Braun waved his hand in a casual motion. “It would be an easy thing to slip the virus into an injection. Perhaps a routine shot before going into the field.”
He put a hand to his chest and gasped. “Didn’t we give you a shot before we left? Creepy!” He shivered.
Private Johannson laughed. “He clicked ‘I agree’ without reading the contract!”
Braun’s mock surprise turned to a casual smile. “No worries. We’re going back home. The cure is common there. Too bad there is no cure in this time.” He tsked his tongue. “Can you imagine if someone actually got stuck here that was infected?” Braun let the threat hang in the air. Kerr opened and closed his mouth.
Braun locked his eyes. “So, are you in or out?” He paused, holding up his palms. He motioned to one as he spoke, “If you’re in, we go back to the Dock. We give you a quick injection to clear up any flu you might have picked up. You can dispose of the Gift at your discretion. Hell, you can take it yourself!”
The three soldiers murmured agreement.
“That’s how I would go,” said Private Murphy with a nod.
Braun continued. “You write a glowing report about how well your first mission went.”
He pointed two fingers at Blanc. “Major Blanc there can help with any of the details you might be foggy about.” She nodded. “In about a month, you’ll receive your regular Air Force check. We’ll include a generous bonus from the Union Army for a job well done.” He brushed the palm against his jacket with a dramatic swish. “No fuss. No muss.”
Kerr couldn’t take his eyes away from the other palm. He could see a little moisture in his vision. He blinked it away. “And what if I’m not in?”
Braun sighed and looked at his other palm. He slowly closed it in a fist. “Yes, that’s the other option.” He sighed, staring at his fist. Finally, he shrugged and made eye contact again. “You can choose to remain here if you find our methods…” He looked for the word, “distasteful. Tell me again, how does one die of the Xeno Flu? I heard it’s quite painful after your organs start to shut down.”
Major Blanc grinned, “Yes, sir. It is quite painful.”
Colonel Braun coughed, “We could tell the folks back home anything. ‘The pressure of time travel was too much for him. He had one of those psy-cho-lactic breaks.’ Is that what they’re called?”
Private Murphy waved a casual hand while continuing to train his gun on Kerr. “Something like that. We’ll look it up. The important thing is that we had to leave him behind.”
Major Blanc agreed, “He attacked us and we returned fire. Why was he even carrying a gun? It was so strange. Tragic, really.”
Private Johansson took off his hat. His red curls sprung out. He solemly placed his hat over his heart. “It happened so fast.” Shaking his head, he gulped down a tear.
Kerr shook his head, “A lot of innocent people are going to die because of this.”
Braun’s face erupted in purple as he thundered back, “This is War! Be a man!” He sprayed spittle as he shook a fist in the air, “These people are already dead!”
Kerr blinked twice. He realized reason wouldn’t work.
“All right, all right,” Kerr held up a hand in surrender. His other hand pressed against his thigh. He pressed a combination against his leg. This signal told his Jump Suit something was wrong. It was the panic signal. The suit started to open the pipes. The hydraulic push of drugs began.
His muscles began to vibrate. The world slowed down as Kerr prepared for action.