Today being Armistice day, I wasn’t sure of what was apt to post. The allotment is also wet, muddy and none too pretty looking. Then I had a thought. Today has meaning for many people, there are lots of views on it. Big Ben has just chimed the hour, the reveille has been played. There is a certain sombre tone in the air. I have used Armistice day a few times as a device in writing fan fiction-remember that star trek PBEM RPG mentioned previously sectorg.org. That is what you see below. I cannot stress enough, that this fictional. I have loosely woven fictional events and ideas, but still a work of fiction. I don’t claim to be an expert, and all the views are my own. There are also glaring spelling and grammar mistakes.
[Caledonia-BoB] SD241411.11 Flashback log Dharma et al NPC’s
As the clouds parted, a shell whizzed across the trench that was gouged across the wooded land. With the sound of the shell was the ack ack of the machine guns that swept across the surface.
“God, this was supposed to be over by Christmas. Oi, Dharma, you got any smokes in yer tin?”
“Two seconds,please,” came the reply.
“Two seconds? You trying to kill the lot of us?”
The stories were well known. That waiting for a certain numbered cigarette would kill the lot of them.
“There you are,” a sharp grin flashed as two roll ups were handed over. “Do you still have any brandy, please? In your flask,”
Private James Windburn looked at his comrade in arms. “I do,” he nodded, “But what you want it for, mate? You don’t drink, you don’t smoke. It’s all yessir, no sir, with you.”
“I got a sore finger,” replied Private Dharma holding up a gnarled index finger. “It is very cold, and I don’t want it get infected. I have to write a letter to my wife.”
James looked at the young asian man who stood before him in the coarse brown and grey uniform of the platoon. ” Laxmi, yeah?”He asked, holding onto his tin hat. They were fighting for the same King. They were members of the same Commonwealth family.
“Yes,” Smiled Dharma. “I’ve not written for sometime, and I know she’ll be worried. Oh, dear, Windburn, move,” he called lurching forwards, to move his comrade out the way as something landed in the trench. “MA-UVE!”
Private Windburn left it a moment. Left it a moment for the ringing in his ears to stop. “Dharma, oi, Golly, you there still?”he asked, trying to catch his breath.
He could hear moans and bleating, as he looked up from the heap of mud he hand landed in.
“Golly, you there?”He rubbed his eyes and stood up, and tripped over. James looked down, as he lost his footing. His left foot was missing.
“Over here, James,” came an equally pained reply. “Not good, James,” Dharma staggered, “Look, I’ve lost my finger,” he said laughing, wanting to move the stump that was now his left arm.
A breeze filled the trench, before the sudden sound of silence.
“Boys, we’re done, that’s the end! We’re going home!” A whooping sound cascaded over them, the guns had gone.
“What, what did he say?”Dharma attempted to sit up.
“Here are, Golly, you still got legs,” Private Windburn helped Dharma up. “C’mon, we’re going home. I get to go back to Hackney.”
“Hackney, london, yes?”Dharma hobbled. “I’ve only heard stories. Never been there. Sounds like a brave new world.”
“It’s the centre of my universe, Golly, universe!”He said, pressing his grotty palms to the man’s face. “What about you, back to The Punjab fer you is it?”
“Private, lend us your arm,” another soldier had appeared at the edge of the trench. “Aight, golly?”he asked of the asian chap, putting his had down.
“I like the sound of london,” Said Dharma, pulling himself up the ladder. “Buck’ingham Palace. The King lives there.”
“I know,” nodded Private Windburn. “Often pops round for tea and sandwiches, Golly,” he laughed. “Whatcha gonna do, your missis, she’ll be waiting.”
“She said she would. I’ll ask her. To come over. To london, perhaps.”said Dharma, landing onto the coarse grey mud that was over top. “What time is it, James?”
James looked at his watch as he clambered over the ladder. “Eleven o’clock, Golly. Not a minute to soon, mate.”
~*~*~* Present day, Urean Colony ~*~*~*
“We remember today, those brave men and women who have lain down their lives in conflicts. Who have fought for freedom, progress and peace. It is today that we acknowledge the greatest sacrifice that any one man can make for others.”
Jevan paused, as the wind whistled.
“We shall remember them.”
Everything was new. Yet the old came back to haunt them with good reason. The final notes of the haunting melody faded away. As Jevan stood at the black and white marble obelisk in the main piazza in the central hub of colony. With the solemness befitting the occasion, he placed a circular wreath of poppies at the base of the structure. Taking a step back, he bowed his head and stepped away from the platform.
Never had so many had owed so much to so few.
Jevan and ‘Golly’ Dharma
Tissue paper rustled. Scissors moved with precision through red card. Class 6M of Saint Dunstans, were preparing for the outdoor service at All Saints. So far they had a poppy wreath. Some were sticking and gluing tissue. Some were writing messages on their jagged edged poppy. Personal messages of thank you or remembrance.
Suraj trimmed the last bit of his poppy, and then stuck the some what spikey leaf at eleven o’clock.
His uncle had called, and asked him to do something. Something a little important. Especially today.
Picking up a rather old fashioned pencil, Suraj leant forwards to write.
The letters formed, neatly. Suraj had practiced this morning.
Crewman Morrie. Bowers. One of our own.
“all right kids. We are done. Five minutes to tidy. Coats, gloves. Door please, when you are done.”
It hadn’t taken long. Years five and six would walk to the service down the road.
They waited, as the last post was sounded. A two minute silence, and then then reveille.
Then with observant solemnity, years five and six filed past the All saints cenotaph. Some had mums, dads, uncles and aunts who served in the armed forces. Grand parents too, who may not have been with them today.
After Eddie Harlow, Suraj took his turn. Tacking the poppy to the wooden frame at the base, he watched it flutter lightly as he walked away.
Replicators were curiously funny things. On the indy, Devon peered in and took up the red and green object. Checking the Asymmetry of the petals, he pinned the paper flower above his comm badge. It didn’t quite match the one made by the long Lost Aida of family yore. But it would do. And out here. It meant more than anyone could possibly think about.
Snipping out the red petals carefully from a scrap of red fabric, arihana had her tongue sticking out. Placing the nail scissors away, she coloured in the middle with some black eyeliner. She had a safety pin some place.
::flashback Armisitice day 1926, 37 Acacia Avenue::
Sweeping the autumn leaves across the lawn, Golly Dharma heard the chiming of church clock around the corner. The eleven hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month.
Taking the handle of the rake, he took a deep breath. As though he was a back in that foxhole. It didn’t take much. The rake could easily have been the grime greased bayonet that he had prized from cold dead fingers.
He could still hear it. The death wail, the rat a tat. The whizzing. The sounds that hung in his ears.
Golly remembered. As he had been there
“He does it every year,” whispered a woman, standing on the threshold of the back door. A small fair haired child tugged at the bottom of her dress.”Since James passed, he’s come out alone. Excuses himself, and comes out here. Rakes up the leaves. One year, Laxmi, before you came. It snowed, snowed like I’ve never known it. And he still stood there.”
Another much younger child, was cradled by the second one. Laxmi Dharma watched her husband; and did her best to understand. Her English was limited, even after all these years. And life was hard, this far away from India. A coloured face was a different face strange, alien and untrusting. But there had been enough trust to be shared with the Windburns who had taken them in.
Life in hackney had been arduous, and James had uprooted his family as Birmingham found itself thriving. He and Golly had formed something of a strange familial bond. And then they had shared this house, and they still did.
Between them, they eked out enough in pounds, pence and shilling to cover the rent. Just.
“Take care of your little girl, Laxmi,” Florence said sadly. “Her daddy, and Alfred’s daddy. All the other boys. Gave up more than me and you could ever tell the kids. Golly, Gulwinder, he’s here, innie. And James, may not be. They both were never quite the same. Make sure that your little ‘in. Aida, innit. Makes something of ‘erself. For james. For Golly,” she looked up with a nod as Golly edged back up the garden.
“they can’t forget, Laxmi,” she whispered, gesturing that they should both retreat back into the warmth.
With the rake dragging behind him in the grass, golly walked along the grass.
The sounds. The smells. The sights. The boys.
They were still with him. Even now.
November 11th, 1946.
Aida tore a cover off her diary. It was red, and it would do the job. Reaching for a pair of her mum’s nail scissors, the now 20 year old Aida clipped a shape out of the paper. With one side slightly smaller than the other, there were 2 conjoined kidney shaped edges. Things were tight still, and mum didn’t have the spare change to buy one. Reaching for a tin of kiwi boot polish, Aida dabbed an index finger into the polish and then onto the centre of the red cut out.
Closing the tin, a small safety pin was picked up. Had the light been better, it would have glinted. Threading it through the card, she was happy with the venture. “Sunil, Anand, Jaya!” she called. The rest of her siblings were down the stairs. It took a moment before they thundered upstairs.
“Aida, what ya don wi’ ya book?” sunil all but wailed. “Oh, poppy!” he half brightened, and smiled. “Dad told me ’bout them.”
“I wan’ one,” Anand and his twin sister Jaya jostled forwards in unison.
“you’ll get one, here, help me,” pulling jaya towards her lap, Aida handed her the rest of the card.
On the landing, Laxmi peered into the room. It was a strange experience, seeing her children like this. Aida, 20, Sunil all very gangly. The ten year old twins. Golly would have been proud. A shame, that the twins barely remembered him.
But they would. Remember.
Suraj Havane NPC
Lt arihana dharma
Cmdr Devon Dharma
Gulwinder ‘Golly’ dharma, Laxmi and the kids
USS Caledonia & Starbase BoB
Starfleet Sector G