Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by LetMeDoStuff
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LetMeDoStuff The Token Cripple

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The morning was welcomed with a sombre song; not by the sweet winter sounds of arctic birds awakening the world but instead the faint mumble of distant artillery. As if beaten by the weapon's of long-gone Valkyrur, a thousand shudders of Europa's core did little to permit silence. The potent whiteness of a desolate wasteland - caked in the ice and blood - held the spoils of war in a cornucopia covered in shrapnel wounds. Dressings of broken trees clothed the land, where a once mighty forest had once stood. But the sparsity of its prime attraction had long gone, with just a few stumps left split open by artillery fire. And across the valley was an ocean of wire, fit with barbs and prongs to catch the unsuspected rats that occupied the fields. Assen: a once beautiful land enriched with pastures unimaginable, with the bliss of the spring and chime of the winter highlighting its most beautiful sides. And for four years, it had been nothing less than a graveyard for culture, ideology and hundreds of thousands of soldiers.

December - the time of rest, the end of a year and the separation from work and home life. Gift-givers, great feasts and familial get-togethers. Out on the frontline, things were far from the same. Many drank alone or with strangers unknown. The greatest feast on the table was a slice of stale bread, tinned chicken or yesterday's soup. The only gifts exchanged were those of bullets, mortars and bodies.

Once, the land had been flooded from the toe to knee in rainfall. Mud drowned the prairies whilst the unending tide of shells made craters into dirtied lakes. One could not quite compare the trade-off in pros and cons between the autumn and winters of the great war. On one hand, the risk of drowning was far and few between the odd case of an unlucky soldier, but the alternative was the struggle of keeping warm in leathered boots and woollen trench coats. And the lives of soldiers had barely improved. The lonely remained as such, and the loved lost their partners. Those who were still around quelled their circumstances with terrible meals and bitter nights of passion. The trenches soaked their clothes and skin with ice, whilst the daily rainfall of bombs tore holes in their jackets.

From the skies, the birds saw nothing but lines in the soil with death and destruction between carefully constructed landmarks. Towns were either shielded by the trenches that spanned over the horizon or were caught in the middle, where they lay as ruins, indistinguishable from the shaken landscape itself. But if the eyes of the hawks were dropped from the sky, and into the laps of the 15th Atlantic Rifles, the brutalist groundwork of Plymouth Lane becomes clear.

What was Plymouth Lane? Well, a miserable lane to live on, for sure. The home to B-utters and C-harlie Company as well, though anyone would be lucky to find someone who called it a home. About three hundred and fifty metres in width, the sector aptly given the usual road-like identity was one of a thousand trenches in Europa. The little wooden signs, with unaffectionate scribes of chalk, gave it that avenue feeling, though far more grimier and with a worse state of peace. This sector vertically categorised a series of trenches two hundred miles East of Stavern, caught between the similarly named Holly Drive and Turner Road. They were the parallel frontlines ahead of the nearby village of Trebín. Interconnected by alley ways, zigzagged networks of purpose-built defences, the world of Plymouth Lane was unpleasant as it was homely for the decrepit souls of its occupants. And there was no shortage of patriots, criminals, lovers and thieves all caught inside the dugouts and sentry posts. Soldiers, conscripted or volunteered, mingled with one another just to bear the agony of imminent death. even the lively arrival of the Vinland Expeditionary Force from across the pond did little to raise the spirits of the downtrodden. Though in all fairness, they were just the first wave of many Vinland lads and lasses to fall in line with the devil's guard ahead of them.

While the few civilians still left in Trebín gave their safety for the hopes of those who served to protect them, they were at a constant threat of any artillery barrage, if one officer were to so order it. The 1.2 kilometre distance from the Reserve Trench did nothing to silence the worries of the resting and recovering. Those who showered hoped that only hot water would land atop of their heads. Many lacked the desire to sleep, knowing that any full-on assault from the Imperial frontlines would require all available hands to withstand the push.

Scattered throughout the corridors of Plymouth Lane, the men and women of B-Company, 2nd Platoon went about their days as they always had. There were newer arrivals, some who'd been there for a few days already, as well as those who saw the same old fields with the same old bodycounts waiting to happen. One Captain Middleton Jr. kept his eye over their proceedings without so much as ever leaving the Command Dugouts. Like many others, his attention was spindled in the web of a soldier's priorities: victory, survival and the next big one. Those crippled by the months of fighting into the Heart of Assen, he there was nothing to go back to. Some, however, returned from their due leave, or took their given time to stay in Trebín Village to lock hands with the ones who gave them an identity in the sea of uniformed, faceless soldiers. Many had died. Many were yet to die. Replacements be damned, of any experience, they came with the shame of filling in the boots of a hundred loved ones. Such was the cruel happenings of the Great War.






December 30th - Frontline Trench




Hark! The sound of the Atlas Whistle is upon us.
Six Pounds! Six Pounds! Heave up the dirt like shovels and quakes.
Two Twelves, Four Sixes. Up the sun, down the moon,
Lest I beg for silence, the daylight cycle persists.
Come here, you say, come here!
The I's are on the ridge, walking in Europa's shudder.
"Well Waltz they will!", and I exchange my brass for their buttons.

A man of faith, am I? Of what, I ask.
But of course I believe, and choose to place my heart in the most vibrant of lamps-
Why, the ones that stand in the dark like fireflies at early morn!
For it is never too dark here, that would be too characterised!
Hark! The General's paintbrush dabs the canvas, and we return to the grey.
But black is as lively as white, and the dead lay somewhere between.

Turn of the century, the next man's graveyard shift;
Twice I've been on duty, and I see just the injust'.
By the November breeze, I've lost it. The sense of
Touch and taste of the man on my left, and the woman's lips to my right.
Hark! The ones who come next will bear the load!
To hell with that, for they can't lift Atlas' Whistlers.


It had been the eighth time he'd read over the piece and yet he felt evermore the insecurity of the quiet writer. He dared to share his mind with the pencil and paper so sparingly taken from his neighbour's dugout bed, but rarely did he see the performance of his piece to those he trusted and cared for. What good was poetry to a page when the only expectation of the man was to pick up his pieces and soldier on with the two chevrons on his epaulettes? Another hopeless question with a clear answer. He had hammered in the sentiment of self-improvement at the sake of his friend's safety, but the costs of his own self-interests were far-beyond what he'd known.

The months - oh the fucking months - had taken pieces of his personality with each creeping hour. From Amone to Stavern's outskirts and the unnamed fields in-between them all, he had watched the degradation of his group with little control for what happened to them. Injuries had befallen unto the absent, and those who were unlucky enough to be unscathed persisted in fractured parties. The city had its way with him, and he hadn't been nearly as talkative to anyone since. The hopeless attempts at love became the fabrics of another time, of another person, whilst he chipped away at each piece of graphite until he had an unfinished anthology of ramblings most uninteresting to his allies. Two pocketbooks of cries for help, screams at his nation and pleas for the Darcsen plight to cease had given him more than enough of a share. Those dirty pages lost their white edges for yellow fades, where mud had stained the bindings and given them a rotten tone forever more.

He hadn't moved for a long while. Ever since he'd arrived to Plymouth Lane, he'd spent more than the given time in the Frontline Trench. More often than others, he volunteered to sit in the observation post, to commit to sentry duty for a couple of hours on the off-day, shiver in a caved wall dugout, only to rest in the reserve trench for the remainder time. He saw those he liked a lot frequently, but was never in a position to be stuck with them. For their betterment, he told himself, and waited for them to meet him in conversation. Many had when they got the chance, or on the occasion where he trekked back to Trebín with a desire to shower and rest in a legitimate bed. He never booked out those private rooms the village offered. What point was there, he wasn't sharing them with anyone?

More often than not, a soldier would barge past the Darcsens that were huddled in with the other national identities. There was little that could be done back, for the rising tensions in heated debates made clear of the Federation's disarray, whilst the Empire pried their ears open for weakened opportunities. The other night, a group of six went out on a raid to the opposite side, crawling through at the morning's inception, and they never came back. Well, one did. But he might as well not have, bleeding out just seconds after falling limp into the pit. Jean saw his face with pity, sympathy, but also a little resentment. How dare he die where others have asked to do so first!


"Sarn't on set! Section, 'tion!" Rarely did Jean get used to the lingo of the deep Edinburgh slang, less so in military formalities. And, rather sluggishly, he got out of the dugout and stood to.

The Sergeant had been the same one who passed through on occasion. The thick-browed barbarian with the paintbrush above his lips, so the nearby privates called him; the one who went out on many raids and seemed to come back with as little gains as he'd been ordered to. Many suspicions as to why such incompetence was kept around, but with the dwindling numbers of command staff on standby, Jean knew that the Federation would've accepted pigshit to lead a platoon. It was how people like him even existed in unfavoured positions of responsibility.


"Pritchard? We got a Pritchard on set?" And in he came, on set. The place in which the next 'big show' was going to happen on. A man who loved his use of words knew they thought they were very clever in coming up with the drivel that passed between the soldiers. Either way, he knew it couldn't have been any worse than that of his own home nation's flowery dressage for war and conflict. But to answer the request of the Sergeant, a frail lad stepped forth.

"Sergeant!"

"You're on the Observation Post. Get up there now." Passing through the rugged crowd, of which he dismissed as he passed them one by one, Jean caught a glimpse of a very familiar face in his wake. He felt the need to smile, but only gave off a weak one. The Sergeant then stopped in front of him. "Corporal?"

"Yes, Sergeant."

"Captain wants you to stand with Private Farris whilst he's preoccupied for the rest of the hours. You lurking around here?"

"Was going to head back to the village in a few, Sergeant."

"Boss wanted her on the frontline again, though." He said with a sly smile. As if conjuring up an old-time joke between friends of the ages, he put his hands in his pockets and muttered in a low grumble. "He won't know for five."

"Done." A lack of subtlety aside, Jean made quick work of drawing five cigarettes from the currency pack in his webbing. Like gold, the Sergeant swept them up without question and pocketed four, leaving the fifth to be lit by his own lighter. A giddy laugh left his lips, but Jean turned his attention to the friendly face.

Private Lucia Farris. Always a lurker, like himself, but with the disappearances of those like Michael on leave, she'd been left to drift between people once more. If anything, he thought it lucky that she had been graced with his responsibility. Someone she could at least talk to, and know, rather than the awkward flirting of a young soldier she'd never met once in her life. She was dressed, still, rather nicely compared to the others around her. That little morale booster was still in there, and the months of a maturing psyche pushed by war seemed unfazed by the troubles around her, as if she intentionally blocked it all out. Lucia crept a little closer, circumnavigating the leaving Sergeant, and smiled.


"How're things?" Always the nonchalant, even if her timid voice gave the opposite impression. Jean nodded at her and packed his papers, ensuring she didn't catch a glimpse of what there was to see. They still had a bit of time to lurk in the trenches.

"The usual. You?"

"I'm doing...okay. But, I can't wait to go back to the village. We can talk up a storm with the pub-ladies if you'd like?"

"I'll let you do that." And as he sat down in the trench, she did so beside him. Her boots didn't quite reach the bottom of the trench when she did so, something that he would've once jested about to lighten the mood. But the joke had passed, as did the time to make it. They sat there, waiting quietly. Sometimes they talked about little things. The rest they waited for something to happen, be it a voice, an order or a face. As such was the life on the Western Front. He just hoped he would gain something new when he'd go back to the village.
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Conscripts
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Conscripts An Atom Trying to Understand Itself

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Michael thought he'd get overwhelmed by the sight of the trenches after the respite break where the Viscount's son basically went back home to a quiet yet warm welcome by his neighborhood. But it turned out well actually. Mother was correct. Of course he missed the hot bath at home or the maids/butlers giving him pretty much every good meal he deserved, but the recently returned Michael found himself instead immersed in something other than the constant groaning of wet feet or rats crawling around munching at the woods of the parapet.

For a few days, this rugged-looking mixture of a binocular and a periscope had been Michael's project. After meddling with the binocular found on a dead Imperial officer in a raid a week ago, Michael had managed to crack open the thing with his sapper tools and place a tube, or rather two tubes, perpendicular to the binocular, each with mirrors placed at each end perching 45 degrees. It might look like just a poor attempt at replicating something that already existed, but a unique trait of this periscope that Michael was trying to get it to work right is the ability to zoom. That's what had been keeping him occupied for the entire day, as he sat tugged in beside the parapet with the tools either in hands or on the ground next to him. It was way past his shift time. He could feel his stomach poking him to go and have some food in the reserve line, but he suppressed it as he held his breath at yet another plier grip.

"Right..."

This should hopefully work.

He flipped over, being careful not to straighten himself while he was on the parapet out of instinct. Otherwise he might risk getting shot by a sniper's bullet. It doesn't matter how brief it was he might show himself, he had seen people being all cheery one moment and a corpse a second later. But being short does have its advantage that he had more rooms for mistakes. After adjusting himself, he rested the periscope on the dirt, letting the lens peer over No Man's Land. He could see the mounds of dirt and barbed wires, along with puddles of mud water reflecting on the sticky situation both sides found themselves in. But the moment he was waiting for was when he slid those lens beneath forward and backward...

"Yes!"

He gripped his fist in pride. It worked...somewhat. The zooming wasn't very good, not the best amongst the periscopes, and far worse than what a binoculars can afford to magnify, but it worked regardless. He could adjust how much he wanted to see with (relative) ease, and without having to expose himself to sniper fires. Now Michael felt the urge to have this be tested. He probably won't need to wait for long, as this is an observation area, so naturally there should be one or two observers at any given time. They should arrive soon. For now, he'd keep trying to make sure this sloppy patch-up of a tool didn't fall apart when roughly handled.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Not Fungus
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Not Fungus

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It was early in the morning, sun beaming down on Richard's hatted head. The tall man was currently making his way toward the ration stations, intent on getting his meal for the day and working as a soldier until natural weaknesses such as stomach pains and exhaustion kicked in. The soft snow crunching beneath his boots served as a minor annoyance as he waded through the white terrain.

Before entering the station, he swiped the snowy debris off his uniform and straightened his cap. Alongside him were his fellow soldiers strolling in for a meal, varying countenances displayed on their faces. Richard took the designated meal: water, meat, and bread. He broke up the bites into the dry meat with short gulps of water before finishing both of them. The blond solder took the loaf of bread with him out of the station into the communication trench that had the closest path to the command trench.

It was a comfortable tunnel with an open space that gave him the feeling that he was doing his job. Finishing the last of his rations, he did a mental check on his gear, recalling if he uncharacteristically forgot anything.

His gun, his trench knife, his grenades. He has them all, which means he's ready for battle this instant. There was no outward shift in his expression and even his muted emotions had next to nothing rippling through them; however, his soldier's will toward war gradually shifted into something that would benefit him on the battlefield.

A breath of air from inside came out as steam once it mixed with the cold air outside Richard's body. His gloved hands could be slowed down by the weather once the wind picks up, so he forced the blood to get flowing in order to perform his future duties to the best of his abilities.

Finally passing through the communication trench, Richard entered the command trench to report for duty and get his assignment.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Hawthorne
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Hawthorne Mageknight

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December 30th - Observation Post



All things considered, the boy was in a good enough mood. He had long-grown accustomed to the distant echo of explosions from miles away, the conditions of the trenches, the ever-present tension that permeated garrisons like this. As Elliot stepped across the muddy floorboards of the frontline dugouts, he secured his belongings one last time, pulling on the straps of his ushanka tight as a cold breeze blew past overhead.

It wasn't a pleasant day, by any sense of the word...

But it was not Elliot's first day in the trenches.

Sometimes, the days would blur together without any action. Sometimes, Elliot would have to shoot more than a few hapless soldiers who had popped their heads out of the trench... and sometimes, fighting would intensify to the point of a full-scale attack. It seemed things were quiet enough that today was one of the calmer days.

For now, anyway.

Moving past the dugouts, the boy would report to the nearest observation post, where he spotted another boy, even shorter than he was. Elliot had seen this young man before, though he hadn't learned his name. Still, a familiar face was a familiar face, and Elliot's posture stooped slightly to avoid exposing his head, he couldn't help but lower his head a little more and tip his hat-- a nod of acknowledgment. It seemed the other boy was busy tinkering with the periscope, and although the marksman was a little curious, he didn't pry.

"Good morning." It wasn't a 'good' morning, but it could be a lot worse, and it didn't hurt to be polite. "I'm here to take over your shift." His tone was neutral, but not unfriendly.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by 13org
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13org Stay fresh!

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December 30th, Reserve Line - Ration Stations => Frontline dugouts


People often say war changes a person... but those who say it, rarely experienced what war is on their own skin. How long it had been since Emmerich was dragged into this war? Three... four years? No matter how much he thought about it, Emmerich couldn't remember the correct date. Taking his time, Emmerich slowly ate the portion of dry bread and an unidentified type of soup. Years ago, maybe Emmerich would complain about it's taste, how hard the bread was or that the 'soup' was more water than anything else... Not anymore. He didn't remember when he stopped to care about it either...

Some soldiers, the ones which were still 'patriotic' enough to care, sent stares at him, spitting on the ground or cursing at him for his imperial blood, while others just simply avoided him. He didn't know if it was due to his height, because he was an imperial or both... And to be honest, he didn't care. For Emmerich, all of them were nothing but idiots. Idiots who let themselves be enthralled, blinded and manipulated by the pretty words of someone who was on top. Pawns and tools, being used for the sake of someone else's goals. There is no such thing as a just, noble and pure cause behind a war. Instead, there is always a selfish reason. Be it greed, hatred or anything else.

Having fought for both sides, Emmerich was especially qualified to talk about that. Between the imperial trenches and the federation ones, only the flag changed. The soldiers were still the same, just soldiers. They all had the same dumb smile on their faces when they were allowed a moment of respite, away from the battle... Common folk ordered to walk to their own deaths, having to leave their families and loved ones behind, subjected to inhuman conditions, agonizing, suffering and dying due to the orders of someone who never walked on a battlefield before, fighting for someone who didn't even know their names and probably never will. With all that being said though, Emmerich was still there, fighting. A soldier without a cause, without a homeland or a family to return to. Why did he continue to fight, one might ask. To those questions, Emmerich's answer would always be the same. He fought for himself, for survival. He did so because he hoped he would be able to have a normal life someday. Maybe have a family of his own.

With his thoughts being interrupted by the noise of the soldiers moving, Emmerich quickly finished the rest of his soup and bread, knowing it was his cue to move as well. Through the years, being mostly alone, the few times he could have to himself, to reflect and think were the only things that kept him sane. That and the books he read to get away from the reality. Having received his assignment earlier this morning, before eating, he made his way towards the frontline dugouts. He was to standby until further orders, ready to move in case the assault team needed him or in order to defend and fortify their positions. Despite his low rank, he was not only a veteran, but he had fought for the Empire before, which meant he knew their tactics. That, coupled with his cold, logical behavior even while under heavy pressure, allowed him to quickly adapt to most positions where he was needed. Unfortunately, it didn't make the other soldiers trust him any more, due to the fact that he was still from the empire.
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by samakama
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samakama はいどうもー / バーチャルニートサマカマです

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Cienie had set up a little while after breakfast outside the best pub in Trebín, right across from the village church. He was due to head off and join up with B-Company over in Plymouth Lane later today. But that appointment would be for the afternoon, or perhaps the evening — after he’d finished his second ‘tour of duty’ as an entertainer.

In his hands were two set of clappers — simple percussion instruments, not much more than boards of wood tied together by string. A pair of larger clappers was in his right, while his left held five smaller ones with his index finger resting between the first and second. After a doomed attempt at using castanets to substitute for these paqpe, the barkeep’s daughter had carved them out for him in exchange for lessons. His past few evenings had thus been part practice and part teaching the girl how to play. Fortunately, her mind and her hands were equally quick, and Cienie already felt comfortable entrusting the paqpe to his disciple when he would inevitably have to return to the trenches.

In hindsight — should he have requested another set of paqpe? One that he could finally call his own? Perhaps.

When Cienie himself had started learning the art properly back in Ostend, also on borrowed instruments, his northerner teacher had referred to it as k’uaipanr. But Kaan-mu’s name for it was khuape, and though little Hi En hadn’t much interest in the art back then, he still held her performances dear to his heart. So it was by the latter name that he introduced the next item of his road-show.

“Ladies and gentlemen! I think today is the first time I ever show khuape to you all.”

There was no need to explain what that foreign word was, or what it meant. A decent number of the audience were regulars at the pub who’d probably already overheard him practising these past few days, anyhow. Either way, nothing could be clearer an explanation than cutting straight to the chase.

“Last time I practised was many many months ago already. And I am southern Honngìn. This is northerner art. But I try my best anyway. Come!”

A flick of his wrist sent one of the two large paqpe flying into the other, colliding with a resounding ‘clack!’ that hushed the crowd into silence. The rosewood looked and sounded a little different from the bamboo he’d seen and heard at home. But it worked better than castanets, at least. And besides, though their beat was the backbone of the performance, it wasn’t as if paqpe were the sole essential element of khuape.

Sunday morn, I went to town
And came across a cricket and an earthworm
Boasting ‘bout bollocks and bragging ‘bout bull.
And the earthworm said:
“Hmph! For aft’noon tea, I ate a donkey with my crescent rolls!”
And the cricket said: “Hah! In Punjati, I swallowed a pair of feral tigers whole!”
And the earthworm said: “I coiled ‘round a great big fir and yanked it out the ground!”
And the cricket said: “Hmm? With one small kick, I flattened a mountain into a mound!”
And the earthworm said: “The birds and beasts — they bow to me!”
And the cricket said: “Bah! Who cares ‘bout that? All that flies and all that runs and all that swims and all that jumps: they all obey my every decree!”
Just as this pair of dunces talked their cock and bull
Came a sound, from the east:

“Coo-coo-coo, cluck-cluck bawk-bawk, cock-a-doodle-doodle-doo!”
And what flew in was a hungry cockerel!
It laughed at their bunkum, bosh, and babble
Opened wide — and down went the earthworm head to toe!
Infuriated was the cricket
And went to scold the baffled bird:

“Oh, you foolish fowl!
Who am I? East to the fields does my kingdom stretch
West to the islands and the open sea
I am the Lord High Lord of the Insects —
You will rue the day you met me!
En garde, you wretched, rotten bird!
I’ll show your place in this here hierarchy!”

The quarrelsome cricket, cross and crotchety
Stomped its feet! Bared its teeth! Spread its wings!
Charged right forth——!

…more chicken feed!


Rhythm, actions, tone of voice, facial expressions… Cienie reckoned he had it all down pat. The audience seemed to agree, what with their hooting and hollering punctuating rambunctious clapping and laughter. A whole bunch of pub-goers had been drawn outside too. Pity this would be the last chance he’d get to perform khuape for a long while.

He hadn’t been too sure at first if imitating his now-commanding officer was a good idea — Captain Middleton seemed like the type to take offence at being voice-cast as a cricket. But a little birdie had told him that the man was still in his bunker, and as one of the more unpopular officers, no one would really object to the unflattering portrayal. Certainly none in the crowd seemed to. The same was true of the earthworm. The paintbrush sergeant had been spotted heading towards the trenches earlier — so Cienie was (probably) safe.

Was it almost lunchtime? He had no watch. The sun seemed to be almost overhead, but he was sadly not a sundial. He could not tell the time with complete certainty. So perhaps it was noon already, and the messes were filling up. Perhaps it was still morning, and he was simply rushing to wait. Either way, Cienie still had plans to play for the injured and ill in the casualty clearance station, along with the nurses and medics tending to them. He’d have to wrap this routine up.

“The sun is tall and my shadow is short! It is noon time already.”

He stopped suddenly, his eyes darting around as if about to share some sort of secret.

“But most important: my belly is grrr~rowling! It is lunch time already! OK, done for today, I go eat.” He knelt down and tucked his mouth organ — he’d left lying it on the ground after his musical numbers earlier — under his arm. “Bye-bye now!”

And so Cienie made his exit, at a vigorous jog, the crowd’s applause mixing with the clapping of his paqpe as he went. Next stop: Trebín Village Casualty Clearance Station.
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by FalloutJack
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FalloutJack The Long Dark Nuka-Break of the Soul

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ISAAC BLACK


It was always a 'drew the short straw' kind of job to do, but Isaac had made it manageable, at least.

You'd accurately describe Plymouth Lane as miles and miles of miles and miles. It was a long stretch of nothing but long stretches and sharp turns. There was nothing of importance in it that couldn't be situated anywhere else, because what it was...was nothing but a big, BIG hole in the ground, one that stretched all the damn place. Plymouth Lane was a hole and everybody standing, sitting, or lying in it was in the shit. Worse, it was cold shit. You huddle for warmth in this place, you'd better have either someone to do it with, or aome means of keeping your body heat in and the cold wet out. The winter gear that allowed you enough padding to keep the cold out was alright if you were moving around or out of the path of wind if you're stopped, but sometimes you had to warm up your hands, despite any leather gloves. And let's be perfectly clear, when they had a shortage of gloves because of a failed delivery, they were singing Isaac's praises when he managed to hunt down some local leather at Trebin, helped tan it himself, and brought it in for people in need.

Still, on the subject of keeping warm, he had two disctinct advantages. One was making the rounds elsewhere, and one was actually at his side. We're talking warm bodies here, those who were comfortable around him. No amount of livestock farmer resourcefulness would beat the fact that he had two others to make this soggy existence in the trenches bearable. It made him feel bad for others, having the attentions of not only a kind and attractive Gunner, but having a dedicated wolf-dog for these things. Not to say that either of them was always available. Britta Hagen was a capable soldier, and thus in as much demand for her capabilities as him, routinely on patrol and not always in the same place as him because you spread out your machine guns unless otherwise needed. Equally, Rikes - the Appenine wolf-hybrid in question - was currently at his side, but that was due to the fact that he was highly-useable in this particular assignment and not currently carrying messages around. As a messanger dog, he was trained to follow the orders, gestures, and whistles of any soldier who needed his four legs on the job, and thus could disappear at a moment's notice. He was with Isaac now for his nose and his ears, to make extra certain of things in this area, which was the walk-up into the Dummy Trenches.

The Observation Posts, the Assault Trenches, and the Dummy Trenches were the most-forward points of Plymouth Lane. The OP kept an eye out for trouble and to see if it was safe to use the AT, and the DT was there to make it seem like there was a manned trench to worry about getting machine gunned or rifled from...or for Imperial Soldiers to think 'Maybe if we approach silently and away from where they seem to be observing, we can mount a sneak attack.', but that wasn't likely for several reasons. The first, of course, is that part of the point of the Dummy Trenches was that it looked manned, using cloth dummies dressed like soldiers manning their posts and watching No Man's Land. You couldn't tell from afar. Second, even if you were daring enough to crawl all the way there, it could be the random-ass day that Command decided to man the Dummy Trench and dummy up the Assault Trench, leaving you in a REALLY bad position. There was always someone watching the pathway out of there, and it was usually a Gunner, which meant that that long stretch got to be known as Dead Man's Alley. People often tried to sneak into another man's trench in this war. The result was usually bullets fired, trench knives stabbed, and alot of clean-up afterward. This brings us to the short-straw job that Isaac was on, and the fourth reason that nipping into the Dummy Trench was a bad idea: It was patrolled by men and women like him to sort out the filth.

So, on the walk-up, here's Isaac Black with a wolf-dog at his side, quietly whistling A Long Way to Tyrella to himself, backed up by three other men of different background and role in this war, prepared to end the career of any Imps in their trenches. Whistling did stop as they neared the actual forward trench area, care taken even at the corners of the walk-up, and now...they move along the Dummy Trench, prepared to open fire on any human being that dares show itself in the wrong color uniform. Rikes was absolutely quiet, which...was a good thing. After some minutes of this, the four men and a dog concluded that it was safe and secure at this time. And now, the bit that they'd been waiting for, the part that made this odious task somewhat more bearable: Isaac pulled out a deck of cards.

"Okay, guys. We have some time here. As usual, deuces and jokers are wild, and everyone here may pet the dog while we play. He won't mind, but I will say that-"

"-CHOO!"

"-he does seem to have a cold. And remember, all winnings taken by me that I don't need will be buyable through the Isaac Store. I need things, you need things, so let's all help each other."

Britta Hagen


The Isaac Store was not Isaac's idea. Not by a long shot.

He was a good man, looking after those Enlisted or Conscripted as the alpha of a bunch of wolves or the bull of a rather large herd, but Isaac was only being generous, while he could've also been clever and maximized his efforts to really help out others. If he was serious about it, and he was, he would work to a plan that would develop into a system, and that system would exist within the army trenches to help everyone when the supplies weren't working out or something went wrong. And quite often, something would indeed go wrong. It was after the gloves fiasco, where Isaac went out of his way to get leather to tan and cut and make the gloves himself...that Britta got the idea. Other people needed their lives to continue to make money, and he had often grumbled about how he was taken from his essential work of providing via his farm to be in this army, so the silver-haired Gunner made a suggestion: Open a business.

Not a real business, for profit. A trading business that everyone could benefit from so that things were spread out to those who need and not simply the privileged who get the quartermaster to pulled some strings to get some things. They needed someone who could not be bought, per se, and that was Isaac. He worked to the benefit of others, not chiefly his own gains, and that was perfect. They needed someone who could manage all of this and keep track of the business of it being an actual sort of business, and that was where Britta came in. She regularly checked up on people around the trenches, asked to go this way and that and 'Would you mind poking up at the AT for a while?'. The two of them managed to spread out through word-of-mouth that they were doing this, and that they'd also see about getting the quartermaster to pitch in more. Rather amusingly, Isaac had even starting leasing out Rikes via sending messages to people who had 'bought' use of him, so they had the companionship of something kinder than their commanding officer.

All of this, apart from being a really good idea, had the additional effect of being something of a morale boost for them all. This war had taken its toll on alot of people. She believed that this war needed to be fought, had volunteered to see the job through herself, but she couldn't help but worry for those who were not mentally prepared, and for those whom had been effectively stepped and spat on by their situations within it. By improving conditions for all, they were improving conditions for those who needed it most. Everyone partaking in the Isaac Store knew that all things come around, that this was for their benefit, and it only works of they work with it. Otherwise, it's just dozens of them huddled in these dirt-and-mud trenches, overthinking their lives with nothing much to break it up. Isaac involved poker to give people something to do, Britta sat and talked and heard people for what bothered them most to keep their thoughts in line...and to make sure hers wouldn't go out of control. She hated overthinking things, but boy did she have a talent for it! That was the other reason for this. The more that she was involved in something positive, the less she had to dwell on the things that couldn't change.

Oh, and to be clear, they stated right out that what didn't do any harm need not be made mention to Commanding Officers, especially the ones who might try and make an example of them because of all the wheeling and dealing and trading that went on under their noses, anyhow. Britta was prepared to defend it to the hilt, if it came to it, as was Isaac. Common decency and some semblance of normal life would have to prevale in this war, or else the Imperial Army would march in on them while they're half-dead inside, and Britta wasn't having that at all.
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Leaning against a "wall" of one of the many trenches that had been made all around the area in front of Trebin Village, Mehetabel rapidly and repeatedly tapped her foot as she waited, albeit impatiently, for a specific someone that was supposed to meet her around here. She was actually positioned at one of the intersections within the support trenches, and just ahead of her was the path that would lead to the command trench from where she was. It was somewhat common an area of traffic, this specific intersection where she waited, but as far as she was aware, Mehetabel was out of the way of said traffic for the most part.

Mehetabel was still leery about being kicked off the platoon that she formerly served, but at the same time, she knew there was nothing she could do about it any longer. After all, the paperwork that would make the transfer official had already been completed. The only thing left to do was to let the soldier who was in charge of that platoon in particular know that from now on, Mehetabel would serving under him. She looked at the name she'd written down on her hand one last time.

Jean Robin-Charpentier. That was the name of Mehetabel's supposed new boss... well, minus the hyphen that she left out, out of an assumption that this Jean person was one of those guys that would give out his middle name as well. And Mehetabel had a solid description on who to look out for. Anyone else, she'd allow to pass by without so much as a second glance; she was never one to care for partaking in or being the recipient of idle chit-chat, especially not to those she didn't actually need to talk to.

...

She could always storm the command trench and demand to know where this Jean character was right then and there, but Mehetabel figured it was worth waiting just a little longer for his arrival. Her patience may have been on thin ice, but it hadn't slipped through the cracks just yet.
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For all that's worth, the silence and relatively remote location of the observation post meant a little bit of personal time for Michael. It reminded him of the time in his father's study or the school lab, minds drifted away in deep introspection or concentration, sometimes crossing his legs crudely in his armchair. Which is kind of what he was doing right now. His tools were a bit all over the place on the ground next to him. His hair was unadjusted from the various head scratch he had as he figured out the periscope. Most of the time once he was done, he would get back to his usual self soon enough. But he forgot time today as well.

When a boy popped up at the observation post for his shift, Michael looked up almost immediately and, out of instinct, uncrossed his legs and went into crouch with one knee firm on the ground. His two hands put the periscope to the side and tugged down his lower shoulder's shirt areas. Normally Michael would have stood up for a greeting, but he knew he wouldn't stand up again if he does that. He still greeted the comer to his recently fitted out observation post like a guest to his house.

"Good morning!" Michael returned the boy's nod with his own nod and a spirited yet firm voice. When prompted about the shift, he took a moment to compose an answer as he briefly glanced at the periscope again and adjusted his hair. "It's not really my shift actually. I was really just setting up the last of the things for the post. The I just kind of...toyed with this periscope for a while." He said as he pointed at the sentry. He would be a little bit proud of the work he had done as the work on this trench were mostly relegated to him (and Anna as well) if it hadn't been back-breaking from all the carrying and digging he had to do, even more so if he ran into those pesky rocks to break.

"So yeah, hope you'll enjoy your stay..." He joked a little as he asked. ...if you don't mind me asking how may I address you?"

Also, while the young man was here, Michael did not hesitate to ask him a little favor, picking up the periscope. "Also, if you don't mind, can you test this out for me? You can use a periscope right?"

He didn't intend to come off as disrespecting a veteran's experience, but after a few months of misery in the trenches, newbies look exactly the same as the established. He didn't want someone fumbling the thing and got themselves killed as a result.

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December 30th - Observation Post



Pleasant as it was for the other boy to welcome him so readily into the trenches, Elliot's face was as impassive as ever... though his expression showed that he was more than a little bit impressed at the young man's work in the trenches so far. "So I see." He said as he drew closer, kneeling down as well-- if only so that he didn't need to slouch anymore. The marksman's eyes rested upon the periscope; now that he's had a closer look at it, it seems like the sapper was telling the truth when he said that he had modified it.

"Elliot." The marksman said simply. "You can call me Elliot. What about you? What's your name, sir?" He was curious-- the sapper before him didn't seem like an officer; and most officers don't do grunt work like this, anyway.

At the sapper's request, however, Elliot reached around and unslung the rifle hanging on his shoulder, letting the firearm lean against the nearby sandbag revetment. The attached scope and suppressor in plain view made it evident that while he was a Private, he had appeared to be a skilled marksman in his own right. "I don't mind-- I have experience in using periscopes before. If you'll let me..." He outstretched his hand, waited for the boy to hand it to him, and then took the ramshackle device in his hands, handling it with care. If modifications were made, it was important to treat it more like a prototype, than a tried-and-tested piece of equipment.

He fiddled with the device, peering through it a few times before raising the thing above the parapets. Elliot then let his body lean against the dirt wall as he looked through the periscope. "Hm." He let out a thoughtful noise as he swept the area, his trained eyes focusing on different objects in No Man's Land: a patch of barbed wire, a puddle of water, a mound of dirt...

"It works fine... Did you use optical lenses to make this? I noticed a bit of magnification-- not as intense as my scope, but enough to look at things more closely." Elliot asked, as he lowered the periscope to look at the boy, a curious expression on his face.

A marksman would know if their sight was modified in some way, after all. If his hunch was right, then it would seem that this young man was trying to make a pair of periscope binoculars. Most periscopes didn't have any magnification to begin with, after all. Combining the two objects seemed like a good idea, but in its current state, it required further refinement.

It was certainly a good proof-of-concept, though. Elliot knew that some periscope binoculars existed, and if this thing was handmade from equipment scavenged from the field, then its creation was certainly an impressive feat in its own right.

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The Plymouth Lane was a long way from home.

She had arrived in the early morning, assigned to a new commanding officer far from Ypern and the constant fighting from Deventer to Tereschelling. There was an unease in her bones as she thought about it. If she was so successful and vital to the war effort why was she reassigned? She was a daughter of Ypern and her fight was in Ypern. It didn’t make sense to be reassigned. How many brothers and sisters of her people had she buried after fighting trench to abhorrent trench? She belonged pushing the despicable imperials out of their holes and putting them up on pikes. Yet she was here waiting for orders.

She had her back pressed against a nearby barrier in one of the observation posts, lamenting her thoughts as people began chattering.

They spoke of some kind of technical wizardry. One of them, Elliot, caught her eye for a moment as she kept herself at the ready and on post. Her shift was hours from being over, though she supposed she should have gotten rest when she arrived but her own stubbornness refused to do so. Not like she could’ve gotten rest, anyway. Sleeping after the last burial had been difficult and that was before the inevitable reassignment far from her countrymen. She chose not to respond to the group, not even a greeting. For the time being she just looked at them with a weary smile before keeping her attention focused on anything suspicious. Her husband had been good with the sort of things these men were. Mechanics of things and how things worked. Lubna by all comparison was an idiot. The only thing she was good at was shooting and staying alive.

The air smelled raw. It would not stay peaceful for long. She could feel it in her bones.
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In the days and weeks since Victoria first joined the 15th not much had changed. Oh sure the Federation had won the battle for the Amone, slugging it out with the Imps in the streets and blasting them from their hiding places with ragnite. Marathon had gotten himself killed but his death had been avenged, the sniper responsible for gunning him down now nothing more than a corpse buried under rubble. Hell, Vicky had even won herself a promotion thanks to her discovery of the Empire's defense plans. But lance corporal meant nothing more than slightly more responsibility and barely a few more pennies each month to pay for it. She was still stuck in a muddy trench freezing her tits off, praying that the next shelling didn't land too close.

New stripes, same shit.

The morning had seemed especially cold, icy bitterness making it hard to grip a pencil well enough to write let along draw. With no creative outlet Victoria had turned to the ones that were always available. The cigarette in her mouth was the fifth of the day, the beer on the bar counter the third. Some might have said it was too early for drinking but if that was the case how come the pub owners had been willing to sell to her?

Buying alcohol was a wasteful indulgence when she still had half a flask full of the stuff but it was a luxury she willing to shell out for. The stuff in her personal stash was the last of the brandy she had snatched from the inn in Amone and judging by the taste it was either contaminated by gas or cat piss. The beer she was drinking now was certainly poor quality but at least her stomach would remain more or less intact after breaking the stuff down.

She tore off another piece of the bread she had gotten with her drink, chewing and swallowing out of habit more than actual hunger. Old instincts demanded that she eat whenever there was an opportunity so she could have a store of energy to fall back on when starvation reared its head again, a bit of superstition she would never shake as long as she lived. Victoria was set to grind bits of hard bread between her teeth all day like a particularly violent cow when some complete jackass started banging planks of wood together outside.

Oh that's just fucking delightful.

Was there really not enough noise for these people with the daily bombings? Living right on the edge of a warzone didn't provide enough commotion? Apparently not because the village idiot had apparently decided today was the day for him to perform his "kappie" or whatever he had called it. While he began to babble about animals she did her best to keep cool, aware of the fact that she was the odd one out. The size of the crowd she could see through the window was big enough to mean that this little show was apparently socially acceptable.

Clearly there wasn't a chance of her finishing her breakfast in peace. Victoria slid off of her stool and tossed a few coins onto the counter as recompense before heading to the door, mud caked boots stomping down on the floor. She came out at the tailend of the show, blinking in the harsh light of high noon.

...Wait what? That didn't seem right. But honestly she wouldn't know. She was only really alert late at night or in the early morning, energized by the darkness that all rats thrived in. The waking hours blurred into one long headache. Whatever time it was signalled the end for the showman, the little runt taking his leave and stepping off. Now that she was actually looking at him she could see that he was no villager (jury was still out on the idiot part) but one of her fellow shocktroopers. Lazily done bob, Darcsen hair color, darker skin than any actual Europan, fuck what was his name?

Cienie, that was it.

Silently Victoria fell in step besides him, a rat moving in concert with one of her own. His destination didn't matter, whatever he ended up doing she could probably lend a hand with. As long as she was able to distract herself from her miserable mental state she'd tolerate it.

"Did you have a good show?"

Her careless draw saw the cigarette fall from her mouth and sputter out in the mud, smoked down to just the butt. Without missing a beat a new one was slipped from its crumpled packet and lit, replacing its fallen brother.





Reality came in the form of an explosion, a falling shell touching down touching down close enough that he could feel the explosion in his bones. Alex toppled out of the chair he had been napping on and barely managed to keep from smacking his face against the muddy wooden planks serving as walkways. A late morning reveille courtesy of the East Europan Imperial Alliance.

Sergeant Schäfer struggled back to his feet, the process made more difficult by the two hundred odd pounds of dog tugging at his pants pocket. Valkur had sat by his master obediently the whole time but Alex being undeniably awake meant that the mastiff's patience had worn thin.

"Yeah I know! Patience dear boy, patience."

A swat to the snout made Valkur back off, glaring hungrily as his owner fished out a biscuit and tossed it his way. One quick snatch of those bone breaking jaws and the treat was gone, devoured in a single bite. "Right. Back to it then." As of that moment there were no raids to cover or exposed positions to fire upon which meant that Schäfer's time was his own. He would spend it with Valkur in order to strengthen the bond between human and dog.

He whistled and Valkur followed behind without need of a leash, the pair moving quietly through the winding trenches that made up Plymouth Lane. Winter's bite did little to disturb Alex, warded off by his patterned shawl like a spirit chased away by a talisman. There was a straight shot from the support trenches to the dummy one and the sniper was taking it, curious as whether or not he'd be able to discern the Imperial's plans for the day by watching their movements through his scope.

It turned out that the enemy was having a lazy day. No trench raiding parties were coming to snip wire or shoot officers but there was a group of Federals about to start up a card game. "So, what are we playing?" According to regulations gambling was strictly forbidden so Alex should have been breaking the session up but he had never really cared for that rule to be quite honest. A few rounds of cards never hurt anyone, not more than a few rounds of drinks anyway.

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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Conscripts
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"I am Michael. Last name Daunte." He returned Elliot's introduction with yet another slight nod, more as a formality but he rather took it in with grace. Nevertheless, even before his life in the trenches, he had long preferred the rather down-to-earth commoner address to most of his peers. If anything it made him feel a bit more relatable to the rest of society than the relatively few stuck-up individuals up there on the upper echelon. "Just call me Michael. There's no time for titles in a place like this."

He's also not that old anyway, but chances are Elliot was just being formal as well. Speaking of whom, Michael noticed the little tube jutting out of the ends of Elliot's rifles. It's thin and barely, if not outright otherwise, bigger than the rifle thickness. Curious. People don't tend to put accessories on their rifles since they get turned in quite frequently to higher ups, so he wondered what that is. Maybe he worked this out on his own as well. He may be a marksman, but who can say that he doesn't have backgrounds in engineering or mathematics. Elliot does look a bit young for that, but hey, the existence of the one and only Michael himself was enough proof that looks can be very deceiving.

Michael waited a little bit anxiously as Elliot peered the periscope over the parapet, both for him and for the feedback on his latest invention/innovation, although if it hadn't been already apparent, the way he handled it and positioned himself indicated he knew what he was doing perfectly. Actually that wouldn't really relieve him much, considering he was asking for feedback from an experienced veteran, whereas he only just partook in the war for a few months at best. Like his university or job interview, he stared at literally everything, every small detail, Elliot does, up until he turned around. Whew. It worked, and while not exactly glowing, it wasn't scathing either. It was exactly what he expected.

"Yeah, it's optical lense. It was a binocular from a dead Imperial officer that I found a few weeks back. I have to redo the magnification because the saw-off point is right in the center." Michael replied as he took out the sheet of paper he had folded in his pocket. Unfolding it, it showed a rather crude but geometrical drawings of the design. "The binocular is rather short, so it leaves not so much room to work with." He gave a small laugh afterward. "I do have a bit too much time on hand."

Now that Lucia wasn't on his back the whole time he does. He wondered if she was doing alright, but personally, he did find her absence somewhat liberating, not having to babysit her. Was it down to his normal etiquette or his complex feelings towards her and her current predicament was up for debate, but it was nice being a free man for once.

His discussion with Elliot was followed quite abruptly by a lovely lady at the entrance. Unlike neither the marksman or the sapper, she was tall, and had this rather...weary aura to her. And the custom for a gentleman is to never leave a lady unattended.

"Are you alright, miss? Are you here for the observation duty? Come, join us in our work." Michael cupped his hands in front of his stomach. "Make yourself comfortable."

He was meant to go back for some food after this, but eh, he could wait a couple of hours.
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“I am fine, ser.”

Lubna looked back to the man who had identified himself as Michael Daunte.

It appeared he wished to be seen through informal language yet he was still using formal niceties like “lady” to address others. She thought to his question if she was for observation duty and it honestly guffawed her just a smidge he would ask such a question. No, she was here to clean the floor of the observation trenches! Of course she was here for duty. It wasn’t an assignment she had been personally given by her superiors but it was one they didn’t object to her doing when she arrived in the milk of the moon at the other observation post.

“I am comfortable.” She insisted as she stood firm and alert, “Leisure doesn’t suit a soldier.”
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December 30th - Observation Post



Elliot nodded as he looked over the man's draft. "It's rather impressive, knowing that it's made of scavenged gear. You've done well, considering the limitations." He said in reply to Michael, before appending a few comments. "...just remember that with greater magnification, comes a smaller field-of-view. Periscope binoculars are good at safely viewing a singular target from a distance, but are less useful for viewing the battlefield as a whole." The marksman explained, lending his insight. He had a feeling the sapper already knew what he was doing, considering the schematics before him, but Elliot figured that his advice would help him refine his work quicker.

"Personally, I prefer to keep a wide-view periscope for general battlefield surveillance, and my scope for looking at specific objects." The boy commented. "...Though I suppose I have a bit of leeway in that regard. I'm certain someone in a less specialized role could find a lot of use in this."

Now done talking shop, Elliot then turns to face the new arrival: a woman with brown hair who towered over both him and his sapper companion. The most striking of her features, however, were her eyes. The marksman knew that countenance well-- he had seen similar ones in veterans, whether that's face-to-face or from behind the optics of a sniper scope.

He wondered if his eyes gave off a similar expression.

Michael had taken the liberty of inviting her to join them-- something Elliot would have done as well had the sapper not beaten him to the punch. The woman, however, decided against it, instead opting to remain at her post. It was true: there was a job to be done here, and idle chatter-- or in this case, discussion on jury-rigged equipment, was not necessarily on the to-do list... but if something did happen, the marksman would know long before it became an issue.

He supposed it was the principle of it all, but then again, there was no way to know for certain.

If the soldier before him wanted to stay on duty, then it was only right to reciprocate. "Fair enough, miss." He said, giving her an apologetic nod. "...Though by the looks of things, we should be fine for the next few hours." Elliot explained. His cursory surveillance of the area showed little signs of the enemy's intent to move towards them-- the timing wasn't right either; the enemy was more likely to rest a little longer before making any overt moves. Were the atmosphere more tense, the marksman would've skipped the niceties altogether, after all.

Elliot considered insisting that the soldier join them, but... in the end, the choice was up to her. It was impolite to force someone into a conversation that they had no interest in participating in, after all. The idea would have to come from her.
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Dec. 30 - Command Trench Interior




"Brock shite isn't meant for anyone..."

Connor revoltingly turned a disgusted look into his coffee mug, as the faint reflection of the lamplight shined a rippling reflection of the blue-haired lieutenant in spade. The new brew from this morning specifically wasn't coffee. Instead, this was some "novel" medley, concocted by the Department of Logistics to, in their words as Connor recalled from last week's memo, "Make up for our current shortages by preparing alternatives". And, like most of the food prepared by the Department, the brew could be put in a pig's trough and the poor animal would fall dead by nightfall. Connor shot his disgusted look back, recalling the ingredients in the paper-sealed package: "Blended acorn grain and corn meal" What bloody idiot would think that pouring hot water over bloody acorns and corn mash would make coffee?

A dumb fuck, for certain. A dumb fuck for thinking of the bloody idea, and an even dumber fuck to keep drinking it after the fact. Connor dismayfully took another sip of the swill. Every time the scalding blend touched his tongue, Connor felt as if he was licking a cast iron oak tree on a hot summer day, with flaking rust scratching his throat the whole way down to his stomach.

"Is Private Farris on the fucking front line?!" The Captain demanded. He had taken a break from organizing - or more accurately, correcting - the Generals' plans for the January Offensive. Even considering the usual gruff tone of Captain Middleton, Connor could tell that this was going to be a long week for the CO's.

"How the 'ell am I s'possed to know?" Connor shot back, looking up from his table back at him. "You sent the bloody sergeant after 'er."

His response earned the two a matching set of mutual glares. Their set of reciprocal death-stares slowly drifted into their usual repetition, Middleton returning his eyes to the papers and maps while Connor stared back into his mug.

"You better have the troop assignments done."

"They're fecking done." Connor waved his office log back at him. His eyes didn't bother moving up from his cup.

A blast of cold air swelled from the outside as the trench door creaked open, the howl of the winter's day invading the room like water rushing through rapids. The lieutenant and the captain turned their heads toward the crevice, in sync like the

"Right on time." Connor commented. He rose from his cross-legged position, grasping the plans on the table on his way up. "You're Private Grumann or wh'ever, yeah? I got a new assignment for your lot-"

"Get the fucking assignment brief done, Connor."

"I'm bloody gettin' ta' it!" he returned. The two could hardly speak five words without getting into a standoff.

"...like I was sayin'..." he pivoted his gaze back unto the private. "You'll be with the new Corporal fer this one. Together on'nit y'll be with, eh..."

The lieutenant paused, tapping his notes.

"So-coal-o'-ski, Mehetabel, Lévesque, Blau, Fürst, Roe, Daunte, Schäfer, Morvan, and...eh, White?"

Connor took a moment to pause as he mentioned the name.

"'Ey, ain't she the one who gave birth to twin girls durin' the trench raid?" He inquired. Just after, he shook his head and waved in dismissal. "Eh, nah. Just remembered that was someone else. Anyway, y' new assignment's fer-"

Pausing, Connor scraped over his planner, the violent flipping between pages and tabs almost scratching the heavy canvas of the plans as it audibly echoed even through the usual jitter-jatter of the command room. Heavy huffs fumed out with every audacious page turn, steadily etching into a sonorous rhythm. Frustrated, he slammed the planner shut out of the blue, picking up his mug in his newly-freed hand and nudged the private along with his right elbow. The assignment's order of operation was listed out, anyhow; The details were what briefing was for.

"Eh, c'mon. Let's go for a lil' saunter. I'm gettin' tired o' bein' locked up in here."

"Blimey, he's a fecking sour-tittied old codger, in'nt he?" Connor vented, slamming the trench door behind him as he exhaled into the frigid air. Stretching his arms upward, he expired a wary sigh, the audible cracks of his sore bones clear even through the mid-afternoon's battlefield ambience.

Jolting his arm down into his pocket, jamming it like a knife into a watermelon, Connor fumed and fumbled about, his hand violently scrounging about his coat crevice like a panicking squirrel. Swiftly, he yanked his hand back, his argent pocket watch flipping open with the switch of his thumb. He squinted down at the device, clearly dismayed by what he saw.

"Where the feck is Corporal So-coal-o'-ski?!" he seethed through the winter's smoke. Connor shook his head, frustratingly shutting the watch with a violent slam. His head chafly looked side to side, seeing if he could spot her anywhere nearby, but after a few passes and scans, the Darcsen boiled in exhausted anger.

"You seen 'er anywhere, Private? Blond-'eaded lass with the Legion cap and a funny voice?" he spat out at Richard. Barely giving him any time to respond, he shook his head, putting an arm upon his shoulder and giving a forceful tug along as he started his slog through the trench snow.

"Ah, fuckit! We're going looking for 'er, c'mon!"


@Not Fungus
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Landaus Five-One
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Landaus Five-One The Sadist Insaneous One

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December 30th – Frontline Trench



Diana had a hard time in this war, but there were some bright spots here and there, but she finally wrote her thoughts on paper. She was the only recourse in her mind to do that with all the problems getting some sleep in the frontline dugout. These personal thoughts of all the trauma Diana felt in these five months in this blasted war have made her skeptical about everything. She could barely write a single paragraph of all the feelings shaped in a small bow with the date of the month above. It wasn’t an entire thought, but that’s all she could handle at this moment because of all the troubled thoughts in her head. ’ I should probably stop writing my diary. I am barely getting anywhere. Why did my mother send me this in the last package I received?’ Diana thought with a frustratingly look on her face.

Diana sighs know her mother cares for her greatly, but she’s grown up much more than she had in the months before joining the war. She closes her diary and puts it in her pocket on her uniform and looks around, and notices the dugout was clear. It made her shake her head and sigh regretfully, not realizing that everyone was out of there, but the distraction of trying to sleep in the dugout wasn’t helping. She gets up from her bed since she was trying to write in her diary and stretches a bit. A singular thought was about she looks for some of her platoon mates that are the opposite of jerks, which Corporal Jean is. Some people in this platoon keep her going, like Jean, Lucia, Victoria, and others at Amone.

It takes her a bit of time to get out of the dugout and search for Jean since he was a ball of depression, but she has gotten a bit worse lately. She is only talking to people that are in her circle of soldiers rather than others sometimes. She walks from the dugout and goes into the trench, and she tries to wave to other soldiers in the trench. The Frontline Trench is big, but she still has a beautiful smile otherwise. She enjoys her walk since she probably needs that more than anything right now. It shows, she tries to put what happened to her previously behind her, but no one can forget that awful shit that happened at Amone. All the death and destruction caused by the Federation to get the upper hand on the Imperials, that battle cost many lives. It costs Diana her innocence and naivety since it was indeed hell in Europa. One of the reasons she tries to use alcohol to feel slightly better from all the awful sights she has seen through her five months of fighting.

Diana took notice of two familiar faces in her platoon talking to each other, Lucia and Jean. She arrives a bit after they finished talking among themselves felt a bit like she walked a while to reach them. Diana decides to announce her presence to them by waving towards Jean and Lucia with enthusiasm but hiding all the hurt within her heart. It shows she’s much more comfortable around people she knows and likes rather than people Diana doesn’t know because she has become slightly more skeptical over the months in war. ” Hey, Lucia and Jean! How are you two doing?” Diana questioned with that definite brightness to her speech patterns again with a northern Edinburghian accent. She did want to know what they were talking about, but it’s better not to pry like she usually does because everyone needs their space.

As day Diana was trying to do her usual thing of hiding what she is feeling, her body language gave away her feeling. She felt awful about everything she had to do to keep alive in this war, all because that’s what it is. It is one thing to forget about what you’re parents have accomplished, and Diana will stay true to the values of being friends with Darscens. She doesn’t see a point in celebrating her birthday nor New Years’ because being in war numbed her celebration-type cheeriness. A specific look on her face was the indifference of all that happened previously, and she didn’t want to celebrate her birthday. ” Um, what are you two going to do today? Can I join, please?” Diana questioned curiously with a slight smile on her face. She had been bored in the frontline trench after all, and her creative juices weren’t working at all.

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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Not Fungus
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Calmly strolling into the room and gaining warmth foreign to the outside, Richard saluted to his two superiors as he waited for them to finish talking. As Connor listed the names, Richard tried putting faces to them. Unfortunately, he hasn't met any of them, but he knows of one of them. The recently promoted Sokołowšky is just a Corporal he's heard of, so hopefully she's easy to work with.

Richard went outside with Lieutenant Connor and stayed silent like a wooden puppet while listening to him. It wasn't his job to speak up, only to follow orders. There was also no point in responding to his superior's query about the corporal's location as the man himself would likely know better than him. He let himself be dragged by the Darcsen and followed his gait with broad steps. The flurry of snow greeted his clothes and touched his skin with its chilly embrace. Letting the weather inhibit his task in searching for a corporal with his superior would be a disgrace as a soldier, so he ignored it.

He needs to get his assignment still.

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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Theyra
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Theyra

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Jakou Morvan

Dec. 30 - Frontline dugouts




So this is where the fields of glory are. This is where he could attain the glory of war that he has heard so much about, in the middle of a trench during the winter and with a not surprising lack of sleep. The dark circles under his eyes showed as he leaned against one of the trench walls. Trying to conserve his energy for when something big happens. Like a raid or an assault by either side. For the most today, it has been quiet. No sign of trouble or enemy bombardment. Which is something he can be glad for now. Nice to get a break from the constants sound of death from above raining down on him. Still, it does not mean he is going to get some much-needed sleep or a nap. Always making sure that he does not fall asleep by accident because the last thing he means or wants is to be caught asleep when something big goes down. Jakou learned that lesson well before he came to Plymouth Lane, back when he was still a part of the 9th.

Jakou let out a small tired sigh at the thought. That private sure did have the surprise of his life right there. Lucky that he did not die during that Imperial attack, though he did die later. Like most of the 9th, the people he trained with and served with. Dead like so many in this war. Can Jakou even find glory in this war after what he was seen? Some part of him still thinks despite it all. It may not be the glory he was looking for but, it is glory nonetheless. Though he wonders if he will live long enough to taste it. Jakou did survive the death of the 9th, so maybe he can survive this war.

He took the time to take out his journal and read some of the contents. Even though he knows what is in it, for Jakou, both reading and writing in his journal helped to keep his sanity. Certainly after the loss of the 9th months ago. Someplace where he can just write what he has seen and how he feels. It is a liberating sensation and something he needed during this war. Jakou has enough bottled-up feelings from his upbringing that he is trying to keep contain. He does not need more added to the weight, and after reading a couple of pages, he was content. Putting it away and resumed being a silent statue.

Then as Jakou started to slowly close his eyes and felt the urge to rest deeply, he indulged before coming to his sense and shaking it off. "No, not yet," Jakou reprimanding himself quietly as he straightened himself out. That is the third time today that he almost fell asleep. Maybe he should move a bit. Perhaps a short walk in the trench would do him some good. So Jakou did a short stretch and cracked his neck by moving it from side to side. "Time to see who else is in this miserable trench." Saying under his breath as he started to walk the dugouts.
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by 13org
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December 30th, Frontline dugouts

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Mentions: Jakou, Diana, Lucia and Jean




It wasn't a secret that some of his superiors clearly had something against Emmerich and he knew that very well. Wandering from trench to trench in mostly pointless assignments happened a few times to him already and this time it didn't seem to be different. It's been some time since he had arrived on the frontline dugouts, ordered to 'standby until further orders' but no one had called him yet nor he received any order. Still, there was nothing he could do... Life as a soldier was already miserable enough. One or two more inconveniences wouldn't change much to him.

Letting out a short, muttered curse in his mother language, the imperial language, Emmerich sighed before leaning against one of walls. While the trench wasn't exactly busy as it was in some days, it wasn't empty as well, with the few soldiers going on their own business. Some did as him, simply waiting, others found it better to do some physical exercise to distract the mind, like the red haired man walking through the trench, yet there were some others who found better ways to fight off the boredom and make the time pass like the two soldiers, a man and a woman, a few meters to his right, who were talking with each other before a second woman arrived, asking if she could join them. Without anything better to do, Emmerich ended up observing the exchange between the group. Even among the other soldiers, the blonde woman clearly stood out against the rest of the soldiers, due to the bright smile she wore while walking towards the other two, Lucia and Jean, as she called them.

After observing the group for a few seconds though, Emmerich simply sighed, turning his head and getting back to his own business, taking a small book from his pocket and opening it on the marked page. Truth be told, the fact that the small book of short classics from the Imperial literature remained intact despite everything that he had gone through was nothing short of a miracle. Other than the few blood splatters on the cover, thanks to the grenade that almost killed him when he still fought for the empire, the book was remarkably well kept, with most of the pages still intact, with no rip or tear in sight, albeit a bit yellow due to the passage of time.
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