Written to siliconshaman‘ prompt here to my Summer Giraffe Call.
My apologies for mangling any and all military terminology!
“Sir..” Uther Lafenne’s aide-de-camp stepped into the general’s tent with a worried frown creasing his forehead and twisting his lips.
Lafenne sighed. The new aide had only been here a week. He’d hoped this one wouldn’t spook off so quickly.
“One of the gunners?” he guessed. “Probably west flank position, so… Yorner.”
The aide’s eyes were wide. “Yessir. Gunner Yorner put down his gun and… sir, he refused to shoot. He started, um, drawing in the dust on the ground, sir. And that’s all.”
Lafenne’s next sigh was louder. “I was hoping he’d last until his replacement shipped in. WRite him out, honorable discharge, hazardous duty pay. Give him a berth in Bunk Lot R with the rest of ‘em, and put… mmmm… Vasquez in his place.”
“Sir?” The question was clear on the Aide’s face: Have you gone batshit crazy, sir? The aide was too new to ask it, though. Maybe he’d last long enough to learn how.
Lafenne explained anyway. “Female soldiers are hit by it less commonly and less quickly. We’ve lost 70 soldiers since we made landfall, and it’s escalating, the longer we’re here.”
“Lost? You mean mutiny?”
“Ha. Kid, mutiny required volition. These soldiers just lose the will and skill to fight. Gone, kaput, stipped out of ‘em, and as far as we can tell, it don’t come back. Artists, every one of ‘em, and nothing we can do about it. Muster Yorner out, kid, and pray Vasquez can last.”
Vasquez: here (warning, TV Tropes)
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