Reinforcements

“Evans. Evans.” Anna was kicking Evans’ bed with excitement. She tried to stay quiet so the rest of the Rifle Team wouldn’t wake up.

“Yeagh,” Evans rolled out of his bunk. He slid his feet into his boots and started to lace them up, “What brings you to Rifle Team One? Is Team Three that boring at,” he looked at his wristwatch, “Five AM?”

“Come outside Evans, I need to talk to you,” Zwev smiled and played with her kepi. After Evans got up, she exited with a bit of spring in her step. When she and Evans got outside, she grabbed him and kissed him, “It worked!”

Evans stepped back, “Whoa now, what happens if someone sees us?”

“That doesn’t matter anymore!” Anna smiled and spun around, pretending to play with an imaginary skirt. She bent over double and puked. She stood back up, “That’s what I’m talking about James! I’m pregnant!”

“You’re sure?” Evans smiled and hugged Anna.

Anna nodded, “I woke up about an hour ago vomiting, I missed my period, and I even did the old wheat and barley thing,” She smiled and gestured to Lieutenant Simmons tent, “And the Lieutenant seems to be awake.”

The two walked over to the Lieutenant’s tent. Evans knocked on the sign on the tent. Lieutenant Simmons yelled from inside, “Just a minute! Evans isn’t on duty for an hour, so I don’t have a runner right now.”

“It is Private Evans sir. And I’m with Private Zakrzewska sir,” Evans waited by the door of the tent.

“Oh, come on in Private Evans.”

“Yes sir,” Evans opened the door gestured for Anna to come in. He moved to the portable stove to start it up, “Do you want some coffee Lieutenant? And um… Private Zakrzewska and I have something to talk to you about Sir.”

“Yes, coffee Evans, and make some for yourself,” The Lieutenant was seated at his desk, going through some paperwork, “And what is it Privates? Is it quick, I need to finish this up in an hour.”

Anna saluted the Lieutenant, “Sir, One month ago, during leave, Private Evans and I got married in secret. Over the course of said month, Private Evans has impregnated me, and as such, I am no longer fit for service in the army sir.”

Lieutenant Simmons nodded, “Well you picked a good time to tell me Miss Zakrzewska. Or I guess its Miss Evans now isn’t it?” He pulled another form out of his desk, “I need to ask you a few questions. First off, do you have the marriage certificate?”

Anna reached into her pocket and fished out the paper, “Here it is, the Pastor was Daniel Blair.”

Lieutenant Simmons grabbed the paper and started copying down information, “Any in unit witnesses to the wedding?”

“Yes sir, Lance Corporals Tiscornia and Chilcott sir.”

Evans walked over to Lieutenant Simmons with a mug of coffee, “Here sir, any sugar today?”

“No thank you Private,” Lieutenant Simmons grabbed the mug and sipped, “Why don’t you get your wife some Private, and since your here, can you start filling out these forms,” The Lieutenant gestured to the paperwork he had been working on earlier. He turned back to Anna, “And when did you first realize your were pregnant?”

“This morning all but confirmed it sir,” Anna smiled, “I haven’t had my period in over a month, and this morning I woke up nauseous. I also have done the wheat and barley test, and that worked.”

The Lieutenant nodded, “Alright Miss Evans, that is about everything, I’ll put this up the chain, but you’ll need to see the Regimental Doctor to have your status confirmed, and then we can return you to… Ah, where are you expecting to go?”

Private Evans handed Anna her cup of coffee, “Thanks James, And um, we actually bought an apartment in Seahaven. So I’ll be going there sir.”

“Very Well,” The Lieutenant signed at the bottom and held out the paper, “Can both of you sign at the bottom of this form, and Miss Evans, take it to the Regimental Doctor.”

Evans grabbed the paper and a pen. He quickly signed it and offered it to Anna, who did the same. She kissed Evans then ran out of the tent, and out of the war.

Evans turned turned back to the Lieutenant, expecting to be berated. Instead, the Lieutenant gestured back to the paperwork that Evans had barely started, “You should get back to work Private, this needs to be over to Colonel Darling by six. And I’ll need you to run it, I have a general scheduled with the platoon at that time.”

“Company sir,” Evans handed an envelope he had just opened to the Lieutenant, “You’re now Fox Company commander sir. Congratulations on the promotion. We’re apparently receiving a new officer, Lieutenant Winston Stoddart the Third to take over Second Platoon.”

“Huh,” Lieutenant Simmons grabbed the paper from Evans, “So it goes Private. I’ll be sure to recommend you as runner for the new Lieutenant. And the platoon will be brought back up to full strength again, so you can drop your duties as a rifleman.”

“Thank you sir,” Evans looked through the forms, “Um sir, should I change this to fourteen enlisted soldiers needed as replacements? Since Private Zakrzewska is leaving the unit.”

“Yes, and you can just say ‘Anna’ Private Evans, I’ll know who you are talking about,” the Lieutenant took a sip of coffee and flipped through some papers, “And congratulations on your marriage Private.”

“You’re not angry Lieutenant?”

Laughing, the Lieutenant responded, “Some folks just aren’t fit for a war. Best that they leave before they break during combat. And Hey, aren’t I allowed to enjoy a good love story?”

About ten minutes before six, the two had finished all the paperwork. The Lieutenant gathered it all in a folder and handed it to Evans. Evans nodded and left the tent. It didn’t take him long to snake his way through the camp to Regimental Headquarters. He knocked on the door and waited for a response.

After a few seconds, a Corporal opened the door, paused for a moment, then said, “You’re the runner from Fox Company Second Platoon right?”

Evans nodded and held out the folder. The Corporal gestured towards an office near the back, “Colonel Darling is expecting you, in there.”

Evans nodded and walked through regimental headquarters to the Colonel’s office. He stopped at the open door and saluted, “Sir, I’m here to deliver the reinforcement request form from Fox Company Second Platoon.”

Returning the salute, Colonel Darling waved Evans in and grabbed the folder, “You’re the Platoon with that slut who got herself pregnant. Did you include her disgrace in your totals?”

“Yes, I included my wife in the totals sir,” Evans tried to restrain himself.

“If it were up to me both of you would be shot,” The Colonel quickly added a few signatures to the forms in the folder. He looked on a roster and wrote down fourteen names from it on the folder. He handed it back to Evans with a disgusted look, “The replacements are getting inspected by the regimental doctor. And if you run fast, your whore might still be there.”

Evans grabbed the folder, saluted, did an about face, left the room, and immediately punched a wall. After he had regained his composure he walked through the halls of the building, following the signs that pointed to the doctor’s office. When he entered, he saw Anna, sitting on a bench, wearing a hospital gown. She smiled at him and waved.

He sat down next to her, put his arm around her, and kissed her on the cheek, “Met with the doctor yet?”

“No, Colonel Darling yelled at me for a while,” Anna laughed and hugged Evans, “But I don’t care, I won’t have to see him again.”

“Well I will, and he does not like me,” Evans gestured to his folder, “I have to go turn this in and grab the reinforcements. Stop by Fox before you get the train home.”

“I will, and did the Colonel give you that ‘I should have you both shot’ line?”

Evans laughed, “Yes dear, now I really have to go.” He kissed her one more time then walked into the doctors office. An orderly was sitting on the examination table, smoking.

“Hi, I’m here to collect fifteen reinforcements,” Evans showed the folder to the orderly.

Without taking the cigarette out of his mouth, the orderly responded, “Take that door right there. They’re all waiting in a staging area out back. Doc Laurie is finishing up with them.”

Evans thanked the orderly and exited out the door the orderly had gestured to. A few hundred soldiers were lounging on the parade grounds. There was a stage and a podium in front of the group. The doctor was in front of the podium doing quick medical checks on a few soldiers.

Running through the crowd of people, Evans saluted the doctor, “Sir, I’m here to collect fourteen soldiers and one officer.”

The doctor nodded to the podium, “Theres one of those sound amplifying cones under the podium. Yell in that, it will be louder.”

Evans nodded and stepped up next to he podium. He grabbed the cone and opened the folder, “Privates Kristin Clark, Wilfred Hoste, Vivien Kempe, Marianne Cayley, Thomas Penney, Robert Huntley, Feliks Macczek, Victor Delage, Hugo Ordon, Joseph Wood, Adrian Hawke, Rebecca Ullman. Lance Corporal… Iosif Ustinov! Sergeant Christopher Gabriel. And Lieutenant Winston Stoddart the Third. Come over to me. You’ll be in Second Platoon of Fox Company, Second Battalion.”

Fifteen soldiers got up and started making their way over. One of them jogged over, when they got closer, Evans realized it was Ustinov, “Hey Ustinov, they gave you Lance Corporal just for getting shot? Sounds like a pretty sweet deal.”

“Yeah, I’m tempted to get shot a few more times so I can be an officer,” Ustinov laughed before adopting a more serious face, “So I take it Green was killed.”

“Yeah, attack came the day after you left. Shell killed her and Renoir. Also ripped off Frankland’s arm,” Evans wiped his face, “We also lost Griffith, Davis—”

“Haven’t you been taught to salute officers?” Evans and Ustinov looked up to see a young Lieutenant looking at the two with disdain. They both sighed and saluted the officer. The officer returned the salute, “And you Private, take my pack.” The officer unbuckled his webbing and handed it to Evans.

“Yes sir,” Evans slung the gear onto his back and turned back to Ustinov, “We lost a lot of people, we can talk later. But on a more positive note, Private Zakrzewska is no more, She’s Anna Evans now, and is being discharged from the Army as we speak.”

Evans looked around and counted the soldiers, fifteen, “Alright everyone, lets get you to Fox Company.”

Evans and Ustinov led the group through the camp. The Sergeant jogged up next to them, “Hey, I’m Sergeant Gabriel. I take it you two have already seen a show?”

“Yeah, I’m about two months green, but I was at White Beach,” Evans shook Sergeant Gabriel’s hand, “Had a heavy attack though, why we need fifteen replacements. Private James Evans by the way.”

Ustinov offered his hand, “I’m Lance Ustinov, wounded the day before his show at White, but I caught the tail end of Tsiv River. How about you Sergeant?”

“Fought at the Saints River, very beginning of the war. Got captured in an attack. Spent a few months in a prison camp, decided it wasn’t for me and left.”

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