Strike Witches:Afrika2 Chapter1
"What's this about?"
Just as I was about to book into a room in a hotel in Tobruk, the Britannian soldier who had given me a ride showed up. Apparently, something had been delivered to me at the port. I remember him being over-joyed when I gave him a photograph of Oberleutnant Marseille, last time when I ran into him in Tobruk. His name was, hmm, not Gordon, or Garder, ahh, I remember now, Lance Corporal Gardner, if I'm not mistaken.
In any case, I'm grateful he came all the way just tell me, but I wonder if there's some reason he didn't just bring it to me?
Besides him, I had also met many other people, and sent photos I had taken of them to news agencies in each of their home countries. Those stories seemed to be gaining a lot of attention from the soldiers, who were all happy at seeing their stories being published in newspapers and magazines back home. There were even some who told me how happy they were to get piles of letters from readers. I wonder if any of them cursed their luck if they had debt collectors catch up to them though.
Ever since then, I was asked to take pictures of events and people all around the area. I suppose me being the only cameraman in Tobruk also had something to do with that.
Since it was the hottest part of the day, I didn't want to go out into the streets, but since Gardner even offered to give me a ride to the port, I couldn't refuse. Somewhat unwittingly, I put on the scarf and goggles I had bought the last time around over the casual outfit I had on, dug out my trusty Leica II from my bags, and got into the passenger side seat of the Morris truck.
"This is the same truck from before, isn't it?"
As I sat down, I thought back to the time I had gotten a similar ride to Oblt. Marseille's field base. He had been in this Morris that time as well.
"Yes, that's right. All it's been doing since then is going here and there around base."
"But what's this about a delivery? It would've been simpler if you had just brought it with you."
A bit of my annoyance crept out into the question, but he just answered with a good-natured laugh.
"Well, you'll see when we get there, I'm sure you'll get a good laugh out of it. But anyway, I thought you said you were going back home to Fuso before."
"Never managed to get back."
I gave a somewhat sharp reply to the touchy question, maybe because some of the bitterness I felt, but he laughed again.
"Then, I'll bet this delivery has something to do with that. Well, if you get the chance to head up to Oberleutnant Marseille's base again, I'd really appreciate it if you could sell me some more pictures."
"Yes, yes, the Oberleutnant sure is popular around here."
That gave him an opportunity to go into a lengthy exposition about how that would be obvious, just like the first time when I met him. I was beginning to regret bringing up the topic, but before long, the Morris truck arrived at the port facility.
The truck didn't stop at one of the regular loading docks, but headed towards the far end of the facility. I began wondering where we were going, when the truck stopped at one end of a restricted military pier.
"Yes, right over there."
I took one look at the delivery he pointed out, and a small gasp escaped me.
At one of the dock, well over a hundred wooden crates, each one at least as tall as an average man, were all arranged in neat rows. All of the crates looked extremely securely packed.
My mouth slightly open in surprise, I looked from the stacks of crates to L.Cpl. Gardner, and back.
"What in the world is all this?"
Gardner looked like he had been waiting to see my shock. He shrugged, a grin spreading across his face.
"Who knows, a ship from Fuso dropped it all off. From the looks of it, I think there's enough supplies there for a whole battalion or so?"
"Wait, was this really delivered to me? All of this?"
"I wonder. The only thing the crew on the boat asked me was if I knew a female reporter from Fuso."
I guess he's clueless about it too.
"Well, I've got some other things to do so I'll be heading back to base, but if you need any help moving these supplies, please give us a call at the Eighth Army."
Grinning, Gardner jumped back into the Morris truck.
"But looking at all that, I honestly don't think you're going to not need help though."
A burst of laughter later, he shifted the Morris into gear, and waved back at me as he drove off. I took a picture of him then, managing to get a bit of the mountain of supplies in the finder as well.
|Back to Illustrations||Return to Main Page||Forward to Chapter 2|