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7 June; On being agreeable

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7 June; On being agreeable

Post  Cross Johnson on Wed Sep 07, 2011 7:12 am

Fortunately for him, the unease in his guts had not lasted. Johnson was grateful enough for that. Though of course there was no way of telling, for his demeanour was unchanged. It would not do, after all, for the lads to think he might be drawn to alter his temper because of a passing illness.

The sentries for this watch were no doubt silently cursing him, as he had been at pains to inspect them a little more closely than usual, but that could not be helped. It was hardly Johnson's fault that many of the lads were too ill to keep up their own kit - or to keep themselves from fouling up other fellows' kit with their stupidity.

Still, the sentries had been relieved and all the related busy-work had been seen to. Now he had only to report the successful completion of this routine to the lieutenant before he was free to return below and get back to the business of seeing the messdeck set to rights.

It was, he thought, just as well that the lieutenant was topside, in the free-moving air. Small mercies. The corporal approached the quarterdeck stairs.

"Sir," he said stiffly in greeting and offered a salute.

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Re: 7 June; On being agreeable

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Wed Sep 07, 2011 7:27 am

Sewell turned, feeling relieved that at least his corporal seemed on his feet and doing his duty, but as usual his face remained impassive.
"Corporal!", he offered by way of greeting, returning the salute. "Sentries all set?"
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Re: 7 June; On being agreeable

Post  Cross Johnson on Wed Sep 07, 2011 7:35 am

Perceptive, this one, Johnson thought. He relaxed his arm and returned to the position of attention. "Yes, sir." He paused a beat before adding, slightly gruffly, "Seven men still on sick-list, as well."

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Re: 7 June; On being agreeable

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Wed Sep 07, 2011 7:51 am

Sewell answered with a low grunt. He had barely enough marines, and seven men less meant that sooner or later the rest would be to tired to be effective. He just hoped that this damn flux would be over soon.

He asked: "Someone already better?"
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Re: 7 June; On being agreeable

Post  Cross Johnson on Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:43 am

"Aye sir," was Johnson's reply. "Two."

Or one Marine and himself, if he was precise. But the officer hadn't asked him to be.

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Re: 7 June; On being agreeable

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:56 am

"Good! Who's ill?" Sewell already had taken out several lists, trying to see whether the watches needed to be reorganized.

The corporal wasn't exactly helpful, but Sewell couldn't remember him ever being more forthcoming. But at least he was no longer ill, which made him at the moment infintely more agreeable than most other persons on the ship.

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Re: 7 June; On being agreeable

Post  Cross Johnson on Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:05 am

Good, was it? Johnson wasn't as sure about that. Seven men still on the sick-list despite two returned off it was hardly cause for celebration.

"Privates Beech, Dawkins, Gunn, Joyse, McEwen, Mallory, and Vining, sir."

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Re: 7 June; On being agreeable

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:27 am

Sewell took a pencil out and started to scribble. Of course nearly everybody still ill had been supposed to stand guard at the same time. Deciding that filling the gaps with those marines who would have had the longest rest, in effect shifting the watches by one, and reorganizing the complete schedule on this basis until the sick men were back on duty, he drew up a new list.

Handing it to the corporal, he added: "If another marine falls ill, I'm to be informed."


Last edited by Sebastian Sewell on Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:28 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Typo)
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Re: 7 June; On being agreeable

Post  Cross Johnson on Wed Sep 07, 2011 7:18 pm

"Aye aye, sir," Johnson replied tonelessly. What did Mister Sewell think he was, stupid? Or worse, inefficient? Of course, the chances of another lad coming down sick and therefore rendering himself useless were high. Which meant Johnson would be making the appropriate reports regularly.

It would be nice if Thompson could turn up to pull his weight, now that he wore stripes on his arm, but Johnson had hardly seen hide nor hair of him lately. Typical!

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Re: 7 June; On being agreeable

Post  George Thompson on Wed Sep 07, 2011 7:30 pm

Thompson felt about ready to drop. It wasn't the bloody flux, or whatever this sickness was, that had done it. It was the sheer work he'd done since Corporal Johnson had reported sick, that meant that Thompson had ended up shouldering Johnson's duties as well as his own almost overnight, and with very little idea about what, exactly, that entailed - apart from what he had observed during his years as a Private.

And now someone had told him that Corporal Johnson was up and about and speaking with their officer. It would have been nice if someone could have informed him somewhat earlier, of course, but there it was.

"Sir," he said, coming on deck and saluting the officer, who was in conversation with the senior Corporal. Wasn't that just typical.


Last edited by George Thompson on Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:37 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: 7 June; On being agreeable

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:13 pm

Johnson looked sour, but Sewell didn't care. Better make all orders absolutely clear under the current circumstances. He didn't want to be informed only when someone was no longer able to do his duty, but as far in advance as possible. He would rather stand the watches himself than allow this ship to be without the proper guard. If the corporal couldn't live with that, he'd better look for another ship.

Sew began to walk again; he felt that the current conversation might as well be held during his round to check that everything was as good as could be under the present circumstances.

"Someone sturdy on the quarterdeck's steps. Don't let anybody stumble. Regular checks on the sickbay and midshipmen."

The last wasn't strictly necessary, of course. But then some of these boys were still so very young and their berth was in a relatively remote part of the ship. He would prefer to know that everything was alright instead of only assume it.

He stopped again as the junior corporal came up. The man didn't look too good. Sewell just hoped he hadn't come to report sick, too. But then there was not much chance of him reporting something pleasant anyway.

Acknowledging the salute, he asked: "Mr. Thomson?"
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Re: 7 June; On being agreeable

Post  George Thompson on Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:21 pm

Mister? His brow wrinkled in confusion. "Ah, no, sir. It's Corp'ral Thompson, sir." 'Mister' was for officers and midshipmen.

He fell into step beside Corporal Johnson. In his opinion, the other man could do with another few hours in his hammock to recuperate his strength, but he wasn't going to be fool enough to say so.

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Re: 7 June; On being agreeable

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:03 pm

Sew dragged his wits to order. Obviously he was more exhausted than he had realized. Perhaps he should get something to eat and an hour of sleep. The midshipmen would be fine, and so would everybody else.

"Pardon, corporal! Something to report?"
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Re: 7 June; On being agreeable

Post  Cross Johnson on Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:17 pm

If there had been any doubt in Johnson's mind that Mister Sewell considered him incompetent, they were dissolved by the lieutenant's next orders. Now, really. The day he, Cross Johnson, let any man stumble while on duty was the day he turned in his stripes.

"Aye aye, sir," he said blandly, taking care to keep his expression impassive.

Now here came Thompson, at last. Johnson pretended not to hear the officer's strange slip in addressing the new corporal. Neither did he directly acknowledge Thompson's presence. He was not, after all, the one being addressed.

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Re: 7 June; On being agreeable

Post  George Thompson on Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:19 am

The sentries were set, and there were still men in sickbay, although those who had recovered were still very white and shaky and thus hardly strong enough to stand duty.

"We got about... twenty men fully fit, I think, sir," he said. "An' there's summat like seven or eight who ain't ill, but who ain't fightin' fit neither, sir."

He didn't feel fully fit himself, and it wasn't because he was coming down with the runs - he had been on duty for the past twenty-four hours or so, while Johnson was in sickbay.

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Re: 7 June; On being agreeable

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:07 pm

The muscles in Sew's jaws tensed up. "Half-shifts for those."

If the French decided to attack ... But then, fighting for their life had a way of making sick people stand on their feet again, and he for once wouldn't mind if their uniforms were not perfect. He had good marines under him. If it was possible to hold the ship, they would.

The large bags under Thompsons eyes reminded him of something else, though. Whenever he had spotted one of his NCOs on duty this night, it had been Thompson. Same this morning. And he had been on duty yesterday. Johnson had of course been excused, as had been Sergeant Quinn, but now that the older corporal was back on duty, Thomson needed to get some shut-eye. At least one of them needed to be fully awake at all times, and he was quite sure that in four hours time it would certainly not be him, and quite probably not be Johnson either, considering that he had just crawled out of sickbay. Now that the immediate crisis appeared to be over, they needed to spell each other carefully.

Suppressing a yawn himself, he said:

"Get some sleep. You're off-duty until the second dog-watch."

Not much sleep, but he could still send him back to bed if he had been over-cautious.

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Re: 7 June; On being agreeable

Post  George Thompson on Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:48 pm

He had to struggle not to yawn. He was used to being on duty at strange hours of the day - a man could not serve for twelve years in the Navy or the Marines and avoid working at night. Even if a man could somehow have missed taking part in a night attack, he would not have been able to avoid standing watch at some point overnight. He had only rarely done a twenty-four hour duty before, and it was beginning to catch up with him.

"Aye, aye, sir." He braced up and saluted as smartly as he could before turning to find his hammock and take it below.

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Re: 7 June; On being agreeable

Post  Cross Johnson on Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:58 pm

Half-watches for those recovering. He'd never heard of such a thing. That it made sense was irrelevant. It only meant more work all around. Bloody officers...

There went Thompson too. A little bit of running about for a few hours had worn the beggar out. Who might have guessed? They'd promote anybody these days, it seemed.

"That be all, sir?" Johnson asked in a flat tone. If it was, he could get below and start sorting out the messdeck. It would have been allowed to get in a right state, he was sure.

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Re: 7 June; On being agreeable

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Mon Oct 10, 2011 11:06 pm

Sew checked his memory. He knew he wasn't in best shape, so he needed to be especially careful there. But his brain wasn't forthcoming with something he might have had forgotten, producing only a dull pain and a rather wooly feeling instead. He nodded at Johnson.

"Yes, Corporal. Dismissed."
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Re: 7 June; On being agreeable

Post  Cross Johnson on Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:32 pm

Johnson saluted. "Aye aye, sir."

With that, he turned about smartly and headed for the ladder. There was a good deal of work to see to now and with Thompson being excused for however long, it all fell to Johnson. It was probably just as well. If things were to be done right, he'd have to see them down himself!

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Re: 7 June; On being agreeable

Post  George Thompson on Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:41 pm

He had done his best to keep the other men up to the high standards that Corporal Johnson and Sergeant Quinn expected of them, as well as shouldering their duties, which wasn't the easiest thing to do, illiterate as he was. Being able to read your own name did not mean that you could read anything else. He knew how things ran, and that did not taking book-learning, thankfully.

He had just slung his hammock when Johnson clattered down the companionway.

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Re: 7 June; On being agreeable

Post  Cross Johnson on Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:01 am

There was Thompson now, all but draped in his hammock already. It figured. Johnson grunted his opinion of that but paid no further mind to the other corporal.

"Shriver," he snapped, unsurprised to find that big Marine coming to his attention again. "Get that slop off the deck. The devil d'you think this is, a bloody workhouse?"

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