The waves lashed against the rocks below the cold, concrete bunker as Fred and Norman kept watch throughout the night. Ever vigilant and ready to sound the alarm and defend the nation against the threat of German invasion, they were Britain’s last line of defense. The country depended on them to keep the Nazi horde from their doors.
“Sandwich, Fred?” asked Norman.
“Don’t mind if I do,” replied Fred. “What’s, er, in them, tonight?
“I have no idea.” Norman shook his head slightly. “Linda just gives them to me as I walk out the door. Sometimes I think we’re better off not knowing.”
Fred pulled out a flask of hot tea. “Tea, Norman?”
“Mmmm, yes please, milk, no sugar…” Norman began.
“…’cos you’re sweet enough already.” Fred finished for him, just like he did every night.
“Leastways that’s what mum always used to say.” Norman gave a little glance to heaven.
“God rest ‘er soul,” smiled Fred.
They ate their barely edible sandwiches and washed it down with the hot tea as they both stared in silence out across the moonlit sea. In any other circumstances and with any other company they would have both thought it to be romantic. Instead it was mundane. This was what they did every night. This was what they said every night. This is where they were every night.
“Do you,” Norman began, “…do you think it’s ever going to end?”
“Well,” Fred’s brow creased in thought, “it has to end sometime, doesn’t it? No war ever went on forever.”
“I used to think that we’d at least run out of people to kill eventually,” Norman sighed.
“But then they started with the clones,” Fred finished for him.
This was a conversation they’d had many times before. There’d been much talk of the failed Normandy landings way back in 1945, and how that had been something of a turning point that had led to more than half a century of bloody warfare. If there was one thing that war was good for it was accelerating the rate of technological progress, and as the people had started to run out the scientists had turned to cloning to provide new fuel for the fires of war. New fronts had opened up in the new colonies that both sides had been able to establish as a result of the huge advances in rocket technology, on Mars and on the Moon.
“I think,” said Norman, “that I’m going to have a little nap, if that’s fine with you.”
“Sure, sure,” Fred replied, “I’ll just be sitting here…looking out at the sea…you know, just in case…”
“Thanks mate, just give me an hour or so,” Norman yawned.
“Norm…” Fred began, almost in a whisper.
“Yeah?” Norman lazily replied.
“What is a German, anyway?”