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 06th May; The Day of the Court Martial
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 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:11 PM
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Two days had passed, and the day of the court martial had come round.

[OOC: So imaginative, aren't I? Well, whoever wants to go next can.]
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 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:15 PM
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It was not a day Sharpe had particularly been looking forward to. He did not want to face Hakeswill again, but he knew that he would be there.
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 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:16 PM
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Courts martial were special. Special enough that they allowed the prisoner to shave, to have a clean shirt and to brush his coat, and even gave him back his cross belt and shako. Williams, as smartly dressed and alert as three nights in the cells allowed, waited with the same mixture of dread and hope, for his escort.

He had heard Hakeswill's voice on occasion, sometimes imagining his evil whisper penetrating through the walls, but now he wondered if they would be kept together, like co-accused, or separately, as each accused the other. But the Captain had been positive that no good would come of Williams' trying to accuse Hakeswill of attacking the lieutenant. Well, the question of whether any good would come out of this whole episode remained very doubtful.
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 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:16 PM
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At that particular point in time Captain Padstowe was under the impression it was still the previous day. In fact he didn't have any particular impression as to which day it was, since he had stayed up the previous night checking his notes and had therefore fallen asleep slumped over his desk amongst his papers, and was still soundly asleep an hour after reveille.
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Gabriel Cotton
 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:17 PM
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Cotton had been lucky that he was not required for escort duty; he wanted to keep as far away from Hakeswill as he could. Unfortunately for him, he was grabbed by one of the officers sitting on the court martial and told to go and find Captain Padstowe.

The second time in a week. At least this time he had a better idea where to look: the Captain's office in the main Headquarters building.

He knocked at the door. "Sir! Captain Padstowe, sir!"

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And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
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 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:18 PM
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Padstowe started awake at the sound of a knock at the door and someone calling his name. He groaned, rubbing his eyes and face as he got up from his desk, staggered across the room and opened the door. He blinked in surprise to see Cotton standing outside, looking slightly worried.

"Yes?"
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Gabriel Cotton
 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:19 PM
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He saluted hastily. "I was told to come and find you, sir. It's the court martial today, and everybody's wonderin' where you are, sir."

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And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
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 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:20 PM
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Padstowe's face was a picture of horror. He fumbled for his watch, taking it out and checking the dial. Seeing the time he swore loudly and dashed back into the room, scrabbling at the desk to get all the papers back into the folder, along with the damned cord and his notebook... and oh God, he wasn't even shaved, or ready in the slightest! He swore again, rubbing his hand over his chin. There would not be time to get back to his digs, not even if he ran. Oh, Dear God...!
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Gabriel Cotton
 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:20 PM
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"Sir?" Cotton had, against all sense, followed the Captain into the room. "Is there anything I can do to help, sir?"

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 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:21 PM
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Hurry up and wait. Williams leaned one shoulder against the wall of the cell, and whistled a tune. It was an old lullaby, one of those about angels watching over you, which seemed appropriate at the moment. No doubt the court would assemble in its own good time. And blame him, somehow.
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 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:21 PM
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Padstowe spun round on his heel at the voice, and was surprised to see Cotton had followed him inside. He sighed heavily, running a hand through his hair and giving the private a wan smile.

"Thank you, Cotton, but I don't think there is anything... well, not unless you can produce a clothes brush, shaving kit and hair brush in the next three seconds."
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Gabriel Cotton
 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:22 PM
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"Um." He pulled his pack off and started rooting through it. "Ain't got a hair brush, but I've got a comb. And the other things."

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 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:22 PM
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Padstowe looked in surprise at Cotton as he produced the aforementioned items.

"Wouldn't happen to have a shaving mirror and as well, would you?" he hazarded.
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Gabriel Cotton
 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:23 PM
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"No, sir. I've only got the other things 'cause of being batman to Captain Vickery. And I ain't leavin' my pack anywhere where I can't see it." He paused. "I could shave you, if you wanted, sir."

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And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
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 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:24 PM
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So Cotton was an officer's servant? Made an odd sort of sense. He rasped his chin again. Ordinarily he did not like strange people pressing blades to his throat, but needs must on this occasion.

"If you would not mind...?"
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Gabriel Cotton
 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:26 PM
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Officers. All the same. "Wouldn't have offered if I minded, sir," he said. "And we've got to have you lookin' smart for it, sir."

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 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:26 PM
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"Very well."

Padstowe sat down at the desk, stripped off his coat and continued getting the papers and his thoughts in order as Cotton set about preparing things. Right, so he had the witness statements of Sharpe, Williams and Hakeswill's original statement on the night (noted down from memory) in full, along with his own shorthand notes he'd accumulated over the past two days. Mentally he rehearsed his opening statement. There was no case to answer; any fool could see that...
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Gabriel Cotton
 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:27 PM
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The officer was still fussing with bits of paper. "You ready, sir?"

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And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
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 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:27 PM
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"Yes, yes!" he snapped irritably, then remembered that Cotton was doing this voluntarily. His face took on an apologetic expression.

"I'm sorry, Cotton, I did not mean to snap."
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Gabriel Cotton
 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:28 PM
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"Only I wasn't sure, sir. An' it's all right."

He was very careful as he worked, a little uncertain of Padstowe's temper, but he found there was nothing to worry about. It wasn't all that long before he stepped back. "There you are, sir. All done."

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And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
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 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:28 PM
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Padstowe felt along his jaw, satisfied with what he felt. Wiping away the last of the foam from his cheek he picked up his jacket.

"Hand me that clothes brush would you?"
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Gabriel Cotton
 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:29 PM
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"Pardon me for conterdicting you, sir, but wouldn't it be quicker if I brushed your jacket while you got all your papers together?" He looked apologetic. "I can't read, see."

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And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
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 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:30 PM
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Oh Lord, what was the point of arguing? There was not time. He handed him the coat, along with his hat.

"Couldn't do that as well, could you?"
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Gabriel Cotton
 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:32 PM
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"Yes, sir." He methodically began brushing the bright red coat, spending extra care on its black velvet facings. "I don't mean to sound argumentive, sir. I'm sorry if you thought I was."

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And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
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 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:35 PM
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Padstowe glared at Cotton whilst he tied up the first of two files.

"Cotton, if you apologise one more time for my foul temper..."
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