The third Dragon Rising mission concludes with Tim McDonald and Andy Alderson leading the squad in the assault and defence of a heavily contested village. Andy Alderson has not taken his demotion well. The constant bitching and sniping over his removal from command, the disobedience, and the fact that he’s a knife-wielding wild-eyed psychopath do not bode well for my continued command. I’d ask my squadmates to keep an eye on him were it not that I, too, am not happy with my promotion to squad leader, as I’ve been saddled with Avery and Jedburgh – two of the worst soldiers I’ve had the misfortune to serve with. Attempts to enforce an iron law with these hooligans may have been misinterpreted: executing a Chinese soldier did not lead to the fearful respect and discipline I was hoping for. Thanks to rumours spread by a certain soldier following that encounter, there are rumblings that I’m some sort of maniac.There is dissent in the ranks. Its name is “Andy.”Despite that necessary action, things were falling apart. Our next objective was to clear out a heavily-defended village but without the promised air support – it was swarming with anti-air that had to be removed first if we wanted any assistance. The plan was to stick together: suppressing fire laid across an open field would allow us to move to nearer cover and pick off the AA at our leisure and the Chinese were unlikely to leave the village. Halfway across, I was betrayed. The last thing I saw before made-in-China bullets penetrated my legs, lungs, and face was Andy, off on some magical mystery flanking mission of his own devising.Respawning next to Private Smug on the right flank meant that we had to do things his way, as crossing back to the field was far too dangerous. This meant a lot of close-quarters combat while heavily outnumbered. Thanks to my on-the-fly leadership, marksmanship, and fantastic covering fire I kept the bungling trio alive despite the constant hostile flanking actions. His final attempt at proving himself fit for leadership, however, was nothing short of hilarious.The final AA soldier was holed up in a building. By now I knew that Andy would go for the glory and attempt to burst in and surprise the hostile, but I had a plan. Sure enough, he did just as expected – and then faceplanted the floor when a hail of Chinese bullets caressed his medulla oblongata. This made the PLA soldier move towards the door and into my sights, proving I’m the right man for the job. After all, in this outfit, “leadership” means staying one step ahead of the backstabbers.What happened next, however, has forever destroyed my faith in the other two – particularly Jedburgh.With the assistance of Delta, we needed to hold the village against a massive Chinese counterattack. Setting the three of them up on the mounted gun emplacements and taking a vehicle turret to myself (with a backing track of whinging from you-know-who) was our best hope, but even I wondered if it would be enough when the attack began.“There’s fucking hundreds of them!” screeched Andy over the gunfire as the enormous first wave rolled towards us in jeeps or crested the hills. Pleas for him to shut up and keep shooting fell on deaf ears but in hindsight, it wasn’t him I needed to worry about.The problem began when Avery was overwhelmed. Sometimes, following orders comes second to getting off a gun emplacement and shooting the hostiles who’ve just strolled past you, but the man cannot be reasoned with once he’s been told what to do. Jedburgh is another matter.“Where the hell is Jedburgh?” I demanded. I’d seen Avery go down, but Jedburgh’s post was unmanned. Unsurprisingly, I was ignored – the only thing to do was find him, clearing out the troops who’d breached our perimeter on the way, and hope Andy’s limitless ammo and incredibly creepy maniacal laughter was enough to hold off the rest. Muffled whimpering led me to the corner of a dark room where I found Jedburgh in a sorry state: hunched over, bawling, and smelling faintly of urine. His next single-syllable sob somehow contained everything I needed to hear: he was clearly planning on defecting to the PLA, and as soon as he regained control of his bladder he would stand up and shoot me. I had to do my duty. There was only one option available, which had absolutely no malice involved.Andy walked in as I was reloading my assault rifle and stopped dead, staring incredulously at the bloody mess on the floor. I explained what had happened, but rather than understanding, he just nodded slowly and gave me a Significant Look. I’m not sure why I’m surprised, but I think I’m going to have to keep a closer eye on him in future. The man clearly doesn’t understand the difficulties of command. That’s why he lost it, after all.Still, the day was won. The attacks petered off after we’d cleared the village – but despite this I’m still stuck with the same damn squad. It’s a sad day when I find myself missing Morales and Winters, but then, you can’t spell Morales without “morale.”Other War Diary EntriesDiary 1 | Diary 2 | Diary 3

Paul Younger
Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Founder of the world's first gaming cafe and Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.

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