By Shawn Kupfer
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Used to be the central park of this city. Then China bombed the place off the map. 舡 舠About that, Chris,舡 Nick said. 舡 舠Just where the fuck are we, anyway? 舡 Michael asked, shaking his head. 舠More of it than you want to know, pal. You舗ve heard of the front lines? 舡 Peter shook his head. 舡 Nick wordlessly offered the pack to Peter, who took one. 舠Don舗t let a CO catch you smoking that, by the way. Neal舗s cool, but some of the others can be real bitches,舡 Christopher warned. The four of them walked for a few minutes until they came to half of a large, long rectangular building.
He waved to Christopher and headed in the direction of the voice, which turned out to be a uniformed soldier at least five years younger than he was. 舠I舗m 1153,舡 Nick told the soldier. 舠So you are. Lieutenant Jim Neal, 47 Echo舗s new CO. We need to get you processed, tagged and uniformed. 舡 Neal yelled before Nick had a chance to say anything. Christopher appeared at Nick舗s side, grinning widely. 舠Aw, shit. 舡 舠Lock it up, 311. Take 1153 over to processing. I want him squared away in twenty minutes.
Christopher had already told him that a full unit was ten plus CO, so Nick didn舗t expect to be assigned until there were more of them. He was wrong. In addition to himself and Christopher, the new additions to the unit were twenty-two-year-old armed robber and killer Peter King (47 Echo 1154), and thirty-four-year-old double-murderer Michael Riley (47 Echo 1155). Michael was affable, talkative, and generally likeable. Peter had said barely a word since he舗d been assigned to the unit. 舠All right, Echo.