"Uh yeah. I was intending to anyway."
Even if Michael may not end up being long-time friends with those guys, he was still their subordinate. And he should at least made himself known to them first. What if they happened to need him during a battle? They'd need a name so that if something occurred to them, or if he needed them. In the heat of the bullets and blood, these precious moments could be life-saving.
Michael followed the energetic Paloma to greet the squad. She surely was a sunflower, always with a smile on her face. She immediately greeted the guys with a flood of question marks about poetry. But as Michael was about to show himself, his recognizable but less visible silhouette, more guys from the same squad swarmed the two Lance Corporals. All taller than he was. Believe it or not, he was certain that he was the shortest person in the entire army. Spent his entire life looking up at people. As much as he wanted to introduce himself, he wouldn't want to be edging his way through those towers of a person. There was still an hour and a half left until battle commences, so he had plenty of time. He could meet them after the squad had dispersed a little-
"8th Platoon, gather your gear and webbings. Plans have changed. Advancement commences in 15 minutes, so haul-arse over to the frontline steps! Anyone who refuses to come is to be court-martialed, so let's get a move on!"
As he said it, it happened. It was time to pick up the rifle.
"Seems like there is no time."
He didn't want to be late. Their names were Isaac and Jean, right? He could keep that information in mind.
"Alright calm down. You've been trained for this."
As he carried the weight of his own body combining with the multitude of both engineering and combat equipment over to the front trench, the traumatizing stench of human flesh on its way back into mother nature's soil. Poor these fellows. Some of those who were still recognizable were just as young as Michael, barely even reached twenty years of age. And they were now without a proper burial place. We were both pinning each other down, so no personals with any quality of brain cells would actually pop their heads over the parapet. That only meant that these unfortunate souls wouldn't have a place to rest, and for us a pleasant smell. To call it unpleasant was a gross understatement, however. It was disgusting. Traumatizing. Pure horror. Something that would stay with the sapper forever.
To distract himself from the horrifying smell, he decided to look over to his comrades. Some were just as scared as he is, while a few were jumping with their heels, eager for the faithful charge that would determine a few of these men's destiny. The face of the former group attracted him the most. It didn't resonate this clearly to Michael until now, but they were also a shadow of his own self: young with a bright future, with someone waiting for them to return at home. He remembered it. He would not in any circumstances, want to die right here, right now. And what could he possibly do right now but to fight. He wouldn't want to shoot a gun out of malice, or plunge a bayonet deeply into the enemy's chest with hatred, but his parents were waiting for him at home...He'd not leave them alone.
As much as he tried to avoid looking to the side or consciously acknowledge the stench, he couldn't fully. The more disturbing something is, the more likely you would be inclined to pay attention to it. It was unpleasant, but the human brain. What could he change about that? Thankfully though, whilst he could not distract himself, someone else did. A tap on his shoulder called for his attention. It was from a man with dark skin, nearly two heads taller than Michael. He was offering a tin can of sweet chocolate with a friendly smile on his face. At least his squadmates were mostly nice person. Otherwise how would he survive in this calamity?
"Thank you." He expressed simply, though his voice was deep, in contrast to his petite and roundish face, as he took out a small piece. The guy did say this was his homemade chocolate from his mom. How nice. The letter in his pocket seemed to clatter for his attention again. Reminded him of his own mother. He took a small bite from the piece of chocolate he was offered. The flavor melted immediately.
"It is so good..."
Not just by the military standard, but also by his own standard as well, as someone who had the privilege to enjoy some fine dishes in the past. But perhaps nothing beats mother's cooking. The love placed in those mixes of cocoa and milk. The same could be said in those curves of inks that was in his letter. He couldn't help but take it out again, after he had munched down the piece.
"It really gives me something to remember." He turned over to the man with a small smile of gratitude on his face. "Thanks again, uhh...sorry, what's your name?"