The doors to the holodeck clunked open. As Rhys stepped through, he was for a moment only half aware of Stellan being next to him. Out in front of them was the stuff of nightmares. He knew that many of those who had believed in certain faiths on Earth had imagined hell as a fiery abyss. This in his view if such a place was closer to the truth. Mud and filth befouled everything stumps of trees poked out of the ground in places like cocktail sticks in unappetising food.
In the distance was the remains of what Rhys knew had been a sleepy little village atop a ridge. It would have been tough to recognise otherwise. Every building had been smashed to bits. As he stepped forward, he stepped into the beginning of a network of trenches that he knew ultimately stretched from the English Channel to Switzerland. Water pooled at the bottom with the rotting wooden ‘duck’ boards only just emerging from the puddles and mini rivers. It was eerily quiet. No bird song, nothing.
Rhys straightened his tunic. It was khaki rather than blue. The rank insignia were on the sleeves. It marked him out as 1st Lieutenant of the British Royal Engineers. He sighed and wondered if this was a good idea or if he was letting his history obsession blind him. He had envisaged this as a kind of research session. The crew had struggled with so many calamities recently as had the counselling department. The First World War was the event that really began to bring ideas of psychological stresses to the fore in peoples minds. Shell shock, and battle fatigue precursors to diagnoses of PTSD, stress and many others had emerged. Rhys really hoped there was something they could study and learn from this programme. He had worked for days to create as authentic a replica of the Battle of Messines as he could manage.
The British Army were involved in the battle and he knew that on top of everything else, there were so many recorded examples of different reactions to the stresses of combat. Some soldiers had written poems often as a way of giving voice to their pain. Curiously some responded with dark humour. ‘The Wipers Times’ was an infamous pseudo newspaper produced by British soldiers infamous for its dark sharp satirical humour. Rhys just hoped Stellan did not think he was stupid for this or indulging just in his historical fascinations.
Rhys coughed and then spoke as firmly as he could. “Welcome to the Battle of Messines June 1917, during the First World War.” He sighed “What many humans considered to be the first and last cataclysmic wars in Earth’s history, which it was… for twenty years.” He turned to look at Stellan. “What do you think?” He said as the afternoon sun beat down on the devastated land they stood before.
[OOC- Posting order Juzzie then Stardust]