When the War Came

A little steampunk-eque character exercise.

"When the war came, I did what I had to.  I was away at university— at Sir Amthor Jennings Infirmary Science Lyceum— when the first bombs dropped over Newcross.  My father sent me a telegram from Hullcastle, to let me know the family was all right, and to insist that I come home at once.  I was in my final year, so you can imagine how I replied.  There was no way that I was abandoning my studies on account of a little bombing.  I thought he would appreciate the sentiment, seeing as he and mother had dropped quite a few bags of sand to send me.  Of course, I was mistaken.  I got an urgent message over the wire that night, saying that he would be around to get me just as soon as he could get a lift.

"That was the night they invaded Edgeworth, and mined the road to Newcross.  We were cut off.  I didn't hear from my father again until after they signed the armistice at Prenth, and I was given a week's furlough to travel home.

[the defendant confers with counsel, inaudible]

"Is it all right if I smoke?"

[the Inquisitor consents]

[the defendant lights a cigarette]

"Then the war was on for good, but you wouldn't have known it Sir Amthor's.  The headmaster was sure it would all blow over in a few weeks, like that business in Almden when I was young.  They said for sure that was going to be the end of the world, and it was a week of fighting and a week of diplomacy and back scratching, and they were done.  Lectures would continue as scheduled.  I remember they interrupted my senior anatomical discernment programme to call us into the amphitheater for Prime Minister Gantry's declaration.  I'm sure you know how that one went, don't you, Inquistor?"

[the Inquisitor nods in confirmation]

"After the Horror at North Forge, there was to be a draft of all able-bodied men between the ages of fourteen and twenty-five. Those at university would not be excepted.  Those with families would not be excepted.  Those who were...mentally infirm, shall we say, would not be excepted.  It was was every man's duty to defend our sovereignty.  To fight for the the glory of Her Majesty, and drive the bastards out!

[the defendant pauses]

"You may have gotten the wrong impression; it's not that I wanted to enlist.  It was never my dream to be a soldier, a field medic, I'd never considered it really...given my so-called limitations— no, what I had in mind was something a bit more...lucrative.  A private practice on the south side of Province, long walks in the hanging gardens, the occasional evening at Contre le Soleil..."

[the  defendant sighs]

"And if it hadn't been for Sebastian, I never would have showed up at the draft board.  It's funny, to speak of him as such.  Since his name is my name.  And I imagine my name is his.  Have I confused you yet?"

[the Inquisitor does not respond]

"Poor Sebastian.  I met him my first term at Amthor's.  He was terribly bright, almost frighteningly so.  I'd been accustom to being the smartest in my classes in secondary school, and naturally a friendly rivalry arose.  We both received top marks on our first year dissertations; it was a tie for first place, if you will.  From then on, it would be a fight to the finish, and no holds would be barred.  Before our hematology final, he sneaked into my dormitory while I was out and burnt my notebooks.  I aced the test anyway, and took him out for drinks to celebrate.  Being a gentleman to the last, he bought round after round, as a tribute to my superior intellect— and with the hope that I should still be too far into the dregs to make it to the animal morphology exam in the morning.  I dosed his last drink with essence of vile wineplant, which I'd procured from an herbology major.  I barely made it to class in the morning, but dear Sebastian didn't at all.  I heard from his roomate that he didn't leave the WC for more than a few minutes at a time that next day.

"After that, we made a sort of truce, that we should only try to poison one another with drink."

[the defendant laughs]


The End

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