Leave Before Urbs

Evans knocked on the door of the apartment. Anna’s voice echoed from within, “Could you come back later Reggy? My husband’s visiting soon and I want to tidy up.”

“Too late Anna, I’m here!”

There was a clatter and after a few seconds, the door flung upon. Anna grabbed Evans and hugged him. She took a step back, smiled for a second, and kissed him, “Of course you’d come now, the kitchen is still a mess and I haven’t made the bed. Though I suppose you’d want to mess up the bed again anyways.”

Evans smiled, “Actually, I have reservations for lunch,” He looked at his watch, “In about thirty minutes, so we should get going if you’re ready.”

Looking down at her dress, she responded, “Well, I’d rather put on a nicer dress.”

“Well I think you look beautiful in that dress,” Evans smiled and kissed Anna.

She laughed, “Well you have to think I’m beautiful, you’re my husband. I’ll go put on my Mauve dress.” Anna turned around and went into her bedroom.

Evans walked over to the kitchen and looked around, “You don’t even know how far away this restaurant is! It could be half an hour away and we’ll lose our reservation!”

“You know,” Anna laughed from the other room, “You’ve matured a lot since two weeks ago.”

Getting himself a glass of water from the tap, Evans yelled back, “What do you mean?”

“Well, I’m changing my clothes, we have a room to ourselves, and you aren’t feeling me up,” She came out wearing the Mauve dress and a matching cloche hat, “You didn’t even peek at me while I was changing. Have you become a gentleman while I’ve gone?

“No, just impatient,” Evans took a quick drink, put the glass down, and offered his arm, “Shall we, it’s a really nice place, and I had to put a deposit for the reservation.”

After a short walk, the Evans pointed up at a sign, “Here we are, Witold’s Restaurant. Apparently it has the most authentic Silesian food in all of Seahaven.”

Anna kissed Evans, “Aww, thanks James… And it’s pronounced like Vitold.”

The hostess walked up to them, “Hello, are you the Evans party?”

“Yes Ma’am, I’m James and this is my wife Anna.”

The hostess seated the two at a table outside the restaurant and handed them menus. After a few minutes, an older man came by to their table, “I’m Witold, are you two ready to order?”

Anna smiled, “Może mam białą kiełbasą płytkę i wodę proszę?”

“Mówisz śląski?” Witold took out a pad of paper to write down the order.

“Tak! Mój mąż nie ma jednak,” Anna gestured at Evans, who was looking confused.

“Czy jesteś ze Śląska, a następnie?” Witold put his arm on the wall and leaned on it.

“Tak, wychowałem się tam,” Anna put her right hand onto Evans’ left hand.

“Um, I have no idea what is going on?” Evans looked at the menu, “And I can’t pronounce anything on this menu.”

“You’ll have the Flaczki and water,” Anna put her hand into her purse and waited for Witold to leave. She pulled out an envelope, put it on the table, and pulled out a photograph, “So, I got one of those photography cameras and made two of those fancy portraits. This one is in the dress I’m wearing right now, because you said you liked it. I also put a piece of the mauve fabric in the envelope so you can remember the color.”

Evans smiled and kissed Anna, “So what’s the other picture?”

“Um…” sliding the first photograph back into the envelope she pushed it over to Evans, “You can look at it some place more private.”

“Oh,” Evens pushed the envelope into his breast pocket and then reached into his pant pocket and pulled out a small box, “I also picked something up on my way here,” Evans opened the box and pulled out two rings, “So we can be like a real married couple.”

Anna pulled Evans over the table and kissed him. She then slid the ring on her finger, “Hey, it, actually fits.” A confused look appeared on her face, “There’s a woman waving at me… I don’t know who she is… She is coming over though.”

Turning to look over his shoulder, Evans squinted at the woman, who was wearing a light blue dress, “She looks sort of familiar.”

“GOLDFISH!” the woman yelled at Evans, “WHO’S THE GIRL?!”

“Excuse me,” Evans stood up as the woman approached, “Do I know you?”

The woman walked up to the fence next to the table, hiked up her dress, and climbed over it, “I’m Lucy, Lucy Chambers remember, your my sidekick or something.”

Evans shook her hand, “Lucy! I didn’t recognize you without all the, you know, dirt and grime. And you’ve got nice dress on… Plus we only met like three times,” Evans gestured to Anna, “And this is my wife, Anna.”

Standing up, Anna shook Lucy’s hand, “James mentioned you at one point, the strange woman from Company HQ right?” Anna paused and sat back down, putting her hand over her mouth, “Oh my God you were there.” She started to cry and pull at her hair, “Get it off. Get it off.”

Evans pulled his chair next to Anna and tried to comfort her. He then looked to Lucy, “Can you ask the manager for water and some towels,” Evans turned back to Anna, “It’s alright honey, you’re out of the war, everything is fine. We can leave now if you want. I’ll leave money for the check, alright?”

“No, I don’t want to go back… Don’t let me go back there…” Anna started retching and clawing at her hair.

“Look at me Anna,” Evans turned her head, “You never have to go back there. You never have to wear that uniform again.”

Witold and Lucy exited the restaurant with a pitcher of water and towels. Evans grabbed one of the towels, dipped it in the water and started washing Anna’s face. Witold poured them both a glass of water. Lucy poked her head down, waved goodbye, attempted to climb back over the fence, collapsed the fence, and then scrambled away.

Weapons Training

“Hello, I’m Boarder First Class Alex Greer. My lovely assistant is Boarder Third Class Emily Moran. In case you don’t know much about the Navy, Boarders are the security detail on Navy ships. The First Class comes from my rank, Petty Officer First Class,” Petty Officer Greer was standing at a podium in front of 2nd Battalion. Petty Officer Moran was sitting on a stool next to a rack that held two unfamiliar firearms.

“So, I’m here today to teach your Battalion about two weapons that the Navy has been using for a few years. Due to the evolving nature of warfare, and your units upcoming deployment to the city of Urbs, close quarters combat is be becoming more and more of a reality. The first weapon is the Frost Gun. Em, could you hand me one and walk the aisle with the other,” Petty Officer Greer walked over to Moran, who handed him one of the firearms. She then picked up another one and started walking the aisles.

“This is probably going to be more well known to some of you who grew up in the country. The Frost Gun is a pump action shotgun. That means in order to fire a round, you have to pump this back,” Petty Officer Greer pumped the shotgun, “It takes a round from the tubular magazine and pushes it into the chamber. It holds six rounds plus one in the pipe. When you get range time I’ll show you how to load it. Now if you’ll all turn to Petty Officer Moran.”

Petty Officer Moran was standing in the middle of the room. She held up her Frost Gun in one hand and put her other hand on her belt, “Hi, as Bee One said, I’m Em. The Frost Gun also has an attachment for when you run out of the seven rounds. It has a bayonet lug on the front that can fit the same bayonet that you’ve used on the Standard Ethslin Rifle you all are issued.”

Moran drew the bayonet from the frog on her belt and held it out, “I don’t necessarily recommend this sword bayonet though, you can cut it down to about half the length, which still gives some reach, but you can actually take corners well if your moving through corridors,” She then sheathed the bayonet and reached around for the frog on her opposite hip and drew a shorter bayonet and fixed it to the shotgun, “I was on the Effingham last year when it was boarded, and one thing my party noticed was that we couldn’t aim our Frost Guns when we were rounding the corners, so we went the the Machinist’s shop and had our bayonets cut down.”

“Em makes some good points,” Petty Officer Greer moved to put the Frost Gun back on its rack while Moran made her way back, “The Frost Gun has an accurate range of 30 meters. Next, Em, could you grab my favorite toy?”

“Yes Bee One,” Moran grabbed the two odd looking firearms next to the Frost Guns, she handed one to Petty Officer Greer and walked out into the aisle with the other one.

“Now this little thing is beautiful, This is the Blaire Auto Gun. It has a thirty round magazine that fires the same rounds as the Benett Pistol. It is a new kind of firearm, called a ‘submachine gun.’ It fires fast like a machine gun, but it weighs the same as a rifle. It has a range of about one hundred meters,” Petty Officer Greer demonstrated the action on the Blaire Auto Gun, “There is also a safety near the trigger, point up for safe, point forward for fire.”

Aiming the Auto Gun, Petty Officer Greer pulled the bolt back and clicked the trigger, “In my experience it’s best if you fire in short one to three second bursts. Any more and you just waste ammo. That seems it for right now. See y’all on the range.”

Petty Officers Greer and Moran started clearing out while the silhouette of a woman appeared in the doorway. Evans could see that she was wearing the skirt of an officer, but that was it. After about a minute, when the two Petty Officer’s left out the back door, the officer entered the room and stepped up to the podium.

Her shoulder boards had the insignia of a Major. The major didn’t have the tie color of the 202nd. She opened up a folder she had been carrying and opened it on the podium, “Hello, I’m Major Allison Strummer, just transfered from the 194th. I guess Petty Officer Greer let the cat out of the bag. The Navy has cut off the Vledscan supply ships at White Beach. Their General in charge is going to officially surrender within the week. So we are being transfered to the Dry Forest region.”

The Major looked out over the battalion, “I’ve got some even worse news. We’re going into Urbs. Newacre says we can’t bypass the city, and can’t just blast the place to Hell with artillery, so we’ll be going in to try and secure the place for Armored Car support. Those chaps will then roll in and claim credit for winning the battle and the infantry will once again be ignored.”

She shuffled the papers on the podium, “Alright, We are going to do a slight reorganization of the platoons to deal with city fighting. Each Rifle Team will have two soldiers operating a Frost Gun with a Benett Pistol as a sidearm. Each rifle team will also be assigned a Blaire Auto Gun. Officers are now to be assigned Blaire Auto Guns to supplement their sidearms. Each platoon will be assigned specific roles as well. First Platoon of each company will have a Machine Gun team attached to their unit. Second Platoon will have two Marksmen attached to their unit, one with a Charles Rifle and one with a scoped Standard Ethslin Rifle. Third Platoon will have a Frost Flame Projector team attached. Machine Gun Platoons will be reassigned to Regimental HQ and will be replaced with an addition Mortar team for each Company.

“While Company Commanders are given discretion, it is recommended that Second Platoon acts as recon, First Platoon acts as support, and Third Platoon will take out hard points. Mortar Teams will be assigned mostly smoke rounds, to screen infantry movement. I know that sounds BS, and I’ll try and get more explosive rounds.”

The Major nodded, “That’s it for today, Schedule for Company weapons training is posted. Company Commanders have been given orders on the new teams assigned to their companies. And, I don’t really care for pageantry, so, Lieutenant Simmons, you’re a Captain now. Dismissed to company meetings.”

The battalion got up and split up into companies. The Company Sergeant lead Fox Company to a room on the right, where they all reseated themselves by platoons. Captain Simmons walked to the front of the room and opened a folder. He nodded to Lance Corporal Chambers, who skittered out the door and down the hall. After a few minutes, four Corporals and four Lance Corporals entered the room. Captain Simmons looked over at the new soldiers, “Corporal Holman.”

One of the Corporals stepped forward, “I’m Corporal Myra Holman, I’m the Gun Commander for the Machine Gun team. The two soldiers under my command are Lance Corporals Wesley Olivier and Toby Lockwood. We were with the 351st at Dry Forest during the thick of it.”

“Next we have Corporal Calepino… Am I saying that right?”

Two Corporals stepped forward, “Yes sir, I’m Corporal Silvio Calepino. This is Corporal Eva Blake. We are the Marksman team. Fought through Tsiv River, then were moved as staff to the Marksman training school.”

“And finally Corporal Irvine.”

The last three stepped forward, “I’m Corporal Rory Irvine, the Mortarman. This is Lance Corporal Emma Sutcliffe, my spotter and Lance Corporal Edwin Purcell, my Loader. We were all in more traditional mortar units up at the Northern Gate.”

“Alright, now that we have met our new friends, let’s start the rest of this meeting. First off, Range times…”

Geology

“Now that you’re all settled in Lieutenant, you should pick your runner. I suggest Private Evans here, he’s been my runner for about a month now,” Lieutenants Simmons and Stoddart were seated at a table, while Evans was packing up the last of Lieutenant Simmons’ things.

“Can I select anyone for my runner?” Lieutenant Stoddart flipped through his notebook.

“Yeah, you can pick anyone really. Since you’re at full strength they’ll be sharing a room with you.”

“Private Clark. I happened to talk to her the other day and she apparently was a secretary before the war.”

Lieutenant Simmons nodded and looked at Evans, “Alright then, can you hand me my bag. And you’ll want to teach Clark everything she needs to now.”

Evans held up his bag and handed it to Lieutenant Simmons, “Nice serving under you sir.”

“I’ll see you around the Company Evans,” Lieutenant Simmons slung his bag, put his garrison cap on and exited the room.

Evans turned to Lieutenant Stoddart, “Sir, do you want me to get Private Clark?”

“Yes…” Lieutenant Stoddart paused a moment, “Wait a moment.”

“Yes Sir,” Evans paused by the door.

The Lieutenant sighed, “Look, I’m sure you’re a great runner and all…”

“Honestly I don’t care sir. I’m sure Clark will be a fine choice sir,” Evans started opening the door.

“It’s just, I figure, hey, if I’m going to have someone with me all the time,” Lieutenant Stoddart started writing down some notes, “I might as well have someone I could have a little… you know with. Never mind, Dismissed Private.”

Evans exited the room and moved back to the platoons barracks. He entered the common room and looked around. He saw the young blond women and waved, “Hey, Private Clark, Lieutenant Stoddart wants you in his tent. Bring your gear.”

Clark smiled, “OK Jimmy… Evans… I feel special, being called into the Lieutenant’s office. Hope I’m not in trouble.” She grabbed her bag and left the barracks.

Lance Corporal Newey turned to Evans, “So what’s that about.”

“She is the new runner for the new Lieutenant, So I’m back in your team Sergeant Campbell,” Evans walked over and patted Sergeant Campbell on the back.

Laughing, Newey looked over, “She does have certain qualities that you lack mister Evans.”

“Yeah, I like how he didn’t go with subtlety with this decision. First, he picks the cute spunky blond. Second, he pretty much told me he wanted to sleep with her,” Evans sat down and put his feet up on a table, “I am glad I don’t have to do any more paperwork.”

Laughing, Lance Corporal Newey threw a ball of paper at Evans, “Oh come on, if there’s anyone who shouldn’t be allowed to talk about this is would be you. Replace blond with brunette and we have you and Zwev.”

Before Evans could respond, Clark’s voice called from the entrance, “Attention!”

Lieutenant Stoddart walked into the room, “As you were soldiers.” The Lieutenant looked around, “Um, is everyone here?”

The Sergeant’s quickly looked around. Sergeant Campbell nodded, “All present and accounted for Sir.”

“Thank you Sergeant,” The Lieutenant nodded and pulled a notebook out of his breast pocket. “So I think I should introduce myself. My name is Winston Stoddart the Third. I studied Geology at the University of Newacre. I’d like to use the knowledge I’ve gained from my years at University to teach you how to improve the trenches.”

Lieutenant Stoddart walked over to the map of White Beach on the wall, “So this is where you lot were about a month ago. Did you notice anything about the soil there?” The platoon sat in silence, “Well then… So the soil at the White Beach cliffs, where our trench line is set up is a Sandy Clay Loam for the first meter. Underneath that, it transitions into a Clay.”

Evans leaned over to Newey and whispered to him, “Hey, Anna’s train is leaving in about twenty minutes. Could you distract him so I can slip out? I feel like this will go on for a while.”

Newey nodded. He stood up and walked to the map and pointed to it, “So you’re saying that there is clay on top, followed by sand underneath?”

With the Lieutenant distracted, Evans slunk out of the common room and made his way through the base to the train depot. He looked around at the soldiers standing at the train. In the sea of green-dyed uniforms Evans noticed a strangely blue-red dress. He moved towards it. “Anna!”

Anna turned around and smiled, “James! Shouldn’t you be with the platoon?”

“I uh, came to see you off,” Evans hugged her and took a step back, “I’ve never seen anything like this color before. I can’t decide if it’s blue or red.”

“It’s called Mauve, which is a kind of purple. Some chemist invented it and it’s been all the rage in the cities,” Anna swished her dress back and forth, “It’s the dress I showed up to basic training in. I’ve had it in the bottom of my kit ever since.”

Making a move to pick up her bag, Evans smiled at her, “Well it looks beautiful on you.”

Anna grabbed Evans’ hand, “The trains been delayed for an hour and a half because of shelling down the line, you don’t need to grab that yet.”

“So, um,” Evans put his arm over Anna, “I bet that dress would also look beautiful off of you.”

Snickering, Anna kissed Evans on the cheek, “I obviously didn’t marry you for your smooth talking. And um, where would we go?”

Grabbing her bag in one hand and her arm in the other, Evans gestured with his head, “The new Lieutenant is giving a long and boring talk in second platoons barracks. So his office should be free.”

“Wow, I feel scandalous,” Anna walked over and sat on the bed, “On the new Lieutenant’s bed? The sheets seem to be messy already. I thought you usually did that first thing?”

“Lieutenant Stoddart picked a new runner,” Evans looked around the room, “Finally won’t have to deal with any of this anymore.”

 

Straightening out his uniform, Evans smiled over at Anna as she put on her dress, “Well I should probably get going, and your train will be coming soon. I’ll see you before the 202nd goes back to White Beach.” Evans walked to the door.

Anna threw a sock at him, “Aren’t you going to kiss me goodbye?”

Evans shrugged sheepishly, “Well I figure we already did a bit more than that.”

“Get over here right now James,” Anna smoothed down her dress, “If you die I’d prefer my last memory of you to be fully clothed.”

Evans kissed Anna, “Well I think you look great without that dress.” He turned around and went through the door, “Bye Anna.”

When he got to door of the Platoon Barracks, he waved and got Newey’s attention. He nodded and walked over to the Lieutenant, who was struggling to hold several rocks, “Sir, which one is Conglomerate sir? That’s a metamorphic rock right? Because it’s from a volcano.”

“No… That’s completely… Ooh, I think I saw a good one over by the tracks.” The Lieutenant paused, put the rocks in his haversack and sprinted out of the room.

Evans ducked against the side of the barracks while the Lieutenant sprinted away. He then walked through the door and took a seat far in the back. Everyone was silent for a moment before they started bursting into laughter.

Tiscornia looked at him, “I can’t believe he didn’t notice. This guy is going to be beautiful in combat.”

“More importantly Evans,” Private Hunt leaned closer to Evans and smiled, “How was your visit with Mrs. Evans?”

“She was wearing the most beautiful looking dress. She said it was ‘Mauve’,” Evans smiled and leaned back, “Apparently Mauve is a type of purple.”

Lance Corporal Turner smiled, “I used to have a nice mauve dress. I bet it was real pretty.”

“And you ripped it off her?”

Evans kicked Newey’s chair, “That’s a very personal question. Now let’s quiet down before the Lieutenant finds out what I did in his bed.”

Just as Private Clark was about to protest, Lieutenant Stoddart came in, with a heavy haversack, “So, guys, I mean soldiers, I managed to quickly get some. I found some really good basalt… Which is weird because there isn’t much volcanic activity in this region.”

Reinforcements

“Evans. Evans.” Anna was kicking Evans’ bed with excitement. She tried to stay quiet so the rest of the Rifle Team wouldn’t wake up.

“Yeagh,” Evans rolled out of his bunk. He slid his feet into his boots and started to lace them up, “What brings you to Rifle Team One? Is Team Three that boring at,” he looked at his wristwatch, “Five AM?”

“Come outside Evans, I need to talk to you,” Zwev smiled and played with her kepi. After Evans got up, she exited with a bit of spring in her step. When she and Evans got outside, she grabbed him and kissed him, “It worked!”

Evans stepped back, “Whoa now, what happens if someone sees us?”

“That doesn’t matter anymore!” Anna smiled and spun around, pretending to play with an imaginary skirt. She bent over double and puked. She stood back up, “That’s what I’m talking about James! I’m pregnant!”

“You’re sure?” Evans smiled and hugged Anna.

Anna nodded, “I woke up about an hour ago vomiting, I missed my period, and I even did the old wheat and barley thing,” She smiled and gestured to Lieutenant Simmons tent, “And the Lieutenant seems to be awake.”

The two walked over to the Lieutenant’s tent. Evans knocked on the sign on the tent. Lieutenant Simmons yelled from inside, “Just a minute! Evans isn’t on duty for an hour, so I don’t have a runner right now.”

“It is Private Evans sir. And I’m with Private Zakrzewska sir,” Evans waited by the door of the tent.

“Oh, come on in Private Evans.”

“Yes sir,” Evans opened the door gestured for Anna to come in. He moved to the portable stove to start it up, “Do you want some coffee Lieutenant? And um… Private Zakrzewska and I have something to talk to you about Sir.”

“Yes, coffee Evans, and make some for yourself,” The Lieutenant was seated at his desk, going through some paperwork, “And what is it Privates? Is it quick, I need to finish this up in an hour.”

Anna saluted the Lieutenant, “Sir, One month ago, during leave, Private Evans and I got married in secret. Over the course of said month, Private Evans has impregnated me, and as such, I am no longer fit for service in the army sir.”

Lieutenant Simmons nodded, “Well you picked a good time to tell me Miss Zakrzewska. Or I guess its Miss Evans now isn’t it?” He pulled another form out of his desk, “I need to ask you a few questions. First off, do you have the marriage certificate?”

Anna reached into her pocket and fished out the paper, “Here it is, the Pastor was Daniel Blair.”

Lieutenant Simmons grabbed the paper and started copying down information, “Any in unit witnesses to the wedding?”

“Yes sir, Lance Corporals Tiscornia and Chilcott sir.”

Evans walked over to Lieutenant Simmons with a mug of coffee, “Here sir, any sugar today?”

“No thank you Private,” Lieutenant Simmons grabbed the mug and sipped, “Why don’t you get your wife some Private, and since your here, can you start filling out these forms,” The Lieutenant gestured to the paperwork he had been working on earlier. He turned back to Anna, “And when did you first realize your were pregnant?”

“This morning all but confirmed it sir,” Anna smiled, “I haven’t had my period in over a month, and this morning I woke up nauseous. I also have done the wheat and barley test, and that worked.”

The Lieutenant nodded, “Alright Miss Evans, that is about everything, I’ll put this up the chain, but you’ll need to see the Regimental Doctor to have your status confirmed, and then we can return you to… Ah, where are you expecting to go?”

Private Evans handed Anna her cup of coffee, “Thanks James, And um, we actually bought an apartment in Seahaven. So I’ll be going there sir.”

“Very Well,” The Lieutenant signed at the bottom and held out the paper, “Can both of you sign at the bottom of this form, and Miss Evans, take it to the Regimental Doctor.”

Evans grabbed the paper and a pen. He quickly signed it and offered it to Anna, who did the same. She kissed Evans then ran out of the tent, and out of the war.

Evans turned turned back to the Lieutenant, expecting to be berated. Instead, the Lieutenant gestured back to the paperwork that Evans had barely started, “You should get back to work Private, this needs to be over to Colonel Darling by six. And I’ll need you to run it, I have a general scheduled with the platoon at that time.”

“Company sir,” Evans handed an envelope he had just opened to the Lieutenant, “You’re now Fox Company commander sir. Congratulations on the promotion. We’re apparently receiving a new officer, Lieutenant Winston Stoddart the Third to take over Second Platoon.”

“Huh,” Lieutenant Simmons grabbed the paper from Evans, “So it goes Private. I’ll be sure to recommend you as runner for the new Lieutenant. And the platoon will be brought back up to full strength again, so you can drop your duties as a rifleman.”

“Thank you sir,” Evans looked through the forms, “Um sir, should I change this to fourteen enlisted soldiers needed as replacements? Since Private Zakrzewska is leaving the unit.”

“Yes, and you can just say ‘Anna’ Private Evans, I’ll know who you are talking about,” the Lieutenant took a sip of coffee and flipped through some papers, “And congratulations on your marriage Private.”

“You’re not angry Lieutenant?”

Laughing, the Lieutenant responded, “Some folks just aren’t fit for a war. Best that they leave before they break during combat. And Hey, aren’t I allowed to enjoy a good love story?”

About ten minutes before six, the two had finished all the paperwork. The Lieutenant gathered it all in a folder and handed it to Evans. Evans nodded and left the tent. It didn’t take him long to snake his way through the camp to Regimental Headquarters. He knocked on the door and waited for a response.

After a few seconds, a Corporal opened the door, paused for a moment, then said, “You’re the runner from Fox Company Second Platoon right?”

Evans nodded and held out the folder. The Corporal gestured towards an office near the back, “Colonel Darling is expecting you, in there.”

Evans nodded and walked through regimental headquarters to the Colonel’s office. He stopped at the open door and saluted, “Sir, I’m here to deliver the reinforcement request form from Fox Company Second Platoon.”

Returning the salute, Colonel Darling waved Evans in and grabbed the folder, “You’re the Platoon with that slut who got herself pregnant. Did you include her disgrace in your totals?”

“Yes, I included my wife in the totals sir,” Evans tried to restrain himself.

“If it were up to me both of you would be shot,” The Colonel quickly added a few signatures to the forms in the folder. He looked on a roster and wrote down fourteen names from it on the folder. He handed it back to Evans with a disgusted look, “The replacements are getting inspected by the regimental doctor. And if you run fast, your whore might still be there.”

Evans grabbed the folder, saluted, did an about face, left the room, and immediately punched a wall. After he had regained his composure he walked through the halls of the building, following the signs that pointed to the doctor’s office. When he entered, he saw Anna, sitting on a bench, wearing a hospital gown. She smiled at him and waved.

He sat down next to her, put his arm around her, and kissed her on the cheek, “Met with the doctor yet?”

“No, Colonel Darling yelled at me for a while,” Anna laughed and hugged Evans, “But I don’t care, I won’t have to see him again.”

“Well I will, and he does not like me,” Evans gestured to his folder, “I have to go turn this in and grab the reinforcements. Stop by Fox before you get the train home.”

“I will, and did the Colonel give you that ‘I should have you both shot’ line?”

Evans laughed, “Yes dear, now I really have to go.” He kissed her one more time then walked into the doctors office. An orderly was sitting on the examination table, smoking.

“Hi, I’m here to collect fifteen reinforcements,” Evans showed the folder to the orderly.

Without taking the cigarette out of his mouth, the orderly responded, “Take that door right there. They’re all waiting in a staging area out back. Doc Laurie is finishing up with them.”

Evans thanked the orderly and exited out the door the orderly had gestured to. A few hundred soldiers were lounging on the parade grounds. There was a stage and a podium in front of the group. The doctor was in front of the podium doing quick medical checks on a few soldiers.

Running through the crowd of people, Evans saluted the doctor, “Sir, I’m here to collect fourteen soldiers and one officer.”

The doctor nodded to the podium, “Theres one of those sound amplifying cones under the podium. Yell in that, it will be louder.”

Evans nodded and stepped up next to he podium. He grabbed the cone and opened the folder, “Privates Kristin Clark, Wilfred Hoste, Vivien Kempe, Marianne Cayley, Thomas Penney, Robert Huntley, Feliks Macczek, Victor Delage, Hugo Ordon, Joseph Wood, Adrian Hawke, Rebecca Ullman. Lance Corporal… Iosif Ustinov! Sergeant Christopher Gabriel. And Lieutenant Winston Stoddart the Third. Come over to me. You’ll be in Second Platoon of Fox Company, Second Battalion.”

Fifteen soldiers got up and started making their way over. One of them jogged over, when they got closer, Evans realized it was Ustinov, “Hey Ustinov, they gave you Lance Corporal just for getting shot? Sounds like a pretty sweet deal.”

“Yeah, I’m tempted to get shot a few more times so I can be an officer,” Ustinov laughed before adopting a more serious face, “So I take it Green was killed.”

“Yeah, attack came the day after you left. Shell killed her and Renoir. Also ripped off Frankland’s arm,” Evans wiped his face, “We also lost Griffith, Davis—”

“Haven’t you been taught to salute officers?” Evans and Ustinov looked up to see a young Lieutenant looking at the two with disdain. They both sighed and saluted the officer. The officer returned the salute, “And you Private, take my pack.” The officer unbuckled his webbing and handed it to Evans.

“Yes sir,” Evans slung the gear onto his back and turned back to Ustinov, “We lost a lot of people, we can talk later. But on a more positive note, Private Zakrzewska is no more, She’s Anna Evans now, and is being discharged from the Army as we speak.”

Evans looked around and counted the soldiers, fifteen, “Alright everyone, lets get you to Fox Company.”

Evans and Ustinov led the group through the camp. The Sergeant jogged up next to them, “Hey, I’m Sergeant Gabriel. I take it you two have already seen a show?”

“Yeah, I’m about two months green, but I was at White Beach,” Evans shook Sergeant Gabriel’s hand, “Had a heavy attack though, why we need fifteen replacements. Private James Evans by the way.”

Ustinov offered his hand, “I’m Lance Ustinov, wounded the day before his show at White, but I caught the tail end of Tsiv River. How about you Sergeant?”

“Fought at the Saints River, very beginning of the war. Got captured in an attack. Spent a few months in a prison camp, decided it wasn’t for me and left.”