth so fast your head will spin." He bellowed out, "IS THAT CLEAR?"

The men were startled and returned a series of half-hearted sounding, "Yes Sirs."

COL Sink shouted even louder, "I can't hear you, Easy Company!"

The men shouted in unison, "Yes Sir!"

"Good, now 1LT Nixon is going to have you sign some non-disclosure statements. This is all classified Top Secret. You may not discuss it again...even among each other." Turning to 1LT Nixon he said, "Lieutenant Nixon, take over."

COL Sink turned on his heel and left the room.

Winters turned to Nixon and said, "Well, Nix, let's get the paperwork over." He turned to the men and said, "The Colonel is really serious, if we ever breathe a word of this to anyone, it's Leavenworth! Now let's fill this paperwork out and get back to the war."

Earth Orbit, Aboard the Planet Express Ship - June 6, 3004

Leela was worried. The Trans-Light Drive that the Professor and Cubert had invented was now installed in the Planet Express Ship, but she had smelled too much burning Rhesus Monkey hair from the Professor's other experiments to feel comfortable with this test.

"Still," she thought, "Cubert and Amy are on board. They know the system, and we've got backup parts for everything. What could go wrong?" She looked at Fry, who was sitting on the observation couch, drinking a can of Slurm. Bender was next to him, guzzling two bottles of "Olde Fortran" simultaneously. "Two peas in a pod," she thought with a smile on her face.

"Okay, everyone get to your action stations. Make sure you seatbelt yourselves in...it could get bumpy."

Bender looked at Fry and began to mimic Leela in a whiny voice, "It could get bumpy."

Fry started to laugh, but he noticed that Leela was looking right at them. "Crud!" he thought, "Why does Bender always have to joke when I can't laugh?"

"Bender, Fry, I said move your asses!"

Fry mumbled, "Yes, Captain." He went to his console and buckled himself in. Amy and Cubert were already at their stations at the Astronavigation and Engineering consoles. Bender strolled over to the wall near Fry, pulled a staple gun out of his chest cavity, and stapled himself to the bulkhead.

Leela maneuvered the Planet Express Ship to the proper heading for the test. She could feel her palms begin to sweat a bit as she reached for the ignition button. "Stand by for ignition of Trans-Warp Drive!" she said with a touch of anxiety in her voice.

She pressed the button.

The ship lurched forward, enveloped in a pulsating blue field. Then, the ship lost all attitude control, pitching, rolling, and yawing wildly as Leela fought desperately with the controls. The ship headed for Earth and within a few seconds had entered the upper atmosphere.

"We're all going to die!" Fry shouted.

"Cubert, Amy, do some of that engineering s**t to help me get this thing under control," Leela barked.

Amy and Cubert were already frantically pressing buttons and pulling levers. Cubert yelled, "I'm initiating Drive shutdown." The blue field flickered out and the ship came under control. Leela looked at the altimeter. They were only 500 feet above the surface in a dense cloud bank!

"Phew," Leela muttered to no one in particular, "that was a close call."

She got the ship upright and level. Amy spoke up, "Leela, our sensors show that we are in a heavy traffic pattern. I detect hundreds of aircraft around us. We seem to be in a traffic stream moving roughly northward at about 240 Kilometers per hour."

Puzzled, Leela tried to get a GPS reading, but the readout simply said "No Data." She made a quick decision, "Well, I don't want to risk a collision with anyone. Let's follow the crowd out of these clouds before we climb and head for home."

After a few seconds, she could see flashing lights in the clouds. "A lightning storm?" she wondered.

The Planet Express Ship emerged from the cloud bank. What greeted Leela's eye was a series of lights twinkling on the ground and bright flashes of light all around in the sky...bright flashes that left dirty grey smoke in their wake. Broken lines of light arched skyward from the ground as well tracing luminous patterns in the dark.

She could see strange looking aircraft all around her, marked with white stripes on the wings and body. One was on fire, plunging toward the ground like a fiery arrow. Then the noise became audible. Those lights were explosions!

A line of broken lights seemed to be creeping lazily through the sky, reaching for the Planet Express Ship. Before Leela could react, the gunners of an 88mm gun battery bracketed the Planet Express Ship. Wham! Wham! Wham! A series of explosions burst all around.

Amy called out, "We've taken some hits, Leela. The hull is breached and we are losing power."

Wrestling the controls with all her might, Leela headed for a small forest where she hoped to land the ship, away from any of the twinkling lights. The ship was responding sluggishly to her commands. She shouted, "Everybody...brace for impact!"

Five seconds later, the Planet Express Ship ploughed into the ground in the small forest, sustaining minor damage. Leela looked out the front windscreen that was peppered with metal fragments and wondered, "Where the hell are we?"

Vicinity of Angoville-au-Plain, Normandy, France, June 6, 1944 0110 Hours

Leela turned her attention to the crew. "Well, Amy, Cubert, what's our status?"

Cubert answered first, "Well, Leela, we have minor damage to the engine. From the readouts, we can fix it in less than six hours."

Amy broke in, not wanting Cubert to do all the talking, "Our hull damage is minor as well. A little space-bondo and a weld here and there, we should be as good as new. I can finish it on my own in about four hours." She gave Cubert a glance as she finished her sentence, a glance that left no doubt she would do the job alone.

Leela pointed at Fry and Bender. "You two check the cargo hold and make sure nothing has shaken loose."

Before Fry could open his mouth, Bender replied in a voice dripping with sarcasm, "Yes Miss Leela! We're going!" Turning to Fry he said, "Come on, Organ Sack, before she cuts back our beer ration like last time."

As they left the bridge, Leela began to inspect the GPS and communications array. Nothing except some Very High Frequency (VHF) and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) voice traffic in a language she couldn't understand. As she scanned the communications band she even picked up some ancient Morse code! "What is going on?" she wondered aloud.

Cubert spoke up, "Leela, we have a slight problem."

Leela looked up from the communications panel. "Yes?"

"It seems we have managed to displace ourselves through time rather than space," he said nervously.

"What?"

"Based on my calculations from star positions, we are back in the Stupid Ages, some time around the mid 1900's. Not knowing exactly where we are, I can't get an exact fix."

Leela frowned and took a step toward Cubert. She was itching to give him a swift kick in the rear end. "So we are somewhere in the Stupid Ages, we don't know exactly when, and we have no way home."

"Not quite," Cubert answered with a touch of arrogance. "Once we figure out the date and our location, I am confident that we can return to out own time."

Amy began to curse in Cantonese. She switched to English, "You arrogant little pipsqueak! We had better get home; I've got a date with my Kif!"

Faced by two angry and physically intimidating women, Cubert lost all his arrogance, beating a hasty retreat for the engine room. "I'll get it fixed, I promise!"

As soon as he left, Amy began to giggle. Leela fought it, but she was soon giggling as well. Then they started laughing. When they got themselves under control, Amy asked, "Do you think he wet himself?"

Leela grinned and said, "Who cares? I'm not changing the 'Boy Genius'' diapers. Now, let's get to work and figure out what we need to do to get home."

Vicinity of Angoville-au-Plain, Normandy, France, June 6, 1944 0145 Hours

Leela looked at Amy, "I'm going to take Fry and Bender to find out when and where we are so the 'Boy Genius' can get us home."

Amy pulled a face and said, "Ok, but if that little creep tries to cop a feel on me again, I'll rip his arm off and beat him to death with it."

Cubert looked as though he was going to say something and then thought better of it. Without further ado, Leela, Fry and Bender walked down the ladder into the night.

Leela, Fry and Bender moved slowly northward through the woods. There were no more aircraft overhead, but the sounds of random gunfire came from all around. Leela turned to Fry and Bender and whispered, "Keep close to me and stay quiet."

Fry nodded, while Bender practically shouted, "Ok, Leela. I'll be quiet as a mouse!"

Leela gritted her teeth and turned on her heel. "Idiot!" she thought.

After moving about 100 meters, they came on a road that ran southwest to northeast. They followed it northeast for another 50 meters when they came upon a road sign. One arrow, which pointed back in the direction from which they came, read, "Angoville-au-Plain .5 km." The one that pointed north read "Sainte Marie-du-Mont 1.5 km."

"Well, we know where we are...but when are we?" Leela wondered softly aloud.

Bender spoke up loudly, "Here come some people, let's ask them!"

Leela looked down the road and saw a group of armed figures moving in advance of several horse drawn carts. "Bender," she hissed, "shut the hell up!" Bender shouted back, "No, you shut up!"

Before Leela could react, the figures on the road spread out in a line. Several raised what were obviously weapons to their shoulders. One figure shouted, "Hande Hoch!"

Bender stepped into the road and said, "What's that you say?"

Leela turned to Fry and said, "Let's get out of here."

Fry protested in a whisper, "We can't leave Bender."

Before Leela could respond, the figures were close enough to make out their features. She could see their weapons pointed directly at them. One man, who seemed to be in charge, said in accented English, "Hands up, and quick! Or we shoot you!"

For a spit second, Leela considered leaving them. Instead, she wearily put her hands up, as did Fry and Bender. The figures surrounded them and it was easy to see they were soldiers. Most held rifles with wicked looking bayonets fixed on their ends.

The soldier in charge asked, "Who are you? What are you doing in this restricted zone?"

Leela responded, "We're lost. Our commercial aircraft got off course and crashed. We are the only survivors. We've been walking for hours."

The soldier in charge took a moment to digest the information. Making a decision, he turned his flashlight on and raised it to get a better look at the trio in front of him. His eyes widened as he look back and forth, primarily between Leela and Bender.

"Gott in Himmel!" he cried. He then barked out a rapid series of orders to the men, who responded with "Jawohl" or "Jawohl, Herr Feldwebel."

Within less than a minute, the three friends were trussed up like turkeys and thrown into the second of the horse carts. When Leela protested, the Feldwebel responded, "You shut up. You are lucky I do not shoot you as spies right now."

The carts took off at a rapid clip, passing through Saint Marie-du-Mont around 2:30 by the church clock. Leela was working to get her bonds loose. She whispered to Fry, "When I get my hands loose, I'll get us out of this."

After another half hour of travel, Leela had her hands free. The soldier guarding them was sleeping, lulled to sleep by the clip-clop, clip-clop of the horses hooves. Leela stealthily began to undo Fry's ropes when they began to pass under a railroad bridge.

All hell broke loose!

Like a hellish symphony, automatic weapons roared, rifles barked, and grenades exploded. The soldiers on the last two carts turned around and fled. The first two carts were not so lucky. The hail of bullets and grenade fragments killed the horse on the second cart outright and severely wounded the first. The human riders fared little better. Within seconds of the initiation of the ambush, all of the soldiers who had not fled lay dead or dying. Shielded by the thick wooden sides of the cart, Leela, Fry and Bender were unhurt.

One automatic weapon continued to fire and a man could be heard screaming "Ahhhhhhh!" as if a demon were being released from his chest. Leela wondered, "What is going on?"

Just then she heard another man's voice roar, "That's enough, Guarnere!"

The firing stopped immediately.

"Next time I tell you to wait for my command, you wait for my command...understood?"

"Yes, sir!"

"Alright, search the wagons for anything of value. Check the dead Krauts for documents."

A chorus of "Ok" and "Yes Sir" echoed quietly.

Leela was thinking of calling out for help when a face poked itself over the side of the wagon. The man was a soldier, but wore a different uniform than those who had captured them. He had a look of absolute surprise on his face, but he called out, "Lieutenant Winters, you have to come see this...right now, sir!"

Vicinity of Les Forges, Normandy, France, June 6, 1944 0330 Hours

The soldier who had originally looked over the side of the wagon began to help Leela, Bender, and then Fry out of the wagon. "Holy Smokes Lieutenant, this gal only has one eye! And this one looks like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz!"

Bender shot back, "Kiss my shiny metal ass, skin tube. I'm not tin!"

Leela barked, "Shut up, Bender."

The soldier started to laugh. "Dorothy and the Tin Man...baby you're a long way from Kansas." He helped Fry down, "At least one of 'em looks normal." He asked Fry conversationally, "Hey Red, how'd you wind up with these characters? Got any extra arms or legs?"

Before Fry could answer, Lieutenant Winters said, "Malarkey!"

Malarkey answered, "Yes Sir!"

"Keep it down. You want to have every Kraut in the neighborhood down on us?" Lieutenant Winters walked up to where Leela, Bender, and Fry stood at the rear of the wagon. He stared for several seconds before he simply said, "Well, I'll be!"

In a soft, calm voice he asked, "Who are you and what are you doing here?" He listened to their story about being a commercial airline crew without comment. He turned to a soldier with a bandaged right hand and said, "Joe, cut them loose." The soldier, a tough looking, dark haired Corporal, cut their bonds without comment. Leela and Fry massaged their sore wrists as they stood, wondering what was coming next.

Winters turned to the trio and said, "I don't believe your story. Now that you're untied, would you mind leveling with me? There's a war on and I haven't got time to mess around. If you can't level with me, I'll leave you for the Krauts."

Leela looked 1LT Winters in the eyes and realized he meant business, "We are accidental time travelers from the year 3004. Our ship crash landed near here...not far from Angoville-au-Plain. We just need to find out what date and year it is so we can return to our own time."

"No S**t" Malarkey exclaimed, "a real Buck Rodgers space ship? Wow, that..."

Lieutenant Winters shot Malarkey a look which caused him to fall silent. "Okay, as screwy as that sounds it makes more sense that the line you tried to feed me earlier. You'll come with us until we can contact higher authorities."

Leela asked, "But what day is it?"

Lieutenant Winters said, "It's June 6, 1944."

He turned to his men who had formed up nearby. Speaking in a low voice, he said, "Now let's get moving. We've got a couple of kilometers to go before we reach our objective. Joe, Don, you keep these three between you. Don't let them get lost."

Both men answered, "Yes Sir" simultaneously.

"Hall, Guarnere, You've got point. Sergeant Lipton, let's move 'em out in tactical column."

With the sky lit up intermittently by the light of explosions and crisscrossed by multi-colored tracers, the little column moved out for their rendezvous with destiny.

Vicinity of Le Grand Chemin, Normandy, France, June 6, 1944 0930 Hours

They were resting in a small outbuilding on the southern edge of the village. There were eleven men from Easy Company as well as the Planet Express Crew. During their movement that night and early morning, Leela, Fry and Bender had become Dorothy, Tin Man, and Red to the men.

The Planet Express crew had learned the rank and names of all of the Easy Company men. There was Lieutenant Winters, Lieutenant "Buck" Compton, Sergeant Lipton, Sergeant "Wild Bill" Guarnere, Sergeant Myron "Mike" Ranney, Corporal Joe Toye and Privates Robert "Pop Eye" Wynn, Joe Plesha, Walter Hendrix, Cleveland Petty, Joe Liebgott and Don Malarkey. Between them, they had their M-1 Garand rifles , a couple of Thompson sub-machine guns, two thirty caliber machine guns, and a 60mm mortar.

They had arrived about a half hour earlier. Lieutenant Winters had put them in position and had left to find the Regimental Commander, COL Sink. Within a few minutes, Winters returned with Sink in tow. After looking them over, Sink had said, "I don't know what you've got here, Dick, but it beats the hell out of anything I ever saw at the County Fair."

Leela spoke up, "Sir, I'm sure Lieutenant Winters told you who we are. We need your help to get back to our ship so we can return to our own time."

Fry spoke up, "Leela's right, sir. Please, you have to help us."

Bender chimed in, "Please!"

Sink pondered for a moment and then came to a decision. "Dick, I want you to keep them with you. Scrounge some uniforms for them so they don't stick out so much. Keep them away from the rest of the battalion as much as possible, understood?"

"Yes, Sir," Winters responded.

"I need to have my head examined," Colonel Sink said as he turned on his heel and left the building, shaking his head.

The relative quiet of the morning was shattered by the sound of big guns firing close by. Their report shook the building. Bender shouted, "What the hell was that?"

Guarnere laughed and said, "It's artillery, Tin Man. The Krauts are giving us a little friggin' serenade." The rest of the men laughed as well, although it sounded a bit strained.

The cannon had begun to roar with regularity when Private Lorraine stuck his head through the door, "Lieutenant Winters? Colonel Strayer wants to see you right away."

Lieutenant Winters replied, "Okay, Lorraine. Tell him I'll be right there."

Winters turned to Buck Compton while heading out the door, "Let's get 'em ready, Buck. I smell some action coming."

Vicinity of Brecourt Manor, Normandy, France, June 6, 1944 0945 Hours

Lieutenant Winters lay in a hedgerow, observing the German Battery of four guns firing at the US troops landing at Utah Beach. The guns roared with monotonous regularity, causing the earth to shake slightly when they discharged. The acrid smell of cordite drifted across to Winters, who wrinkled his nose in response.

He could see the guns were well-camouflaged, which is why the Air Corps hadn't knocked them out. They were dug into a hedgerow that surrounded a large irregular field. "Well," he thought, "they are sure giving our guys on the beach the devil." He turned his mind to solving the problem at hand. The guns were evenly dispersed along an "L" shaped trench about 400 yards long. Three were firing northeast, obviously pounding Causeway Number 2. The first gun was pointed more in a northerly direction towards Causeway Number 3.

At the crook of the "L" was a MG 42, pointed to protect the guns from an attack from the direction of Le Grande Chemin. Across the field from the guns were at least three machine gun positions, sited to protect the battery as well.

Still, the situation wasn't all that bad. A couple of hedgerows offered a covered and concealed route to within grenade range of the trench. Counting the German troops available, he came up with fifty, more or less.

Winters' keen tactical mind came up with a plan. He would use the covered and concealed route to get close. Then, he would set up his machine guns to establish a base of fire, grenade the closest positions, and assault down the trench. Being in the trench would nullify the German advantage in manpower, as long as he kept the initiative. The trick, of course, was getting into the trench.

He backed away from his observation position and crawled to where he was sure the Krauts wouldn't see him. He then headed back for the outbuilding where Easy Company was gathered.

When he arrived he drew a quick sketch and explained his overall concept. Then he gave specific assignments, "Buck, you take Guarnere and Malarkey on the left...grenade that MG-42. Toye, Popeye, you're with me."

He paused for a moment. "Sergeant Lipton, take Ranney and envelop right. Take the Tin Man with you. He can carry the demolition kit. I'll position the Machine Guns, so you'll travel with me. Plesha and Hendrix take Dorothy with you. Petty and Liebgott, take Red with you. Our guests can be ammo bearers." Both machine gun teams grinned, the idea of having an ammo bearer was a real luxury to paratroopers.

Winters looked at everyone in turn before he spoke, "Questions?"

Bender blurted out, "This looks dangerous."

Guarnere shot back, "So why do you care? You're just a pile of tin...it's not like you'll bleed!"

Bender said angrily, "Kiss my shiny metal ass."

Guarnere laughed, "He's alright this robot." The rest of the men joined Guarnere in laughing until Lieutenant Winters broke in, "Enough skylarking guys. Weapons and ammo only. Let's move out. Tactical column."

They filed out of the dark outbuilding into the morning light, heading for the battery.

Vicinity of the German Battery, Normandy, France, June 6, 1944 1000 Hours

Lieutenant Winters halted the Company at a road that ran parallel to the German Battery about 150 meters away. "This is the rally point," he said softly. "Remember, speed is the key. Speed is the key. Let's move out."

Buck Compton, "Wild Bill" Guarnere and Don Malarkey began to crawl along a hedgerow to the left that headed to the German position. Their route was the most perilous, as they had to cross an open stretch of field before they got within grenade range. They vanished into the dense growth like lizards.

The rest of the Company crouched low and moved rapidly toward their objective. One more soldier had joined them, Private Gerald Lorraine. He had met them outside the outbuilding and asked to come along. Winters had simply said, "Sure. You'll come with me on the assault."

About 50 meters short of their intended line of departure, 1LT Winters used hand and arm signals to direct Sergeants Lipton and Ranney along with Bender to break off for their "Right Hook." They angled off to the right, high crawling rapidly to and then along the opposite side of the hedgerow.

Winters led the remainder of the Company to the hedgerow that paralleled the bottom of the "L" shaped trench. He used hand and arm signals to indicate to Plesha and Petty where to emplace their guns. Their crews crawled up alongside, quietly setting the guns up.

Liebgott grinned. "Check this out, Petty!" He said in an excited whisper, "We've got them Kraut boys cold." Fry could see that the barrel of their machine gun was pointed right at a group of Germans who were crouched by a machine gun that was partially protected by logs and dirt.

Further to the right, Plesha, Hendrix, and Leela were setting up their gun. They had excellent fields of fire against the other three sides of the field. They could take all four guns and the other three machine guns under fire with ease.

Twenty meters further to the right, Lipton, Ranney and Bender were getting into position. Lipton could not see the first gun very well, so he climbed a tree. Bender sat down behind the hedgerow, while Ranney looked toward Lieutenant Winters for the signal to fire.

Lieutenant Winters was keeping his eye on Buck Compton's group. He watched as they low crawled to within grenade range. He could see Buck place his hand over his face in the "Are you ready?" signal. He signaled back, then turned to Ranney with a similar signal. Ranney gave the "I am ready!" signal back promptly.

Winters raised his M-1 to his shoulder. He took aim at a helmet he saw bobbing along the trench, just behind the MG 42 position. He glanced down at Plesha and Liebgott. "Fire!"

Vicinity of the German Battery, Normandy, France, June 6, 1944 1010 Hours

The staccato voice of Petty's machine gun announced to the Germans that all was not well. One MG 42 crewman fell before they recovered from their surprise and began to erratically return fire. Plesha opened up, hosing down the other three guns in the battery with well timed bursts.

Petty's gun drew return fire from the MG-42, which cracked and zipped overhead. Fry covered his ears and hunched his shoulders as branches cut by flying lead rained down around him. He looked at Petty and Liebgott and couldn't help but admire their absolute concentration on their job.

Winters fired with his M-1 and the helmet bobbing down the trench abruptly disappeared from view. Over on the right, Sergeant Lipton shot and killed a German at the first gun. Everyone else opened fire as well, causing mass confusion in the battery.

Bender leaped up and ran forward when the firing started. "Oh your God! What is going on?"

Ranney turned briefly and shouted, "Get the hell down and stay down until I tell you to get up! These Krauts are playing for keeps!" A machine gun across the field, seeing Bender as a piece of flashing metal, opened up. Dirt kicked up all around and branches splintered and fell as well.

Bender needed no more convincing, he dove for the ground and lay still.

Fry saw three grenades suddenly burst in the MG-42 position, heard three loud reports that were accompanied by unearthly screams from the wounded Germans.

Buck, Guarnere and Malarkey charged into the still smoking position. They vanished into the trench as he heard Lieutenant Winters shout, "Let's go; let's go; follow me!" He saw him charge straight at the trench, followed closely by Popeye, Joe Toye, and Lorraine.

As they ran, the Kraut machine guns across the field began to send rounds cracking overhead. Some ripped up the turf right at Winters group's feet.

Winters leaped into the trench. Suddenly Popeye gave a cry of pain and fell into the trench as well. Joe Toye and Lorraine leaped in a split second later. Fry couldn't see much other than an occasional bobbing helmet or the report of an M-1 or some other weapon. It was clear that Winters was leading some men against the first gun. Petty and Plesha were both concentrating their fire on the first gun as well to keep the gunners heads down.

Three black objects sailed through the sky toward the first gun. "Grenades!" Fry thought. They detonated in rapid succession, Boom! Boom! Boom!

Again, screams and shouts came from the position. Petty and Plesha lifted their fire from the first gun to avoid hitting their own men and began to concentrate on the other guns in the battery.

Four Germans ran from the position, heading across the field. As they left, Guarnere, Winters and Lorraine entered the position and started shooting. Lorraine and Guarnere each shot one, while Winters killed two.

Winters spoke to Guarnere and Lorraine, pointing across the field. Then he ran back up the trench toward the second gun. Suddenly, Malarkey jumped out of the trench and ran over to the dead Germans. As Fry would later find out, he was looking for a Luger pistol to send home to his kid brother.

The fire slackened from both sides. Liebgott said, "They must think he's some kind of medic."

A split second later, everyone could hear Winters bellow, "Malarkey, get back here. This area is lousy with Krauts!"

As Malarkey leaped up, every German in the area seemed to open up on him. Plumes of dirt sprouted up all around him from near misses, but he miraculously made it back to the trench unhurt.

Hendrix turned to Leela with a big grin and said, "Damned fools, the Irish! But by sweet Jesus they are lucky!"

Leela was watching the men assemble in the MG-42 position, preparing to assault the second gun. Buck Compton shouted, "Grenade...roll out!" Everyone rolled out of the trench except Joe Toye.

A loud explosion followed by a fountain of dirt temporarily hid Joe from view. As soon as the noise died, everyone rolled back into the trench. They dusted Toye off, who was shaking his head and saying something that Leela couldn't hear.

After a few seconds, with Guarnere in the lead, Winters and Compton charged down the trench toward the second gun.

Buddies