Join Date: May 2005
JOHNNY REB And the Maverick Men In ‘The Clockwork Atoll’ Part 2.
Character Created by Tim Frady / Story by Wayne Clayton.
Captain Travis peered out from behind the hollow he had found for himself. He quickly checked about him to locate the other two. He saw Shutterbug laying low in a clump of trees to his left. The Capt. signalled him to sit tight as he scanned for Vinnie. Moments later he heard Vinnie’s tell tale whistle. And spotted his grinning face pressed against an old tree root. Finally he looked back to see Johnny Reb stuck out in the open stood besides the Jeep.
Normally he would have balled out any soldier who hadn’t followed his commands, but this was Johnny Reb. A man who ate Panzer tanks for breakfast. Travis had gone into battle dozens of times with Johnny by his side. He never failed to be amazed to watch a man walk through a hail of bullets without breaking a sweat. But he also knew that when you fought with Johnny those bullets never stopped coming. He was like a magnet for trouble. He had seen guys he’d fought with jump up and walk shoulder to shoulder with Johnny, some believing that the Nazis were firing blanks, or they too were bullet proof. They soon learned different. He wasn’t going to make that mistake….again.
“Johnny, what you see out there?”
Johnny’s eyes swept the tree line ahead and found nothing. Raising his arm he signalled the all-clear. One by one the Maverick Men joined him back at the Jeep.
“Okay boys, here’s the beef.” Capt. gathered them together and lay out a cloth map on the hood of the jeep. “We’re here on the west of the island. The crash site according to recon photos is east of here, not far from the lagoon.” , “Vinnie you take point and Shutterbug you stick close to me. I don’t want you wandering off like last time to take holiday snaps of the local wild life”
Capt looked up to see Shutterbugs smiling face, “Those Hula girls sure were wild Capt.”
“Enough already lover boy”, “As usual Johnny’s our air support. Any questions guys?”
Vinnie stuck a finger in the air, “How long till the big guns crash the party Capt?”
“We’ll be long gone by that time Private, so stop ya jabbering and let’s ship out”
Vinnie quickly gathered together his pack and swung it over his shoulder. Then grabbed his rifle and tucked it in close into his body. Finally he slapped his helmet onto his head and gave it two taps for luck. He had only been with Johnny and the Maverick Men for just under a year but he slotted right in as if he had been there since day one of the war. Truth told Vinnie had missed most of the conflict due to his age. But he was making up for it now.
“So Capt. what are we looking for?”
Travis frowned as he took a swig of water from his dented canteen, swirling it around his mouth before spitting it out.
“Well boys looks like we’re hunting Foo . About two years ago the observatory at Mt. Kinsley spotted it. At first they thought it was just a lump of rock passing through, minding its own business. But at the exact second Little Boy when pop the thing changed his course and headed straight for us.”
“Those little green men sure chose a swell place to crash Capt.” Vinnie said grinning.
“Too swell if you ask me”, “Believe me them landing here is no accident, so keep your eyes open boys”
Travis glanced at Johnny and saw him deep in thought.
“Say Johnny you ever tangled with any Foos before? “
Johnny turned and a glimmer of a smile played on his lips.
“Only in the comic books Captain”
“Hey I read that story!” Shutterbug piped up for the first time and was instantly shot down by Vinnie, who had personally taken it upon himself to ride Jones as hard as the original Mavericks had ridden him when he first joined.
“Gee Whiz Jones do you think we’ll ever make it into the funny papers? ” Vinnie jumped up and down like a small kid with ants in his pants dancing around the now sheepish looking Jones.
“Quit it Vinnie, aren’t you supposed to be on point Solider?”
With that Vinnie snapped into action and marched on ahead turning briefly to give a rye look at Jones.
With the Mavericks heading off on foot into the woods Johnny sprang up into the air with a single bound. He rose up above the tree tops and look down on the group of men below. The sun was high and bright and Johnny’s shadow weaved in and out beneath the feet of Captain Travis and the others.
Shutterbug looked up at Johnny as he hovered above. He still found it hard to believe that a man could really do the things Johnny could do. Just the sight of him up there made him giddy. Sure he had seen the pictures of Johnny Reb taking down Zeroes during the Battle of Midway in all the papers but he never thought they were real. But now he was the one taking the photos and he still didn’t believe it. Here he was a kid fresh out of college on his first job with the Army Press Core
He had to admit he was as surprised as anyone else he got the job. For some reason the older guys had all turned it down saying that Johnny Reb was old news. At first Jones figured that it was just sour grapes, but after what had happened to him in Stalingrad he was beginning to think they were just plain scared.
But he didn’t care. He had his eye on the big picture, he wanted to be the next Robert Kappa and be in the right place at the right time to capture that image which would make him a house hold name. Where better to find it then at Johnny Reb’s side.
Up ahead Vinnie stopped and clenched his fist in the air. Both Captain Travis and Jones stopped on a dime. Cautiously Travis moved up to Vinnie’s position leaving Jones to nervously look around him.
“What is it?” Travis whispered.
“There’s a village up ahead. Do you want us to go round it, or through it Capt?”
Still in a low whisper Travis called on Johnny.
“What do you see Johnny?”
Still above the tree tops Johnny heard every word spoken and signalled back to Travis by means of a small hand signal that the coast appeared clear. From his vantage point the small native village looked deserted as well as it might have been. The U.S. army had shipped every living soul off the island weather they liked it or not. They never had a choice in the matter. The atoll was U.S. property now and they were going to decide how best to use it.
“Okay we’ll go through but keep on your toes boys, we don’t want any surprises”
And with that the Maverick Men moved forwards into the village.