Barnette heard the frightened corporal speak on his radio, which was set to the same channel as Anderson's, of course, and, first telling his men inside the walls and behind the machine guns to take rest, proceeded out of the base and headed slowly toward Anderson and Corrin.
[I've got a man down... He... He got... Live round... In the head,] Burnette stopped dead in his tracks. Anderson quickly turned to Sargeant Corrin, who's eyes widened with anger.
He grabbed the radio from Anderson's hands, "Patterson, this is Sargeant Corrin. I understand you're upset, but you have to get it together. Tell your men to clear their weapons and standby. If you encounter team two, tell them to hold their fire and do the same under my authority. Now, where're you at, son?"
Slilence for a moment. Then faintly, [T-two clicks east... sargeant.]
"OK. We'll meet up with you in ten. Corrin out."
Sargeant Corrin shoved Anderson's radio into his chest who barely managed two catch it. He then wasted no time ordering his platoon of privates to imitate Patterson's platoon and clear all their weapons. This means removing the magazine from their rifles and charging the bolt. This empties the chamber of any round that could still be inside. A clicking sound filled the air as the soldiers followed the orders given to them. Barnette dashed back inside the base and had his gunners clear the .50 cals in the same fashion.
Corrin turned to Anderson who never moved from his position. Though he, too was in a state of anxiety, he eagerly awaited the order from the his leader as he was trained to do.
"I'm taking my platoon to Corporal Patterson's position. My channel's gonna be busy; I'm gonna try to calm that crazy f*ck down so he doesn't do anything stupid. I trust the man with my life, but he panics if the latriene's out of toilet paper."
Anderson, under any other circumstances, would have at least giggled at the sargeant's humor, but in this situation he quickly responded with, "Yes, sargeant. Anything else?"
"Yes," Corrin grabbed his radio of his belt and looked at the dials making sure of the right channel and volume, "get on your radio to HQ and tell them there are live rounds on the field."
Getting the right settings, Corrin placed his radio back in his belt. He took his soft-top cap off and scratched his scalp through his crew-cut, red hair.
"Also," he said, "if team two gets here, find something to make a white flag out of and wave it at first sign of contact. I'll contact you once I reach Patterson," Corrin ploped his cap back onto his head and, with a nod from Anderson, assembled his troops and headed in an eastern direction to Corporal Patterson's platoon.
Anderson's mind filled with thoughts and questions and around him, in the distance, gunfire still filled the air. He wondered if their were any other live rounds accidentaly issued and if any other platoons had them. Fathoming the damage an event like this can cause is imaginable. Not only does a unit loose good soldiers, but friends and brothers get lost in the middle, draining moral from the men like a leech. But why didn't HQ tell us? Anderson thought. They keep precise accounts and inventory of each bullet for God's sake! Surely they could have...
Anderson's heart stood still. He jerked the radio from his belt, loosing grip and causing it to fall to the ground. He screamed out as he stooped to pick it up, "Burnette!"
Burnette heard Anderson's cry and he and his squad of three men ran out of the base to him. Anderson had got control of his radio and turned the channel dial to "9," the channel used by HQ in most training scenarios. He pressed the button and spoke loudly into the mic, trying to reach out with his voice to the men in the radio room, but to no avail. Static was the only sound they could hear.
"Dammit!" Anderson cried.
"What the hell's going on?" Burnette asked him, slightly out of breath and heart rate increased. The look on Anderson's face gave him a very disturbed feeling; one he had not felt since the Soviets attacked in WWIII. "We need to get back to the armory, now!"