The border dies first, lungs snapped shut by that unready breath, mired out of sleep. The trenches have enough time to wail against a redder sky.
Mustard’s speaker blares the one word “Gas!” and even dead asleep the training takes hold and clamps him shut, jacks him upright and pissing. He clamps the yellow pad over his breath and strains through days of cornmeal coffee.
He runs, runs, mouth and eyes choked with yellow, yellow. They run with him, swirling out of the killing fog, pushing desperately downstream. Tocsin of the light guns; the glassmen weave against their current, faces dragged deeper in their sacks, beating back the tide.
He crashes out and grabs the mask Cooper hold out, pulls it down and regurgitates the stale wad of life-guarding piss. Guns, guns; Mustard creeps into the fog on little cat’s feet, crouched low and bent toward justice.