Chapter I: Second Chances
August 7th, 1799
Sir John Moore stood upright and at attention, his eyes fixed forward and his expression blank. A medium sized man of roughly 23 years, John Moore was a military man through and through. He wore his red British officer uniform with pride, his medals and ribbons proudly gleamed in the sunlight creeping its way through the large window that displayed the city of London.
Moore stood in the center of a large rectangular office. To his left and right where several large shelves filled with books. On the floor beneath his boots was the finest red and green carpet, maps and other art decorated the walls. At the end of the office was the desk that belonged to General Henry Moore, whose desk was covered with letters.
“Hells bells, all this damned paper work, you’d think I joined the army to fight wars, not politicians,” He said, shaking his head to himself.
Sir Henry Moore was a man of 68 years, he had a balding head of white hair and a caterpillar like moustache above his lips. He had brown eyes that squinted out from his scarred and wrinkled face. He wore a red uniform with green outlines around the collar, several gold medals hung from his chest signifying his many campaigns in India, America, Russia and Sweden.
Seeing his father in such a humorous position made Moore want to chuckle, but he bit his tongue to fight the urge.
Gen. Henry Moore looked up from his sea of parchment and set eyes on his son who was patiently awaiting his Father’s recognition. At the glance from his father’s eyes, John saluted his father, and then returned to attention.
“At ease,” He said, and then returned to his parchments.
John did so and approached his Father, eyeing the plethora of envelopes resting on his father’s desk.
“I’ve received a commission as a Captain,” John said pride fully.
“Have you? Well done,” Gen. Moore said, not even looking up at his son, obviously more interested in rummaging through his papers.
“I’m to deploy with the 42nd Infantry regiment under General Doyle to aid the Russians in Holland. I leave tomorrow, I came to say my farewells and… to ask for any advice you may have,” John said.
For once, Henry looked upon his son; he had a hint of confusion in his eyes. “Deployment, to Holland you say?” He asked. John nodded.
Henry stood from his desk, his face grave. John hoped that for once, his father would display the smallest hint of concern, of discomfort that his only son would go off to war. Instead, he nodded his head.
“Captain Moore, you will do fine, the only advice you need from me is to keep your head down and lead your men with distinction. I wish you the best of luck, and come back to us alive,” Gen. Moore said.
John got into a parade stance and saluted. “Yes sir,” he said.
With that, John Moore spun around and walked out of his Father’s office, feeling disappointed and saddened by the lack of concern from his father. Little did he know how much his Father truly worried about his son deploying off to war.
Wesley Morgan patrolled the streets of London in his dirty clothes. In a half dazed wobble; he attempted to navigate into an alleyway. The man was dirty, dusty and bloody from a bar fight he would not remember the night previously. A man of only 18 years, Wesley Morgan was what many would call a poor excuse of a London man.
Abnormally long hair, prone to chasing whores and beer than chasing a job, flunked from the University and now forced to work at the factories from which he had recently been laid off. At such a young age, Wesley was indeed a failure.
Rubbing his eyes, he sat with his back to the wall and reached for a bottle of rum he had hidden in his duster. Using his teeth to unscrew the bottle, he took a giant swig. “I see your recent activities have landed you in the gutter yet again my friend,” said a voice.
Wesley attempted to spot the voice but failed, his vision was blurred and dazed. He instead cracked his neck and sighed. A strong pair of hands gripped his shoulder and hauled him to his feet, he began to be patted all over his body, as of the man were trying to relieve his clothing of all the dust and grime.
Wesley managed to see who it was and gave a half drunk smile. “Andy,” He said cheerfully.
Anthony Wilson, called Andy by Wesley, stood in his military dress uniform. Standing straight, proud and with purpose, his face was marred with youth, his eyes a grassy green and with smile scars at the edges of his lips, blonde haired Andy could have even looked German. Though he scope with a heavy Londoner accent and looked the part of a gentleman, Andy was very much as interesting as Wesley was.
“Why are you sleeping in such filth,” Andy asked.
“Parents kicked me out, got fired from the factory, thought I’d have a day to relax,” Wesley mumbled.
“You rest every day my friend, perhaps that is why you were kicked out and fired,” Andy said with a grin.
With an arm over his shoulder, Andy led the drunken Wesley out of the dirty alleyways and into the streets of London.
“What’s with the prancy dress?” Wesley asked, eyeing the military uniform.
“The Army ball is later tonight, we are deploying to Holland next week, it is custom for our regiment to hold a ball prior to deployment to mingle with loved ones and such. Helps ease the nerve,” Andy said.
“Have you thought about what I asked?” Andy said, as they stopped in front of a bakery.
“About enlisting?” Wesley said. Andy nodded. Wesley shrugged and said, “Once or twice, I don’t think I could do it,” Wesley said.
“Of course you can, you are one of the finest-“
Wesley put a hand up to cut him off. “It’s not the physicality’s that I can’t handle, the asinine discipline, the strict lifestyle, taking orders for most of your life. That is not the kind of life I want, you know that,” Wesley said.
“We all have to grow up sometime, my friend. The military really helped me, it can help you too. Give it some more thought,” Andy said.
“Even if I were to enlist, which I’m not saying, you and I wouldn’t deploy together anyway,” Wesley said.
“True, however I might see you there in the next three months if you were to enlist this week,” Andy said.
Wesley rolled his eyes. “I’ll give it thought, it would make Mother and Father proud and get me off the street, so I suppose I will think on it,” Wesley said.
Andy nodded. He rummaged through his pockets and took out a bag of money. “Get yourself something to eat, shave yourself and find something good to wear. You are coming to the ball tonight,” Andy said.
“Oh you bastard, if you want me to be your date, take a number,” Wesley joked, but toke the money. “If it were anyone else giving me this money, I would waste it on woman and wine, but I’ll do as you say,” Wesley said.
With a drunken bow, he entered the bakery. Andy watched after him, he hoped his friend would follow his advice. Andy was 23 years old and a Sergeant in the Royal British Grenadiers. A part of General Doyle’s regiment, he would see action in Holland, of that he knew.
Percival Williams sat in the meeting with Parliament, obviously annoyed by his screaming colleagues.
“A direct invasion would be suicide, we must continue the espionage war going,” screamed a member.
“If it turns into a cold war, a war with Spain would be imminent,” said another.
“We look weak after what happened in the Colonies, or do you all not remember. We need to show our force now!” said another member, slamming his fist onto the table.
The Parliament meeting room was a large rectangular conference room filled with bookshelves, posters and maps on the walls. However, the room had a large rectangular table that stretched from both sides of the room. The only natural light that came in was the giant window in the ceiling stretching almost as far as the conference table did.
“Minister of war, what do you think,” asked a Parliament member. As the minster of war and the army, Percival helped make decisions. Personally looked upon for his intellect by the King, Percival’s input was much revered.
“I think you all are acting like fools. A direct invasion of France is suicide; we do not have the military power we need capable of a direct attack. We have not even beaten the Dutch in Holland yet and we are already planning five wars ahead of schedule. My input is to deal with the now. While a Cold war with France is the last thing we need presently, it will give us valuable time to prepare. The Baron Bonaparte sees invading Britain as suicide as well, so clearly we should take the same precautions as our enemies are. With the war in Holland, we need to beat them alongside our Russian allies, maybe then the world will see us as the Super Power we once were,” Percival said.
He got a mixture of “here here’s” and groans, but no one spoke against him. At once, the King, George III, entered the Conference room and everyone stood from their seats. “Sit down,” he said.
Taking a seat at the front of the conference table, he motioned for everyone to continue. In his golden and pearl royal clothing, the King looked the part of the ruler. The pearl white wig atop his head was uncomfortable for him, little to the knowledge of the others.
“My lord, as I was saying. We are landing several armies in Holland to back up the Russians, as previously stated. We should focus on winning this war before we focus on the strategy of the next,” said Percival.
“Who are the leading contenders of these armies?” Asked the King.
“General Doyle is leading the 12th British Army, 42nd Infantry regiment. Colonel Johnson will be helping lead and alongside them will be Captain John Moore and-“
“Excuse me, did you say John Moore?” said a Parliament member.
Percival gritted his teeth at the interruption but nodded. Several members of Parliament began to laugh.
“Is something humorous?” asked Percival.
“The man is full of uncertainty, self-deprecation, and naivety. Giving this man a military commission is like giving one to a child off the street, though I think the child would do better,’” replied the snide Politician.
More laughs. “Enough!” screamed a man in fine Military dress.
The King looked upon him and nodded. Percival smiled and nodded at his friend. “General Doyle, glad of you to join us,” said Percival.
“If any of you believe you can fight a war better than my Captain, please speak up and replace him,” said Doyle, waiting for words. None came.
“Then when it comes to fighting and leading from the frontlines, leave that to the Military and the Secretary of War,” said General Doyle.
“As I was saying, Captain John Moore and Major Thompson will be helping the Colonel and General keep things in check. Now General, if you please the map,” said Percival.
General Doyle nodded and placed himself before a decorated map of Holland, showing the country and the coast. There was a mixture of Red and Green objects on the sea before the coast of Holland, these represented British and Russian naval assets.
“We have blockaded the Dutch from receiving any resources from the sea, the Russians have pounded the Dutch Navy but soon enough, France and Spain might get involved by sending Military advisors and a few “new” naval ships to aid the Dutch.
Another Gentleman stepped into the room, though he was not British. “May I present, Admiral Zecotav of the Russian Navy,” General Doyle said.
Zecotav stood proudly in his white dress Uniform and took in the room. A very strong man of action, Zecotav had a fine brown haired moustache and a full head of hair. Close to his 50’s Percival deduced.
Zecotav nodded at the King and then at Doyle. “The Admiral and I were thinking of landing an Invasion force at Callantsoog. Two British Armies under myself and General Abercrombie will land while the Russians will do battle with the Batavian Navy. Once that occurs, our armies will destroy the defenders and the Russians will land troops to reinforce us,” Doyle said.
“What defenses do the Batavians have?” asked Percival.
“Bunkers, Cannon emplacements, a few regiments. Prior to landing, the Russians will shell the mainland as British troops arrive,” Doyle said.
“And once the troops land?” asked a politician.
“They will meet heavy resistance but there are several large coral and rock formations along the beaches that can help as cover for the troops,” said Doyle.
“So we are talking amphibious warfare?” asked the same politician.
“Yes we are sir, it will be heavy fighting but we’ll get the job done,” said Doyle.
King George seemed satisfied with this. “Very well, let us commence preparations for the actual invasion then.”
This is the part where I (The Author) ask you (the reader) a question which can help you better your comment instead of just leaving, Good job, read my work, type of comments. (Note i will delete those types of comments and ignore you)
Chapterly Question: Which of the four main characters (John Moore, Wesley Morgan, Andy Wilson, and Percival Williams) seems the most interesting? Which should be more fleshed out in the coming chapters?
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