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 06th August; Preparations for extraction, Afternoon; Torrington, Vickery
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 06:42 PM
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(Thread originally started by Torrington)

By the time he came back to the rifles camp, Captain Torrington was considerably closer to the sum the kidnappers had demanded. But still there was a little bit missing, and there was also one last thing he had to do before he could put his (amended) rescue plan into operation. He sighed. He was commiting himself now. If he told Vickery, and Vickery refused to help, he would have to rethink - and most likely Cotton would make sure that he could not fall back to his first idea.

Pulling his bicorn straight and settling his sword, he approached the Captain's tent and called out:

"Vickery? Are you there? - It's important."
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John Vickery
 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 06:42 PM
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"Come in!" Vickery glanced at his half-written letter before wiping his pen off and capping the ink-bottle.

"What can I do for you?" he asked, standing up. A look of concern crossed his face as he saw the worried expression the Engineer was wearing. "What's wrong?"

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King George commands, and we obey
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 06:43 PM
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Wordlessly, he handed Vickery the ransom note. Only when the other captain had looked at it, he explained:

"This was delivered by a badly wounded ... irregular, I suppose. And by delivered I mean that the man was deposited near our picket line. The men carrying him then fired a few shots to get our attention and disappeared."
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 06:44 PM
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von Dorheim vomited profusely outside of his tent. Unsure of the time, he collapsed next to his pile of vomit and managed to light a cigar. 'Spanish wine is awful stuff' he said to himself. He shook his head and pulled himself to his feet. He stumbled to a bucket that was not tended by anyone. Putting his cigar down, he began to throw water on his face. He cursed Spain. von Dornheim hated this country. The heat. The foot. The land. All of them horrid in his opinion. Slowly, the Baron made his way back to his tent and pulled on his less formal uniform. Already the knee had been patched from the inside and the dye faded from the uniform. He had long lost his shako somewhere and had yet to receive a replacement. He cursed and retrieved his sword, hooking it to his belt.

von Dornheim had kept a low profile, an especially low profile for an officer. While he didnt shirk his duties, von Dornheim had been in a funk. He was determined to change things. Not out of self worth but in short, he was broke and out of alcohol. With nothing else to do, von Dornheim knew he would have to distract himself. He flattened out some wrinkles in his uniform with his hand and found his Captain's tent. He was unsure if the Captain knew one of his men had died in the night, but it was best to report it. The poor sap collapsed and died while answering a call of nature.

"Herr Captain?" called out von Dornheim sternly.
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 06:44 PM
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Torrington immediately folded the letter back into his pocket and smoothed out his features.

Since the German lieutenant sounded so stern, he feared that something else had happened, but he hoped that it was not bad news in connection with the wounded Irregular.

Taking a step back to give Vickery room, he bowed ironically:

"It seems company business has joined me in preventing you from finishing your letter."
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John Vickery
 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 06:45 PM
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There was no room in Vickery's tent for anyone else to join them, and it was far too hot anyway. He looked at Torrington. "One learns to write whenever one can spare a minute - I don't think I have ever managed to write a letter through from beginning to end without an interruption since I joined the Army," he said, and excused himself to see what von Dornheim had to report.

"Herr Leutnant... You look rather off-colour," he said. "Do you need some water?"

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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 06:46 PM
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von Dornheim frowned and shook his head. "I regret I had a rough night" he said, wiping his face with a handkerchief. He rubbed his eyes. "Sir, I regret to announce we have lost a sergeant. He was......" von Dornheim paused. "He was acting as nature" he said, unsure of the English. He hoped his expression would convey the right message. "He drop dead as you say. He just fell. Dead as nacht" said von Dornheim shaking his head. "I shall try to keep ze men busy. They are vorried" he concluded, shaking his head. He pursed his lips and stroked his mustache. He had too much on his mind and had been much too idle. He had done nothing for some time except drink. He desperately needed a kick-start.
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 06:48 PM
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"You can say it in German, if it's easier," Vickery said, speaking in that language. "Which Sergeant?"

This meant that he would have to organise a burial party, and look to see which of the Corporals he could best put forward for promotion. And it seemed Torrington had been about to share some bad news with him, too.

What was it Voltaire had said? Oh - no, it was Shakespeare. When sorrows come, they come not single spies but in battalions.

It was starting to prove truer than Vickery could ever have wished.

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King George commands, and we obey
Over the hills and far away ~ Traditional

An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 06:50 PM
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The coat needed mending, which he was doing now. The damage it has sustained due to fighting at the bridge should have been sewed up days ago, but Widmayer had never found much time for it. His knapsack lay draped over his knees and the coat on top of that. It seemed the conversation in that tent would last longer than he anticipated. Dusting the coat a little he yawned.

He glanced briefly in the direction of the two officers outside. After a few long moments he slowly stood up and pulled his coat, the 60th of course, on again. With that done he walked off in the direction of the 33rd.
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 06:52 PM
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von Dornheim fumbled for a moment and produced a slip of paper with the Sergeant's name on it. He sighed. "The men seemed to like him a bit sir. They have asked you attend ze burial later" said von Dornheim, preferring to keep speaking English. "It would mean a lot to zem sir, only a few minutes of your time".
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 06:52 PM
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Vickery noted the name. "Of course," Vickery said. He'd find his Prayer Book to read over the grave - he had some notion that Reibert was Lutheran, but he was unsure of the Lutheran burial service, and thought that the Church of England rite would be more acceptable than nothing at all, or the Catholic rites of the country.

"I think I shall promote Corporal Rauprich to Sergeant to replace him, Sandmeyer to full Corporal, and Bergmann to Chosen Man," he added, pulling out his Day Book to make a note. "Well, provisionally, at any rate - the final decision rests with Major Davy, naturally."

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King George commands, and we obey
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An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 06:53 PM
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He gave a quick and unformed salute. von Dornheim turned to walk away but stopped. "Sir, this Sergeant......I am sure the boys are still ready for anything. They are mostly good boys. I know I perhaps not the best officer and am far from ze richest. Know you can count on us and me" he concluded, giving a more intensive salute before walking away.
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 06:54 PM
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Vickery nodded. "Thank you, Herr Leutnant," he said, and smiled. "I have always found them so; I am glad that you do, also. And becoming a good officer is as much about learning about the men as learning anything else, I have found. I am sure you have nothing to worry about on that score."

He returned the Lieutenant's salute and watched him walk away. von Dornheim might not consider himself to be one of the best officers in the Army, but Vickery thought that he had made a very creditable beginning, at least.

And now he had to see what Captain Torrington wanted him for, precisely. This was not turning out to be a quiet day. At least the French had not encroached on the British picquet line or anything, he supposed.

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King George commands, and we obey
Over the hills and far away ~ Traditional

An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 06:55 PM
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Torrington waited inside the tent, trying to possess himself in patience. Unable to do nothing, he reread the letter, then rechecked his calculations, and finally looked around to see whether he could spot Vickery's copy of the map of the area, so he could recheck his memory of the meeting point.
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 06:55 PM
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Vickery swept the tent-flap aside and ducked into the enclosed heat of his tent.

"My apologies," he said, and sighed. "It seems one of my sergeants dropped dead in the night with no warning or explanation and I must read over him at the burial later. What was it you needed from me?"

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King George commands, and we obey
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An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 06:56 PM
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Torrington held out the ransom note again and asked with a frown:

"Dropped dead? Was he ill?"

In all decency, he probably should be present at the burial as well, and Cotton and the two youngsters, too, he supposed, but it would rather interfere with the plans to hand over the money and hopefully rescue Estefania.
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 06:56 PM
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Vickery re-read the note, and re-folded it, shaking his head. "No. Well, no, not that I am aware of - but this country has strange effects on those not used to it, I find. He might have developed sun-stroke without anyone being the wiser, possibly. English coin, they say," he added, holding the note out for Torrington to take. "I am not sure how my funds are at the moment, but you are welcome to what I have."

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King George commands, and we obey
Over the hills and far away ~ Traditional

An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 06:57 PM
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Torrington refolded it and put it away again.

"Thank you. I need only a little more, then I shall have the sum. But ... rather more importantly, I would ask you advice on how to proceed. Cotton seemed rather set against letting me go alone, and he might have the right of it there. I would prefer not to involve too many people, however."
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 06:57 PM
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"Take Cotton and... I would suggest a couple of experienced men." He tapped his fingers on his table thoughtfully. "I suppose Rottlaender would like to be of the party - and possibly Pye - but I do not think they are sufficiently experienced - although Rottlaender certainly can load quickly enough. Cotton must certainly be of the party - I would not risk sending anyone who is less sure of his mark."

He looked across at Torrington, suddenly conscious that his thinking aloud had led him to look away to the canvas of his tent while he formed his thoughts into coherent words. "Is there anyone you would specifically like to be of the party?"

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King George commands, and we obey
Over the hills and far away ~ Traditional

An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 06:58 PM
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He sat in his tent, drinking the awful and warm Spanish wine. von Dorheim re-read the letter from his mother for the 3rd time before tossing it aside. Standing, he removed his shirt. "This heat" he exclaimed to himself in German aloud. His mind drifted to the sergeant who dropped dead. He pulled the Maltese medal from his uniform. He stared at it before his mind went to battle with the Barbary. He remembered the scream the dark face made as it curled into anguish after his pistol went off inches from the man's chest. The scream. He wondered if he would make the same face or scream when he was killed. Perhaps the sergeant was lucky thought van Dornheim. He put down the medal and stared at it. His mind transferred to more immediate thoughts.

The Captain had been rather receptive to him and the words were helpful. von Dornheim knew though he had to improve his image given a chance. Lazy he was but content he wasn't.
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 06:58 PM
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Torrington made a fist and relaxed it again a few times.

"Some steady woman should perhaps have a tent and fresh clothing ready for when we come back. Take mine if you need. I admit I don't know in what ... state of mind and body we will get the hostages back. "

He realized his nervous fumbling and linked his hands behind his back.

"Two or three men to support Cotton. I'd like to take the two youngsters anyway - I need somebody to hold the horses, and I think it might look strange if I appeared completely alone. They will have to wait in a distance, but should something happen, they would be around quickly enough."
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 06:59 PM
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"That is true enough," Vickery said, and pulled his map out from his leather map-case to spread it out on the table, holding it down with a candle-stick, his ink-well and a book.

"What sort of terrain are we looking at? Will Cotton and the others be able to remain undetected easily?"

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King George commands, and we obey
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An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 07:01 PM
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Torrington consulted the letter to be sure, than pointed at a spot on the map.

"Here - very rough terrain, trees and boulders, even some caves nearby. It seems that our opponents had similar thoughts - they probably will have their own sharpshooters waiting."
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 07:01 PM
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"Quite likely - although I think we can take comfort in the fact that neither the French nor the guerrillas have access to rifles. And if they have picked any up, they don't have access to the ammunition for them."

Vickery looked at the map. "Of course, whoever I send will have to leave before you so that they have time to arrive and find cover without their presence being detected."

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King George commands, and we obey
Over the hills and far away ~ Traditional

An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 07:02 PM
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Torrington nodded.

"I believe in this case I would like to be present at the burial, if that is appropriate. Will you leave Cotton in charge or send one of your subaltern officers with them?"
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