The Nod soldier crawled backwards on the ground before McNeil, eyes wide with fear as McNeil kept the gun trained on the man's face. Around them, the bodies of the fallen lay dead or dying under the Tiberian sun, Nod and GDI alike. The battle had been fierce and far too intimate, held in close quarters, with hand-to-hand combat rather than experienced from the cockpit of an Orca Fighter. McNeil realized it made a big difference when you couldn't look straight into the eyes of the man you intended to kill and he didn't have the luxury of that anonymity right now. What he had was a man not much older than a kid, scrabbling backwards in the dust of the blood-drenched battlefield; a man who would have taken up a gun and shot him without a second thought, seeing him only as the enemy of the Brotherhood, an enemy of his leader, Kane.
McNeil lowered the gun. Perhaps he could justify a killing from afar and in the heat of battle, or if the frightened soldier had a weapon to bring to bear upon him, but that wasn't the case here. This soldier was unarmed and afraid, blood soaking through his uniform from the blaster wound to his arm.
"Get up," he ordered as the man stilled in confusion. "On your knees, hands behind your head."
The fear returned as if the man anticipated his execution at McNeil's hand and yet McNeil saw the soldier harden his expression and rise to his knees with what remained of his shredded dignity, still scared but now resigned to his fate. Instead of raising his gun once more, he pulled out his communicator and called for assistance from the victorious GDI guard. McNeil saw increased confusion in the Nod soldier's face as he was manhandled to his feet and led away, saw the soldier throw a backwards glance over his shoulder; he waited until the soldier was no longer in view before rubbing a grimy palm over his tired, dusty face. Carefully, he holstered his gun as thoughts chased around his mind.
The GDI had to win and, until today, he thought that should be at any and all cost but now he wondered if winning was worth the loss of his humanity. Raising the communicator once more, glancing around the battlefield as he spoke softly. "Send in the medics...for the Nod as well as our own people."
Perhaps winning at all cost was overrated.