In retrospect, it wasn’t a good Idea.
Of course, there were misgivings beforehand, but we dismissed them. The operation would have to be a success. There was absolutely no way to have it fail, as far as we thought. If the Army could do it with soldiers, we could do it better with a tenth of the number of Heroes (Note the Capital H).
We Were Wrong.
And it cost so many lives that I’m not sure we can ever be forgiven.
Achilles sulked in front of the 2 ½ tonne truck, mildly drunk and exhausted. Lt. Anderson, the Expedition Liaison Officer was about to give up on him.
“You’ve got to get in the truck and we have to get this to the town.” LT said, shaking his head. “It’s been a two hour delay already.”
“If Agamemnon’s Driving, I’m not getting out of the way.” Achilles replied, glaring daggers at the Lt.
“To Hades with it, I’ll apologize already. Here, have the damn keys.” Agamemnon shouted from the cab of the truck, holding the keys out the window.
“Nope! You go ahead and drive the damn supplies and get all the fame. It’s what you’re going to do anyways, right?” Achilles kept ranting. “You already started the truck you took from me. Such an offence I cannot forgive!”
“Son of a bitch, you spoiled bastard.” Lt. Muttered as he pulled out his watch. “More people die the longer we don’t have the supplies at the town. They need clean water and some food, and before two days from now they’ll need some sort of shelter. If they don’t have any, the next storm’s going to wipe them off the map entirely.”
“Don’t look at me; he’s the problem.” Achilles retorted, jabbing his thumb at the truck’s cab.
Agamemnon forcibly put the keys back in Achilles’ hand as he continued moping. “Here, you’ve got the truck and the keys back. Are you happy?”
“Nope. You’ve got to give me more than that to get me back in the truck.”
“Like what?! You got what you wanted!”
“No, I got the truck back. There’s a difference.”
“Then what do you want?!”
“I want your truck, too.”
“You can’t drive two trucks. You’re not getting two trucks.” Lt. interjected. “Get in and drive. I swear to god, if you weren’t invulnerable, I’d shoot you for the amount of stupid you’re spewing.”
“Hey, L-T?” Aeneas shouted from further down the line of stalled trucks.
“Yeah? What’s up?”
“Pretty Sure My destiny’s elsewhere. Sorry, I’m checkin’ out, brah!”
“The Hell you are!”
“Yup. Think I’m gonna go hang out in Rome. See ya!”
The Lt. let off a long string of curses under his breath as Aeneas left, invoking most of the known deities, and possibly a few he made up on the spot. It was later speculated that several minor gods of extremely specific patronages came into existence that day, including the God Of Continually Inconveniencing Aeneas in a Lethal Manner, the God of Getting Achilles to Do Something Useful, and several others of a similar type.
Hector and Paris were, per usual, in a shouting match outside their truck. This time it was about who let their truck run out of gas while idling for the past two hours. Ajax was doing pushups with a command vehicle on his shoulders to pass the time, and Nestor was trying to study the map with Hercules, who was holding it upside down. Menelaus was playing bloody- knuckles with a tree, and losing. Diomedes, meanwhile, was picking a fight with Jason. And that was just in the first few Trucks. The string of Legendary Heroes recruited for the task went back for miles, and none were a marked improvement on those he could see directly.
Looking over the situation, the Lt. finally snapped. Half his men were engaged in stupidity, and the other half were uncooperative as hell. He started yelling.
“Listen up you narcissistic, ill-bred, Sociopathic Morons! There are Forty Five Thousand people down there with no food, shelter, water or medical care! It is our job to get them what they need quickly, quietly and effectively! You are failing miserably, so get in your gods-damned trucks and follow my jeep before the next wave of this storm hits and washes out the roads entirely!”
“Hey!” Hercules bellowed from a few trucks back. “What do you mean ‘Quietly’? We aren’t getting News Coverage and bragging rights?”
“No, you’re not! You’re getting people to safety and saving their lives! No Medals, no news, no fame, no fortune, no fighting, and for god’s sake there’s no looting or pillage!”
“To Hell with this!” Hercules yelled back. “I’m out of here if there’s no fame, fighting and pillage to go with it!” He stormed off.
“You’ll let thousands of people die to satisfy your pride?!” The Lt. shouted at the Hero’s back.
“Of Course.” Replied Achilles, before he turned and walked away. “Haven’t you read our stories?”
There was a muttering of agreement, and then more and more of the Heroes started abandoning their posts in a huff.
As the last of the crews walked away, the Lt. stood with his mouth open. He was too shocked to really react for many a moment. He finally closed his mouth and looked up when a solitary truck turned into the road and stopped next to the lead vehicle.
“Sorry I’m late, I kinda got lost on the way here.” The driver said, stepping out of his vehicle. His name-tape read Odysseus. “Where is everybody?”
“They’ve gone.” Replied the deflated Lt. “Too proud to Serve their fellow man without fame, fortune and immortal glory as a reward. I’m glad you’re sticking with it, though.”
“Not a chance, sucker! I’m goin’ home too.” Odysseus replied with a smirk. “I heard the wife’s throwing some sort of party back at the house, and I can’t be late. You know how it is.”