The weapon in the boxcar had been the same two digit calibre as the anti air. It had cut the seven men to shreds. Umat was studying his casualties, Lensman went to his.
Each man had identifying bracelets on each ankle and around their neck. If their body parts were too far separated it would delay their entry to the warriors’ paradise. Lensman walked back along the line of fire, picking up all the pieces he could find, including any blood soaked earth. When he was happy with this he took all the ID tags and pocketed them. Mov and Rey joined him to dig the graves.
They didn’t say any prayers, the dead would have their fill of their chosen religion on the other side. Umat joined them at the grave side. His comrades had been placed atop an impromptu pyre which had yet to be lit. “It is a great victory, even with these losses.” He announced through Rey.
“Where will you go now?” Lensman asked.
“Perhaps we will vanish. More likely we will fight. Come, see what my men have found.”
There were two small vehicles in the last boxcar. They had six large, deep treaded tyres, each on its own independently sprung swing arm. There were seats for a driver and commander and a cupola turret- all armoured. The turret held two of the two digit anti-airs. “We have seen these many times. They are called scuttlers. You have no need for them? You are going back to the mountains?”
“No, we have no use for them.”
“Then we shall take them. With these we can strike fast at smaller patrols and escape.” It was a risky proposition, but the joy of his freedom was letting Umat see beyond the danger.
“My best wishes to you.” They made the traders’ seal, each grasping the other’s elbow, locking forearms and leaving their ribcages open to the knife they trusted wasn’t there. “Now we should strip what we can from this thing, fire it and leave.”