Off the Line

It had been a few days since the 202nd had been pulled back off the line. Captain Gates pulled some strings to get the survivors of Lieutenant Welch’s platoon as the 127th was disbanded after the great retreat. He had also managed to reassign Second Platoon’s still absent leader and put Lieutenant Ethel Welch in charge. Because of this maneuvering, the platoon only got a few fresh replacements. Evans’ First Squad had been given Private Gibson as a replacement for Nivelle. Shepard was apparently making a good recovery and had been returned to the squad with doctors orders for only light duty.

Evans looked at his watch and then looked up at Tiscornia, “Shep and Gibson should be arriving in the next train.You wanna go out to the station at 10:20 to pick them up?”

“Isn’t Gibson the one who kept asking about you?”

“Yep,” Evans nodded, “I’m pretty sure Captain Gates did that on purpose.”

“Well won’t that be exciting? Your biggest fan under your command?

“Yeah. Definitely,” Evans snorted, sat silent for a moment, then held up an envelope from his desk, “You know who delivered this?”

“No. Is it just a blank envelope?”

“Yeah. I don’t want to open it in case it’s some classified bullshit that’s been sent to me by mistake.”

“Huh,” Tiscornia grabbed it out of Evans hands and looked at it, then pointed to the wax seal, “You’re too tired Evans. Look at the seal. It’s from the Duchess Medway”

Evans eyes widened before he yanked the envelope out of Tiscornia’s hands and ripped it open. He quickly read it and then smiled at Tiscornia, “She’s alright. Well. She can’t walk on her own, and has to stay in bed most of the day, but she’s alright. Government wants to keep it under wraps because she’s supposed to be an image of Ethslin’s Strength and they’re afraid everyone will panic and run away.” Evans paused, “How did this even get here? It’s not addressed to me even. So it would have to have been hand delivered by someone.”

“She’s rich and powerful. She probably had some servant do it.”

“Well I feel special.”

“You were already the closest friend of her and your wife works for her.”

“Yeah, but. Whatever. Go pick up Shep and Gibson.”

“Should I regale her with stories of your wonder?”

“Shut the hell up and go.”

Tiscornia laughed, “Sergeant James Evans of Halton. Manly Mans Man of Manliness. Personally has slain entire regiments of the Boxer foes. Came back from the dead dozens of times… Good at Farming?”

“I’ll have you know Dom, I am amazing at farming.”

“OK, I’m leaving now,” Tiscornia turned around and left.

Evans frowned. God when would this war be over?


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