The Battalion stood at attention at the docks. Major Kestel walked forward onto the podium in front of the ship. The Steven’s Point. The press was gathered nearby to take pictures. Which is why Evans had to spend what seemed like a hours making sure that Major Kestel’s uniform was perfect. He had even sewed weights into the bottom of her skirt so it wasn’t ‘to flappy’ as she had put it.
“And Now, we embark upon the journey we have been training for. Lieutenant Commander Stanley Barrett has agreed to give us a lift in the Steven’s Point. The rest of our regiment is going to be in the Elm Grove, while we share the ship with the ammunition and heavy weapons. We should be landing in about six days. We will be hugging as close as we can to the coast of Liguria without violating their neutrality. Our spies have been reporting on the Vledscan ship movements. According to them, there are two main points of enemy resistance. The first will be about halfway through our journey, when rounding the Ligurian Cape. There is a small amount of Vledscan Frigates that, if the intelligence is correct, are acting as a picket, and will fire a few shots and then flee.
“The second will be the dangerous one. It seems that a large portion of the Vledscan fleet will be about two hours from the landing beaches. There might be some mines around there as well. So when we hit the blockade, everyone should be ready to abandon ship just in case.
“Now, without further ado, let us embark,” Major Kestel pulled to attention, “BATTALION! ATTEN-TION!”
“BATTALION MOVE OUT BY FILES! FORWARD MARCH!”
The Battalion turned started to move out. Squad by Squad, Platoon by Platoon, and Company by Company. Eventually, Evans and Major Kestel were the last two members of the battalion remaining on the dock. She smiled, “Let’s go Jim.”
The two walked, Major Kestel leading, until they reached the middle of the brow. The two came to attention. Major Kestel did a left face and saluted the Ethslin flag. She did a right face and the two walked the back to the end of the brow. Major Kestel saluted the Petty Officer, “Request Permission For Myself And My Orderly To Come Aboard.”
The Petty Officer returned the salute, “Permission Granted.”
The two then walked aboard. Lieutenant Commander Barrett was standing around the corner. Major Kestel saluted, “Captain, The Battalion Is Aboard.”
Lieutenant Commander Barrett returned the salute, “Very Well Major.” He shrugged, “God damn I hate military protocol.”
“You new then?”
“Sort of. Me and my crew are technically Naval Reserve. It’s an exchange. We get special government contracts, but the Navy can requisition our ship and crew at any time for something like this. It really sucks because Navy regs say no booze while underway. God damn them all.”