Change Over

“I’ll take this up, right Ma’am?” Evans hoisted the Captain’s Kit Bag onto his shoulder.

Nodding, She finished up the handing over checklist, “Yes James, and make sure Lieutenant Gates does a proper takeover, I do not want arrive only to find that we have no shovels or something.”

“Very Well Captain,” He walked up the stairs and made his way down the line. Luckily, the shelling was rather light that night flares weren’t even doing their normal criss cross, and Evans could see the stars in the sky. He was jealous of those lucky bastards coming off the line through the underground sap though. No chance of snipers or machine guns. And unless they got a direct hit, no problem from artillery. At least those fuckers didn’t get to see the stars. He did wish he could smoke right now. Nothing better than smoking on a cold night looking at the stars. Stupid artillery spotters.

It took a few minutes, but he found the dugout. Evans walked down the stairs and set down Captain Kestel’s bag. He saluted the Captain in the dugout, “Sir.”

“You from the 202nd lad?”

“Yes Captain, is Lieutenant Gates not here yet?”

“No lad, you mind popping out to look for him? He was supposed to be here a few minutes ago,” The Captain tapped his clipboard, “And this takes a bit of time.”

Evans nodded, “Alright Captain. Mind if I leave Captain Kestel’s bag here?”

“That’s fine lad. Now go get that Gates fellow. I am Captain Thompson by the way.”

Evans ran back up the stairs and started to track down the Lieutenant. He ran back up towards Fox Company and looked around for anyone in First Platoon. How the Hell was he supposed to find the Lieutenant? These were confusing enough as is without having to look for someone.

He eventually found a Sergeant from First Platoon, “Sergeant, do you know where Lieutenant Gates is?”

“Isn’t he at the new position?” She screwed up her face, “The Lady told him to get down there. Wait, aren’t you her kid?”

“I’m her assistant, yes. And Lieutenant Gates is a bit lost. Or dead.”

“Hope he isn’t dead, we’re starting to get a reputation for losing officers. Shit, it will be really bad when the Lady kicks it.”

Shrugging, Evans ran back through the communication trenches until he saw a Lieutenant looking at a map, “Sir!”

“Evans?” Lieutenant Gates folded his map and put it away, “Would you happen to know where I am supposed to be?”

“Yes Lieutenant, the Captain you have a meeting with sent me.”

“Damn, this is so embarrassing, can you not tell the Lady about us?”

Evans gestured towards the second line, “Shall we Lieutenant?”

“Alright Lance, Thank you very much.”

The two started walking down the communications trench. The artillery started to get heavier, so Evans started to crouch lower. They approached Captain Thompson’s dugout. A quiet whistle started to come over the rest of the artillery. Evans turned around and dived onto Lieutenant Gates.

There was a deafening roar followed seconds later by a shower of dirt and timber.

The Lieutenant laughed, “A bit forward, but it is nice to know someone else shares my view on romance. Now, take me to that meeting.”

Evans got stood up and shook the dirt off of him. He then extended his hand and helped up the Lieutenant. When he walked around the corner to Captain Thompson’s dugout, it was gone. That whole section of line had been replaced with a large crater.

“Oh fuck,” Evans pulled out his shovel, ran to where the entrance was and started to dig. Lieutenant Gates ran up next to him and started throwing pieces of timber out of the crater.

Another Lieutenant ran in, “Dan! Dan! Fuck! You There! Sergeant! I need a team here! Now! Captain Thompson’s dugout has been hit!”

Lieutenant Gates stepped back when the team came in to start digging. They kept digging until Evans hit something squishy. Rubbery. Not again. He felt the revulsion from that first week in the trenches those long months before.

Stumbling backwards, Evans started to vomit. The team dragged out what was left of Captain Thompson’s body. Lieutenant Gates helped Evans up, “Tell Captain Kestel that Captain Thompson and the dugout have been blown asunder.”

“Yes… Sir? What does asunder mean?”

“It means apart. What are you, a farmer?”

“Yes sir I am sir.”

Lieutenant Gates nodded, “Right, I forget sometimes. Tell her I am doing the hand over with one of their surviving Lieutenants.”

“Yes Sir,” Evans ran back up to Captain Kestel’s dugout. He ran down to the bottom and saluted. The Captain looked away from the incoming Lieutenant and saluted.

“What do you need Lance?”

“Lieutenant Gates sent me. Captain Thompson was killed before we could talk to him. He is talking to one of the surviving Lieutenants. Your kit bag was also lost Ma’am. The dugout was ‘Blown Asunder’”

“I guess Gates was the one used that term, but very well, get Sergeant Gabriel’s team to try and dig it out again. Also, build me a wall scrape just in case.”

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