"One hundred and thirty seven."

Carlin hung his head in shame. After a moment of silence he looked up into Weigand's face again. "Are you sure about that?"

"Positive. It's all over the French papers. One hundred and thirty seven dead civilians. Over fifty million dollars in property damage from all the fires we set. The good news is, none of the French news agencies report anything about missing items. They all report it as an American terrorist strike against a peaceful French village. How do you think the American public will react to this?"

"They'll be furious. All of them think that we're fighting a just war in the name of democracy. Bringing civilization to the barbarian Europeans. Just goes to show how stupid the average American is, thinking that Europeans don't have democracy. Hell, they elected that moron Kerry to president in '04 and look where it got us."

Weigand smiled grimly. "Those were some wretched times in United States history. Do you think this war isn't just?"

Carlin let out a soft chuckle. "Just? Weigand, you're young and foolhardy. We're fighting a war of conquest. There is no other way to justify landing millions of soldiers on foreign beaches with guns blazing. The President is out to gain power and land. She's got every little bastard in Congress wrapped around her little finger. I guess in over two and a half centuries of existence, the U.S. never really learned anything. Hopefully, this whole thing will just fade into memory over the next couple of centuries."

"Why are you fighting a war you don't think is just?" Both Weigand and Carlin looked over at the new comer. R.C. Steele stepped out of the shadows that the small Paris apartment they had rented was filled with. "Why do you fight?"

Carlin grimaced. "I fight because I'm told to fight. I'm a soldier. I do my duty when my country calls upon me to do it." Carlin stared into R.C. Steele's eyes for a long moment before speaking again. "What about you? Why do you fight?"

"I fight against my will. The Empire caught me doing something they considered wrong so it was fight for them or fight for them. Not like I had any real choice. I chose to fight willingly with them rather then throw my life away recklessly. The world hates the Empire but I have too many friends in it. I could not abandon them to the mercies of foreigners should our army fail."

"What were you caught doing?"

R.C. Steele smiled a wicked smile. "Major, do you remember when I said R.C. stood for Roger Clemens?"

"How could I forget?"

"Do you want to know what it really stands for?"

"Sure, if you tell us what you were caught doing after you tell us your initials."

"I am Ricardo Carias. The Steele was added by the government in order to hide my identity."

Carlin and Weigand just sat there, their mouths falling slightly open. Carlin was the first to recover. "You mean as in The Ricardo Carias, leader of the Nicaraguan rebels? The one who kept a whole Imperial division of over ten thousand soldiers fighting for their lives against less then three hundred malnourished rebels?"

"The one and only. Throwing me into the army was a public relations thing. The Empire had 'shown us civilization'. In the public's eye, it was the whole reason for fighting. To civilize the barbarians. And I had been 'civilized'. What the public never found out was that all of my rebels were executed without a trial."

"How can you fight for a government that has caused you so much pain and hatred? You were willing to give your life to stop the Empire but in the end you decided to fight for them. That makes no sense."

Carias smiled. "Many things in this world don't make sense. My story is just one of them." With that, he saluted, turned on his heel and walked out of the small room. Carlin and Weigand just sat there for a moment in silence. After a time, Carlin finally broke it.

"I guess we better start making plans on how to kill this Prime Minister. Come on, Corporal. Let's go see what the others are up to." Carlin stood up and walked out the door into the adjoining room. Weigand followed right behind him.

"Major Carlin, we have confirmation of the time and place of the Prime Minister's speech. Tomorrow at noon in front of the Eiffel Tower. The news stations report that nearly one million people are expected to attend. Security is definitely going to be tight, especially with our little attack this morning." Corporal Jennings turned back to watch the television again, hoping to glean more information about the event.

Carlin turned to Weigand. "Whatever we do for this, it's most likely going to have to be a sniper's bullet that takes out the Prime Minister. Think you'll be up for an assassination?"

"I'll do what I have to."

"Good. Jennings, as soon as you have anymore information about the speech, such as length, what kind of security measures, etc, I need you to tell me. Sergeant Ruano, I want you to organize your squad and start setting up security measures around this place." Carlin looked around for a second. "Where the hell is Private Roche?"

"He went shopping." When all the voices in the room quieted down and all the faces turned to look at Ruano, he quickly added, "I'm just kidding. He said he wanted to go out and explore the area, get familiar with the buildings in case we need to make a quick retreat."

The door suddenly burst open and in stepped Roche. "Speak of the devil. We were just talking about you Roche." The Major paused when another man walked in after Roche. "Who the hell do you have with you and why the hell did you bring him here?"

"Major, this is James Oswaldo Garcia. He came up to me when I was walking around and said he knew I was American and that he knew where all of you were. I couldn't just let him wander the streets if he says he has that kind of information."

Carlin thought about it for a moment. "Garcia, who the hell are you?"

"I am James Garcia, an American citizen born and raised in France. My parents were in the military and retired while in France. They decided to stay here. I lead a small group of French people who wish to see the American's in power. We want to see a united world, rather then one divided into hundreds of little countries. We call ourselves the FPA, or French People for America." James said all this in a heavy French accent he had undoubtedly picked up from being raised in France, making it hard to understand.

"If you can tell us how we can get the Prime Minister, then I promise you'll get your wish of an American ruled France. Agreed?"

James thought about it for a moment. "How do I know you'll keep your word?"

"Because the Empire has already lost hundreds of thousands of soldiers fighting the French. They're not about to back out of it now and be humiliated in front of the world. The President is too proud to do something like that."

James nodded. "Okay then. I have nothing to lose by helping you, so I guess I will."

"Hold it, Garcia. How do I know we can trust you?"

"You can hold on to my infant son. If I betray you, you may kill him. Is that enough for you to trust me?" Carlin nodded. "Good. You can find him at my apartment. I will bring you there in a little bit. To get to the Prime Minister, you're going to need a sniper. Do you have one?"

Weigand rose from the seat he had been in. "We've got the deadliest sniper in the business. Tell me who to shoot and from where, and that person is dead."

James let out a soft chuckle. "Very well then. When the time comes, I shall show you where to get the best shot from. You better be able to get him with one shot, because that's all you're going to have."

"Garcia, in a few minutes I want you to go with Roche here and collect the baby from your apartment. Corporal Sheerin and Private Mulligan will accompany you. Roche, come with me." Major Carlin turned on his heel and reentered the room he had just exited several minutes earlier. Roche followed him in. "Close the door behind you, Roche."

Roche closed the door and sat down in the chair opposite the one Carlin was using. "Private Roche, what were you thinking in bringing him here?"

"Sir, he said he had sensitive information. I couldn't leave him."

"And I'm not suggesting you should've. What you should have done was order him to take you to his group that he claims he has. You should've checked it out to see how legitimate it appeared. But to take him to our base of operations. You're putting the entire operation at risk."

"Major, he's giving us his infant son. I think we can trust him. Plus, we're going to need all the help we can get. We're alone in an enemy controlled city. If they find us, they'll kill us."

"Which is precisely why you should not have brought him here. If he's an enemy agent then they will find us."

"If he was an enemy agent, sir, then with all due respect, wouldn't he have already called in commandos or something? Unless the Empire has launched another assault against the beaches, then we are the French's biggest threat. We proved that to them when we destroyed that village."

Carlin hung his head in between his hand. "Private Roche," he said, lifting up his head, "let it be known that I disagree with this decision whole heartedly. However, since this is war, I will not punish you for it. We just have to keep moving and hope for the best. However, it will be your responsibility to keep your eyes on him. When he takes Weigand to that sniper position tomorrow, you are to be the one that accompanies them. Is that understood, Private Roche?"

"Perfectly, Sir."

"Good. Now get going and get me that baby. I want to make sure this isn't some bullshit he's concocted to make us trust him."

"Don't worry, Sir. I'll get the child and bring him back here without any difficulties. Is there anything else I should be doing while I'm out there?"

"No, that'll be all." Roche nodded and moved to exit. "Tell Corporal Sheerin she's in charge of everyone retrieving the baby."

"Yes, sir." Roche said, and he finished walking out the door. No sooner had he left then Corporal Weigand burst through the door.

"Major Carlin, that man can't be trusted. What the hell are you thinking accepting his offer like this? He knows way too much. We should just shoot him and be done with it!"

"Are you questioning my decision, Corporal?" Carlin asked, emphasizing Weigand's enlisted rank.

Still fuming, Weigand managed to get himself under enough control to respond in a normal voice. "No, sir. It is your decision, not mine."

"Good, now that we have that straight, just so you know I'm not stupid, allow me to explain that decision. If what he says is true, about him being the leader of this FPA thingy, we do not want to get on their bad side by killing their leader. Plus, I don't trust him either. That's why I put Roche in charge of watching him. If he tries anything funny, Roche can keep him under control. We'll also have his child soon."

"Major!" Weigand shouted, before bringing himself back under control and lowering his voice. "Has it even occurred to you that he might give us someone else's kid? And who the hell is going to be looking after the kid. We don't have the man power to do this."

"Corporal, it has indeed occurred to me that he'll give us someone else's kid but there's nothing we can do about that. I'll put Mulligan in charge of the kid. She's a mother, she knows how to take care of children. Before you can say anything about his story of being an American citizen possibly being false, I already know that he might be lying. Now Corporal, I would greatly appreciate it if you would just do your job for now. I'm under a ton of stress trying to figure out how to get just some of us home alive without having to worry about a doubtful subordinate's questions. Dismissed." Weigand came to attention and walked out of the room. Carlin sighed and once again hung his head in his hands.

A/N: Thanks to Mbwun for providing the name of the new character. I hope you all like the turn of events.