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Chapter 3 - Unfinished Business

Back on the Empty Plot

Midshipman calliaphone returns. Unarmed, hatless, accordion-less. Coat slung over her shoulder. Wooden box held under her arm. She looks around but sees no-one. But proceeds with caution nonetheless.

Midshipman calliaphone scans the ground. She's looking for signs of gopher. If not the same one, another will do. Where there's one, there's bound to be others.

Midshipman calliaphone sees a few gopher mounds, round and about . . . but that plot over there looks like a richer source. she hesitates. what happens to trespassers round here? then she remembers the letter in her pocket.

Midshipman calliaphone nods to herself. She's on Official Admiralty Business, after all. It isn't technically trespassing. Satisfied with this argument, she trots off towards the adjacent plot.

Midshipman calliaphone is not the world's most observant hunter. she is easily distracted, lost in imagining the possibilities of a gopher. most of all, she wants to see the look on the coxswain's face, when they meet.

Midshipman calliaphone , therefore, does not see the blood-stickied corpse of a shattered gopher, as she passes by. nor the rifle bullet beside it. she continues, blithely unaware.

On the Other Empty Plot

Midshipman calliaphone trots in, from the adjacent plot. she is tracking gophers, and she's gonna get one. Spying little mounds of earth, around and about, she grins. Then, she starts emptying her pockets.

Midshipman calliaphone lays a little trail of food scraps, around and about the area. All leading to one point. Here, she puts down the wooden box she was carrying, and sets the spring-loaded door.

Midshipman calliaphone has already put some scraps into the box. Now she's all set. S'just a matter of waiting, really.

Midshipman calliaphone moves off a short distance, and waits.

Midshipman calliaphone lights a cigarette. Smokes it. Taps her fingers on her knees. Wonders how long she's been waiting. It feels likeyears.

Midshipman calliaphone grinds out her cigarette-butt in the dirt, forgetting to pick it up. She locates a carton of chocolate milk in a pocket, and glugs at that

Midshipman calliaphone pockets the empty carton, and jiggles impatiently. "come on gophers" she whispers. her stomach rumbles, and she sighs. "oh, all right, i'll come back later and check on you."

Midshipman calliaphone departs, constantly looking over her shoulder to see if a gopher's appeared. and consequently tripping over her feet. she tumbles, rolls, recovers, and leaves.

* * * a day later * * *

Midshipman calliaphone sneaks back in, looking shiftily around. on reaching the trap, she blinks. the foodscraps are all gone, exceptinside the box. looks like the little bleeders are more wary than she is.

Midshipman calliaphone cusses some. and decides on a more active approach. digging some fresh scraps and fishing twine from her pocket, she constructs a lure.

Midshipman calliaphone sets the bait on the ground, and then unwinds the twine, up and over a small rise in the ground. on the far side, she lies down, and peeps over the edge. watching. waiting. she wants that gopher.

Midshipman calliaphone waits. craves a cigarette. manages without, at enormous personal cost.

Midshipman calliaphone wonders if she's missing tea. and if the Vice Admiral will notice her absence. and if . . . she loses the train of thought . . . and . . . falls . . . asleep.

Midshipman calliaphone is finally woken by the rumbling of her stomach. She blinks, looks round, and realises where she is. Oops. Then she shrugs. No harm done, looks like.

Midshipman calliaphone yawwwwns. Stretches. And sees the remains of her lure. Empty. The little bleeders must've eaten the bait while she was sleeping. And still the trap remains unsprung.

Midshipman calliaphone practises her nautical swearing - an absolute must for an officer cadet. She's definitely improving! She gets to her feet, looking rather pleased with herself, and trots off towards the Admiralty.

Midshipman calliaphone pauses, before scrambling under the foxhole in the fencing. And casts an eye towards gopher paradise. "I'm comin' back for ya, don't think you've got away with it." and then she's gone.

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