Link Up… Again

“So, what kind of dresses does Major Kestel like to wear?” Polly smiled as she looked over the over the green field as the sun rose. She scanned for any engine smoke.

“She doesn’t really talk that. We mostly just talk fighting, and I mostly see her in uniforms,” Evans sighed as he looked over the other horizon, Scanning for any infantry or vehicles. Or… fucking god it better not be fucking airships.

“Colors then. She ever talk about her favorite colors? Is mauve still in?” Polly polished a little bit of dirt off her rifle.

“Still don’t know,” Evans pulled a looted cigarette pack out of his jacket, offered one to Polly, who declined. He pulled one out and put it in his mouth, “Tell you what, next time my wife and I are with the Major, I’ll get Anna to bother her. Since she isn’t army, she can do whatever the hell she wants.”

Evans slipped the cigarette pack back into his jacket and patted himself down. No fucking lighter. He pulled the cigarette out his mouth, “Do you have a lighter?”

“I don’t smoke anymore. Don’t have a lighter.”

“Dammit,” Evans yelled down to a sailor who was working to clear up the roadblock, “HEY! HAVE A LIGHT?”

“YEAH,” The sailor pulled out his lighter and flicked it, “FUCK, NEVER MIND! I NEED A REFILL!”

“Fucking hell,” Evans looked back at Polly, “Nothing in your sur-”

“CONTACT ON THE SOUTHERN HORIZON!” Polly turned and yelled to the signalman, “GET THE ENSIGN AND BRING UP THE BINOCULARS!”

The Signalman pointed to someone who ran the binoculars up while she went to get the Ensign.

“So whatcha see Polly?” Evans kept watching the northern horizon.

“Smoke, maybe. Hopefully the column,” Polly held out her hand for the sailor with the binoculars. When the sailor gave them to her, she pulled them to her eyes and scanned the horizon, “Multiple contacts from the south. Looks to be our armored cars. I think I see the infantry support riding along.”

“Fuckers.”

“What?”

“Last time I was supporting armored cars we weren’t allowed to ride.”

“Wow. So sad for you. Maybe if you-”

“Army? You had something to report?” The ensign tapped Polly on the shoulder.

She handed the binoculars to him and pointed to the smoke on the horizon, “Yes Sir. Looks to be the column and I can see some attached infantry. Should be here in about half an hour, Sir.”

“Very well… Private?” He handed the binoculars back to her and turned to the signalman, “Raise our flag!”

“Corporal, take the private and one of my sailors with you to meet the column out in front of the roadblock. Tell them what’s happened and what to expect.”

“Yes Sir,” Evans paused, “Who are you and what unit is this?”

“Ensign Carruthers, and we’re the 5th Regiment, D Company. At least I am, we’ve got sailors from all over 5th, and a few from other regiments.”

“Thank you sir. And shouldn’t someone take over our watch sir?”

“Yes…” The Ensign shouted down to the working party, “ALDUINO! TAFANI! YOU’RE ON WATCH! FIORE, YOU’RE WITH ARMY!”

Evans climbed down the ladder, followed by Polly. An Sailor walked over and stood to attention, “Corporal, Able Seaman Nicholas Fiore reporting for duty.”

“What?” Evans was confused.

“Excuse me?” This response confused Fiore.

“What’s with all the fancy talk?”

Polly giggled.

“I thought you army guys really liked protocol.”

“Fucking nope. Maybe the careers and officers, but I don’t give a shit,” Evans pointed over his shoulder, “Now let’s go for a walk. Slung rifles. We don’t want to look like we’re trying to shoot anyone. Because my wife hates it when I die. I’d rather not actually die.”

The three walked for a few minutes before Fiore got curious, “What do you mean your wife hates it when you die?”

“First time she saw me get hit by a shell, second time I got lost behind enemy lines, third time I got shot and then captured, and I guess now I’ve been stuck behind the lines again. I might be forgetting some,” He started waving his arms at the approaching column, “HEY! ETHSLIN ARMY… I MEAN NAVAL INFANTRY! NAVAL… CAVALRY? THAT SOUNDS STUPID! WHOEVER THE HELL ARE YOU, WE’RE HERE TO LINK UP WITH YOU!”

One of the infantryman waved at them. The sailors on the lead truck then dismounted and it accelerated towards the trio. The rest of the trucks pulled to a halt. One of the doors opened and an officer stepped out as the truck slowed, “Who the fuck are you?”

“Corporal James Evans. Ensign Carruthers of the 5th sends his regards. We’ve taken care of that nasty looking roadblock up the road Sir.”

“Right… Wait… James Evans. Shit. Would that happen to be Ann Stoddart?”

Polly piped up, “Yes! Why the hell do you care?”

The officer grabbed a flag out of the truck and waved it.

Another truck exited the column and zipped towards Evans. It pulled up and an army Colonel jumped out of the back. He walked towards Evans and Polly. He then pulled two pictures out of his pocket, compared them to Evans and Polly.

“Sir?”

“Corporal Evans, Private Stoddart, come with me please,” He put the pictures away and pulled a sheet from his pocket and handed it to Evans, “Order from the very top.”

“Newacre?”

“The Oligarchs. You two are recalled to Medway immediately.”

Roadblock Assault… Again

It was almost midnight. Evans checked the magazine on the Blair Auto Gun. He looked at Gunners Mate Watt and Polly. He gave a quick thumbs up, “You guys ready?”

“Yeah,” Watt looked a bit concerned, “What do we do once we hit the barricade?”

“Well, One of three things could happen. First, we could break through, in which case, we should turn round and get to the assault team and join them. Second, we could get stuck in the barricade and fight our way out. Third, we could all die instantly in the crash,” Evans shrugged, “That’s my least favorite option. So, ready now?”

Watt checked the bolt of her Auto Rifle for the tenth time, “Yeah, yeah. I think I’m OK.

Polly smiled at Evans, “Maybe if I’m a war hero Lord Halsey won’t call me a whore, ay?”

“You’re too poor to be a war hero.”

“Well I’ll ram my medals up his ass.”

“Excuse me?” the Gunners Mate spoke up.

“Yes Watt?”

“Why would Lord Halsey insinuate that… Private?.. Polly is a prostitute?”

Polly laughed, “My husband’s family does not approve of our marriage because I am not nobility… Also, my husband is Lord Halsey’s inheriting Grandson…”

“Ann Pollard?” Watt looked confused at Polly.

The Northeast team opened fire, Evans started the truck. Polly smiled, “Ann Stoddart, Now let’s go fucking kill something.”

Evans started to drive the truck forward and thought through the plan in his head. A right turn, left turn, floor it, wait for Alduino, once everything starts exploding, open fire.

He exhaled, “Don’t forget to keep giving me bullets Polly.”

Right turn.

Left Turn.

The roadblock came into view. The eastern end was lit brightly with gunfire. Good.

There was a crack of a rifle shot overhead.

A black streak soared towards the roadblock.

Small explosion, miss.

A second crack and a second streak.

Second small explosion. A few shots started coming towards the truck.

A third crack and a third streak.

Large explosion. Hit.

“LIGHT EM UP!”

Evans and Watt opened fire on the roadblock. Polly made sure to help both of them with reloading. Alduino on top started firing rifle grenades towards the east side to soften up the bulk of the enemy forces.

The roadblock was getting closer. Evans was able to see individual soldiers on the roadblock. This was somewhat helped by the flickering flames illuminating the area.

The truck was now close enough that Evans was able to look for a place to hit with the truck. That spot looked good. Evans turned the wheel a bit, “BRACE FOR IMPACT!”

The truck collided with the barrier and broke most of the way through. Fuck, “POLLY! KEEP YOUR FOOT ON THE GAS! I’LL GO OUT AND PUSH!”

Evans grabbed two more magazines from Polly, slipped out of the truck, and shouldered the submachine gun. Hopefully he could get the truck out before anyone manning the barricade was brave enough to come check it out. He leaned and pushed as hard as he could against the truck while Polly was spinning the wheels. Something broke free and the truck shot off into the dark… Fuck.

Evans unshouldered the submachine gun, ran to the nearest cover, and ducked down. There was a quick machine gun spray. He poked his head out to try and locate it. Luckily, the gunner was polite enough to fire another burst at Evans face, so Evans ducked back down. He took a few breaths, stood up, and fired a few bursts at the machine gun. Evans ducked back down, pulled his helmet off, and put it on the butt of the submachine gun. He slowly extended it out from behind the cover. Nothing. He pulled the gun back in and put his helmet back on and stood up, keeping the gun trained on the machine gun. Evans heard a soft groan. Thank god.

Evans started walked up the stairs of the roadblock onto a catwalk and made his way west, towards where the assault force should be coming in. He could hear some rifle fire, so the assault must be under way. Now hopefully none of those idiots would shoot him.

He saw someone walking below. Helmet was wrong. He sent a quick burst into the man’s skull.

People started to shoot at him. Evans ducked to the side of the catwalk, regretting his loud killing of the man. He prepared to return fire, he heard a shout.

“TOSS A GRENADE UP THERE!”

Wait, shit, “FUCKERS! IT’S ME! EVANS!”

“ARMY? FUCK, SORRY!”

Rifle shots started coming in from the other way, so Evans took cover again and fired a few wild bursts from behind cover. The Assault team from below kept pushing forward. After a few minutes more of hard fighting, the team managed to clear the roadblock with no casualties.

Behind Enemy Lines… Again

Looking around the room, Evans saw a motley bunch. The officer in charge was a terrified looking Ensign who looked barely nineteen. Evans was the most senior NCO in the room. And, of course, there was the fact that most of them hadn’t eaten today because they were trapped behind enemy lines.

Evans had though. He had only encountered this group today. Well him and Polly had encountered this group. The two of them had managed to stick together since the inland advance. And, well, technically they were the regiment, most of the survivors from the sinking of the Steven’s Point were too injured to take part in the assault, and the ones that did were mostly killed or wounded. It wouldn’t have been a great showing for Major Kestel’s first battalion command, if she wasn’t currently in Medway with a broken leg. But, besides almost everyone from the regiment being dead, wounded, or reassigned, the assault was going well. Besides the fact that Polly and Evans were now stuck behind enemy lines with this other unit.

The Ensign walked to the center of the room and held his candle over the crude map he had drawn, “Alright, I was listening on the wireless earlier today, and apparently, there is a column of troops and supplies coming up along the main road tomorrow. It seems their estimates for the soldiers at the roadblock is significantly lower than what we’ve observed.” He paused, “For you army people joining us tonight, my radio was damaged in an advance and doesn’t transmit, so I can’t warn them.” He then went back to addressing the group, “So, we have to break the roadblock somehow. Tonight.” The Ensign chuckled, “Any volunteers?”

“Me Sir,” Evans raised his hand.

“That was a…” The Ensign shook his head, “Nevermind, what’s your plan… Sergeant?”

“Corporal Evans Sir,”  He smiled, “I was thinking, there were a few trucks outside. If we could get one operational, I could use that to make a surprise hit on the roadblock. While that’s happening, we’ll have the rest of your sailors divided into two teams. One will provide harassing fire from the Northeast, signalling the commencement of the truck attack from the Northwest. Once my truck hits the roadblock, the final team will assault the roadblock from the Southwest. If you like the plan, I can go into more detail.”

“Yes…” The Ensign paused, “This is a very well thought out plan.”

“Yeah, it’s almost like I’ve done this before,” Evans laughed, “So, first off, what’s the weapon situation in this unit?”

The Ensign took out his notepad, “Twenty two rifles, two automatic rifles, my submachine gun, five pistols, two dozen grenades, a dozen rifle grenades. Plenty of ammo for everything.”

Smiling, Evans looked at the Officer, “I’ll need your submachine gun, an automatic rifle, a pistol, and the rifle grenades. I can drive, so I’ll take the submachine gun. I’ll need a volunteer to act as the auto rifleman.”

A Gunners Mate Third Class raised her hand, “I can Corporal.”

“Thank you sailor,” Evans smiled, “And I’ll need whoever is the best shot with a rifle grenade.”

There was some muttering around the room before a Boarder Third Class spoke up, “Alduino’s pretty good.”

An Able Seaman raised his hand, “I guess I’ve been volunteered.”

“Alright, And Polly?” Evans looked at Polly, “How about you act as the loader with the pistol?”

“Sure Evans, you haven’t gotten me killed so far.”

“OK, so my team will start the truck once the Northeast team starts up their suppressing fire,” He pointed at the map to something on the roadblock, “The ammo dump for the anti vehicle guns is here, so that’s where the truck will be hitting. Alduino will be firing as many rifle grenades as he can at that, and hopefully it will go up like last time. The Gunners Mate and I will provide suppressing fire until we hit the weakened roadblock and hopefully break through. And, Ensign, I figured you would want to plan the rest?”

“Uh, yes Corporal. Very good. Um, what should I be doing in this attack?”

“Well,” Evans shrugged, “Some officers would stay with the fireteam to coordinate that. My CO would lead the assault team, from the front, sword in hand. It’s your choice really.”

“I don’t have a sword Corporal, but I could use the pistol and a club I guess,” He paused, “Does midnight sound like a good time to start?”
“It’s your call Ensign, you’re in charge you.”

Boarding the Indie

“QUICKLY NOW!” The Lieuten…. Ensign on deck shouted to his sailors as they started to winch up the torpedo boat. Evans moved down to go back to Major Kestel. He bent down and put her over his shoulders to prepare to get off the boat. There was a jerk when the boat started to raise up, but Evans managed to keep his balance.
Evans shouted to Major Kestel, “SO MAJOR! GUESS YOU WON’T BE LANDING WITH US?”
“I WILL GET TO GO SEE DADDY! MAYBE HAVE WOOO,” She attempted to point towards a burning ship, “THAT IS PRETTY! DO YOU WANT TO DANCE WITH ME JAMES?”
“I GUESS YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN SOME PAIN MEDICINE?”
“I AM FINE JAMES HOW DARE YOU… YOU… I FORGET!”
The Torpedo Boat reached the unloading level. Boatswain’s Mates on deck started to cleat it off for unloading. The… Ensign pointed to Evans, “ARMY! WITH THE OFFICER! YOU FIRST!”
Evans walked across the deck of the Torpedo Boat onto the deck of the Indefatigable. The Ensign pointed to a Sailor who was waiting by, “BAKER! TAKE ARMY AND THE OFFICER TO THE OFFICER’S SICKBAY!”
The Sailor waved for Evans to follow her through the ship. It was a bit of trouble for Evans to stand with the ship pitching like this, let alone jog behind someone with Major Kestel on his shoulders. She was rubbing her hands in his hair, still a bit out of it.
It thankfully didn’t take long to get to the Officer’s Sickbay, which was below decks and towards the center of the ship, so it wasn’t rolling as bad. Baker held open the hatchway, then scurried back out. A nurse came up to Evans and pointed towards an empty bed. Evans knelt down and laid the Major down onto the cot. He turned and saluted to the nurse, “Sir, Major Kestel is suffering from a broken leg Sir. We’re from the Steven’s Point Sir. I’m the Major’s Assistant sir.”
“Is that Lady Demetria?” The Nurse bent down and started to look at the Major’s leg and the splint on it. When Evans nodded, the Nurse turned to the Doctor, “Hey, Janice! We’ve got ourselves a special guest. Lady Demetria!”
The Doctor came over with her clipboard and started doing a quick survey of Major Kestel, “My kids are going to be so excited when I tell them this.” She looked at Evans, “You can go to the runner outside, he’ll direct you to the rescue area.
“NO!” Major Kestel grabbed out at Evans’ leg and gripped tightly, “Mine.
“They gave her some pain medication Ma’am, she’s a bit off. The Major is normally a lot more dignified Ma’am.”
“Well who am I to argue with my betters?” She knelt next to the Major, “Your assistant can stay with us Ma’am.” She looked back to Evans, “Step back would you kindly and wait for me to properly set her leg. You can set up a chair next to her once we’re done. Shouldn’t be that long, alright… Assistant?”
“I’m Corporal James Evans.”
“I never really paid attention to army ranks,” the Doctor laughed, “Hell, I can’t recognize like half of these Navy ranks even. I’m Lieutenant Commander Bain. My Nurse here is Lieutenant Monroe.”
“Alright, thank you for letting me stay here. Ma’am.”
Evans sat on one of the empty cots for a few moments before a sailor came through the hatchway, looked at Lieutenant Commander Bain and saluted, “Ma’am! Commander Lions from General is wondering if your sickbay can be opened up to Enlisted. General Sickbay is running out of bedspace.
“Yes sailor!” the Lieutenant Commander shouted back without looking, “So far we’ve only got a few cases, relatively minor. We may need to call in more assistance. All my Nurses except for Lieutenant Monroe and all my orderlies have been called to General. That’s all for you.” She pitched her voice to talk to Evans, “Corporal, once I’ve finished patching up the Lady, She will be classified as walking wounded. We will need the bed, so have the runner outside guide you to the rescue area. Keep her off the leg. And whoever put the splint on gave her way to much pain medication, so watch out for her… Monroe? I have this pretty well. Would you get the Corporal an Officer Chit?”
“Yes.”
“The Officer Chit will basically say that you are acting as an officer’s representative because, well, she’s a bit incapacitated right now. You can’t order people around, but you’ll be allowed to come take her to the officer’s mess if she gets hungry. And you get to eat that food, so I really recommend it. I’ve had enlisted food and I hated it.”