Summary: This is my first Rat Patrol story. After watching this episode, I just couldn’t help myself. Hitch was really asking for a big dose of H/C in this episode. I mean, come on, he rolled a jeep and then has a mortar shell explode only a couple of feet from him and doesn’t even get a scratch. Yeah, right! At least Troy had the decency to be unconscious, even if it was only for a minute, when the jeep rolled. So because I can, I have penned some alternative desert scenes for our three non-captive Rats and also because I can, I have continued the ending from where our boys drove off into the sunset, so to speak. All series dialogue is in italics. Enjoy.
Category: Rat Patrol
Genre: WWII Drama
Word Count: 3507
“I knew there had to be a better way,” Tully grumbled, watching Moffat.
Hitch grunted as Moffat deftly set and bound his broken wrist. “You know Troy; he was going to get himself captured one way or another”
“Yes well, I don’t think Troy actually planned on you breaking your wrist, Hitch, and I can’t imagine he will be very happy when he finds out,” Moffat replied as he gently placed Hitch’s arm in the sling.
“It wasn’t my fault; I just landed wrong when the jeep rolled.” Hitch swallowed a mouthful of water and nodded his thanks to Tully.
“I know, and Troy won’t blame you, Hitch; he’ll blame himself for not foreseeing something like this happening.” Moffat broke open a syrette of morphine, administering the small dose to Hitch’s upper arm. “Well, that’s the best I can do for you here. How does it feel now?”
“Ok, thanks, Sarge,” Hitch replied tiredly, leaning back against the jeep seat. “What do we do now?”
“Now?” Moffat asked climbing into the back of the jeep, “We continue with the mission as planned. The convoy’s picking up speed; it’s going to get there before midnight.”
“Well, we’ll be ready for it when it gets there,” Tully replied climbing into the driver’s seat.
“Just hoping Troy will be ready for us.” Moffat tapped Tully on the shoulder, hastily grabbing the back of Hitch’s seat as the jeep roared to life.
With Hitch slumped in the passenger seat, Tully pulled the jeep to a stop behind a low hill. Moffat jumped down and gently shook Hitch’s shoulder, rousing him from his doze. “Let’s take a break and go over the plan.”
Hitch nodded as he pulled himself from the seat and joined Tully and Moffat in front of the jeep where Moffat was drawing a map of attack in the dirt. “How are you feeling, Hitch?” Moffat asked, looking up as Hitch stopped beside Tully.
“It aches some but it’s ok,” Hitch replied.
“Good. Now, here’s the supply depot; the German convoy will come in from this angle and we’ll attack from this direction.”
“Well I hope we can pull it off; all we’ve got left is one jeep and a few grenades,” Tully commented.
“All we have to do is create a diversion, give Troy time to get Roberts out, then we’ll…”
A shell hitting the ground behind the jeep cut off the remainder of Moffat’s words as the three men ran for the vehicle. Hitch grabbed the machine gun from its scabbard beside Tully’s seat, and despite the pain in his wrist, opened fire on the advancing Germans as Tully jumped into the driver’s seat and Moffat primed the 50 caliber. The force of another shell hitting the ground not far from the jeep flung Hitch to the ground, momentarily stunning him. Moffat opened fire with the 50 caliber, covering Hitch as he staggered to the back of the jeep and toppled in, leaving his kepi, goggles and glasses behind in the sand. Tully gunned the engine and the jeep pulled away from the advancing Germans, speeding over the rise and out of sight.
Moffat tapped Tully on the shoulder and indicated a rise of rocks to their right. Tully nodded in understanding and turned the jeep in the direction indicated. He drove around the base and up a slight incline, coming to a stop among the boulders.
“Everybody alright?” Moffat called urgently. “Tully?”
“Hitch…Hitch?” Not receiving an answer, Moffat turned and looked at Hitch who was huddled in the back of the jeep. “Are you alright?”
Hitch blinked the sweat from his eyes and stared glassily at Moffat, pulling his bloody hand away from his side. “I don’t think so,” he replied groggily.
Moffat and Tully gently lowered Hitch to the ground, but despite their best efforts, Hitch couldn’t suppress the pained groan as they straightened his body out.
“Easy Hitch,” Tully coached, holding down his friend’s shoulders.
“Well, old boy, it just doesn’t seem to be your day today, does it,” Moffat stated as he unbuttoned Hitch’s shirt and pulled it away from the wound. “Let’s see what we’ve got here, shall we?” Moffat carefully probed around the wound, eliciting another gasped groan from Hitch. “Well, looks like you were lucky, Hitch,” Moffat began as he poured water over the wound, “it appears a piece of shrapnel has sliced into your side — messy and bloody and no doubt painful but not life threatening.”
Hitch nodded, jaw clenched tight against the pain Moffat’s ministrations was causing him.
“Tully, help Hitch sit up so I can secure this bandage around him, then we had best make tracks; it will be dark soon.” Moffat tied off the bandage as Tully lowered Hitch back to the ground. “Hitch, I only have one more morphine syrette left. Do you want it now or on the trip back to our lines?”
Hitch shook his head. “Pain’s not so bad; keep it for later, Sarge.”
“Alright, Hitch, but if you need it let me know. There’s no need to play the hero and suffer.”
“Who’s playing the hero?” Hitch smirked. “That’d be Troy; he’s the one who volunteered to get captured remember.”
“Yes, well, I’m sure Troy wouldn’t agree with you there,” Moffat stated.
“No, he’d just say he was doing his job,” Tully added.
“Alright, if you’re ready, Hitch?” Moffat asked as he and Tully helped Hitch to his feet and over to the jeep, settling him as gently as possible in the passenger seat. “Hitch.”
Hitch sucked in a shallow breath and nodded. “I’m ok, Sarge.”
“Alright then, if you’re sure… Tully, let’s go,” Moffat ordered.
Early dusk found the three men parked on a ridge overlooking the canyon and compound below. Moffat peered through the binoculars at the convoy making its way slowly along the canyon floor. “Good, we’ll get there about the same time as the convoy. Here, take a look.” Moffat handed the binoculars to Hitch who was leaning gingerly against the 50 caliber for support.
“If these things weren’t so heavy, I could use them for glasses,” Hitch commented as he accepted the binoculars and held them unsteadily to his eyes.
“We’ll hit them just outside the compound and then go in for the pick up,” Moffat explained, accepting the binoculars back from Hitch, “But I’m afraid, Hitch, I’m going to have to insist that you sit this one out. We can’t take the chance on that wound opening up. We’ll swing around and drop you about a mile from our exit point, pick you up on the way out.”
Hitch nodded, gently lifting his broken arm away from his chest. “Yeah, don’t reckon I’d be of much help with this anyway.”
“Well, come on then; we wouldn’t want to be late for the party,” Moffat stated as Tully turned the jeep and headed away from the compound.
“Say, Sarge, what happens if you don’t get out?” Hitch asked as Tully brought the jeep to a stop by an outcropping of rock.
“Well then, I guess it will be your turn to rescue us,” Moffat stated dryly.
“With what exactly? You have the jeep and the grenades.” Hitch grimaced as Moffat and Tully lowered him to the ground.
“I’m sure you’ll think of something, Hitch,” Moffat replied as Tully placed a canteen of water and one of the machine guns beside Hitch. Moffat squeezed Hitch’s leg. “All set?”
“Well then we had better be off. Wouldn’t want to keep Jerry waiting.”
Moffat nodded. “You too, Hitch.”
Tully paused before climbing back into the driver’s seat, tipping his helmet in farewell.
Troy pushed Perkins into the passenger seat as Tully pulled the jeep alongside the two men, before jumping to sit on the flattened windshield facing the seats as the jeep picked up speed again and raced away from the burning compound.
Troy took stock of his men as they raced down the road, his smile turning to a frown when he realized that one of them wasn’t with them. “Where’s Hitch?” he yelled over the roar of the engine.
“Waiting for us a bit further down the road,” Moffat yelled back.
Moffat sighed heavily. “He was hurt when the jeep rolled and…”
“How bad?” Troy demanded.
“He broke his wrist…”
“Is that all?” Troy’s eyes narrowed as he stared at Moffat.
Moffat shook his head. “We were attacked by Dietrich and his men. Hitch caught some shrapnel from a shell in his side. He’s lost some blood and is in some pain, I wager, but he’s alright.”
Tully slowed the jeep as they approached the rock outcrop where they had left Hitch, finally coming to a stop. The glow from the burning convoy and compound lighting the night sky.
“Hitch?” Troy called as he and Moffat jumped down from the jeep.
“Hey, Sarge, Sarge,” Hitch acknowledged, lowering the machine gun with a grunt of pain. “What kept you?”
“What kept us?” Troy began but stopped as Hitch closed his eyes.
“I think its time for that pain relief, Hitch, and then we’ll get you out of here. What do you say?” Moffat asked quietly as he broke open the last syrette of morphine.
“Sounds good, Sarge.” Hitch sighed when he felt the sharp prick in his arm, even though he knew it would be at least a half an hour before the drug would start taking effect. “
Troy clenched his jaw as he watched Moffat administer the drug. Even though the convoy and compound had been destroyed and it had been Roberts’ decision to stay behind in favour of rescuing Perkins, Troy felt that the mission was a failure and it was his fault. Mickey Roberts, the man they had been sent in to rescue, was dead, Hitch was injured and they were seventy miles behind enemy lines with currently only one jeep and a few forgotten rounds of ammunition.
“Hey, Sarge.” Hitch turned his head towards Troy. “Did we get Roberts?”
“No, Hitch, he’s dead,” Troy replied, starring at the fading glow of the fires.
“Troy…Troy.” Moffat shook Troy’s arm. “Help me get Hitch back to the jeep.”
Troy nodded. Between he and Moffat, they managed to get Hitch on his feet and back to the jeep. Perkins climbed out of the passenger seat, allowing them to lower Hitch in his place. Troy then helped Perkins climb into the back of the jeep before he turned back to his original position on the hood.
Moffat stopped Troy in passing with a light hand on his arm. “Troy, it wasn’t your fault.”
“No, then who’s fault was it?” Troy snapped, shaking off Moffat’s hand.
Moffat sighed; it was going to be a long trip back.
“Can you show us where you have those documents hid?” Troy asked Perkins after they had righted the rolled jeep and got it up and running again.
“Indeed I can; it ain’t but a few bleeding kilometers from here. Ah, Sarge, I…ah…I just want to thank you…for everything.” Perkins offered quietly.
“Well, don’t thank me; thank Mickey Roberts,” Troy replied.
“Yeah, I wish I could.”
“Yeah, so do I.” Troy patted Perkins on the shoulder before he headed to his jeep and Hitch. He climbed into the driver’s seat and looked at his squinting passenger. With a shake of his head, he pulled out a pair of glasses from his shirt pocket and held them out to Hitch. “Compliments of Dietrich.” Troy smiled at the grin that appeared on Hitch’s sweaty face as he took the glasses and secured the arms behind his ears, allowing the glasses to sit low on his nose. “Lets get those documents and go home,” Troy stated as he started the engine and drove off, followed closely by the second jeep.
Troy brought the jeep to a stop, still some thirty miles behind enemy lines. Laying his hand on the jeep’s horn, he gave a short blast to alert the jeep ahead of them of trouble before turning his attention to Hitch. The trip back had started out well enough; they had retrieved the documents Perkins had hidden before being captured. Up to and for probably a half hour after the retrieval, Hitch had been fairly animated, pestering Troy about his part of the mission and explaining in return what had happened to them. From there, they had moved on to small talk, with Troy becoming more anxious with every mile that dropped behind them as Hitch’s response time to his questions lengthened until he received no response at all. And now…now Hitch was slumped unconscious in the passenger seat and leaning heavily on Troy’s shoulder.
“Hitch.” Troy gently shook Hitch’s shoulder, cursing silently at the heat he felt under his hand.
“Troy?” Moffat called as Tully brought their jeep to a stop beside the stationary one.
“It’s Hitch; he’s unconscious and burning up.” Troy grabbed his canteen, uncorking it and tipping its contents against Hitch’s lips. “Come on, Hitch, wake up; you need to drink.”
Moffat gently moved the broken arm, eliciting a soft groan from the blonde. “Tully, bring me the medical supplies. The wound is bleeding again.”
“Do you want to move him?” Troy asked worriedly.
Moffat shook his head. “No, I’ll just add another dressing to this one. The less we move him now, the better. The bleeding isn’t bad, but it could get worse the more he moves.”
It was the lack of noise — that and the fire in his side — that brought Hitch back to consciousness again. “Sarge,” he gasped, desperately trying to move away from the pressure being applied to the wound.
“Easy, Hitch,” Troy warned, grasping his friend’s shoulders to keep him still. “Moffat is doing a little repair work on your side. He’ll be finished in a minute.”
Hitch gasped as Moffat tightened the new bandage around his waist. “Sorry Hitch, but we don’t want you leaking everywhere, do we?”
“It’s ok, Sarge,” Hitch replied through gritted teeth. “How much further to our lines?”
Troy looked across the hard-baked desert floor before returning his attention back to Hitch. “Another thirty miles — be a couple of hours. Think you can make it?”
Hitch nodded, closing his eyes and pressing his broken arm against the pain in his side. “I can make it, Sarge,” he replied, smiling feebly. He opened his eyes again when he felt the prick of a needle in his arm. “Thought you didn’t have anymore…morphine.”
Moffat shook his head. “I didn’t; I found this amongst the supplies in your jeep after we righted it. It is unfortunately the last one, though. Now, why don’t you have a drink of water and then we can get this show on the road.”
Hitch settled back into the seat as best he could and waited for Troy and Moffat to finish their whispered conversation — a conversation he was sure involved him and their guest Perkins, no doubt.
“Moffat?” Troy demanded.
Moffat shrugged. “What can I say, Troy? We’re in the desert, thirty miles behind enemy lines, and I dare say the wound is now infected, given his fever. It’s hot, he’s lost blood, in pain and I’m running out of medical supplies. That last syrette was a bonus but it will probably only hold him until we get back to our lines. And…” Moffat paused, “he’s not our only patient. I know for a fact Perkins is hurting as well and I have nothing to give him, except a stiff upper lip.”
“Why didn’t you give Perkins the morphine then?” Troy asked suspiciously.
“I tried, but he refused it. Thought I might find a better use for it and he was right.”
Troy scrubbed tiredly at his face. “Do we need to make camp, let them both rest for a while?”
Moffat pursed his lips. “No, I should think the best thing for both of them is to get back to our lines. The longer we delay, the worse that infection will get, and as you said, it is only a couple more hours. Besides, where out here do you want to make camp?” Moffat waved an arm at the flat expanse of desert that stretched unbroken for miles in every direction. “We have no shade or shelter out here.”
Troy squinted into the heat haze, finally nodding his head in agreement. “Alright, let’s move out,” he called climbing into the driver’s seat of his and Hitch’s jeep. “Ready to go home, Hitch?”
“Sarge, those words are like music to my ears.” Hitch attempted a smile that turned into a grimace when the jeep lurched forward jarring his injured arm and side.
Troy pushed back the flap of the tent where Hitch and Perkins were resting and entered, closely followed by Moffat and Tully.
“Hey, Sarge, fellas,” Hitch called groggily, a silly grin plastered on his face. “Come to break us out of here?”
Troy shook his head in amusement. It looked like the doctor was right when he had warned them that the drugs they had given Hitch to combat the infection and pain were likely to make him extremely happy, not to mention, sleepy. “Not for a few days, Hitch; give yourself some time to heal.”
Hitch’s grinned faded, to be replaced by a pout. “But I feel fine, Sarge.”
“I just bet you do,” Troy replied with a smirk.
“Tully?” Hitch whined, blinkingly owlishly.
Tully shifted the match stick he was chewing from one side of his mouth to the other, lifting his hands in surrender. “Don’t look at me, pard; I only follow orders.”
“Not fair,” Hitch mumbled, finally losing the battle to stay awake.
“And what about you Perkins? How are you feeling?” Moffat asked as Hitch finally succumbed to the drugs the doctors had pumped into him.
“Me, I’m fine, Sarge,” Perkins replied with a smile.
“Unbelievable,” Troy muttered with a shake of his head.
“What’s that, Sarge?” Perkins asked confused.
“You’re no better than he is.” Troy nodded to where Hitch was sleeping. “He gets busted up and blown up and you get shot up and beaten and the only thing that both of you can say is, ‘I’m fine’.”
“Well, Sarge, we British, we have to keep a stiff upper lip. Isn’t that right, Sarge?” Perkins turned to Moffat.
“Quite right indeed, Perkins; it is one of the banes of being British, I dare say,” Moffat agreed.
“Say, Sergeant Troy, what happened to those documents I buried?” Perkins asked seriously.
“On the way to HQ as we speak Perkins,” Troy replied. “The Colonel wants to speak with you when you get back.”
“Probably got another bleeding job lined up for me, he has,” Perkins lamented. “I feel a faint coming on, I do.” Perkins closed his eyes with a sigh.
Troy chuckled. “I wouldn’t worry too much about it, Perkins; we won’t be heading back to HQ until Hitch is up and about in four or five days.”
“Of course, if he finds a pretty young nurse, it could be a lot longer,” Moffat added.
Perkins smiled. “A girl — now there’s a thought.”