In a flashback, Rich Brant remembers the tension he and his squad felt before entering a Viet Cong tunnel complex back in the CuChi province of Vietnam...
No one is more covered in sweat than he, and he feels the sheen on his skin soak his clothing all over again. He sets down the black rifle and pack and strips off his web belt. From the pack's loose flap he withdraws a Colt .38 snub-nose revolver and checks the cylinder.
Sweat droplets gather on his chin and dribble in a line to his chest, where the olive drab fabric has turned black. His hand shakes as he methodically inserts six fat cartridges into the Smith's cylinder. The brass slips between his damp fingers but he gently seats each round in its nacelle and snaps the cylinder shut. Full. Six rounds.
"Loot," drawls Sarge. "Let me lob a couple grenades in there. We got plenty."
"You know that's not good enough, Sarge. Grenades don't do shit in Charlie's tunnels. There's only one way to flush 'im, and that's this old fashioned way. Keep an eye out for other exits, and don't shoot my fuckin' head off if I come squirtin' back."
"Kay. Smitty, Digger, fan out and watch for moving bushes."
Sarge pulls back the bolt of his M-16 and lets it snap quietly forward. The others follow suit.