"The dead have been awakened—shall I sleep?
The worlds at war with tyrants—shall I crouch?
The harvest's ripe—and shall I pause to reap?
I slumber not; the thorn is in my couch;
Each day a trumpet soundeth in mine ear,
Its echo in my heart." George Gordon, Lord Byron

"Hotel Quebec, this Foxtrot Sierra actual, we have a perimeter set up at the Charlie Bravo. How copy Over" the radioman said in a loud voice drowned out by the chaotic sounds of tank rounds and small arms fire in the background.

"Roger Foxtrot Sierra, Good job, Reinforcements enroute. ETA tree minutes."

"Roger, Hotel Quebec, Foxtrot Sierra Out." The marine said into the radio as he took cover behind the barbed wire covered balcony of the Chrysler Building. Bullets ricocheted off the concrete behind him as he grabbed his M4 assault rifle in his left and his right to guide himself along the wall towards his lieutenant who was taking shots over the balcony. "Hey LT! Reinforcements are on their way sir, Three minutes!" The marine yelled over the deafening sounds of the raging battle.

"Got it corporal! Go see if Garzo and Lore are squared away!" He yelled to the corporal who nodded and moved toward the door. He stood and walked down the stairwell toward the fourth floor. When he made it to the door he opened the door and peered through.

"Friendly at your six!" the corporal yelled through the door way and the two marines at the end of the hall way called back to him that the area was clear. He ran to them and knelt behind the two men who had set up a sniper nest at a window in the northwest corner of the building. "How's it goin' here? Need anything?" He whispered to the two men. They only shook their heads and the spotter pointed down the hall toward the second snipers nest. He moved toward the second nest, staying behind the sandbag wall as the occasional thwips from enemy assault rifles punched unthreateningly into the sandbags, but some rounds seemed disturbingly powerful. As he neared the second nest he peered over the wall and could see the familiar shape of two M1A1 Abrams tanks and five M1126 Strykers rounding the corner of Lexington Ave. He looked over at the nest and saw the spotter take a well placed Lapua round to the eye and an RPG-7 round disintegrate the area around the nest, badly scarring the sniper who stumbled out he exposed window to his death. The corporal was thrown back and slid across the floor of the building. The ringing in his ears lessened and he could hear the sound of a raging battle. He dragged himself against the sand bag wall. The occasional thwip was now a constant thump as hundreds of rounds slammed into the wall from the courtyard below. The corporal slowly turned his head and looked at the previous snipers nest; the sniper was now franticly firing his high caliber, anti-material sniper rifle. Looking over the wall he could see the convoy of reinforcements getting closer but something was different about it. Then he saw it, the lack of vehicles, the convoy was now made up of one tank and two of the five Stryker troop transports. Further up the road he could see the burning chassis of the rest of the convoy scattered along the road; some of the crew from the vehicles that were still alive were cut down quickly while fighting to get inside a nearby shop. The corporal crawled back along the wall and made it back to the stairwell and ran back up to the balcony, with the ringing in his ears fading he could hear the yelling of marines and the constant firing of rifles and other small arms fire. He kicked open the door, running out the doorway and crouched next to another marine.

"Corporal Stallon get over here!" the lieutenant yelled to him and motioned him to come over to a table inside a small blindage made of sand bags and camouflage netting. Stallon walked over toward the makeshift command post, ducking his head as a few rounds sprayed the across the windows and concrete above sending debris falling on his helmet. He stood at the entrance and waited for the lieutenant to allow him to enter. He waved him in and Stallon walked toward the table, where the Officers present were huddled around talking strategies and troop placements. In the background the radioman was sitting at a makeshift desk turning various knobs and pushing buttons trying to restablish contact with the Forward Operating Base. "Ahhh, Corporal Stallon I have some bad news. Sergeant Galler is dead; you're in charge of Second Squad. I am having First Squad relieve them. Once relieved I expect that you will inform them of the situation and immediately assume command." He said as he looked at his watch. "It is 1300 hours, at 1400 hours I want you to report back here for a briefing on our next objective in securing the city. Oh yeah and congratulations on the promotion, Sergeant."

"Yes Sir, Thank Sir!" Stallon yelled to the lieutenant over the sounds of battle that were looming ever closer. He walked away and gathered his men in an old business conference room, the table anything else not bolted to the ground leaned up against the windows along with planks of wood nailed to the walls. The squad wearily entered the room and pulled some of the stools laying around in the room, sitting as though they had not sat down for days and in fact they most likely hadn't. There was silence on the room, they all knew something bad had happened by the look on the newly promoted Sergeant's face. He finally broke the silence saying, "Men, I have some bad news. Segeant—" He said taking a breath let the fact that his sergeant and friend had died, "Sergeant Galler is dead." He said trying to keep a focused faced.

"What! I just saw him a couple hours ago!" A private said in haste as he quickly stood from his chair.

"He was killed coming here from his post on the outer perimeter; he was outside when the mortars started and took some shrapnel to the neck and upper body. The lieutenant informed me earlier today. As of now I am taking over command of the squad." He said not looking up the rest of the men of his new squad. "I am now your new sergeant."

"Like hell you are! There is no way you are leading this squad!" The same private said, jumping from his chair and running towards the sergeant stopping right in front of intending to continue yelling at him. Before he could say anything though the second corporal in the squad yanked him by his collar to the ground.

"You are out-of-line private!" He screamed at the private. He stood and dragged him up by his collar. The room fell silent after that and Stallon looked at his watched and noticed that he needed to be back at the command tent in five minutes. He walked out of the room and headed towards the stairs, as he walked he saw all the horrors of the war. He saw soldiers who were missing limbs, had gaping wounds, and saw soldiers sobbing in corners. He shook his head and pushed through the door, walking up the stairs slowly. Stallon opened the door and as it creaked open the hinges or what was left of them, gave way and the metal door fell with a loud crash. Stallon surveyed the balcony and noticed that some of the marines were gathering supplies and loading their rifles, something is about to go down and the marines were ready.