Award Ceremony

The cool breeze whipped through the crowd. It was definitely Autumn. Evans wanted to shiver and wrap his arms around himself, but, there were a lot of people out there. Staring right towards the stage. So he had to stand, unmoving, and stare right back at the crowd. General Richardson was off to the right, slowly going over the long list of soldiers in the brigade that had ‘Joined the Glorious Dead.’ After that, the list of missing, which mostly meant those who were ripped apart by artillery shells. Then would come the confirming of officer’s promotions. Finally, after that, the awards for gallantry, starting with the Fourth Classes.

Evans scanned the crowd without moving his eyes too noticeably. He could easily find his company, standing at parade rest near the rear, with their colors flapping in the breeze. Then he looked through the crowd gathered in front of the regiments. They were seated. They were the special guests. Family of those being promoted or being awarded with a medal. Up front were the officers families. The most important and most presentable. Farther back would be his family. His parents, and his wife, Anna. After a few minutes of searching, he found them. Anna and his mother were both wearing mauve dresses. It was Anna’s favorite color, and she had gotten Evans’ mother a dress of that color when Anna found out that Evans’ mother hadn’t seen the color before. Evans’ father was wearing a suit with a mauve tie he had purchased to match the two women.

It was weird to think of the army at this level. Evans was used to thinking about his platoon. Maybe his company, and he occasionally interacted with Battalion. Once or twice he had met Colonel Darling, the commanding officer of his regiment. Now there was another regiment standing beside his. And above his brigade was a division, and that was still just a small part of the whole army. Evans tried to do the math and figure out how many soldiers were in the army, but gave up when the numbers were to big. Math had never been his strong suit.

Why couldn’t the soldiers gathered for the awards be off stage, or at least at parade rest like the rest of the brigade. Almost on cue, Evans heard a thud as someone collapsed. Rookie mistake. The General ignored the event and kept on talking.

Time seemed to come to a standstill. The list seemed to go on forever. When the officer promotions came, Evans knew the home stretch was near. He had been instructed that, once the General pinned the medal to his chest, he would salute, left face, and walk off of the stage, and the ceremony would be over for him. Evans was glad that his name started with an ‘E,’ so that was early in the alphabet.

Then mercifully, after what seemed like years, “Lance Corporal James Evans is receiving the Medal of Ethslin Fourth Class. His citation, by Lieutenant Jane Ricci reads: In the evening of 6 September, Private Evans provided fire and quick transportation for me when I was under attack from a Vledscan infantry unit. After our retreat, we were still well behind enemy lines. The following day, we encountered another member of Evans’ regiment, where, with no regard for personal safety, Evans rescued the soldier in a display of fortitude. That night, we hatched a plan to sneak across the border into Ethslin held territory. Partway through, we encountered enemy marksman, who shot both myself, and the other soldier. Evans quickly took care of the issue, and acquired transportation for us in the form of an abandoned truck. We eventually came to a roadblock, which, with the assistance of some rifle grenades, Evans assaulted and crashed through. He then delivered myself, and the other soldier to medical personnel. Because of his bravery, I was able to bring back an important intelligence report to my superiors.”

The General cleared his throat, “So, it is with my pleasure that I announce Lance Corporal James Evans.”

Evans stepped forward, out of the line, did a right face, and marched the walk toward the General. He heard Anna yelling over the polite clapping, “WOOO! GO JAMES!”

He halted in front of the General, right faced, and saluted. The General returned the salute and started pinning the medal onto Evans, “Nice work Lad. From what Miss Ricci said in person to me, it sounds like I will see you up here for at least a Second Class soon enough.” He stepped back. Evans saluted and the General returned the salute, “Now go see that wife of yours, sex after a MOE is magnificent.”

Evans did a left face and walked off the stage. A bit confused as to what just happened. He walked over to one of the benches that was open for the soldiers being awarded and sat down. A few minutes later, a strong looking Sergeant walked up to him, “Is this seat taken?”

“No Sergeant.”

The Sergeant sat down, “I’m Perry McGlothlin, B Company of the 202nd. Which one are you?”

“Lance Corporal Evans. Fox of the 202nd.”

“Ah, that was an exciting story to hear. This your first MOE?”

Evans nodded, “Yes Sergeant. How about you?”

“No,” He gestured to his ribbons and the medal around his neck “One third class and a second. My first fourth though.”

“Wow…” Evans shook his head, “So, the General-”

“How does he know so much about you?” Sergeant McGlothlin interrupted, “He reads the files on every soldier awarded an MOE. Don’t be surprised if during a Brigade inspection he asks you about your hometown. It’s impressive really. He knows the name of my wife and our two kids. It does help that I’ve been serving under him since he was a Major eight years ago.”

“Really, eight years and he’s already a General?”

The Sergeant nodded, “He’s going to be running this army someday. Plus, scaling the army up really helped get people their promotions. I was a fresh Corporal when the war started, and now I’m the senior Sergeant in my Company.”

The two talked for a while, until the General finished presenting the awards. The door was then opened and they were allowed to leave. Evans shook the Sergeants hand and ran out to greet his family. One last night of freedom before going back to war.

Cast Off

Evans heard the whir of the sawblade slicing through the air. The doctor bent over and started to cut through the cast. It took a few minutes, but the cast was finally removed. Evans flexed his foot and then swung his leg down from the bench, “So doctor, am I free to go now? I’m to meet my wife soon.”

“Just a few more minutes, I need to do a few quick tests and some paperwork. Bloody Army doctors can’t seem to function if I don’t send them a few pounds of bloody paper,” The doctor started writing on a clipboard while tapping Evans on the leg with a small mallet. After a few minutes, he dropped the mallet and asked, “Could you please walk across the room without the crutches Mister Evans?”

“Yes Doctor Rossendale,” Evans bent over and put on his right sock and shoe. Happy to finally put it on after a month of it in a cast. He then stood up and straightened out his clothes. He slowly walked across the room. He stumbled for a moment, but was able to walk across the room.

The Doctor smiled and wrote a few things on the clipboard, “Good job lad. You will be good to go now, just sign this here.” He then held the clipboard out to Evans.

Evans took the clipboard and grabbed a pen off of the table. He quickly signed his name and returned the clipboard. Putting the pen down on the table, he left the room, walked through the front office, and exited the building. He looked around the street and tried to remember the directions Anna had given him. Ten blocks left, take a right, fourteen more blocks and on the right. He put on his straw hat and started walking. It was a mostly pleasant walk. Until about halfway through.

He was passing a dark alleyway when he felt a hand grab him and pull him to the ground. Instinctively reaching to his side, Evans remembered that he didn’t have his kit. No shovel at his side to hack into this mans neck. He kicked at the man’s legs and saw the flash of a knife. The man put the knife to his neck and pulled Evans up against the wall. Evans’ eyes widened, “I don’t have much money sir.”

The man spat in Evans’ face, “That’s all you coward’s think about. Money and sex. If it were up to me, all the coward’s like you would be lined up and shot.”

“Sir?” Evans wished he had something. His bayonet, shovel, even his helmet would have worked. To think, he would die in some alleyway.

“You Bastards and Whores who stay at home, while our brave soldiers fight and die on the front,” the man knicked Evans’ face with the knife before putting it back to Evans’ neck.

Evans’ was stunned and said the first thing that came to his head, “Why aren’t you in the army sir?”

The man scoffed, “You young people trying to push your problems off on the older generation. I’m forty five, and have duties, I can hardly go off to war.” He leaned in to spit again and Evans took the opportunity.

He headbutted the man and grabbed the arm with the knife. Evans then wrenched the man’s arm behind his back and the knife clattered to the ground. With a crash, Evans slammed the man into the opposite wall, “It’s funny sir. One of the men under my command was in his forties. He was a pastor. An important established member of the community.” Evans hit the man’s head into the wall, “I was wounded in combat sir. I’m on medical leave sir. I’m not wearing my uniform because it still smells a bit of blood and death. Now would you like to smell that sir?” Evans threw the man to the ground, “I must take my leave now, for I have an appointment with my wife.” With a swift kick to the man’s abdomen, Evans returned to the street and continued on his way.

Eventually he arrived at the storefront, with a sign reading, ‘Martin’s Tailors.’ Evans entered and a bell rang. The room was small. Two Captains were sitting to his left, and on his right, a receptionist was sitting behind her desk. She looked him over quickly and then took off her glasses, “Mister, I don’t think you can afford to have clothes tailored here.”

Evans nodded, wiped some of the blood off of his face and smiled, “No way in hell Miss. But I get this kind of tailoring free. I’m here to see my wife, Anna.”

Suddenly friendly, the Receptionist smiled, “Ah, Mister Evans. Down this hall and first door on the right.”

“Thanks Miss,” Evans walked to the door and opened it.

Anna looked up from her desk, “James!”

“Anna!”

An older man spoke up, “Lloyd?”

Laughing, Anna pointed to the man, “James, this is Lloyd. He’s a customer.”

“Your best customer Mrs. Evans,” Lloyd stood up and shook Evans’ hand.

“Yes, Lloyd is a General, and he pays for all his staff’s uniforms.”

Evans stiffened, “Sir! Sorry Sir. I did not realize you were an officer Sir.”

Lloyd waved him away, “We are off duty lad, and you are in the 202nd if I’m not mistaken, so I am far out of your chain Mister Evans… May I call you James?”

“Yes Sir… Lloyd,” Evans walked over and sat in a chair near Lloyd, who handed a paper to Anna.

Lloyd then stood up, “Well, I will leave you two on your own. Nice to meet you James.” He then walked out of the room and closed the door behind him.

Anna smiled at Evans, then a concerned look spread apart her face, “What’s that bleeding on your face?” She pulled a piece of cloth out of her pocket and wiped the blood off.

Feeling the scratch, Evans shrugged, “Doctor was a bit careless taking off the cast.”

Putting down the cloth she sat down, “It was one of them, wasn’t it?” She picked up a needle and started to thread it, “They’ve getting pretty bad. I’m glad that I’m showing now. There is even rumors of rape and murder down in Newacre where they are real ‘patriots.’”

“He pulled me into an alleyway with a knife,” Evans shrugged, “I guess soldiers can’t where anything besides their uniforms according to these guys… But hey, let’s not think about that. How about you hurry and finish up so we can get lunch, alright?”

Nodding, Anna started working. After a few minutes, she finished up the pocket she was mending and put away her needle and thimble, “Alright. Let’s get some food. I’m really hungry.”

Visit

It had been eight days since Evans had arrived at the hospital. Eight boring days. Get up. Eat Breakfast. Talk with Lucy. Lunch. Talk with Sarah. Dinner and Rounds. Sleep. Still better than combat.

Evans started his routine. He had just about finished breakfast when he heard a voice call out from the entrance, “James!”

He dropped his tray and attempted to stand up. Forgetting his crutches, he tumbled over and fell face first on the floor. He heard the patter of feet running over. Anna’s face popped down in front of him, “Sorry.” She kissed his forehead and then helped him up. She then hugged him and helped to sit him back down on his bed. Anna then stepped back.

Anna was finally starting to show her pregnancy, and was wearing a cyan dress. Evans smiled at her, “Long time no see.”

She gestured to Miller, “Are you going to introduce me?”

“He’s Miller,” Evans frowned. He then shook his head and smiled, “But whatever. So how’s Seahaven?” Bending over and listening to her belly, he asked, “And little James Junior?”

Laughing, Anna replied, “Work is… dobry. I mostly fix up uniforms for officers. And since I’m starting to show, people stop telling me that I should enlist. Now I’m a heroic soldiers spouse, raising the next generation of heroes.”

Miller got on his wheelchair and left the room, “I’ll be back for lunch.”

Evans waited a few seconds, “Well he does one nice thing for a change. I really don’t like him, and he’s the only other person in my room,” He smiled for a moment, “Apparently Lucy is not only alive, but being transfered to this ward tomorrow. She’s been in the Emergency ward, but they need the bed.”

“That’s nice. So how was everyone back in the platoon? How’s Tiscornia?”

“Still a Lance Corp, but Giuliano is a Corporal, and Chilly is all the way to Sergeant,” Evans smiled, “Plus, did you get my letter about the new Lieutenant?”

“It was all censored.”

“Well, the New Lieutenant is Lady Demetria. Literally. Like the future Duchess. Seriously.”

Anna looked shocked, “Wait… Really? But… Really? Wow. What’s she like? Is she as beautiful as I always imagined? Ooh, what was she wearing?”

“An Army uniform?” Evans paused, “She also had a sword with her, like one of those that knights used. And she’s really short. I sort of… You know, royalty I always imagined being taller. But what she lacked in height, she seemed to make up in soldiering. We charged three nests, with her out front with that sword. She’ll either get the platoon killed, or put us down in the history books.”

Anna hugged Evans, “Well don’t let her get you killed when you get better, I don’t want our dziecko growing up without a father.” She looked to the door of the tent, “Now, how long will we be alone in this tent?”

“A few more hours, no one really comes through here.”

Smirking, Anna got up and pushed Evans down onto his back, “You’re hurt, so I don’t want you doing anything.” She quickly ran over and secured the tent closed, then walked back. Her dress dropped to the floor, “Now my belly’s a bit bigger this time, but at least my breasts are too.”

Evans laughed. Anna approached and started to undo his belt. She looked him in the eyes. Her face started to melt away, revealing the skull underneath. Her skin caught fire, the room darkened, and Evans screamed.

As Anna jumped back, Captain Taylor ran into the tent, “Oh shit… Sorry.” He averted his eyes from Anna, who was covering herself with a blanket and approached Evans, “Lance Corporal. Are you alright?”

“He’s Dead! He’s Dead! It should have been fucking me!” Evans grabbed the Captain’s lapels and pulled himself up, “Why did he have to fucking die!?” Evans collapsed and started to cry, “It was my fault. I should have positioned the machine better. But no. I don’t even remember his name.”

“Shit, Umm…” The Doctor looked at Anna, “And who are you lass?”

“I’m his wife doctor,” Anna pulled the blanket closer to her and started walking to her dress, “I’m visiting from Seahaven.”

The captain nodded, “That would explain your state of dress… Um… So, was there anything up when you came in and um…” The Captain gestured to her clothes, “And undressed?”

Evans had collapsed in his bed and was crying. The Captain looked away while Anna dressed. She thought back on the few minutes since she had arrived, “No Captain… Doctor… He seemed normal when I came. He was laughing, making jokes.”

“Well Shit…” He shrugged, “I don’t know about brains. Um… I guess stay and comfort him. But uh… don’t…” The Captain drummed his fingers, “Do him?”

“Yes Captain,” Anna sat down next to Evans and started petting his head. The Captain shrugged and left the tent.

Anna whispered to Evans, “So, are you alright? Can you talk to me?”

Evans was quiet. He pulled his blanket over his face and put his face into the pillow. She patted his back. She reached into one of the pockets of her dress and pulled out a small package, “Well, when you’re feeling better, I bought you a book. It’s a detective novel. Bernard Sharpe. I think you’ll like it.” She then pulled out a letter, “Also, I received a letter a few days that you’re to receive the Medal of Ethslin Fourth Class, and the award ceremony is on the 23rd of October in Newacre. I found the address of your parents in Halton and wrote invited them to it. I also sent a letter booking us a hotel near the parade grounds. We get in on the 22nd, when you’ll report to Army doctors. The next evening, you rejoin the 202nd and receive the award. On the 24th… the 202nd leaves again.”

There was a moment of silence. Evans rolled over, “Sharpe? He always writes those sword fights. Who has sword fights in real life?”

Letter

After breakfast, the orderly came in with some crutches and a wheelchair. He picked two trays off the wheelchair and handed them to the Miller and Evans. He then left.

After Evans finished his meal, he put down the tray, put the letter in his pocket, picked up his crutches, and limped out of the room. Miller stayed in bed.

When he got outside, Evans was surprised, the camp was much smaller than he expected. Evans could only see six tents. The tent across was labeled, “Officer and Civilian Barracks.” The one to the right of that was labeled, “Main Office.” It had several telegraph lines going into it. On the same side there was a third tent labeled “Orderlies.”

Evans crutched out to the center of the camp. The two tents on the same side of the recovery ward were labeled “Emergency” and “Standard.”

There was a clearing a bit further down where a few people were standing, two or three people were in wheelchairs. Evans crutched towards them. The back of one of the soldiers heads looked familiar. She had black hair in a bun. As he got closer, his heart started to beat faster. It couldn’t be. Evans walked around to get a look at her face.

“Hey… Goldfish…” Lucy coughed, “What are the odds?”

She looked significantly worse that usual. Her face was mostly pale, her arm was in a sling, there was a tube running down out of her hospital gown to her leg, and she was attempting to hide her wincing. But, she wasn’t dead, which was good enough for Evans. He knelt down and tried to hug her. She leaned forward to allow his hands to go behind her back. When finished, he stood back up, “I… I thought you were dead.”

“Really?” Lucy weakly laughed, “That’s all you have to say?” She reached into a pocket on her wheelchair, pulled out a pack of cigarettes, and offered one to Evans.

“Thanks,” He balanced himself on the crutches and grabbed it.

Lucy put one in her mouth and then pulled out a lighter and lit hers. She then handed it to Evans, who quickly lit his, “So, Lucy, what have you been up to then?”

“Oh… You know… This and that,” Lucy shrugged, “How about you?”

“Ooh, you missed it. Guess who is the new Lieutenant for Second?”

“You got rid of that Stoddart guy?”

“Yeah, Evans nodded, “And the new Lieutenant, is none other than Lady Demetria.”

Lucy softly laughed, “So there’s some family out there that decided Demetria is a normal name?”

Evans shook his head, “Nope, We just have Lieutenant Kestel.”

“Wait…” Lucy took out her cigarette, “So like… Lady Demetria? The future Duchess? The very symbol of beauty and grace? The person I pretended to be as a kid?”

Evans nodded.

“Holy Shit,” Lucy leaned forward, “What’s she like in person?”

“Insane,” Evans laughed, “I think you’d like her. She has a sword that she takes with her. We charged a Vledscan emplacement. Three machine guns. With her, on point, with the sword.” Evans paused, “Oh, and I picked up Lance Corporal.”

She laughed, “Bastard, I’ve been in way longer and I’m still a private.”

“But I’ve shown leadership in combat, and been reccomended for the Medal of Ethslin Fourth Class,” Evans put his hand up to his face, “And we took a lot of casualties.”

They were quiet for a moment. Lucy gestured at his leg, “So what happened there?”

“I broke it. I was in an armored car that was hit by some artillery,” Evans shrugged, “Tiscornia says I’m immortal.”

“Yeah, could I have some of your luck?” Lucy went into a fit of coughing, “First I get that shell that rips me up, get better, and then I get shot a few times.” Lucy took a puff of her cigarette, “Now I’ve got no Uterthingy which apparently means I can’t have kids. Plus I’ve got this scar on my face, and plenty of scars elsewhere. Plus I’m peeing into a bag.”

Evans shrugged, “At least you have a bathroom, in the recovery ward, they’ve pretty much forgot we exist. I have to use a bucket under my bed. I had to ask for these crutches.”

Lucy nodded, “I noticed that, I’m still in the Emergency ward even though I haven’t had surgery or tests done for two days.”

Evans shrugged, “Well, I’ve got to go send a letter. Great to see that you aren’t dead.” He turned around and crutched his way to the main office. It was a bit of trouble opening the door, but he finally did. The office was emptier than he expected. He saw Sarah tapping on the transmitter key of the telegraph. Evans stood and waited for her to finish the message. When she did, Evans approached her desk.

She waved at him, “Do you have the letter to send James?”

“Yes,” Evans reached into his pocket and pulled it out, “Thank you very much Sarah. How long will it take to deliver?”

“Only a few days,” Sarah smiled and took the letter, “They like to keep civilians happy, so they give me higher priority on mail service to back home.”

Evans nodded, “Say, what’s your fiancees name? I can see if my friend Jack knows him.”

Sarah looked back and forth and then leaned towards Evans, “I’m not engaged, I just tell that to most people because, well, you saw John. A bunch of soldiers want to get something from me while they’re recovering, so it’s easier if I just say I’m engaged.”

“Right…” Evans straightened himself up, “And don’t worry, I won’t tell Miller.” He shook his head, “And you were right about him. After you left he started whining about how it was unfair or something.” Evans then crutched out the door.

Recovery Ward

The orderlies carried Evan’s litter into the dark tent and moved him onto a bed. The two orderlies picked up the litter and left the room.

Evans sat up and looked around the room. All but one of the beds were empty except for the one to his left. The man in the bed was pale. He had a long scar on his face.

The man slowly looked over at Evans, “Finally… I’ve been alone in here for a week.”

“What about doctors?”

“There’s a cute Nurse that comes through to bring me meals every few hours. But this is the recovery ward. We don’t need doctors. And the Nurse doesn’t stay around long.”

Evans nodded, “So what are you in for?”

The man sighed, “Kneecapper. Ripped off my right leg.”

Staring into the ceiling, Evans responded, “Kneecapper?”

“Little Mines the Vledscans place. They pop up and explode in the air. My Lieutenant stepped on it. How about you?”

“Broke my leg,” Evans slowly sat up, “I was hiding from artillery in an armored car.”

“So what are you?”

“Excuse me?”

“Rank, unit, whatever.”

“Lance Corp Evans. 202nd Infantry. You?”

“Lance Corp Miller. 301st Infantry. But I guess I won’t be going back there,” the man then coughed.

“So what do you do all day?” Evans felt his pockets, finding most of his things stolen.

“Mostly sit around. Twiddle my thumbs. Think about the cute nurse. Sleep. Wish I still had my leg,” He sighed, “But seriously, no one talks to me.”

Evans shrugged, “You should ask the nurse to eat dinner with you. What’s the worst that could happen?”

“Eh. Sure.”

The two talked for a while before a woman wearing a blue dress and white apron came in carrying two lunch trays. She placed them on the end tables next to Evans and Miller. She then walked over to Evans’ bed, “Hello, I’m Sarah. You must be James.” She looked over at Miller, “And how are you doing John?”

“Good Sarah. I was wondering, if you have dinner around the same time we do, would you like to join us?”

Sarah shrugged, “Sure. I don’t really like eating with those officers anyways. I’ll see you two in a few hours.” She waved, “I’ll be back in forty to pick up the trays. See you two later.” Sarah then turned around and left.

The two ate their meals. Evans took a nap for a few hours. He awoke when Sarah walked in pushing a cart with three trays on it. She pulled a bed over, sat on it, and handed out the trays. Evans grabbed his tray, “So Sarah, you said you don’t like eating with the officers. Does that mean you’re not military?”

Sarah nodded as she poured tea from a pitcher, “I’m a volunteer nurse. To be an Army nurse you have to be an officer, and to be an officer you have to have an education or connections, and I have neither. But I apprenticed under my town doctor so I have the skills. My fiance is in the army though. He’s a rifleman in the 351st.”

Evans leaned forward, “The 351st, do you know which company? One of my best friends is in the 351st.”

She shook her head, “No, We try not to talk about the war in our letters.” She pointed at Evans’ ring finger, “So you’re married?”

“Yeah, Anna. We’re expecting our first in a few months.”

“Well, This hospital is far enough behind the lines, I could help arrange a visit for you, to tide you over until you get outprocessed in,” She bent over and looked at the clipboard on Evans’ bed, “Three weeks.”

“Right. Thanks! I can give you her information. Thanks!” Evans took sip from his drink.

Sarah turned to Miller, “So, John, you have anyone special in your life?”

“No…” Miller finished his meal and placed the tray down. He shrugged, “I’ll have a lot of free time to find one now that I don’t have a job. And hey if girls like scars, by logic they must love stumps instead of legs.”

Sarah spit out some of her tea laughing. Evans smiled. He took a few bites of his sandwich, “I tell you what, I don’t miss the food on the front lines.”

Miller nodded. Sarah held up a finger and then reached into her pocket. She pulled out a pad of paper and a pen, “Here, you can write down Anna’s information and something to tell her here. I’ll pick it up tomorrow. Just don’t be too personal, I don’t want to read your icky married things when I telegraph it.”

Sarah and Evans finished up their food. Sarah then collected all of the trays, waved goodbye, and left.

“Fuck,” Miller hit the table, “Of course she’s engaged.”

“Really? That’s why you wanted dinner?” Evans laid back down in his bed.

“I feel like it’s sort of implied, asking a girl to dinner.”

“Oh, so guys and girls can’t be friends now?”

“I don’t know, I just feel like that’s the point of having women friends,” Miller shrugged, “You’re married, so that’s the thing right?”

“Well my best friend was a women who I wasn’t married to.”

“Was, and I take it that it didn’t work out, because it wasn’t worth it, right?”

Evans cried a bit, “She’s dead.”

Miller stopped talking. They were silent for a few minutes before a Captain entered. Evans sat up and gave a half salute. The Captain waved it away, ”You don’t need to greet in bed.”

The Captain walked over and picked up Evans’ clipboard chart, “So, Evans, you’ve got a broken leg, and three weeks stay with us. So, any quick issues I should be aware of?”

Evans thought for a moment, “So, if I wanted to get up and move around?”

“Use the crutches at your bedside and you can go out. You need to be in bed for muster at all meal times, which are 0700, 1100, 1800. Lights out is 2300, so be in bed before then.”

Evans felt the side of his bed, and didn’t find any crutches. The Captain followed him with his eyes, “Well shit then. I will send an orderly to get you some. Wait, shit, does that mean, uh… Miller, you don’t have crutches either?”

“I don’t have a leg, so I feel they wouldn’t be useful.”

“Well shit. Sucks to be you. Um… We’ll have someone bring over a wheelchair. Awkward,” The Captain tapped the clipboard a few timed, “I’m Doctor Taylor. Um… And I’ll try and swing by every few days. Nurse Clemson is your main nurse. She’ll take most of your complaints, and orderlies will come to bathe you every few days.”

“And letters?” Evans gestured to the blank paper.

“Bring them to the main tent, it’s labeled. Leave them unopened so someone can censor them, and don’t give them Clemson, since she isn’t military,” Captain Taylor nodded, “Any other questions?”

Evans shook his head, “No, I think I’m good. Thank you Captain.”

“Alright. Nighty night… Oh, and if you need something at night, just pull the cord behind your bed, it will ring a bell on the outside and someone on watch can get an orderly. Well, bye,” the Captain waved, put the clipboard back on the end of Evans’ bed, and left.