Two men were sitting in a table and enjoying breakfast. Well, 'enjoying,' might be too strong a word. Supplies had been a little scarce recently and some of the recent meals had a fairly odd flavour. As one of them pointed out, 'Darling, that coffee I thought a little bit, well, flavourless if I might be blunt. I think I must have a word with our Cook. I always think a day starts well with a good coffee after bed, eh, Darling!'

'Oooermissus, Bit of an innuendo there!' thought Darling, but that was his name. Kevin Darling. 'Well, yes, but we are having powdered milk at the moment which as you know is not quite like the real thing. But this is a foreign country. They way they do things in France is different!' He smiled at his companion opposite. Melchett was wearing a traditional, if extremely bright, but comfortable green nightgown and slippers, featuring an incredibly bushy moustache which counteracted with his balding head.

'Still, it finished off ok. That chocolate cake at the end. Nice and thick. Strange flavour, but that's Parisian Chocolate for you! I particularly like taking a big bite and smothering it all around my face! Melchett took out another slice of 'chocolate,' cake shrugged and true to his word eat an enormous mouthful and Darling could see bits of Chocolate stuck all around his nose, cheeks, moustache and mouth. Melchett wiped some away and then opened some mail, saying, 'Well, lets see what news there is from home!' Melchett flamboyantly ripped open an envelope and eagerly read a white letter.

To Darling's surprise he let out a terrible howl and cried, 'No, no, no, disaster,' and banged his fist against the table in some despair, then threw his head back. He was obviously upset. For a while Mechett couldn't speak but then he cried. 'We've lost! Oxford Rugby team lost to Cambridge 13 -10, oh, doom doom doom to the merry boys of Oxford!'

Darling looked at the paper himself. 'No, it says that Oxford actually won the match!'

'No, not the Rugby, they lost the drinking games after the match. They lost the dectorian! Ten beers in 30 minutes for 5 hours. At the end, 13 of our team were senseless prone on the floor to 10 of theirs. And that's after 6 years of unbeaten drinking yourself to a stupor success. It's that new Captain of ours. Never liked the look of him. He can't even grow a moustache like mine properly!'

'University Education, what have I been missing?' Captain Darling thought.

'Still in good news, news from home! Nice to see my son doing so well. Says he set fire to an antique sofas the other day and caused the Fire Brigade to come out. Ha, ha, that's my boy. A humorous 3-year old. Now then, Captain, I need to send two letters. One very secret one to Captain Blackadder about our very secret new weapon, but nothing more said about that, hush, hush and one home. You're not going to the trenches, I need you at that staff meeting today, ah, Private Baldrick.'

A rather small man in a Pirvates uniform came in the room and stood next to Darling. He was sniffing the air. In fact, he was creating something in the air. This Captain Darling rather regretted. Darling prided himself on been a sophisticed man, but the odour that some of the men from the trenches could be quite disgusting. He made a face and stepped a little away, but this made little difference to the odour!

General Melchett continued, 'Now than Baldrick, I have hear a most important note for you to send to your Captain. It's quite crucial, the fate of many men could rest with it, so don't mislay it under any circumstances. Also, heres another note from me to send home. Now is that clear?' He handed both letters to the Private and a few supplies for the trenches. Baldrick himself however did look a bit puzzled as though he was concentrating.

In the meantime the aforementioned Captain Blackadder was also looking puzzled. He was standing in a tyipical trench in WW1 at night, feeling very cold. But he was subtilly looking out towards the Germans in his green Captain's uniform. He gave a little glance at his Lieutenant. 'George, do you know, I do believe some Germans are advancing towards us. Somethings up'

'But they wouldn't do that that's near certain suicide!' replied Lieutenant George Hanover.

'Normally, yes, George. But I have heard some strange rumours about today. It's possible that some things even worse could be happening out there. George we need to prepare ourselves!' Blackadder checked his pistol was in working order, safety catch off. Above him was lots of mud and some ladders leading up to the ground above. There were some stars in the sky if one could see them above the gunmist but they didn't warm a cold soldier's heart any!

Captain Blackadder was right to be concerned. A group of German soldiers dived into the trench. They started firing guns all around. Blackadder let of a shot, then heroically hid under a table. But this probably saved his life. Although quickly other British soldiers shot many of the Germans dead, outnumbering them, and one managed to surrender.

'Get that Hun out of here, you swine!' said Lieutenant George.

'Oh, give it a rest, George, you weren't so heroic when they first attacked,' Sighed Blackadder. Still he looked to see the trench opposite. 'Although I now see why they were so keen to attack. Poison Gas. We've attacked their trench with Poison Gas. Well, no doubt the Jerries thought a death by the bullet a better one than having ones lungs coughed out. Frankly I don't blame them. George, what are you doing?'

'Lets attack, they must be all dead now!' cried George and climbed out of the trench.

Blackadder was more cautious and just poked his head over. George quickly dived back into the trench as he was shot at by a hail of bullets. 'Well done! Looks like there are still more than a few of the Germans out there. Poison gas, nasty one! Seems that our command doesn't think that hiding out in mud trenches in the ground, with scarce food not moving an inch and hundreds of men dying a day is bad enough. So they've invented devices such as poison gas which causes a man to cough out his own lungs taking around a day. So much for the military mind!'

But the attack was over. Blackadder was still irritable. All that night he was irritable and couldn't sleep. Partly because of the large rats which were an unwelcome feature in the trenches. He saw a particularly nasty one by the door. Which pointed its teeth and was almost gloating at him. Well, sometimes Blackadder's patience could run thin. So he pulled out his pistol and with a single shot slew the creature.

'Oh, Sir, what did you do that for, that was poor little ratty, my pet!'

This was the voice of someone that could only make Blackadder's night worse. 'Baldrick, it's vermin that's why!'

Baldrick began to cry, 'Oh, poor little ratty, my one companion that truly understood me. The horrors of War caused him to die by mistaken identity. Well, I suppose he'll just have to go into the pot. Oh, by the way, sir letter for you! Baldrick handed his Captain an envelope.

Blackadder tore it open and read the letter. He said, 'Hmmm, Fluffykins, that's an unusual start for a letter from Melchett. Perhaps they've changed the security code. Delighted to see the antique's of charming Teddy. He must have destroyed the entire West wing, the charming boy! Hope Susan is ready for the wedding of the year, lets hope it last longer than last years major wedding, the groom managed to kill himself in a riding accident!' Blackadder frowned.

'Baldrick! Either the security code has been changed totally with no-one telling me in the last few days, or you have sent me the wrong letter yet again! It might have escaped your notice, but none of these events holds even the slightest of interest for me.' Blackadder towered over the unfortunate little Pirvate and held his collar. 'Baldrick, do you have another letter for me?'

'Crumbs, yes, this one!' Baldrick said handing Blackadder another note.

Blackadder looked at it. 'Hmmm, not too sure this is much of an improvement. Seems that I have been summoned to visit the General,' Blackadder didn't look happy. This was because a visit to his commanding officer General Melchett very rarely meant happy news. Melchett probably had some very dangerous and very scatter-brained plan!

He watched as Baldrick began cutting a rat's tail of. 'Baldrick, what are you doing with that rat's corpse?'

'I need the tail sir. They are having Spaghetti tonight at HQ. Don't see any Pasta around here, do you sir?'

Blackadder felt a little ill.

The next day he was with George, Baldrick, Darling and Melchett at HQ. Melchett and Darling were both just finished their evening meal. Spaghetti in fact! Melchett scooped up some into his mouth in obvious enjoyment. Seen as Blackadder know knew the source of the Spaghetti, he wasn't envious. In fact, he just gave a curious look at the General.

But then the General stood up and started to speak, 'Baah, it's a deadly, dangerous war out there! Hideous slaughter of men. Hundreds dying every day. Oh, the sheer bloody horror of it! Something has to be done!' Mechett slapped his table, 'So, the high command have decided to take immediate and effective action to stop the endless, senseless killing!'

This was a bit of a surprise to Blackadder, 'Do you mean you've seen sense and are making peace?' said he.

'Don't talk such treasonable and cowardly talk, Blackadder! Of course not! No, what we need is a slight change of immediate tactics. And I have the very thing. New weapon, Captain. A new weapon which will crush the Hun and send them packing back to Berlin. A mighty colossus on wheels. Invented by the armies own best minds. With a big gun. Tanks!'

'Youre welcome! Oh, sorry you didn't mean that!' said Blackadder. But he was thinking, 'Of course! Wouldn't be making peace would they? It's just yet another of their weapon advances. Well, they are a mixed bunch. Ranges from those that are totally crackpot from those that might have potential. A bit like the Tank in the later category. But it's still incredibly dangerous for one to use a prototype. In some ways, I'd prefer to use a crackpot invention. At least those simply don't work!'

'So, Blackadder we need someone to volunteer to take one of these devices behind Enemy lines to test them!'

This sounded a dangerous journey to Blackadder. But for a moment he thought that George was going to be stupid enough to volunteer. It would be just like him. In fact he could hear George just beginning to speak. Captain Blackadder gave his Lieutenant a quick clip around the ear to shut him up. But he said, 'I'd love to sir, but I'm afraid I can't. Backpain you see!' and he clutched his back. This was pure pretence, naturally but Blackadder didn't see why it should be him that had to do this mission.

'I command you, Captain Blackadder to take this mission and volunteer and if you don't do it I'll have you shot!' said the General putting any thoughts that Blackadder had to sneak out of it. Mechett was thinking, 'I'm sure this will be a jolly wheeze for my captain. He's a heroic tommy, he'll pull through. If he doesn't he'll get some vital information instead but hes going!' He gave Blackadder a typical friendly yet life-threatening upper-class smile.

Blackadder groaned in reply.