Puppy Love

Who: Morgenstern, Byrd, Frederick
What: A romantic encounter between a British lad and a German girl.

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.

Sun's setting soon but it's light enough to see over to the German lines and heads are kept down low in case a good sniper is on the alert today. It's been raining today so it's rather muddy again after a period of dryness when the trenches weren't as miserable as during winter. It's a warm evening, the Germans haven't done any shelling for a few days and there's not a whole lot of excitement in this area at the moment. The most interesting thing is the new members of the army, the two dogs Tommy and Skip who have quickly become friends with quite many. Morgenstern is on duty here tonight and is smoking a cigarette while doing a casual check of ammunition, duckboards and other things.

Frederick trudges up from the south. Wearing a poncho over his body, his Berthier slung over one shoulder, the Legionnaire dosen't appear to be having a very good day. Cigarette clutched in his teeth, the man glowers at the muddy trenches, "Couple more hours an i'll be outta this shit" he curses under his breath.

Byrd is folded up in a little hole dug into the side of the trench, a relatively dry enclosure, with the mongrel Tommy on his lap. The Kiwi soldier has taken to the dog as if he were still a twelve-year-old boy, and it was a stray pet he'd picked up. He talks to him and pets him roughly as he smokes. "Accommodations aren't much, I'll grant, but it's our home sweet home in this shite of a country," he chatters to the dog. "We'll have to get you a steak, Tommy. Maybe a fine lady French poodle you can play with. Soldier needs his recreation, eh?"

Morgenstern upnods at Frederick as he spots him walking towards himself. But he hears Byrd's voice and stops to make out where it comes from, crouching down to peek into the hole. "The fine ladies likes the rough and tumble boys," he chimes in, giving the duo a quick grin. "Hey, Frederick?" he calls out next. "You met Tommy yet?"

Frederick glances at the men gathered around the funk hole, "Who?" he grumbles curiously, extinguishing his cigarette on the trench wall, moving to the huddled group, kneeling down to peer into the hole, "How'd they get up here?"

"Brass shipped 'em to us by train," Byrd answers, giving the dog a final pat before straightening up and out of his hole. Tommy jumps out as well, to sniff at Frederick. "There's a sheep dog, too, but Tommy's the tougher one. He's a good old mutt, just like the rest of us. They're to do messenger work, among other things." He crooks a grin at Morgenstern, winking at the man. "Damn true that is, Corp."

Morgenstern gives Tommy a careful and short pat. In difference to most he's not shown too much interest in the dogs because of a fear of becoming too attached. "I'll be so bold to say it's one of the best things they've sent us in a long time. Almost beats the rum," he says dryly.

Tommy sniffs around the trio for awhile, then suddenly stops and lifts his nose high in the air. His tail quivers in sudden excitement and he's staring up over the edge of the trench.

Frederick chuckles, "I wonder how they taste…." he comments dryly, the grin on his face showing he's only kidding, "What're they sposed to do anyways? They got a trainer somewhere that'll take care of'em or somethin?"

Byrd aims a light slap at Frederick's shoulder for that joke, but the hit is mostly kidding, too. "Almost," Byrd chuckles, when Morgenstern mentions the rum. "Not that I'd be trading it. Tommy can do all sorts of things, he can. Carry messages and food and ammunition and all of that, run messages, and he's a damn fine sentry, ain't you, boy?" He reaches over to scratch the dog's head, when he notices its sudden excitement. He lifts himself up ever so slightly, trying to see over the trench without sticking his neck too far up. "What you got there, boy?" *re*

"They're very well trained," Morgenstern adds for Frederick's sake. He too is taking a peek over the edge, suddenly wary as the dog is obviously detecting something.

Tommy makes a whining sound at that and, though not exactly ignoring Byrd, he clearly has other more pressing matters to think about. He begins to pace back and forth, his ears perked towards the German lines. Taking a peek over the edge reveals nothing except lots of wire in No Man's Land. Then suddenly, Tommy begins to bark excitedly, almost howling in excitement - and with a few powerful leaps he's up over the top, running out into No Man's Land. Following that is sudden shouts from the German lines and the sound of another dog barking on their end.

Frederick chuckles and shakes his head, "Have fun with that…" he murmurs as he moves off towards Arras, all this talk of eating was making him hungry anyways, the prospect of some good ole fashioned bully beef a tad more appetizing than fresh dog.

Byrd stares at Tommy while the dog goes through all his gyrations, exchanging a look with Morgenstern. "What the hell is he on about?" he asks, his voice muted with both curiosity and nerves. There must be something out there. Then, the dog leaps over the top. "Hey! Tommy!" Byrd calls tersely, instinctively scrambling right up after him.

Morgenstern's first instinct is to do the same as Byrd, to go after the dog. But he gets his senses back and instead dives for Byrd, grabbing for his coat. "Keep down, you crazy bastard," he grunts, rather confused as to what made Tommy ignore his training and go over the top like that.

Nearby, more allied soldiers has noticed what happened and they're anxciously getting up on the firesteps to see what'll happen with the dog.

Out in No Man's Land, Tommy jumps easily over wire and sometimes crawls under it to get to his goal. The goal? Well, it seems like he's not the only dog in this sector who decided to be disobedient. A German Shephard dog is coming from the German trenches, doing its own share of jumping and crawling, a dark streak in the dawning light. And over on the other side, German helmets can be seen sticking up every now and then as they too are keeping an eye on what the hell is going on.

No Man's Land

The new line between the two armies, an ominous quiet is usually over this verdant, grassy field. Scars from years past still show with grassed over shell holes and such, but for the most part the field is an area of natural beauty, currently unscarred by war.
It is currently dusk.

The only thing that stops Byrd from rushing after the dog is Morgenstern, but the corporal does stop him. The Kiwi lands with a grunt when he's dived on and pulled back. For a moment he continues to struggle to get up and over. Even when he finally does stop, he looks like he still very much wants to get out there. "Stupid, mangy son of a bitch," he mutters, a clear note of worry in his voice. "What's he after? I thought they was trained to know better than to do shite like that." He peeks up, squinting, and looking even more confused. "And what's that brute after? Tommy!"

Morgenstern pulls Byrd up, but perhaps still fearing that the ANZAC soldier will run out there, he keeps a hand on his shoulder even as he's peeking over the top at the scene in No Man's Land. "He must be after that German dog," he muses, amazed and somewhat annoyed. "TOMMY!" he shouts out, echoing Byrd. And soon enough the entire nearby force of soldiers begin shouting to call the dog back, causing a rather nice ruckus. The Germans aren't worse, they start shouting for their own dog, the name 'ELSA!' drifting over to the Allied lines.

"Tommy!" Byrd continues to holler. He's not struggling to go up over the top anymore. He's regained at least that much sense. "Tommy! Get back here!" He swears vehemently under his breath, frowning. "You don't think they'd shoot him, do you? Not with their own goddamn brute out there? Tommy! Let him go, mate! We'll give you a Lewis and you can do the job proper later!" Much as he tries to joke, Byrd sounds truly fretful over the safety of the mongrel.

And Byrd certainly is not alone. "Oi, anyone got any bully beef?" a British soldier calls out in an attempt to try to lure the dog back with food. There's a sudden frantic activity as someone is running off to find some food for the dog. But Tommy is undaunted; he is fast approaching the other dog and finally the two meet up in the middle of No Man's Land in an area without wire. Allied dog of war meets German dog of war - and the the former proceeds to thoroughly sniff the latter's behind, the two dancing around each other.

Morgenstern let's go of Byrd's shoulder, squinting out to make out details. "Nobody shoot at the dogs!" he calls out to make sure noone on /this/ side gets trigger-happy. On the German side, excited shouts are heard being transported down the line from one soldier to another. "They're not shooting either," Morgenstern explains rather calmly to Byrd. He is starting to be amused. "You know, Elsa out there is a girl."

Byrd relaxes a tad it seems the Germans aren't going to start firing, keeping his own hand far from his rifle. He certainly isn't going to start firing at Elsa. He peeks up a nose higher, to get a better, view, his eyes getting even narrower as he watches the scene. "A girl? You don't…?" Suddenly he laughs, slapping his knee, a broad grin spreading over his face. "Well I'll be damned! Give her one for the Crown, Tommy!"

Slowly it dawns on the allied soldiers what is going on and amusement is spreading, a few laughs being heard. Then, a Tommy-soldier puts his hands to the sides of his mouth and shouts out over towards the Germans. "And that's how we'll win the war, blighters! We'll be charming your girls from you!"

Morgenstern winces a bit when hearing that and tenses a bit, not sure what the reaction will be from the Germans. But he need not fear; the shouted reply soon comes from a German sentry: "Yes, you are all like dogs!" There's a pause. "Our girls are too much for you though, English! No leash can hold them!"

And in No Man's Land, there's one happy mongrel dog shagging a pure-bred German Shepherd.

Byrd claps the loud-mouthed Englishman on the shoulder, laughing. He cups his hands around his mouth so he can properly shout back, "Send us over a couple Hun girls, Fritz!" he yells, almost pleasantly, at the sentry. "They can see for themselves what a real man is like. Can't let your pups have all the fun!"

The ruckus has drawn the attention of a sergeant who comes rounding a corner to see what is going on. Fraternizing with the enemy is generally frowned upon and often quickly stifled by NCOs or officers. Morgenstern catches sight of the arriving sergeant and gives Byrd a quick nudge at the side to give attention to that. There is one reply from the German side before they turn quiet over there, probably meeting the same fate as the allied, being quieted down: "This is as close to a German girl you will ever come!"

Tommy and Elsa are finishing their business out there and are parting ways, their training returning to them now. The two race back towards their own lines. Tommy is tired but happy as he jumps back down into the trench, plopping down on his stomach with his tongue lolling out. Not a single shot has been fired.

Byrd quiets down at that nudge from Morgenstern, nodding to the corporal. A strangely thoughtful expression has come over his face. So close to their enemies, it's not uncommon to hear snatches of laughter or conversation from the eastern trenches, but joking with the Jerries is something new. It's an odd thing, to talk like that with men you'll likely be back to shooting at in an hour. When Tommy returns, the Kiwi kneels down to give the mongrel a rough pat on the head. "Beast after my own heart, you are. Don't go doing that again, though, alright? We'll find you a nice French pup, with a curly tail and everything."

A gaggle of soldiers come up to greet the returning 'hero', and Tommy's tail is wagging happily from all the attention. To respond to Byrd, he licks the ANZAC soldier's hands and makes a few funny noises as if promising he'll be good from now on.

The arriving British Sergeant is looking around suspiciously and is asking around on what happened, getting vague reports about 'just some dog business'. He gives it up after a few stern looks around, then wanders off again, with a feeling of having missed something important.

Morgenstern sure isn't going to tell. He's smoking a cigarette again, moving to the side to let anxcious soldiers pet Tommy.

Byrd pats Tommy, eyeing the British sergeant until he moves off, then goes to snag Tommy's leash and get the dog linked to it again. In case he gets anymore ideas about fraternizing with the enemy. "Sorry about that, Corp," he says, with a sheepish shrug to Morgenstern. "I'll keep a tighter hand on him from now on."

Morgenstern grunts something, still amused. "What're you sorry for? He just got laid, gave the enemy a nice noseburn and probably fathered a bunch of puppies too. Besides, he's trained to not go over the top - I don't think the trainers took into account the temptation of a girl-dog in heat, however." He glances out over No Man's Land, adding dryly; "I'm sure the poor German trainer is tearing his hair now."

Byrd gets a good chuckle out of that. "Maybe that's how we will win the war. Populating Hun-land with an army of Tommy bastards. We'll sure as hell have the time for them to grow, the way things are going out here." He says it with less bitterness than one might usually, though. He's still pretty amused. "That ain't a bad strategy, on their part. If I scented a ready and willing German girl just across the way, I might break into No Man's Land, too."

Morgenstern has to laugh at that. "You would, wouldn't you," he says and gives the tank-driver a grin. He wipes it off quickly though and straightens up to look around at the somewhat disorderly gaggle of soldiers. "Alright everyone, back to your posts now! Show's over." Reluctantly the soldiers begin to wander back to their posts, and Morgenstern turns back to Byrd. "I have to check the duckplanks along this line and report back about it, so I'll wander onwards. Evening, Byrdie."

"Evening, Corp," Byrd calls to Morgenstern, before clucking at Tommy and leading him back to his trench-hole.

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