Pack Inspection

“Ma’am, your tea,” Evans held the cup out to Lieutenant Kestel, “And I have some good news Ma’am.”

The Lieutenant grabbed the cup and took a sip, “Thanks, and what is it Evans?”

“I’ve been talking with the other runners Ma’am, and rumor is, Captain Simmons is being promoted up to Battalion, and they’re giving you the company.”

She nodded, “I somewhat expected that. Because otherwise we would have to bring in someone else, and, well, they want to make me happy, because they want to make my father happy.”

“Well congratulations… Future Captain.”

“Thank you… Lance Corporal?” She shrugged, “Well, I guess your rank will now make more sense. Who ever heard of a Lieutenant with a Lance as a runner? Now, on to business.” She picked up a folder, “Surprise Pack inspection. Muster everyone full kit on the parade grounds fifteen minutes.”

“Yes Ma’am,” Evans ran into each Platoon’s tent and rang the bell, “Muster! Full Kit! Ten Minutes!”

He then ran back to the Lieutenant’s tent, “They’re mustering Ma’am.” He picked up his clipboard and his kit. Evans then followed the Lieutenant outside to the parade ground and took her position at the head of the company. Evans stood at attention next to her. The Lieutenant shouted, “Company Atten… Tion!”

The company quickly adjusted to attention.

“Open Order… March!”

Second and Third platoons adjusted to Open Order. First Platoon, with only one Squad of soldiers, stayed in place.

“Right… Dress!”

The Platoons adjusted to their order.

“Alright! If You Have Not Guessed, We Are Having A Pack Inspection!” The Lieutenant grabbed Evans pack and rifled through it. She found his book and flipped through the pages, “Good Evans.”

Evans put down his pack, pulled out his pen, and looked at the clipboard. The Lieutenant started walking towards First Platoon. The inspection got part way through First Platoon with only two alcohol violations. The problem came at the fifth soldier. She pulled a book out of the bag and started to look through it. The private looked nervous, “You don’t need to look through it Ma’am.”

“Write him down, talking out of turn. Private Sau…” Her face went white. She then started yelling, “WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS! DROP RIGHT NOW AND DO NOT FUCKING STOP PUSH UPS UNTIL I FUCKING TELL YOU.”

She walked to the front of the formation, “ALRIGHT! PRIVATE SAUNDERS THERE THINKS IT IS APPROPRIATE TO HAVE…” She flipped through the papers with a look of scorn, “A SERIES OF DRAWINGS OF ME HAVING MARRIED TIMES! IF ANY OTHERS OF YOU HAVE COPIES OF THIS, TURN THEM IN NOW. IF YOU DO NOT, I WILL FIND THEM, AND YOU WILL BE PUNISHED VERY FUCKING SEVERELY.”

The Lieutenant walked back to Private Saunders, “WHERE THE FUCK DID YOU GET THESE?”

The Private paused his push ups for a moment, “I bought it in Strongfield Ma’am. On Leave.”

“Did I Tell You To Stop Doing Push Ups Private?” She walked back out and stared at the company, “Anyone else bought this garbage?”

Three privates stepped forward. The Lieutenant yelled at them, had them start push ups, and ripped through the companies packs. Once she was finished, she let the four privates recover. She assigned a Corporal to them, and ordered them exercise for the next four hours.

The Lieutenant dismissed the company and went back to her tent. Evans picked up his kit and followed. When he got back, the Lieutenant was crying in the corner.

Evans dropped his kit and knelt next to her, “Are you OK Ma’am?”

“I just feel so… Ew… Start the stove for a shower…” She stood up and held out the drawings, “Burn these with it James. Once it’s started… Leave. I want to be alone.”

“Yes Ma’am,” Evans grabbed the drawings and folded them. He turned around and paused for a second, turned back and hugged the Lieutenant, “Sorry if this is against regulations.” He then turned around and walked to the shower’s stove. He built a log cabin and shredded the drawings in his hands. After a moment, he placed them in the center and grabbed the slowmatch. He tended the fire until it had flared up to a reasonable amount. He stacked the extra wood on top of the stove and shut the door. He then tapped the side of the water tank, “It’s pretty full Ma’am. I’d say an hour or two of water.”

Evans walked out the room. The shower started up. He walked to Second Platoon’s tent. After a pause, he walked in and to Team 3’s room. Sergeant Chilcott was doing paperwork with Giuliano and Tiscornia. Chilly looked up, “Hey Evans. How’s the high life?”

“Can I ask a favor?”

Chilly looked at Tiscornia, “No one makes social calls these days. It’s this generation. Too focused on work.”

“I know what you’re talking about Chilly. Ever since telegraphs got cheap, kids just expect everything to be done right away,” Tiscornia looked at Evans, “So, what do you want Evans?”

“It’s about the Lieutenant…” He paused, “She’s… well. Very shaken up about what happened at inspection today. When I got to the tent, she was collapsed in the corner.”

“So you want teach them a lesson?”

Giuliano put down her pen, “I’m in.”

Tiscornia nodded , “Me too. Ustinov, Newey, and Cain will probably agree. Nazarri too. Maybe Hardin. Chilly, can you keep watch? Since you’re a Sergeant, people will do what you say.” Tiscornia looked at Giuliano, “Tell the Corporal in charge of the punishment detail that the Lieutenant ordered you to take over. The rest of us will find a nice empty tent to take them to. Evans will be smoking outside it. It will be a battalion headquarters tent from where the 125th was staying.”

It took about half an hour, but the group was assembled at the empty tent. They cleared out a back room. Evans walked outside and lit a cigarette. Eventually Giuliano jogged into view, with the four soldiers behind her, all exhausted. Evans stepped out in front of the group, “Hey, LT needs this tent cleaned. Congratulations on being the randomly selected detail.” He blew some smoke in one of their faces. Turning to Giuliano, he smiled, “You can take off early Corp.”

The soldiers walked inside. Evans waited a second and followed, “Back room. Supplies are in there.”

When they walked in, Evans picked up a sock filled with soap.

Half an hour later, and the group left. They left the privates inside the tent.

At Evening muster, the Lieutenant gave a long talk about not fighting other soldiers. Afterward, she called Evans back to her tent. She frowned, “If you ever do that again…” Changing her tone, she hugged him, “Thanks. You are a good… person.” She looked down, “A good friend. There. I said it. Now do not tell anyone I said it or else.”

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