"Try and save your lung, keep your O2 stable, I'll have to put at least three drains in.  You've swallowed a lot of blood, when you puke it up make sure you lift your mask and turn your head or you'll suffocate.  No pain meds, your BP is too low."  The medic's face convulsed, brief as a shimmer of heat lightning but he was a professional and composed himself, leaned even closer.  "I'm stepping way out of my lane here.  But we all know who you are.  And we know what you do.  So you gotta hang on, OK?  Hang on. Ready?  On three. One, two, three--" As
the first needle punched into his chest Billy's eyes ranged across the collapsible litters of their temporary aid station.  Bolted three on a side of the boat's narrow hull, each litter held a figure, slick and pale as wet marble, splayed under white lights and bright shears which stripped away clothes and boots in a manner indistinguishable from skinning the dead.
Billy had always imagined his own violent death as both distant and certain, like the pinwheel galaxies seen in the deepest images of space.  But losing his men, that would be the supernova which extinguished his soul.  He was losing them now.
          "Lose the rhythm.  Lose the mission.  Lose your life."