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That feeling when…


You’re the newest recruit in your company of the Archangelic Special Forces and it’s your first solo op. Your squad has been good-naturedly hazing you for weeks, and all Angelic Intelligence Assets suggest today is the day you complete the mission and finally earn your place on the team. The company commander has your blood wings ready back at the base, just waiting on word that you’re headed back so he can get the troops in formation for your award ceremony. You’re pretty sure the squad leaders have a few six-packs stowed away behind the barracks. They might have even invited your mother (since she was once the battalion commander and personally mentored half the crusty old NCOs who are still up there at Advanced Cherubic Training yelling at a new batch of privates every 8-week training cycle… but no pressure or anything).

You spend the better part of the morning in recon because this particular breed of demon apparently defends itself with fiery breath from the front end and about an acre of flaming monster excrement from the back end, so you absolutely have to catch it by surprise. Finally, after all this training and all this intel gathering and all this stalking, you see your window. Your target has stopped its incessant wriggling and yelping and has settled down for its lunchtime nap in the overgrown privet hedges behind a subdivision.

You approach, silent as Lot’s wife after she became a condiment, not the slightest rustle of feather giving away your approach. The sword is heavy. Sweat is dripping into your eyes. You’re absolutely starving after a pre-dawn breakfast of cold eggs and cold coffee. You scan the perimeter one more time, double check your six, and swoop in…

…to find out the demon you’ve been tracking is actually the neighbor’s new English Setter puppy. You have been the noble victor over… puppy breath and dog farts.

Time to go back to the base and explain.

But the company commander doesn’t want to hear it. Your mother’s there and she called the press. There’s to be some big writeup about her legacy and generations of tradition and all that jazz. You have to have your picture taken. You have to be wearing your blood wings. You have to look heroic.

So they rub a little charcoal on the puppy’s whiter spots. Your bunkmate feeds the dog a big glob of peanut butter in hopes that he’ll appear at least faintly slavering in the front page photos. Your squad leader rolls the peanut-butter-fattened canine into place and grunts at you to look right at the camera and look *fierce.*

You do your best for God, for your unit, for your mom.

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