“Dom, this fucking kid’s touching my BDU top again.”

“So?” the man with specialist shields on his collar sighs. Moments before ending up here, he’d been fantasizing of getting out and doing something else with his life. Living breathing target dummy was not worth a retirement check after all. He was so close to the end he could taste civies and the 420 promised to him by his brother. One more mission. One more hallway to patrol. One more asshole grunt thinking he is Rambo.

“Imma shoot him.”

“Don’t do shit private till LT gets back with intel. We may need these simple motherfuckers to get home.”

“Who we kidding Dom? Take a wrong turn in a particle accelerator, end up where there are no particle accelerators. It’s meant to be. Imma be king.”

“You going to rule over me private?” No one saw the man come back. He formed out of the shadows like he had melted into them, perfectly.

The small group of kids, circling the duo of soldiers lost in the multiverse, scatter like fluff in the wind.

“No LT, Course not.”

The LT was a lifer. A soldier, who if he hadn’t slithered out of his mother’s womb in a perfectly starched uniform, he at least got to work fixing it the minute he could. Some think there is nothing worse than an old NCO becoming a new officer. This one made it work. Did things his way though, so he was tolerated. But Dom told him left and he insisted they go right.

“Look these people are all armed to the fucking teeth. Each one is wearing steel armor and carrying one these fucking can openers on their person.” He throws down a beautifully smithed weapon, part wicked barb and sturdy club, with a sharp withering blade running up one side. “I watched two men fight with two of these and neither survived.”

The two soldiers remain quiet. What can they say? Each has a nine-millimeter handgun along with one extra clip of ammo and the digital-urban-patterned-breathable-cotton uniform issued and allowed by the United States Army.

“What are we going to do LT,” sounding far and away different then from moments ago, when he wanted to take over the world. Back to sounding eighteen and wondering why he ever left his mommy’s side.

“Change into some real gear when we can,” the LT says touching his own chest. All hear the jingling under his jacket. “Won’t be easy to get either. “This chainmail came from a dude who did not want to die.”

“The trick is wanting to survive though,” Dom states and with a snap frees his service revolver and proves he doesn’t.

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