Dawn was breaking somewhere over the high parapet beyond the hill to my back, although the jungle down in the valley only glowed slightly with the coming of the light. The rain was gone. There would be sun.

The radio handset hung down from my right hand, the dangling cut cord swinging gently in the early morning breeze. I knew it was Pilson’s handset and I knew what that had to mean. What kind of mission had I sent Nguyen on with just a word and the nod of my head in the dark? What had made Casey move out toward the river bed without proper flank security or support when incoming fire had been taken just moments before? Was the man completely crazy or possessed of a courage I knew I lacked? And, what could possibly have been accomplished, even if it proved that my artillery strike hadn’t killed every member of his scouting party?