Disclaimer: I do not own Blackadder or any of the characters.
Other: The mathematical errors were added purposely. This is about Baldrick, after all.

War's a Horrid Thing

I never really understood war. I never could fathom how so many people at one time could be angry enough to murder each other. Bayonets, sticks, machine guns--it didn't matter, as long as they got the job done. There are so many ways to kill someone. Often I wonder who could have invented such things. They must have had a very overactive imagination.

The reason I bring all this up is because we've been at war with the Germans since 1914. It's 1917 now. Blimey, it must've been six years, at least! That's a long time to be angry, if you want to know what I think. Why can't England be friends with Germany? And actually, while we're on the subject of peace, why can't every country stop fighting? I think it's a stupid thing to do. It's horrid, too. So much dying going on, it's a wonder that the populations of both Blighty and Germany haven't been totally wiped out.

Leftenant George disagrees with me. He's my friend. But he thinks the Germans deserve what we're giving to them. He seems very keen on this whole war thing, even though all of his friends from back home have all died from the fighting.

My other friend, Captain Blackadder, seems to think this war is as pointless as I do. Captain B is so smart. He knows everything, really. I bet I could ask him if the moon is really made of cheese and he could give me the correct answer. I'll remember to ask him some day.

It's the Big Push tomorrow morning. We're going over the top. He doesn't want to do it. It will be the first fighting we've ever done, but Captain B says we could die. It is a discomforting idea. Leftenent George finds it exciting. He claims we will be victorious. Personally, I don't know what to think right now. It's better than sitting around, I suppose, but I don't want to die. Not yet, anyway. I wonder what death is like. To have everything going on around you, but you can't participate in any of it anymore.

So Captain B wants to be sent back to Blighty before the next day, and George wants to get right out there and fight. General Melchett is keen on it, too. Maybe it's because he doesn't have to take part in any of the action. Neither does Captain Darling, who is sort of his assistant.

War is such a ghastly thing. I suppose you either like it or you don't. But why did we have to have it in the first place? Why couldn't we just say "No more killing; let's all go home"? Why would it be stupid just to pack it in? Why?

I suppose I'll never know.
---
Captain Blackadder sits on a chair, pencils up his nose and underwear on his head. He tells me he's picked up this trick in the Sudan. He wants to prove he's insane so he will get sent back to England before the Big Push. I think it looks brilliant. It could've fooled me.

But General Melchett isn't fooled. In fact, he says he's seen the same thing hundreds of times before! It looks like Captain B will be going over the top with me and George after all.

I can't sleep. I'm too busy thinking about the Big Push. This may be my last night alive! Outside I can hear rain. What if it doesn't stop by morning and it's all muddy and slippery on the field?

I end up dozing off a little, and when morning comes, we're all awake and ready. The rain has stopped, fortunately, so hopefully we won't get dirtier than we need to.

The telephone rings, and Captain B answers it.

"General Melchett?" he says. And that's the only thing he says. Captain Darling comes into our dugout, suited up and looking somber. Captain Blackadder hangs up the telephone and the four of us gather around. Apparently Captain Darling is going to go over the top with us.

"This is brave, splendid, and noble!" George exclaims. He looks around before adding, "...Sir?"

"Yes, Leftenant?" says Captain B.

"I'm...scared, sir." It's a strange thing for him to say. Just yesterday he was telling us how excited he was.

But I have to agree with him. "I'm scared too, sir!"

"I mean," George continues, "I'm the last of the tiddlywinking leapfroggers from the golden summer of 1914. I don't want to die. I'm really not overkeen on dying at all, sir!"

"Mmm," says Captain B. "And how are you feeling, Darling?"

"Well, not all that good, Blackadder," Darling admits nervously. "I rather hoped I'd get through the whole show. Go back to work at Pratt & Sons. Keep wicket for the Croydon gentlemen. Marry Doris. Made a note in my diary on my way here. It simply says, 'Bugger'." He tries to smile, but he can't.

Outside, orders are being shouted.

"Ah, well, come on," Captain B says. "Let's move."

Armed with our weapons, the four of us go out to the battlefield and get into line with several other soldiers. We can hear the booming of guns ahead, but it's so hazy we can hardly see.

"So," George says. "We are, in fact, going over. This is, as they say...'it'."

"I'm afraid so," sighs Captain B, "unless I think of something very quickly."

I can.

"I have a plan, sir," I tell him.

"Really, Baldrick?" he replies. For some reason, he doesn't seem too convinced. "A cunning and subtle one."

"Yes, sir," I say, very sure of myself.

"As cunning as a fox who's just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford of University?"

"Yes, sir."

"On the signal, company will advance," barks a voice ahead of us.

"Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait, Baldrick," says Captain B, loading up his gun. "Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad...I mean, who would have noticed another madman around here?"

A whistle blows. Captain Blackadder looks at his watch and quietly says, "Good luck, everyone."

Then he blows his whistle. It's a signal for us to charge. And so, cocking our guns and fixing our bayonets, we do.

If only there had been just a little more time. I could've told Captain B my cunning plan. Instead of fighting, why couldn't we come out with peace? I'm sure the Germans would understand. I'm sure they would agree. I'm sure we'd come to a truce of some sort. It couldn't be that hard, could it? You'd think after six years you'd have a little leeway for that sort of thing.

Peace would be a terrific thing. Then General Melchett wouldn't have to send us out like this. And we could go home! We wouldn't have to risk dying there. And we could all continue to stay friends, me and Captain Blackadder and George. We could visit each other every day!

But there had been no time to tell anyone this plan. So now we are running blindly, German guns firing at us, and all around are battle cries and dying men and our guns are firing now and Darling has collapsed and Captain Blackadder is falling and I'm sure that's George clutching his chest and...