A/N: Hey guys, this is my first try at fanfiction, so I'd really appreciate it if you'd give me your input and feedback as to what you think of this piece I'm writing and what I've done wrong. Thanks in advance.

December 3rd 2013

Scarborough Shoal, South China Sea

It felt like they were being pounded by artillery rounds for hours, the high explosive shells impacting, showering everyone with bits of rock, sand, and deadly fragments of dense metal. In reality, the artillery barrage just recently started a few minutes ago, but experiencing this first hand kind of makes every minute closer to eternity. Explosions were heard, men were screaming, their limbs missing from their body, blood pouring out everywhere from deep wounds. It was a complete and utter nightmare. The Chinese weren't, in any way, trying to give up from taking this piece of real estate out of the hands of its defenders, and the barrage only served to solidify their point. More and more rounds started landing near the outpost's vicinity, each explosion coming closer than before, with every soldier inside of it cowering and keeping their heads down, hoping to whatever God they believed in that they could get out of this mess unscathed. Most of them weren't so lucky.

About three 155mm high explosive rounds made landfall inside the outpost itself, tearing apart what was left of the pre-fabricated concrete barracks and killing anyone unfortunate enough to be inside it, their screams silenced by the loud roars of the barrage's explosions. The enemy artillery battery was getting more and more accurate, that much was for certain, with more shells creeping inside the outpost's perimeter. In other words, the situation was getting worse. The defenders braced themselves for what would be the enemy's eventual assault. They knew that in order for the Chinese to access this small shoal's vast resources, they had to be removed out of the picture—annihilated even—but the one thing that kept every single one of the brave bastards going was that their country was counting on them to stop the enemy's blitzkrieg-like advance, to hold the ground just a little bit more. To hold the line.

None knew this more than Private Henry Rodriguez, who was hunkering down on his foxhole outside the outpost walls, hand clutching down on his helmet to make sure it wouldn't fly off if an arty round made impact near his position. What difference would it make? The young soldier thought to himself. If a shell landed close to me I'd lose more than this damned helmet. Another explosion went off just a few yards away near the private, with sand raining on top of him. He kept his head even lower, afraid that if he even peeped out of his hole for just a little bit, the arty round might decapitate his head straight off. The thought alone made the Rodriguez shiver. That wasn't something he hoped would happen.

The Philippine Army's 37th Infantry Regiment, more specifically a company from its 2nd Battalion, was assigned the unlucky task of holding this little outpost against hordes of Chinese regulars. What the brass from the regiment didn't know was that the lone group of soldiers, which was Bravo Company, was facing a full-strength infantry battalion supported by light armor and artillery, the latter ranging from mortars to big howitzers.

Either way, it wasn't good news for the men of Bravo Company. Rodriguez shuffled around his foxhole, trying to get to a comfortable position to avoid his body any further pain—which only annoyed the other soldier next to him.

"For the love of God, stop moving!" the soldier, Corporal Juan Perez, hissed out, completely angry at the sudden movement.

"Sorry sir." The private replied instantly. The last thing he wanted was for his NCO to get pissed.

The barrage continued for about another five minutes or so before the enemy artillery battery ceased firing, giving the defenders a short time of reprieve from all the explosions and fragments. They knew this was the calm before the storm. A moment to get all their prayers done and their weapons locked and loaded. Up ahead, the Chinese were preparing to launch their first attack on the shoal's defenders.

"Get your rifle up, Private." Perez ordered.

The young private quickly obliged, bringing up his M16A2 assault rifle at the direction of the enemy. He was nervous, no doubt about it. His heart beating faster and faster as the sound of the enemy came closer and closer. Get your rifle up and aim at your target's center mass. Rodriguez remembered what his drill sergeant said to him before he shipped. He grabbed his rifle's charging handle and chambered a round. It seemed only like a week ago he was training to become soldier at the Philippine Army boot camp stationed at Manila. He didn't quite expect to participate in a full-fledged war against the Chinese just after graduation.

"Bravo Six to all units," the private's radio crackled to life. "Be advised, enemy units approaching. Be sure to get your eyes downrange, fingers on your triggers, and we all go home in one piece. God be with you. Six out." And the transmission quickly ended.

Ahead, what he saw on the horizon instantly made him pale. Armor! A platoon of three ZBD05 light armored vehicles came rushing towards them at full speed, with their 30mm auto-cannons belching fire and smoke as they pounded the defenders with accurate fire of HE shells. Around him, the ground was being peppered with concentrated fire, and he couldn't do anything about it as he and Corporal Perez ducked low, hoping to avoid the worst of it. As Rodriguez slowly rose out his foxhole to get a peek on what was going on, he saw a missile streak its way towards one of the light tanks and exploded on impact, engulfing its target in a sea of deadly flames. Another missile was launched and it took out another target, destroying it completely with its turret flying ten feet in the air.

The surviving tank tried to fall back, only to be struck by a single mortar round that hit somewhere near the vehicle's frontal armor. It must've hit something important, because the next thing he knew the thing stopped moving and the crew tried to bail out—only to be cut down by his fellow soldiers' stream of lead as they opened fire.

"Here they come!" someone from the defense line shouted. Just up ahead, soldiers from the People's Liberation Army charged towards them, giving out a roar of defiance as they came in force.

"Open fire!" a voice on his radio commanded. Without hesitation, Rodriguez aimed his rifle at an advancing soldier and squeezed the trigger. His weapon spewed out a three-round burst, cutting down his unfortunate target in a sleet of jacketed metal as he collapsed, the enemy soldier's chest darkening with crimson red as he was bleeding out. Holy shit! I got one!

He shifted his rifle to another target and fired another burst, this time hitting the Chinese infantryman in the leg. His target fell face first and tried to get up, only to be gunned down by someone else from the line. Once again, he shifted his fire, and for the next few moments, all he did was point his rifle towards the enemy, aim it, then pull the trigger, taking down more of the Chinese as he and the rest of the men in this unit tries to desperately stave off the enemy advance.

His rifle suddenly clicked empty. Damn it! He mentally cursed himself. With all the shooting that's been going around he forgot to count his shots. He pressed the magazine release, let the spent clip fall towards the ground, and replaced it with a fresh one. This particular clip filled with deadly full-metal jacket rounds. This oughta ruin someone's day. To his left, a sandbag position with a gunner manning an M2HB heavy machine gun was opening up on the advancing Chinese infantrymen, slowly turning the HMG into a slow arc as he cut down anyone unfortunate enough to be in his sights.

Stop messing around, focus! He thought to himself. He aimed his rifle, and opened up on another target, this one a Chinese anti-tank man, being tagged with a three-round burst that wrecked bastard's left shoulder. The man fell into the ground and dropped his missile launcher, he wasn't going anywhere.

Next to the private, Corporal Perez was busy picking off his own targets with his M4 carbine, raining rounds on the enemy with deadly accuracy. He stayed low, dropped his empty clip and reloaded, then stood up again and opened fire, dropping another enemy infantryman with a burst in the head. "Don't just fucking stand there, Rodriguez! Fire your weapon!"

The private quickly regained his senses and opened up with his own rifle. This is gonna be a long day.

The enemy assault kept on going for about thirty minutes after first contact, then faltered after suffering heavy losses. They covered their withdrawal with smoke rounds being fired from the same artillery battery that gave the company hell earlier. It was a miracle they hadn't opened up their big guns when they launched their attack. Thank God.

Must've been afraid to hit their own guys. Rodriguez thought. He was lying down on his foxhole, resting for a bit while the enemy prepped for another assault on the outpost. The last attack killed about twenty-nine soldiers from the company and wounded about fourteen others, three of which were considered critical. Out of the hundred men that composed Bravo Company, almost half of their strength was gone and the commanding officer, Captain Felix Hernandez, was killed when the opening fire from the armored platoon tore through his foxhole with a well-placed HE round.

His replacement, execute officer 2nd Lieutenant Jose Trocio, was next in command. The man was a newly commissioned officer with no experience whatsoever, who graduated just a few days shy before hostilities escalated. That made the rest of the company nervous. The only thing worse than a dead CO was an inexperienced one.

Rodriguez just sat on his foxhole, with his rifle splayed across legs, wondering if this new looey of theirs would get them out of this mess unscathed, or they'd be completely annihilated in the face of overwhelming odds. There are worse ways to die. He was amused at that thought. It's been about five minutes since the Chinese withdrew from their initial attack. What the hell are those bastards up to?

His answer came when a whistling sound was heard throughout the outpost and impacted on the company CP, blowing the entire pre-fab structure to hell. More and more rounds quickly came, and was once again, hell was raining down on their heads. The private automatically lowered his body deeper into the foxhole and placed a hand on his combat helmet, hearing more explosions and screams as the barrage did its job of softening up the defenders for the next Chinese assault.

This time, they weren't holding back. An entire company of twelve light armored vehicles came crashing towards them, their cannons opening up on the battered Philippine Army unit with heavy slugs from their cannons and coaxial machine guns. Men were instantly cut down, their cries shrieking across the entire battlefield as their wounds gave them considerable pain and suffering. The rest of Bravo Company quickly dug in, opening fire with their weapons as they traded volleys with each other.

The young private opened up with his rifle, this time not hitting anything but managed to suppress a group of Chinese soldiers that were advancing alongside their light tanks. In return, they replied in kind and fired at Rodriguez's position with concentrated fire from their rifles and machine guns, effectively counter-suppressing him and more importantly, his ass was pinned down. Should've just ignored those guys.

He took cover from the safety of his foxhole, burrowing even deeper than before. Hoping to Fortune that he wouldn't get hit. His radio came to life, and calls from the radio confirmed everyone's worst fears when the company CP took a hit.

"Bravo Five's gone! I repeat, the entire command group's gone!" the voice on the radio frantically yelled.

"What?!" another voice joined in. "Who the hell's in command then?"

"How the hell should I know, we need to fall back and regroup!" The voice from earlier countered.

"We can't fall back!" a third voice interrupted. "We're surrounded! They just took out most of Second Platoon and are hammering the Fourth! Our rear's been compromised! Please advise, over!"

"Fuck!" voice number-two swore. "To anyone receiving this transmission, be advised we're falling back to the outpost. I repeat, haul ass inside the outpost! Out."

Everyone stationed outside the outpost perimeter quickly complied and disengaged from the enemy, turning on smoke generators to mask their withdrawal. The Chinese sensed this opportunity and intensified their attack, calling on more artillery strikes and turning all their weapons towards the retreating Filipino forces to bear.

With all the crap they were running from behind, Private Rodriguez ran like he never ran before. Abandoning his post after the makeshift withdrawal order was issued, he quickly made his way towards the outpost's interior, avoiding artillery blasts, stray machine gun and rifle fire. Next to him, an unfortunate soul was cut down as lead made its way through the poor bastard's back, and another soldier being thrown about as an arty round impacted next to him, shearing his entire left leg clean off. This further gave the private all the more reason to run like hell.

After passing the outpost's entrance, Rodriguez went further inside, seeing what was left of the perimeter force going towards a group of trenches and fortified bunkers that were overlooking the lone entry point in which the enemy was now approaching. He quickly dove towards the trench like the devil himself was on his ass and landed unspectacularly head first, luckily with his helmet luckily absorbing most of the impact. He got up and made to look around on the trench he was in: most of them were from the guys stationed outside, and it was painfully obvious that a lot of guys didn't make it for the run towards here.

This area right here was there last stand, their Alamo, Thermopylae, and Tirad Pass. This was where they'd make their mark on history, where they'd opposed a force from greater than their own and stood their ground, or something like that. Either they'd survive this mess they got themselves into or die hopelessly outmatched, outmanned, and definitely outgunned. Somehow, I'm not liking any of those damn choices. He thought to himself.

The enemy was coming near, the light tanks being the vanguard of their assault, providing mobile cover for the advancing Chinese infantrymen as they came behind them, opening fire as they pushed on forward. What's left of the defenders opened up with everything they had left. Assault rifles, sniper, rifles, some light machine guns, hell even some pistols.

But none slowed the enemy's assault. Sure, there were picking off some Chinese soldiers unlucky enough to be in their sights, but it wasn't enough. The advance was completely unfazed, with the enemy assault force coming nearer and nearer until they were only about a few dozen yards away, just a grenade throw away.

Which was exactly what it meant.

A few grenades were thrown towards the advancing Chinese onslaught, with men being thrown about by the grenade's explosive shockwave and fragments. But yet again, it wasn't enough, they still marched forward.

Private Henry Rodriguez, with his assault rifle clicking empty, threw his spent weapon on the ground and grabbed his side arm, a SIG Sauer P226. It wasn't exactly made for engaging fast moving targets a few hundred yards away, but he was running out of options. With his rifle ammo spent, his grenades gone, and most of his company dead or dying, he was, in layman's terms, completely on his own.

A brave—or stupid—platoon of Chinese infantrymen were quickly making their way towards the Rodriguez's position, somehow managing to avoid getting hit by both sides' massive kill zone that was tearing everything in its path and in between. They approached the Filipino trench line carefully, saw the private and what was left of the perimeter force, and attacked. Opening fire as they try and clear the trenches, a few soldiers near Rodriguez were instantly cut down, bleeding from two or more wounds, crimson red liquid pouring freely out of the bodies.

The private instantly took cover at a bunch of crates, pulling the slide off his pistol and peeked out of the corner of his cover—only to be rewarded with a burst of rifle fire that impacted on the area near his eyes. He instantly reared back, further protecting himself as they continued giving him suppressing fire in order to keep him pinned. He tried his luck again and peeked out, and saw two enemy soldiers nearing him. Without a moment's hesitation, he stood up from his cover and opened fire. Two rounds hit the first soldier in the head near the nose, and four more took out the second soldier with hits on the poor bastard's chest.

Rodriguez quickly took cover again, with the enemy's suppressive fire becoming more accurate and intense. His last act must've pissed them off. And now he couldn't even move to ascertain whatever the hell it is those bastards were doing, as further attempts to take a peek resulted in a burst of rifle fire quickly making him regret his decision. Worse, he couldn't get out of the trench line as the Chinese were making any attempts he made be paid for in further bursts of accurate rifle fire. He was trapped and the enemy knew it. This sucks.

His radio came to life once again, only this time, it was more like a final transmission: "We're being overrun! I say again, we're being overrun! This is Bravo Two-One contacting anyone on this freq. Major casualties sustained, cannot hold objective Alpha and—shit!" a burst of rifle fire was heard, followed by a scream and the line went dead.

I guess this is it… He thought to himself one last time. Everyone around him was dead. He removed his pistol's clip and inspected its contents: three rounds left, plus another magazine with maybe five or so rounds. Damn it. He heard the Chinese getting nearer and nearer, and he couldn't kill them all. What troubled Rodriguez was not the fact that his death was imminent, rather, his inability to take a lot of this bastards with him when that time came. As he finally readies himself one last time, he saw something on the ground near him that raised his hopes a little bit.

An M84 grenade, how lucky of me.

He gingerly grabbed it, pulled the pin, and released pressure on the detonating mechanism. He was finally rewarded with a loud ping! That instantly told him it was armed. Apparently, the soldiers that were nearing him heard of it as well and tried to fall back. Without any further notice, Rodriguez exited his cover, and with whatever strength he still possessed, he threw the grenade and the retreating Chinese infantrymen who thought they could still avoid death.

The M84 landed in the middle of the group and exploded, spraying everyone with lethal fragments. The explosive blast sent all of them flying. He smiled, knowing that his job was finished. For one last time, he raised his pistol and aimed it at one shocked enemy rifleman who was still reeling from his brethren's loss, but quickly saw what he was doing. The enemy aimed his rifle and fired off a single three-round burst into Rodriguez's right shoulder, just before the private fired a single round into the bastard's forehead.

Both of them collapsed at the same time, the only difference is that the Chinese rifleman never expected for his easy prey to score a quick headshot that resulted in his life being extinguished. Too slow man…

As he felt his life slowly fading away, Private Henry Rodriguez wondered if his and Bravo Company's efforts were to be lauded and remembered, if they were to be placed in the annals of military history. Or something like that. As he closes his eyes to rest one last time, the young soldier never anticipated that even after all this has happened, his life will never be the same again.

Hope you guys tell me what you think of this. :)