The nervous farmboys and merchants sons finished mass picked up their pilum assault rifles and took to their trenches into front of the small market town of Baeticativium. Across the plain came the an all arms Maoist battlegroup – mortars, armoured tractors, recoilless rifles, RPGs. Centurion Joespheus lowered his field glasses – it confirmed everything the refugees had said. He called together the other officers – a crying shame the feeling senior officers had left him in charge but he had to make the best of a bad job.
‘Right lads – its as we expected – we’re outnumbered, outgunned and more importantly outranged. We can hang on here while the Sino-Coms blast us and the town to pieces or we can hold back till their crossing, rush them and hope to scare them off. Even if we fail we’ll weaken them enough that it’ll give the boys in the capital every chance to save the Empire.’ The Centurion hoped they believed him, he didn’t.
Chief Secretary of the 3rd Field SubCommittee of the Peoples Defence Commissariat instructed his driver to stop and pausing to examine the bullet holes in his command car looked at the carnage. The burnt and blackened pieces of the People’s Artillery Battery and strewn bodies of their crew stank to the skies. A trail of corpses in the smocks, uniforms and occassional civillian clothing of the Roman militia ran from the guns across the bridge to town. The Central Committee would expect a full report on this, he took his cap in his hands after a moment crammed it in his belt and pulled a victory cigarette out of the packet in his top fatigue pocket. Lighting it and looking at the dead he shook his head. Such was the price of extending the dictatorship of the proletariat.