My attention was drawn by AK-47s firing. I could hear the fire reverberating back from far up the valley even as I took cover and prepared to move out. My full attention, however, was immediately focused back to right where I was, when the Russian-built fifty caliber opened up from across the river. A long string of rounds started impacting and stitching itself across the face of the cliff, just above where the cliff wall slanted back down into the ground. The bullets caused no damage but their intent was readily apparent, like the drums beating through the night before. The bullets had missed us by only a few feet but their impacts felt personal. The mortar section crew, my scout team, and I were all pressed down into the dirt below the swell of the jungle berm. I looked up when I heard movement. It was Jurgens running back to join us. He dived headlong into the very middle of our clustered group.

50 Cal