Dressing Station And Soldiers Eager To Die

Saint Laurent

Saint Laurent is a mass of closely packed houses on the eastern edge of the town, a little sleepy, and out of the way of the main activity. German artillery left a heavy toll here, as this place was in clear view of the guns from Vimy Ridge which can be seen in the distance to the north, though the taking of the ridge by the Allies in 1917 has eased the pain of the residents here. No house is undamaged, many have been razed to the ground in the indiscriminate shelling of earlier years.
People are still living in those homes though, making do as best they can. Refugees from the village of Vimy, just beyond the ridge and in German hands, with no better place to go, have also congregated here, taking over the few homes that were abandoned by their occupants and making them their new home.
It is currently dusk.
Sub-Rooms :
1. Dressing Station
2. Front Line Trench

Sidiqqi hikes along towards the east, looking around with a measure of curiosity at the old barbed wire coils and formations.

Morgenstern has gotten orders to get the dressing station in order and he's directing men to pile up sandbags on the wooden construction. It's certainly nothing that will last forever but for now, it's better than nothing and closer to the front lines than the church is.

Sidiqqi stops as he spots the corporal, walking over to him to nod. "Corporal, sir. I've just been discharged from hospital." He slides a hand into his greatcoat to pull out a signed discharge paper.

Morgenstern looks up and wipes some sweat from his brow, removing the helmet for a moment as the spring weather is warm enough to make the large man sweating from the work. "Good to see you back out," he grunts in a friendly manner, watching the man with some curiosity. He leans in to look at the papers all dutifully. "Gas, eh?" he says, not surprised.

Sidiqqi grunts a nod. "Yes sir." frowning as he looks down to his skin, which is still a bit raw from the irritation. "They say it's called mustard gas." and releases his breath, eyes back to Morgenstern. "I was covered all over with blisters from it."

Morgenstern leans back again and lights a cigarette up, offering one over. "Yeah, nasty stuff," he agrees, smiling thinly. He speaks good English but it's heavily accented. "Can kill a man too," he adds. Not very encouraging, is he? "I'm Markus Morgenstern," he introduces himself, looking a bit embarassed he's forgotten to do so earlier, holding a hand out to shake. "Don't think I got your name before."

Sidiqqi forms a pleasant smile, though still distant with a degree of stoicism. "Private Arik Sidiqqi." He accepts the cigarette. "I was the one who killed the German who'd been manning that slit trench in No Man's Land, when you and the squad advanced."

Morgenstern nods and shakes his hand firmly and heartily. "I remember that, just didn't get your name," he grunts, looking pleased. "Sidiqqi?" he tries, testing it to see he gets it right. "Some real good work with that machine gun. Don't be too good, they'll send you to storm the German lines," he says, trying a weak joke.

Sidiqqi manages a chuckle, seeming to be agreeable with Morgenstern's mannerism. "I wouldn't mind, though only in the steel of a tank. That, sir, is my calling. I'm trained to drive on, fire the main gun of one, or cut the enemy down with a machine gun." and smiles a nod. "Even command one, God-willing, some day."

Morgenstern's eyebrows shoot up. "Yeah?" he says, being impressed. "Those tanks… scary things," he says and it's anyone's guess if he's the one being intimidated by them or if he thinks it's something the Germans should be very afraid of. "Don't know nothing about them," he admits. "Except that they're supposedly good to walk behind across No Man's Land. Hope they get used more."

There's a hive of activity here as a dressing station is being hastily built. On a sturdy log and wooden frame, sandbags are piled up all around it to form a sort of bunker that'll offer enough protection from shelling even if a direct hit probably will do substantial damage. Morgenstern is currently talking to Sidiqqi but is somewhat overseeing the whole thing.

Sidiqqi follows the corporal into the dressing station, smiling a nod with the topic of tanks. "I was trained with an early Mark I when I first signed up for the Royal Navy. After they shifted us over to the army with the tanks, Mark IVs and MarK Vs were my favorites." He draws up a brow in consideration. "The only one here in Arras I've had a chance to crew is a Renault. Two men cannot properly be called a tank crew."

No sooner was Byrd released from the ranks of the wounded then he was grabbed up by a superior and prodded out to work on the dressing station. He does so without too much grumbling. It ain't getting shot at, at least. He spots Morgenstern and Sidiqqi, jogging to catch up with them. "What's the show here, then?" he asks glibly.

Antonia has come with a few hands from the church, bringing supplies with them that'll be kept out here. She carries a piled armload of blankets, in a caravan leading a nurse or two behind her who are similarly loaded up. Her medical bag is slung over her shoulder as usual, along with another large sack loaded down with small bottles and bandages. She passes the blankets off to some waiting hands and pulls the strap of the extra bag over her head and off, catching a good deal of her thick hair into a tangle.

Henricks follows along, behind Byrd, looking….despondant - he doesn't want to be on the line tonight, certainly not tonight. Bad feelings about the future, and the like. He pins his collar button, and moves with his fellow ANZAC to the dressing station, handing over his papers, and showing off his wounded arm, bandaged cleanly. "I'm not feeling too great tonight Corporal, " He says to Morgenstern, even though he's not in direct charge of the aussie… anybody who'll listen, right? "don't suppose we're out of Machine gun belts and I can just sit back here, eh?"

Johnston drags himself along, rifle over his right shoulder as he walks. He looks like he's having his share of unpleasantness. His face and left arm are covered in the yellow lesions, and he looks mighty sad about all this. His left shirt sleeve is also torn straight down from the elbow to the wrist, and it's peeled back, several large, hefty splinters dug into his skin, but that really doesn't seem like much compared to the boils.

"Yeah, those Renaults… they're littering the No Man's Land," Morgenstern says, not especially impressed about /those/ particular tanks. He gets distracted as a sandbag bursts open as it's lifted up onto the roof of the station and it floods all over a poor soldier to the hearty guffaws of the others. He snorts, and doesn't say anything about it; laughing is a rare thing after all. The poor soldier being rained on by sand sputters and jumps around, sand all over himself. But he's laughing too. "Hello Byrd, Henricks…" He looks at the papers with nominal interest. "I don't know what's happening tonight," he says bluntly, "but right now we got a dressing station to build. They figured we needed something a bit closer to the front lines. So, haul sandbags or help the doctors and nurses set up shop." The latter is said as he's spotted Antonia and entourage and he looks relieved to see them; he raises a hand in a wave.

Sidiqqi turns to look over as more men arrive. "Machine gun belts? For what model?" in response to Henricks. His expression warms to a moment's smile seeing Byrd, though he quickly shifts it back to neutral noting the doctor's presence. A nods then to Morgenstern before his gaze drops down to see the sand spilling over onto his own boots. "Bad luck, gentlemen."

Byrd stops in his tracks, taking a second look at Morgenstern when he's addressed as 'corporal.' The Kiwi gawks for a second, before his face breaks into a grin. "Well done, mate," he says, sounding as if he truly means it. "I mean, well done, sir." He's so pleasantly surprised that he even follows that order, hopping to haul sandbags. He doesn't even take offense at the disparaging of the Renaults. He grins back at Sid, doffing a quick nod to the man.

"Damn this…" Antonia grumbles something else that's not quite befitting a lady as she gets the strap off and out of her hair, leaning over to set it down. She straightens with a well-deserved huff, straightening the bottom of her uniform jacket as she looks over towards the builders. She raises her hand back at Morgenstern, then gathers the hem of her skirt slightly to let her walk a bit better through this mud as she picks her way over towards him. Hearing Byrd address Morgenstern as sir, she stops, looking blankly at the Legionnaire for a moment.

"Bullocks." Henricks murmurs, and begins over to the pile of sandbags, "We got any bloody pioneer tools, or are we filling these things with our mattocks?" he asks, looking about for shovels and the like. Digging beats dying. Any Aussie will tell you that.

Morgenstern is at the dressing station and the place is buzzing with activity. A sturdy log and wooden frame is being clad with sandbags to serve as the place for woundeds' first stop. "Eh… don't call me Sir!" Morgenstern reminds Byrd, looking rather embarassed about it. "Nice to see you back in business, Byrdie." He watches him and Henricks get to work, then turns to walk towards Antonia. "Hello, Doctor Young. I sure am glad to see you. We're arguing about how to set things up inside, we need you to direct the whole thing or else it's going to be chaos." Seeing Johnston, he halts there and stares. "But maybe you need to look him over first…"

Sidiqqi quiets as the corporal turns to engage in more authoritative duties with the doctor, and starts making his way back to be nearer to Byrd. "Corporal has my medical discharge papers. How about we find Lil and give her a recon spin?"

"Ah, right," Byrd replies to Morgenstern with a shrug, at the reminder not to call the man sir. "Anyhow, good show on you. Good to know there's a bloke who knows his stuff, telling us what to do." He certainly has the Kiwi's confidence. For whatever that's worth. He nods to Sid, crooking a grin. "Wouldn't mind giving the girl a spin, but it looks like this'll busy us for awhile yet." He gestures to the dressing station.

Johnston stands near the door, his left arm limp and the right hand on his rifle's strap. He looks unpleasant with the yellow sores.

Antonia is looking at Morgenstern's new insignia with a raised brow and a slight smile curved on her lips. "Corporal Morgenstern now, is it? Well, good. Good." She says quite mildly, though there's something in her tone that's more appreciative than she usually is. "I'm glad to see things moving out here. Chaos is to be expected, I suppose. Plenty of ways for men to make a mess; not so many ways to clean it back up." Her pale eyes turn as Morg indicates Johnston, narrowing her eyes as she peers at him. Oh, dear. She looks back at Morg and nods, running a hand through her hair and turning to gesture towards one side that they're working on. "Keep them doing the structure like that. Anyone you can spare, have them get up these boxes everyone's dragged out and line them up at the side. Here are the inventory papers, hold onto to them for just a moment if you would…" She hands over a set of papers to Morgenstern in a manner where if he doesn't take them they'll just drop into the mud. And she looks back at Johnston, taking a few steps that way. "Private? Sir…are you looking for medical help?"

Sidiqqi grimaces a bit. "Well. I think the Medical Officers and the corpsmen can handle the setting up the station. We've got to keep our tanks in operation, too." He shifts to a slight smile, "Oil will clog the engine if she sits too long." to Byrd.

Henricks continues to dig in the soil, moving blackened earth into the sand bags with the located pioneer's shovel and begins hauling them back, two at a time. Strong bloke, that gold miner giant is.
Johnston nods his head a little reluctantly. "Ah, yes miss. I wasn't able to get the equipment on quick enough the other day during a gas attack." he says with a very crisp British accent. "And on top of that, my sleeve was torn open and exposed. The engineers need to check for edges."

"You know what a corporal is? He's the man that everyone gives the blame when things go bad," Morgenstern jokes to Byrd, but he can't help but feeling good about what the private says. He turns back to Antonia, listening closely to her. Oh, more papers. Morgenstern sure isn't used to this sudden influx of papers that has to be shown, written or asked for. He smiles lopsidedly at the doctor as he takes the papers, returning her smile with an awkward one of his own as if he's suddenly feeling self-conscious. "If you want some shelves put up, just point out where and it'll be done," he says, not wanting to waste her time too much. He begins looking over the papers, wandering over to the other side of the dressing station to see how work is progressing.

Henricks walks back with a sandbag on his shoulder, overhearing Morgenstern. "Hell, that's ok, right mate? If it's your fault, you'll be down to a bare arm again in no time, then you won't have to shave so often." He thunks another one down on the strongpoint.

Byrd chuckles at Sid. "Is good form to keep Lil slick," he says, though he waits for Morgenstern to order him where and when. "You need any hands putting this place up, Corp?" Odd, to hear the Kiwi volunteering for work. But it's work where he's not getting shot at.

<> Renault FT-17MG arrives from Grand Place!

Morgenstern looks up and snickers at what Henricks said. "I suppose so," he grunts, and tucks the papers away. He's going to do some hard work himself now. "Nah, Byrdie. You go get some practice with the tank if you want, we're enough people here anyway. Best hurry before some officer comes around and says otherwise though."

"Shelves, yes, we'll need shelves!" Antonia calls to Morgenstern, raising her index finger. "I'll be right there!" She looks back at Johnston, the wind blowing her hair around her shoulders. "Dear oh dear," she says, glancing him over. "That gas is wretched. Unfortunately I haven't much here that I can use quite yet; it's all quite firmly packed. Do you know where the church is? I would suggest you get yourself there as quickly as possible and have someone get a look at you there. Get you cleaned up right."

(From Renault FT-17MG) The driver moves the tank forward, its engine rumbling low through the city street as it passes the trenches and wire coils.

Henricks stops digging, pausing to stare at the tank. Wow! A Tank. HE's seen an automobile or two in his time, but never a tank. And certainly not one in operation. He rests on the shovel as it rolls by, seeming to not mind the thick black smoke it pours out from behind it.

Byrd shrugs to Morgenstern. "If you do insist," he says. Speaking of, there's his Lovely Lil now. He nods his head quickly to the corporal, then heads over to meet the thing. Grinning crooked at it. "That's Lil, that is!" he shouts to Henricks, over the roar. "Pretty little thing, ain't she?"

<> Byrd gets into Renault FT-17MG.

Henricks yells loudly. "Aye! She is! Bloody Brilliant!" He says, "Go give Jerry what for, blokes!" He raises his fist up.

(From Renault FT-17MG) Sidiqqi shifts gears, slowing the tank to a very slow roll for Byrd to climb up on board at the gunner hatch. The groans and creaks of the machine are rather noisy, in addition to its petrol-hungry engine.

Morgenstern watches the tank roll by with a somewhat suspicious look; he's hardly trusting of those big heaps of metal. But he grins at Byrd and waves before he turns back to work, helping to haul sandbags now with considerable strength.

Henricks gets back to work hefting sandbags, "Hope that behemouth don't get too close to the front, them jerries have been shooting artillery at us every night like clockwork around now…" He murmurs as she joins in the line of men hefting and moving the bags to the dressing station.

Johnston nods his head. "Ah, miss, I'm not that bad." he says, reaching up to gently prod one of the boils on his eyebrow that actually weighs down over his eye slightly. "A spot of brandy and a hot bath would fix me right up, if you don't mind me saying so," he adds.

"I don't, no. Unfortunately there's little chance of you having either, so your choices are either be flexible or be in pain," Antonia answers him, reaching up and smartly slapping her hand against his when he touches that nasty boil. "You can get help at the church. If you'd rather suffer than at least suffer while helping us build." She gestures back towards the station.

Morgenstern grunts as he hoists a sandbag up, working next to Henricks. He looks a bit worried at what the man says, glancing eastwards. "I sure hope so too, soon as the Germans see a tank they start shelling. Hope they didn't mean training as in going out there and be seen." He glances at Antonia and Johnston, distracted suddenly by the wind in the doctor's hair. His grip on the sandbag slips in his distraction and he drops it on his toes. A string of German cursing follows and he grabs a post firmly to keep himself from hopping around like a dork.

Henricks ties another sandback closed, and glances back to the doctor in time to miss the crashing sandbag. "Oi, I'll have one of those brandies and hot bathes if you're offering!" He says, adding a careful, "Ma'am." Before the german cursing. "Bloody hell, don't be shouting in that language, somebody's gonna think you're a hun in frog's clothing there."

Johnston lowers the hand at the slap and opens his mouth as if to say something but shuts it as the feisty nurse tells him off. "Yes ma'am." he says in a high-class British accent. Clearly not London gutter trash, especially not with his crisp attentive stance.

Antonia's insignia is clearly a doctor's rather than a nurse's. Her own accent, while not quite tip-top of English society, is at least well-cultured. "Good. I hope you make your decision quickly. Standing about isn't good for one's health." She gathers a fold of her skirt and turns to start back, noticing Morgenstern babying his foot like that. "Quite alright there, Corporal?" she says, the corners of her mouth tense as she tries really hard not to hurt his dignity by smiling. And to Henricks, as she keeps walking, "I would love to offer, Private Henricks. Unfortunately I can't. Perhaps you and this young man here ought to get to know each other. Sounds as though you have similar tastes."

Morgenstern stares at Henricks. And then, as if the man just said something totally hilarious, he begins to laugh. "Yeah…" he says, managing to stop with some effort, "can't have that, can we." He rubs his foot, crouching down, but it didn't suffer much. Antonia is given another awkward smile and he straightens up, shoulders pulled back and chest pushed out. "Very good, Doctor. I'm fine. Didn't hurt at all, really. I'm… uh.. just going to…" He points at some boxes with medical equipment that was carried over and goes to get some of those inside instead.

Johnston nods his head and heads out the door.

Henricks looks back to Morganstern after getting burned by the pretty young doctor. "Blimey, bloody cruel one, that lady is." More or less under his breath as he continues to stack the sandbags. "No mistaking her for an ozzie, that's for certain. Sheila's back home treat a bloke with more respect than to shoot him down in front of his mates." Ah, the complaining and griping, every soldiers god given right.

"I do respect you, Private Henricks," Antonia says right on the tail end of Henricks' gripe, finally close enough to the two men that she doesn't have to shout to them now. "Which is why I treat you in a manner than I would expect you'd be able to handle. Do pardon me if I overestimate you." She sounds like his complaint didn't bother her at all, but the small smile that was threatening before now looks quite forced. She looks at Morgenstern, watching him for a moment. "If you're certain you're fine, then," she says, in a tone that you might even call gentle, and she turns her head to see how many of those boxes are left, counting as her eyes move from box to box. Somewhere in her head she knew the contents of every one by heart. Paperwork was such a drag.

"Not cruel, just honest," Morgenstern says and grins amusedly, hiding a bit behind a large box he carries into the place which is now starting to look like finished, at least on the outside. "I have… sturdy feet," he says, not able to think of something witty to say. No man wants to look like a dork in front of a woman, but he seems to have recovered from that faux pas, and he's able to joke about it obviously. "I drop things on them all the time. They've become flattened out like ducks' feet." He sets the box down and then drinks thirstily from his flask of water. "Alright, where do you want the shelves?"

IF there's anything a former gold miner is good at, it's digging, and Henricks is filling bags at a good clip. If there's anything an australian knowns, it's to quit while you're ahead, and he just falls silent.

Antonia turns her shoulders and looks over the area, folding her arms for a few moments. "Let's see…" she says, thinking over the way this is developing. She takes a few steps farther in, raising one of her small hands to paint her palm across the air, indicating space. "Let's get the shelves here. Seems the most convenient place; everyone can get to them without having to go halfway to Sunday."

Morgenstern shoots a grin at Henricks, then gives Antonia an appreciative nod. He gets to work on putting the putting the shelves up, already having suitable boards cut up for the purpose. "Henricks, gimme a hand with this," he calls. It's the kind of work not often done in the war and he rather enjoys the change. "So, doctor, how's all the gas victims faring at the church? I think they sent over half a years supply of the god damn invisible killer the other day."

Henricks wipes a bead of sweat from his forehead, and drives the large shovel into the mound of dirt. "Roit." He says, moving over to help with the shelving. While his appearance is gruff and he's the all-australian soldier, with big arms, and a bigger ego, he's certainly suffering from some mild shell shock after the constant gas attacks and the mustard boils and the difficulty with his mask - it's a welcome pleasure to have a night or two off the line - a cure all for many ailments of shell shock is just some alternate duty before rejoining the hell. "Not much of a carpenter, Corporal, but give me the word what you need and I'll be on it smartly."

Antonia kneels down by one of the boxes as the men work on the shelves, pulling open the flaps and peering inside. At Morgen's question she looks up at him, and then away with that manner of someone acting braver than they are, brushing hair back behind her ear. "Most are doing much better now, Legi-…ah. Corporal, rather…pardon me." The apology comes out quickly and under her breath. "Few are going to be down for a while yet. Those blisters are just awful. I don't understand such…such brutality as the gas." Not that shooting and stabbing men wasn't brutal as well.

"Well," Morgenstern says and is marking out spots on the wall with a large coalpen, "just put up the supporters for the shelves here, and here…" He points to the marks. He seems to have some experience with this at least. "And we better get the floor in better shape." Right now it's still just duckplanks on the ground inside the station, but it could use something better. He turns to watch Antonia with a serious expression. "I don't suppose any of us understands it," he murmurs grimly. "And call me Markus."

Henricks wedges some of the supports into the sandbags into the support behind it, with a retrieved hammer, and nods, "Sure thing." He says, pounding the supports in. He's done a little carpentry before… nothing great…but certainly competant. "They use it because we use it." He says simply, "You don't see generals out here with gasmasks on, it's just a another weapon the enemy has to them, to us, it's hell." He glances down at the planks, and nods, "You know what, Corporal, I think you're right, some nice flooring would be lovely, perhaps some carpeting, or a nice title floor. I'll get Byrd to lay some, I believe he was a rugsmith before the war."

Antonia is about to say something to Morgenstern, but his offering of his first name makes her looks back down at the box. Her fingers rest there idly. If she hadn't made the mistake of clearing that hair back behind her ear it wouldn't be so obvious now that that ear has gone a little red. "Flooring, yes," she says suddenly. "I wouldn't think to make it too nice. So much mud is going to go through here it would look like a shame within an hour. And we need our soap for you men, not for the decor." She manages to smile, folding her lithe hands together and glancing back at the two of them.

Morgenstern eyes Henricks for a moment. "Tiling might be overdoing it…" And as he gets some support for that thought from Antonia, he grins. "But wouldn't that be something. The best laid floor in Arras, in the makeshift dressing station." He considers the options, then decides; "We'll put two layers of duckplanks, they can be easily changed if they get too soggy." He notices that Antonia's blushing, but he has no idea from what so he gets all awkward again, turning back to the shelving business.

There's a smirk on Henricks' face. Clearly both ideas are implausible. It's that dry australian humor that nobody but australians get. (And some brits get). "Riot. We'll get some more planks. Oh, and I'll see if I can scrounge up some treated tarpeline for you… You can just pull down the tarp, seal the door with the tiedowns, and you'll have your very own gas bunker." He finishes the last shelving support and rests the hammer on his hip.

"Flooring," Antonia repeats to herself, as though the whole discussion were delving into the ludicrous. Which of course, it is. She just shakes her head. "I've half a mind to give every soldier in here a pencil so he can draw his own windows on the walls. Perhaps if we find someone truly skilled we can spend all day looking at the Riviera instead of the muck." She looks back at the box and smirks slightly, pulling out a few small bottles of medication.

Morgenstern begins putting the second line of shelves up underneath the first. He squints at Henricks. "You can do that? That sounds like a great idea. You find some, let me know if you got any problems getting it, I could poke some officer about it." He sounds like he wouldn't enjoy /that/ prospect too much though, having to go find an officer for it. But he will if it means more safety for the dressing station. "They wouldn't draw windows, they'd write silly poetry and dirty jokes on the walls," he grunts in good humor at Antonia's joke. He steps back to look at the work. "How's that looking, Doctor? Do we pass muster in shelving?"

Henricks nods to Morgenstern. "I'll procure some." The aussie says. The thieving australian bandit, feared by both frenchman and german alike. "No worries." He stands there and looks to Antonia, smiling at her pretty face. "Roit, anyways, What else ma'am?"

Antonia doesn't comment on the issue of the tarp. She looks at Morgenstern though and can't help a slight smile. "I can't honestly say I would mind." She turns her head then, looking over her shoulder towards the shelves they've been working on. "Oh, look at that. That's lovely." She puts down the bottles and brushes the palms of her hands against her skirt, staying there on her knees. It actually does make her smile to see it done well. "You gentleman are godsends." In response to Henricks then, she scratches her head. "Suppose we're nearly down to the cleanup, really. Need to get all this excess nonsense out of here."

Morgenstern smiles back again. He's doing an unusual amount of smiling today. "Anytime," he rumbles warmly. He's enjoyed the work more than he thought; mundane and /normal/, so much different from everyday trench-work. And for once there's no shelling, nobody is shooting at them and noise is generally muffled in here. "Right, right…" he says and gets to work again, beginning to move out various leftover pieces of boards, tools or other things no longer needed. He steps out and looks up to see how work's progressing on the outside; there's a sudden influx of work as men have been pausing to shamelessly eavesdrop on what's going on inside. Morgenstern glares around at the men but doesn't say anything. Glaring is good enough.

<> Renault FT-17MG arrives from Rue de Cambrai!
(From Renault FT-17MG) Sidiqqi calls out, "Reinforcements needed on the trenches, Corporal!"
(From Renault FT-17MG) The Renault rolls back to town, at a slower pace than it left at. Quite shot up.

Henricks lifts his head up, waving at the Renault tank as it drives up - "Hey there mates, how was your dr…" He falls silent as the reinforcement request comes. "Bloody hell, I was just getting comfortable."

(From Renault FT-17MG) Sidiqqi adds, "It sounds like some of the men got heated and ran to the bloody German trench in a charge!"

(From Renault FT-17MG) Sidiqqi continues. "PRivate Conor's injured in the south trench, needs a medic. He's holding there against snipers."

Antonia is about to say something, but she's stopped by the sounds of the tank. She blinks, getting quickly up to standing as the men call for help. "My God…" she says quietly, and there's really not much else she can say.

"I shall go if there's medical needed. There's no time to get someone from the church," Antonia says quickly.

(From Renault FT-17MG) "Was a sniper going at him, but I think Conor managed to plug him," Byrd calls from the driver's seat, where he is ensconced. "But there's more there now. Dunno why they'd have moved east. Weren't any orders from the brass, were there?"

(From Renault FT-17MG) Sidiqqi nods to the corporal. "We're not injured in here, Corp. But there's injured men on the line. German anti-tank rifle picking 'em off, with a fellow assisting. I've heard machine guns now too, and a Hun closed into trench to try to sapper us."

(From Renault FT-17MG) Siddiqi, in the gun turret, continues. "Sapper got taken out by Conor, and the sniper too. But he's hurt. They need an officer, beg your pardon."

So much for enjoying the calm. Morgenstern immediately drops what he's holding. "No, no damn orders," he says coarsely, keeping a sudden anger in check. "What the hell are they thinking?! We've not finished reinforcing out there and now they're threatening to…" He doesn't finish. He just glares at the tank in general. "Shelling will begin soon, no doubt," he says, turning back to Henricks and Antonia. "And don't go out there, Doctor. At least not all the way west. I'll send someone running back with information." And he takes off eastwards.

(From Renault FT-17MG) Sidiqqi nods. "Only shelling so far was from our own trench mortar, but he's manning a machine gun now. Must've run out of shells."

Morgenstern is hunched down as he rushes towards the east, after hearing the grave news. He does not look happy, to say the least.

Allied Front Line North

The lines have been through here at least three times now. The reek of blood and death is thick in the air from the corpses of the men scattered all around that fought for this place.
Trenches old and new scar the bare earth, mostly old an unusable, but recently cut trenches, with redoubts and bunkers, mark the current front line.
Already the poppies can be seen pushing up through the earth, the hardy flowers thriving in a soil made acidic by explosives.
It is currently dusk.
Sub-Rooms :
1. Redoubt
2. Slit Trench

Brian stumbles in from the west, gasping for breath as he moves to his Mortar, barking for ammunition as he prepares to fire.

Morgenstern spots Brian and veers off in his direction. "What the hell is going on?" he calls out, glancing eastwards down the trenches.

Brian snarls, "Ahh, some bastard's tryin to earn a goddamn medal" he growls, sliding a round down the tube as fast as he can.

Morgenstern growls at that. "Who? I heard they've been rushing the germans. Who the hell is it I need to give a good beating?" He's bringing his rifle up now, quickly checking the ammunition.

Brian laughs, "Tobias ran into their trenches, we pushed them out, but we can't hold them"

Tobias comes charging across the battlefield, anti-tank guns and machine guns opening up behind him as he defies all the odds to make it back to his front line trench, amazingly in once piece. He's out of breath, sweating profusely, and he's none too happy. "Rana.. Rana.. he.. he went.. right into their guns! He's too far gone!"

Byrd moves in from the west. He's done away with the beaten Renault and is shouldering his rifle now.

From No Mans Land North, a male voice shouts, "We need help down here! One of ours went too far in! Jerry are chasing after him!".

"Alright, that's the most stupid thing I've heard in a long time." Morgenstern swings around to look at Tobias as he comes in. "Rana? That another one rushing them? Well, that's one way to commit suicide. Or if he survives, he'll be a prisoner." Hearing the shouts from east, he shakes his head and begins heading on east.

Johnston is sitting, waching down his sight, keeping an eye on the enemy trench.

Morgenstern crouches down as he rushes into the trench, keeping good cover from enemy fire. "What the HELL are you doing?" he growls out in as quiet a voice as he can while still sounding as if he's shouting.

Byrd follows Morgenstern. He's now sans tank. The broken Renault has been deposited back in the (relative) safety of Arras.

Stryker glances at the guy nearest him, some Private, and frowns, "I'm going south. Want to come with me?"

Tobias is laying against the trench wall, his rifle down on the ground. He made it back somehow, someway - alive. He didn't know how he did it, but.. something was bringing him along. That German that charged him scared the hell out of him.. "We still.. someone is still out there.. Private Rana," he says, closing his eyes as he tries to catch his breath.

Johnston says "I'm not exactly sure right now. Seems Rana ran off after we cancelled a very bad idea…Tobias is still alive, though, which is good."
Johnston shouts, "NORTH CLEAR. HOW'S SOUTH?".

Seths nods his head, He watches the enemy but doesnt seems to notice anyone, "Nobody left at south I think. I will move there now."

To say that Morgenstern is furious is an understatment. But it's now a cold kind of fury. "Right," he says and gives Tobias a quick, unconcerned glance. "That happens when you get over the top and rush the German lines without orders or men to back you up. Forget about Rana. He's dead and nobody is going over to help him. Now you will all sit tight here and keep cover."

From No Mans Land South, a male voice shouts, "I just got here! IT's a blood bath over here, but I've moved to take up the vicks. No worries, mates.".

Byrd turns to look east while Morgenstern speaks, keeping a sharp eye out. "Rana? The darkie bloke with the giant knife? Wouldn't worry about him. Probable, he'll come back carrying German heads on a goddamn pike. Man's not quite right."

Tobias ignores the concerns from Morgenstern. He knew it was a dumb idea, but wouldn't have gone along with it if he thought he couldn't make it back. Well, there was another private stuck out there, and all Tobias could do is stand back up with his rifle and take a look.

Brian moves up to the front, lugging his Stokes Mortar on his back, a few other soldiers bringing up the ammunition.

And then the battle is over. More or less. A fog sets in over the battlefield — until broken by one small shape. A short, crouching man with dark skin and one oversized knife in his right hand, his rifle in his left. Karanabahdur Rana moves as quickly as he can, practically diving back into the trench and sliding right down into the mud over heavy, heavy breathing. "Huff. Huff. Huff. That man — Tobias. Did he make it back?" he asks of the nearest person, sheathing his knife. It's bloody.
Seths runs inside the trench as he reaches to nothern part, "Sir, we should collect the bullets and weapons…"

Morgenstern calms down from Byrd's words. "Maybe," he reluctantly agrees. He turns a stony glare at Tobias though. And then extends that glare to Rana. "You ever do that again I'll personally beat you up so bad you'll wish you were being shot, shelled and gassed by the germans. I could ask who the hell thought it was a good idea to rush over, but somehow I think everyone's gotten the message anyway." His voice is dry as a desert. He takes out a cigarette and lights it up, scratching his neck where the lice are being nasty.

Johnston raises his eyebrows at Rana. "Yes, actually. Say, you might want to go pour some water on your head. Most distasteful the state you're in." he says snootily.

Tobias didn't actually know the man was a corporal, as he was fairly unfamiliar with the French ranking system. He just shrugs and lowers his head, realizing he mistake that they made. He's a bit shocked to see Rana back, too, and in one piece. He waves over to the man. "You shouldn't have followed after me… I was coming back.." he says, quietly.

Byrd gives Tobias a decidedly warning look when he mouths off to Morgenstern. He shakes his head slightly. Not wise. Not wise at all. But Rana's reappearance distracts him from that. He boggles at the Gurkha, and a brief grin crooks across his face at the sight of the man. Alive. Whatever he may've said, he hadn't expected it. "Bloody hell…"

Henricks comes ambling down the line, leaving a few soldiers behind, "Blood bath down there, stretcher bearers are going to be working extra to clean that mess up." he murmurs, removing his own cigarette from his own case, placing it between his lips and lighting it, before spotting the elusive Byrd. "Hey mate, you want a rollie?" He asks, holding the case out to him, pushing past a few stunned brits.

Seths phews, "I have came here a few minutes ago and shot a Jerry already…" he sighs, "He was trying to destroy the Tank…" he says, seems to be unhappy that he had to kill someone…

Johnston picks his rifle up. "Nothing there anymore. Can't see a blasted thing." he says, heading off westwards and back out of the trenches.

Rana peels off his helmet, laying at at his side and breathing heavily. "I am sorry, sir," he says, to Morgenstern, lowering his eyes to his feet. "But I could not permit a man to fend for his life alone," he explains. He doesn't explain why Tobias might have run out alone; it may have to do with Tobias, Rana, and Johnston preparing to run but only Tobias actually taking off. The Gurkha wipes the blood off of his oversized khukri, sheathing it at his back.

Sidiqqi hikes up a bit cautiously, surveying the trench and the status of the men. He's wielding a Lewis gun resting on his arm, trying to spot those who might be wounded.

"Well, if you used all the god damn ammo, carry more over here," Morgenstern says, extending that /particularly/ to the machine gunners. He glances at Byrd. "Any particular reason you brought the tank in view of the Germans?" he asks casually, but there is a hint of steel in his voice. "I thought you were training." He listens to Rana; there's a lot pocking for his attention right now and he's smoking that cigarette rather intently. Still, the man keeps his calm about the whole thing now that he's done the yelling. No point being worked up about things unnecessarily, it's not the first time a situation like this happens. "Well," he grunts at Rana. "Then you better remind your fellow soldiers about the stupidity of rushing the German trenches so you don't have to face the situation again, eh?" This should hopefully turn out to be a good lesson without deaths involved.

For all it was worth, they didn't achieve anything in their charge; Tobias accidentally moved on the trench too early, unaware Johnston and Rana were still preparing to make their charge. It most likely would have went better if all three had went at once.. nevertheless, despite being there by himself, Tobias walked away with just a bruise to his left arm. He was lucky. He just sits back and listens to the French corporal.

Seths scratches his head, "I missed the guy who nearly blown up the Tank at close range… If I could shoot him earlier The tank would be intact right now…" he feels guilty…

Rana nods once, his voice flat and his expression neutral. But he says, sincerely, "Yes, sir. I understand, sir. I will do everything in my power to ensure that it does not happen again."

Brian glowers at everyone in general, moving off down to the south to check on the line, making sure the Machine guns are loaded and everything is ready for a possible german counter attack.

"Thought it might provide some cover fire," Byrd replies to Morgenstern. "And put some fear into the Jerries. Not our brightest notion, I know. Didn't do much good, and just got Lil shot up for her trouble."

Sidiqqi hears some of the discussion, and steps with his bering going more rigid and formal to stand beside Byrd. "Corporal, the suggestion to support our troopers being shot at on the line was mine. Private Byrd drove the Renault at my direction." He then goes quiet, waiting for the response from Morgenstern.

Seths hrms, "There should be some ammo gathered at south of here, shall I gather them and bring them here?"

Morgenstern is now quiet for a long time, studying all those gathered. "Well, I hope you at least shot some of the jerries for all the trouble you went through to do so," he finally says. Really, he doesn't feel any need to yell any longer, everyone's obviously learnt a lesson and he's not one to nag about it. "Yeah," he nods to Seths. "Everyone help bring more ammo here. Help Tobias get back to the dressing station to start with. Anything else?"

Byrd shrugs dismissively at Sidiqqi. "Not like I couldn't have turned the thing around if I'd thought the better of it. And I didn't think the better of it, at the time."

Sidiqqi draws in a breath and straightens slightly more, and just keeps an unmoving unexpressive soberness up.

Rana hunkers down in the trench, breathing a little bit. "I do not think my life has ever been as close to ending as it was now," he says.

Sidiqqi finally draws in a breath to add. "I believe the Renault tank had damage to its suspension before we drew German fire, from a previous battle. It was one of the reasons she needed to be taken out, to hear those little whimpers she makes when she's feeling badly." He slowly nods. "She can be repaired, and neither of us crewing her were injured. I expect a number of men on the front line were saved by our drawing German fire, though, away from them."

Tobias lets out a deep sigh, still shaken up by the fact that he survived.. with a bruise. It was awful out there. THe machine guns, the anti-tank guns, and that crazy German with the bayonet… he survived, somehow, someway, and was able to make it back. e would have to ponder his near death experience back at the church.. sure, he only had a little bruise, but best get it cleaned up, just in case. He stands up and starts to proceed west, hoping no one stops him to yell at him anymore.

"Speaking of ending of lives… I have some burials to attend to," Morgenstern grunts. "Now get to work, damn it. Gett ammo here pronto. And then attend the burial if you got time, the cemetary is west of town, just follow the road." He turns to Byrd and lowers his voice. "Burying Thatcher and Legrand and a few others. You coming?"

Rana addresses Morgenstern immediately. "Sir! Should I remain here to watch the trench, or seek medical attention? I have minor injuries, but I fit for duty, dir!"

Byrd looks toward the east, then down at the ground. Suddenly turning somber. Somber doesn't suit the Kiwi. He looks downright uncomfortable with the emotion. He nods to Morgenstern. "I'll give a hand with the burials, Corporal. Least a man can do."

Rana rises from where he is, clearing his throat. "If possible, Corporal, I would like to help with the burials as well."

"Cut the Sir, that's not for Corporals," Morgenstern idly reminds Rana, glancing at him for a moment. "Markus Morgenstern is my name. And go get medical attention, an infection can kill you."

Henricks looks at Byrd, and gets somber as well. "Bloody hell - the huns got Thatcher and Legrand… Thatcher was a tosser, but a good soldier… Least I can do is stand up for him."

Seths nods his head, "As you wish, I will stay here I guess. I dont think The Jerries will attack at Nighttime… At least I hope…"

Sidiqqi looks around for a moment. "The doctor requested I assist in bringing back any wounded." He looks to each of the men here. "I see none present. None with fresh wounds, that is." More quietly as Byrd leaves, "May Conor have made it to hospital already, God willing."

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