O6

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O6 - BUTT REAM

Del caught up to Brand in the canal ops center when the building was largely secure. Del's immediate objective had been achieved, and che ordered hez people to fan out into Suez City to prepare to greet the rest of their people soon arriving, far less clandestinely, in waves of lightly armored hovercraft. There were fights for the railroad station and the Al-Gaysh Causeway to Port Tewfiq, and a very hot struggle for the Governorate building on the waterfront was wrapped up with a sharp cost in IDF casualties.

With Del successes of the opening hours, with hez empty husks of the landing force abandoned on the bar swaying with the tide and not likely to be needed ever again, Colonel Motti Adan parked his ass safely in that Governorate building as soon as it was secured. Eager to gain the credit for a regional victory, he immediately separated Del's troops from her and reassigned them to the main thrust on the road north to Ismailia. So temporarily there was the incredible situation of Israel's best battalion commander twiddling hez thumbs with nothing to do.

When Colonel Motti Adan learned that Del had deviated from the plan and attacked with only half her force he was absolutely furious. On the top floor of the occupied Governorate, which had contained the city's police station, che and hez father stood before him at attention as he vented the worst of his wrath, which eventually got around to the question that was foremost in his mind: Where are your people now?

Del decided on telling a partial truth. I loaded the landing craft forty-six percent full, sir. I left the balance of my battalion in the barracks at Eilat.

Your battalion? Major, I can assure you that it is no longer, and never shall be again, your battalion.

Brand asked the Colonel pardon and explained that the beach would have been too crowded with 2190 troops, and the resulting confusion would have led to much higher casualties, perhaps even a total rout. He was awarded another stream of shouted insults, focused more intensely directly upon him.

My father is also my chief staff officer, sir, Del said when there was a pause for breath in the colonel's stream of invective. He was following my orders. Therefore I will accept the heat, sir. If there is to be any punishment I take it upon myself.

I should throw you both behind bars, Adan said, but I think it is far better that you should both sit out the rest of this war. Major Gervasi, you and your father will do nothing. That is mandatory. I repeat: nothing! Do you understand me?

Yes sir! they both blurted in reply.

Now get out of my sight!

There was a very large black car parked right in front of the building. Del cast covetous eyes on it. Brand saw the Colonel's eagle sticker on the window and shook his head. "No, no, Del, that is Adan's limousine, you can't be thinking what I think you're thinking."

Del simply got in on the passenger side of the limo and expected Brand to get in and drive. Che had already found the keys in the front ashtray when he reluctantly took his place behind the wheel. Everyone is sitting around, che said, disgusted, as they went out of the building onto the streets of Suez City. Everyone is more afraid of the finger-pointing that follows action than in actually being hit with a round! It is time to get out here, father. To the front.

That won't be easy.

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