The Battlefield of Sex: A Memoir

Date: 30 Apr 1996 

On Tue, 30 Apr 1996, Timothy S. Baumann wrote:



A cold afternoon in February. A soft rain frizzles from above, turning 
everything into wet muck. I can feel my boots squishing deeper into the 
mud at the bottom of my foxhole. With an audible pop, I pull them out. 
They promptly sink right back in.

Next to me, the leftenant is mumbling into the CB. New orders have just 
been sent in. It's about time. We've been holding position for weeks.

The leftenant gets up on the supply crate. A bomb explodes very nearby. 
The wave of heat is intense. "We have our mission", he says. "The enemy 
is travelling through a cave system nearby in a highly armored vehicle. 
We must penetrate into the vehicle and take command. This is a dangerous 
mission, and most of us will not survive. I can't ask you all to do this. 
Anyone who wants to stay behind, may."

I look around at my unit. Nobody speaks. Noody walks away. This is what 
we've all been waiting for, what we've all been trained for. None of us 
backs down. The leftenant sees this, smiles.

"All right, at my command... Forward!"

In a huge mass, we surge forward. It's slippery going... not one of us 
can find sufficient purchase to stand for long, but we soon find that we 
can propel ourselves efficiently through the muck with our tails. The 
unit gradually begins to pick up speed. A girl next to me falls dead, cut 
down by enemy fire. I put my head down and speed on.

In mere moments, the cave is right there ahead of us. I see the leftenant 
by the entrance shepherding in his men. He slaps me on the back as I 
pass. Just as suddenly, I'm inside.

It's very dark inside the cave, but strangely, I find that I can see. 
The walls and ceilings are absolutely dripping with moisture, and the 
floor is as slippery as the mud outside. The fire is even thicker here 
than outside- invisible enemies step out from shadowy alcoves and take 
down bunches of my mates, and just as mysteriously vanish. But we press 
on just the same.

Up ahead of me, I can see a great commotion. The cave is branching into 
two great tunnels. Panic grips the unit. Men and women who had bravely 
forged ahead just moments earlier now mill around in confusion. I want to 
move ahead, but the great mass of my unmoving comrades presses me in.

From further back, the voice of the leftenant rises above the din;
"Split up in two groups, you mindless lumps of slime!" And just as 
quoickly, we're moving again, those in back pushing eagerly against the 
backs of those in front. I reach the junction and take the left-hand 
passage. I suddenly find myself next to my friend Stanley. We nod once to 
each other and keep going, silently, the warm bodies of our dead 
companions marking out the path.

It seems like the tunnel drags on forever. More than once, I stumble, 
almost unable to go on, and Stanley takes my arm and leads me forward. I 
do the same for him. But finally, we can hear the sounds of a tremendous 
pitched battle ahead of us. A firestorm greater than anything we've yet 
passed through waits in front of us.

And now, we can see the vehicle! A huge sphere dominates the passage in 
front of us. A rush of adrenalin spurs me on. It's here, but something's 
very wrong. With horror, I can see that the sphere is too heavily 
guarded. People are dropping like flies all around it, and it's making 
its way glacially forward, slow but sure, the whole time.

Stanley takes my arm, leads me over to the right wall. Carefully, hardly 
daring to breathe, we inch closer to the sphere. Finally, we're alongside 
it, mere body-lengths away. Enemy fire spatters all around us. Stanley 
sucks in his breath, points. I see it too- a weak point! Halfway up the 
side of the sphere!

Together, we dash over to the sphere, expecting death at any moment. But 
we arrive safely. The weak point is too high for us to reach, but I give 
Stanley a boost and he's almost there! Any moment could end it all. I 
strain upwards, push him as hard as I can. He has a handhold! The sphere 
is soft, he says, like a sponge. Looking upwards, I can see his arm and 
head penetrating inside the sphere. A sudden pain explodes inside my 
chest, and I fall to the ground. But Stanley doesn't need me anymore, I 
can see his tail disappearing inside and he's gone. I smile then; it 
doesn't matter that I won't survive to see the outside of the cave; that 
we lost almost all of our unit; for the mission has succeeded.

Joel T.

Corsac's note: At the time I wrote this I'd never seen Everything
You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask)
. By
comparison, this story seems woefully lacking. Not a bad story though,
I think. All things considered.