Note Forgot to post this yesterday, so you get two updates today.
Lensman felt less naked as the terrain became more hilly. Their blow to the railroad had been so major that he had decided to bypass the second target- the airfield of a despised deserter squadron- and return to the mountains. The third target, as it was on his route, he would hit in passing.
It was a larger bridge than the one they had sneaked under on their way out of the mountains, and guarded more heavily. Even the rocky riverbed was patrolled, which was going to make planting charges on the four wooden legs much harder.
They used tree cover to get as close as possible then watched for a pattern to emerge from the patrols. There were two guards at the north end of the bridge, two at the south and two underneath. At regular intervals one of the guards atop the bridge would walk down the embankment to relieve one of those below. It was so predictable that the guard being relieved would set off up at the same time as the other started down. This provided Kess with his window to take down a number of the guards at his leisure.
It was approaching dusk when the next change over began. Kess wasn’t taking any chances. The shot was at the extreme range of his baby long, so he was using his full size gun. The single guard in the riverbed was looking bored. “Now.” Whispered Mov.
The guard was thrown several spans by the bullet. Kess reloaded and shifted his aim. The new guard didn’t even have time to register the body on the ground before the bullet hit him.
In groups of two, they sneaked down the riverbed. Lensman led the demolition team, packing explosives around the bridge legs and counting his men through.
As Kess and Mov brought up the rear there was the sound of motors up the road, and a shout from above. Weak headlights, from far down the road, illuminated the riverbed and the two figures running across it. An autogun opened up from above.
Mov fell, and didn’t get up. He only moved when more bullets hit him. Kess stumbled, but made it under the cover of the parapet. He looked back at Mov, rolled onto his back and pointed his long rifle straight up. In the confined space the flash and report were shocking. The bullet smashed through the wooden decking and a moment later the guard’s body tumbled to the riverbed.
Lensman helped the younger man to stand. There was blood on Kess’ right leg. The both looked back at Mov. “We have to leave him and get out of here.” From their positions upstream the rest of the squad was firing on the remaining guards. Kess nodded understanding and allowed his commander to help him move. The last man out pulled the pins from the fused bag charges.
The convoy had stopped far down the road, and troops were jumping from softskins. As yet they didn’t seem to have any heavy weapons to bring to bear. A squad ran onto the bridge to take up firing positions, just as the charges went off. Some of them made it back off before the structure toppled. It was a minor victory. Lensman’s squad was still outnumbered four to one. He began planning for a last stand.