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The First Christmas An original screenplay by Matt Green. EXT. YPRES, BELGIUM - DAWN The morning sun is barely visible through the dense layer of haze and fog. What was once a gorgeous European city has been reduced to rubble during the intense first few months of the Great War. In the heart of the rubble stands (barely) the remnants of The Lakenhalle building. The following text fades in: December 23, 1914. Having failed to push into France and capture Paris immediately after the onset of war during the Battle of the Marne, the German army modifies it's Schlieffen Plan and attempts to take the town of Ypres before moving on to the Channel ports utilized by the Allies. The intense fighting that ravaged the medieval town between 19 October and 22 November has subsided. Battles rage elsewhere, however neither the Germans nor the Allies consider abandoning their positions in central Belgium. The text fades off, followed by: The following is inspired by an actual event. The text fades off and the screen fades to black. FADE IN: EXT. NO MAN'S LAND - DAWN Death and destruction. Mortar craters, bloodied limbs, and dead soldiers pollute the luscious, green, flat landscape. At opposite edges of the screen, no more than 200 yards apart, are the opposing trenches. Rows upon rows of barbed wire guard walls of sandbags, which lay like brick foundations in front of the trenches. Stationary machine gun positions are the only aspects that differentiate the German trench from the British trench. CUT TO: An overhead view of the trench shows the men of A-Company standing with a sort of relaxed attitude. The 6 foot wide trench extends no further than 15 feet without a sharp degree turn. This pattern goes on for hundreds of yards. CPT. ROBERT EVANS, in his early thirties with piercing blue eyes contrasting his unshaven skin, speaks regally in his slight British accent. CPT. EVANS Sun up, good morning gentlemen. Various small business tasks to attend to today as usual. EVANS concentrates on a small pad of paper in his hand. CPT. EVANS 1st platoon seems that today you are scheduled for the first trench maintenance shift. Of course you know what to do, so act accordingly. As you may have noticed, there was no Morning Hate this morning before or after Breakfast Peace, so lucky you it seems. 2nd platoon, sentry duty. Sun looks good today compared to others, so chances are Fritz won't bother advancing today, but be sure to keep eyes open. Naturally these assignments will extend until noon when duties are switched...and as always just before sundown both platoons will stand to until after nightfall. VARIOUS SOLDIERS Yes, sir! CPT. EVANS Now we had a slow night gentlemen so maintenance teams today will concentrate on extending our entrenchment towards the east in an effort to bridge the gap between us and the French. Pay particular attention to digging and preparing latrines and also reinforcing our fire steps. Now as I said the sun is brighter today which means visibility is good so keep your bloody heads down. VARIOUS MEN Yes, sir. CPT. EVANS Three days until showers gentlemen. CUT TO: INT. THE TRENCH - DAY At least Hell was warm. Between the mud, rats, lice, and open latrines there is nothing any civilized person would deem desirable in the trench. The khaki uniforms are not even remotely recognizable following days of living, eating, and sleeping in the mud. Other than the randomly placed weapons, one would not guess the soldiers were engulfed in the first months of the Great War. While half of the soldiers are performing maintenance duties, the other half are busy talking, joking, smoking, drinking, and playing card games, basically bored out of their minds with no intention of showing it. A few shut eyes here and there are often opened in response to others climbing over them. Despite the immense crowd, the eyes of the men convey the very definition of boredom. SGT. TOM ENRIGHT drops his cards into the mud below. ENRIGHT I don't understand why you bother. In his mid-twenties, ENRIGHT is an average looking man who, unlike the majority of his counterparts, does not speak with a British accent. He is surrounded by CPL. BAGGETT, CPL. FERGUSON, and CPL. NATHAN TILLEY (a goofy looking fella), all in their mid twenties. All the men, save TILLEY, have their heads shaven. Scruffy and experienced, these men have seen their fair share of war. They are apparently bored of it. TILLEY Bloody fuckin' yank bastard. ENRIGHT Count your blessings there was nothing wagered son. BAGGETT This is boring me anyhow. FERGUSON This is bullocks. TILLEY Bullshit more like it, mate. (motions towards ENRIGHT) Bloody bastard is holding every card in the deck. A large, disgusting rat walks slowly by the half-circle of soldiers. The men notice it as it moves past them, but think nothing of it. They are relieved it is only one. Beat. FERGUSON Three days aye? ENRIGHT Is that really our count? BAGGETT So says Evans. TILLEY Captain knows best don't he? FERGUSON Not if he says we got three days left. BAGGETT We've been here for five. FERGUSON Well it feels like a lot longer than that, don't it? TILLEY Wait, if we've been here for five, that would make two whole days left, won't it? BAGGETT What's five plus two? The men chuckle. TILLEY No, smart-ass, shut up all of you. Think about it. FERGUSON Are you serious? TILLEY No, yes think about it. We have been here five whole days, aye? That means what we are in our sixth day now, which means we have two days left. FERGUSON It doesn't work like that. Today is day five, Tilley. TILLEY Ferguson if we have been here for five days that would make today day six. BAGGETT Jesus man, today is day five, the day already started, this is day five and after today, we have three days left. TILLEY Look, fuck you then, my whole point was that it feels like more than that, I don't know what we are arguing about. ENRIGHT This your first time one the line? TILLEY Well fuck you. ENRIGHT All I'm saying is that you should know better than that by now. BAGGETT It's been slow, that's the problem. TILLEY Exactly right, time is moving like a bloody Hindu elephant. A pair of legs walks into view. The group shuts up and looks up, squinting in the relatively weak sun. They see PRIVATE AARON SHEPARD, a young Brit whose clean shaven face and lanky physique makes it seem impossible for him to be a day over 17. SHEPARD Mind if I get dealt in? Beat as the men stare at the fresh meat. FERGUSON We ain't playin no more. TILLEY points to ENRIGHT. TILLEY He cheats. A beat of silence. Trying to break the tension, SHEPARD places his hand on his knapsack. SHEPARD Tiff? The men look at his knapsack trying to guess what treats are inside. FERGUSON Have a seat, mate. SHEPARD sits down, opens his knapsack, and offers the men various treats. TILLEY (to SHEPARD) Hey friend, how many days you think we've been here? CUT TO: EXT. NO MAN'S LAND - DAY Although the two opposing forces are less than two hundred yards apart, there is no sound except the sound of birds chirping. The sun, unable to pierce the thick layer of clouds, seems further away than one is used to, almost as if God Himself has given up on the men who ask Him for strength during battle. CUT TO: INT. THE TRENCH - DAY And then there were five. SHEPARD and the rest are now old friends as they devour the various snacks he provided. He is busy playing cards with FERGUSON and BAGGETT while TILLEY and ENRIGHT sit a few feet off to the side staring up at the sky, slightly squinting their eyes in the dull sun. TILLEY Oh, look look look! That's a Warbler, ain't it? TILLEY's POV Up against the grey sky, he sees a flock of a few small, brownish birds. They hover over the trench as if they are trying to make those stuck inside green with envy. BACK TO: INT. THE TRENCH - DAY ENRIGHT Hey, I don't know, you're the authority here. TILLEY Fuckin right. (beat) They were Warblers. (beat) Weren't they Warblers? ENRIGHT Jesus man, I don't know. Are they pleasing to the eye, that's all I'm concerned about. TILLEY Ah, shallow bastard. ENRIGHT That's exactly what Catherine said. TILLEY See, perception of these things runs in the family, right? ENRIGHT Apparently. That and insanity. TILLEY lightly punches him on the shoulder. ENRIGHT Still punch like a girl. TILLEY Feminine side, that's what the ladies like about me, aye? Beat. TILLEY finally takes his eyes off of the sky and looks towards the group playing cards. TILLEY (referring to SHEPARD) What do you think about our new boy? ENRIGHT lowers his eyes and looks at the group. ENRIGHT Considering I've only known him for about ten minutes, I'd say he's working out so far. TILLEY You know what I mean. ENRIGHT looks at him again. ENRIGHT I don't know, looks normal enough. TILLEY Looks a little too baby-faced for me. ENRIGHT Ah, I forgot how creases and blemishes on someone's face indicate what kind of soldier they are. TILLEY Bastard. Beat. The men occasionally glance back up at the sky every now and then. TILLEY So, what do you want for Christmas? ENRIGHT is amused. ENRIGHT New socks. You? TILLEY A new razor for me. ENRIGHT (motioning towards SHEPARD) The baby face making you jealous? TILLEY Oh fuck you. I'm worried the bloody lice are going to move south. ENRIGHT Just follow suit and shave your head. TILLEY Nah. ENRIGHT I'm telling you, it makes a big difference. TILLEY Nah you know I don't look good with short hair. ENRIGHT I always knew of your mission to sexually impress the German soldiers. TILLEY Alright you smart-ass, I'm sick of you. (to the men playing cards) Deal me in, alright mates? TILLEY takes a handful of mud and smashes it on the top of ENRIGHT's head as he slides over to the group. ENRIGHT Oh, very mature you little shit! ENRIGHT, smiling, dusts the mud out of his hair forcefully. O.S. He hears birds chirping, so he quickly directs his eyes to the sky. ENRIGHT's POV A flock of birds, white this time, float majestically overheard. They circle and float as if they were dancing. BACK TO: INT. THE TRENCH - DAY A small smile appears on ENRIGHT's face. He continues to watch for a beat. He follows them with his eyes as they flight out of his point of view. The smile fades. He then reaches into his coat pocket and removes a folded piece of paper and a pencil. He props the paper on his knee and begins the write. SHEPARD Ooohhhhhhh! SHEPARD cheers as he throws his cars down into the mud and extends his hand. TILLEY Bloody fuckin Christ! BAGGETT Well that makes no sense. TILLEY Lucky, cheating bastard! The three losers drop two cigarettes each into SHEPARD's hand. Overwhelmed with content, he turns his head towards ENRIGHT as if to gloat and sees him not paying any attention to the game. SHEPARD Deal me out this next game chaps. TILLEY (in jest) Get your ass outta here. Some new playmates are only a few hundred yards away, you know that right? SHEPARD, still sitting, slides over next to ENRIGHT. A new card game continues near them. SHEPARD You alright there? (remembering his rank) SHEPARD Sergeant? ENRIGHT continues writing and doesn't bother to look up. It takes him a beat or two to reply. ENRIGHT Yeah...yeah, I'm good. SHEPARD Personal memoirs? ENRIGHT realizes he isn't going to finish now. He stops abruptly and tucks the paper into his hip pocket. ENRIGHT Letter to my mother. SHEPARD Oh, Christ I'm sorry sir, I didn't mean... ENRIGHT (interrupting) No, no, no, no, think nothing of it. So, you make out alright? SHEPARD (self-satisfied) Yeah, luck was on my side it seems. SHEPARD offers him some smokes. ENRIGHT Oh, no thank you. SHEPARD Certain? ENRIGHT No, yeah, I don't, uh, I don't smoke. SHEPARD gets comfortable, using his weight to dig himself a nice little groove in the mud. They both sit in silence for a beat, ENRIGHT looking up at the sky while SHEPARD studies him. SHEPARD So...what did, well, have you been here long? ENRIGHT Five days, just like you, just like everybody else. SHEPARD No well what I meant... ENRIGHT interrupts. ENRIGHT Since October. The middle of October. ENRIGHT's eyes remain fixed on the sky above. SHEPARD glances up in an effort to figure out what he is looking at. ENRIGHT (apparently talking to himself, rather than SHEPARD) Twenty-two. SHEPARD Twenty-two, you said? ENRIGHT Twenty-two. Twenty-two days on the line, thirty-five on the reserve line, and five on personal leave. SHEPARD Twenty-two days in this, ey? You knew what you were getting into when you enlisted? (beat) SHEPARD (CONT'D) Or did you join before? Beat. ENRIGHT Doesn't matter. SHEPARD finally gets the hint. He leans up against the mud wall and sits in silence, looking over his shoulder to the card game in progress. The two men sit in silence. Silence. Beat. BOOM! BOOM! Two German trench mortars explode on the ground outside the trench above SHEPARD's shoulder. Everyone in sight automatically hits the deck. A faint WHISTLE in the air can be heard O.S. CPT. EVANS (O.S.) DOWN!!! CUT TO: EXT. NO MAN'S LAND A bird's eye view of the trench shows explosion after explosion after explosion. None of the rounds have made it successfully into the trench as of yet, however they are coming pretty damn close. Sandbags are exploding, barbed wire is being torn apart, and loads of dirt and mud are being thrown into the air. Dismembered corpses are being tossed around and desecrated even more. Meanwhile, every soldier lies motionless on the trench floor. The violent, tremendous explosions continue for what seems like forever. Explosion after explosion rocks the soft earth. Then...silence. CUT TO: CPT. EVANS (mad as hell) STAND TO! COMPANY ON THE FIRE STEP! CUT TO: INT. THE TRENCH - DAY Every soldier uniformly gets up quickly off the ground and grabs his Lee-Enfield rifle. Locking and loading, the soldiers all step up onto the fire step and raise their bodies enough to barely get their head and rifle over the paraphet on the trench wall. In a continuous shot, the CAMERA slides horizontally across the rear of the trench showing the backs of the soldiers as they aim towards, what seems like, a serene, open field. Two rows of barbed wire are all that obstruct the otherwise beautiful view of a peaceful green field. CAMERA continues to slide until it reaches CPT. EVANS standing tall with a whistle in his mouth. He gives is a forceful blow. The CAMERA begins to slide back the exact way it came from as every soldier opens fire. They have nothing to aim at except a general area. O.S. we hear the deep, booming sound of British TRENCH MORTARS being fired from the reserve trenches fifty yards south, behind the main trench towards the town of YPRES. Through the smoke of the rifles expending their rounds, we see the mortar rounds explode 150-200 yards downfield, throwing dirt and mud into the air. Each soldier continues to expend rounds, changing out their magazines after the ten rounds have been fired. CPT. EVANS (O.S.) STAND DOWN! STAND DOWN! Every soldier pulls his rifle back and crouches down on the fire step. The CAMERA stops, and again begins heading back the other way. It moves, in silence, until it stops again behind CPT. EVANS, who is the only man left standing tall. Instead of a rifle, he holds a looking glass and peers through it down across the field. He continues to look until the last few mortar rounds hit their marks. A close-up of CPT. EVANS shows his eyes slowly scanning NO MAN'S LAND. CUT TO: EXT. NO MAN'S LAND - DAY The smoke clears and the dirt finally settles. No troops advancing. BACK TO: INT. THE TRENCH - DAY SHEPARD, having never seen combat, is rightfully shaken. His cheeks are moist from tears that have inadvertently escaped his eyes. He looks up at ENRIGHT, who's eyes seem to be scanning the trench floor below as if he is listening and waiting for the next mortal shell to explode above his head. Although he has been through his share of firefights, no reasonable man can get used to the caliber of what has just transpired. The two eventually make eye contact for a brief few seconds, before ENRIGHT again lowers his eyes, concentrating on listening for anything to transpire. ZAP! ZAP! ZAP! German machine gun fire passes right over head. The tracer rounds can be seen just above the trench opening. Rounds hitting the sandbags throws tiny particles of debris up into the air and down onto the shoulders of the British soldiers below. SHEPARD HOLY SHIT! ENRIGHT Fuck! SHEPARD places both hands tightly on his helmet as if he is afraid it is going to fly off. Although the sound is not necessarily loud, the unimaginable feeling of bullets passing inches from you is almost more than he and many other men can handle. CUT TO: INT. THE TRENCH - DAY CPT. EVANS walks strongly along the trench floor, passing by man after man crouching on the fire step cowering against the trench wall. CPT. EVANS EASY MEN! KEEP YOUR HEADS DOWN! EASY! Suddenly, as quickly as it began, the attack has stopped. CPT. EVANS stops dead in his tracks and climbs up onto the fire step near him. Crouching down, he extends a tall periscope that allows him to peer above the paraphet and out of the trench. CUT TO: EXT. NO MAN'S LAND - DAY CPT. EVANS' P.O.V. Through the periscope, we see a hazier version of the healthy green field we saw earlier. The sand and dust takes a minute to settle, finally revealing nothing except the wondrous horizon. BACK TO: INT. THE TRENCH - DAY CPT. EVANS steps back onto the trench floor. He glances up at the sky then slowly scans the men crouching on the fire step. Eventually... CPT. EVANS A-Company, stand down. All clear. On your feet gentlemen. The weary men climb down off of the fire step. Many of them are out of breath from the excitement, and some even have tears on their cheeks. CPT. EVANS Obviously our Morning Hate was a little late today, ay boys? Various men are heard laughing politely O.S. with a rightfully nervous tone in their voices. CPT. EVANS (CONT'D) No matter. Fritz has not moved. Looks up towards the sun. CPT. EVANS (CONT'D) And by the look of it we have missed our shift change. 2nd platoon, you now have the honor. Disregard trench extension and be sure to clear excess dirt and rubbish off of the floor, the last thing we need are uneven walkways and obstructions, yes? VARIOUS SOLDIERS (O.S.) Sir. CPT. EVANS At the same time 2nd, be sure to prepare sandbags to replace those lost during our playtime. Gather them in the northeast corner right behind me and 1st platoon will set them up following nightfall stand to. VARIOUS SOLDIERS (O.S.) Yes, sir. CPT. EVANS 1st platoon, while 2nd is performing their duties take it upon yourselves to clean the rifles and make sure the vibrations have not compromised the integrity of the fire step. VARIOUS SOLDIERS (O.S.) Yes, sir. CPT. EVANS Thank you, gentlemen. As CPT. EVANS turns and heads into his personal dugout, the remainder of the trench immediately becomes a beehive of activity. FADE OUT. FADE IN. EXT. YPRES, BELGIUM - AFTERNOON A bird's eye view of what used to be the center of the town. The dull sun hits the remnants of the medieval structures casting hundreds of peculiar, soft shadows. The CAMERA slowly begins to drift towards the edge of town. It passes over the RESERVE TRENCH, complete with British mortar positions. Many soldiers are seen squeezing by one another inside, obviously hard at work preparing for nightfall. The CAMERA continues to slowly drift across luscious green landscape another fifty yards to the FRONT LINE. CUT TO: INT. EVANS' DUGOUT A claustrophobic's nightmare. The dugout is no bigger than a small bedroom. Dark, damp, and dirty, thin boards make up the floor and appear to be holding the walls in position. A set of standard issue military blankets are laid out neatly on one side of the room with a pillow at what one could see as the "head" of the bed. On the opposite side of the room, no more than five feet away, sits a small desk with a burning candle. CPT. EVANS sits on a small chair in front of the desk writing on what appears to be a set of official military forms. ENRIGHT enters and stands in the doorway. Other men, busy at work, continuously move past the opening, causing brief shadows inside the room. ENRIGHT Captain Evans? CPT. EVANS looks up briefly then returns to his paperwork. CPT. EVANS Hey, come in Tom. ENRIGHT takes a few steps forward. CPT. EVANS What news? ENRIGHT Sir, trench bottom is clean and free from obstructions ahead of schedule. With your permission I shall have the morning latrines emptied and new holes constructed. CPT. EVANS stops writing and turns towards ENRIGHT. CPT. EVANS That's a good call, Tom. Two days left, the last thing we need are puddles of rotten shit near our heads while we sleep. ENRIGHT Agreed, sir. CPT. EVANS Not to mention the smell, yes? ENRIGHT Yes, sir. CPT. EVANS Tom, the "sir" shit is giving me a headache. ENRIGHT smiles. ENRIGHT Yes, sir. CPT. EVANS Well fuck off then. ENRIGHT, amused, relaxes and leans up against a wall while CPT. EVANS shifts his chair. It has become obvious that the two are old friends. CPT. EVANS What news from this morning? ENRIGHT Oh Jesus, that's what I forgot to mention. No casualties Robert. CPT. EVANS Luck. ENRIGHT Yeah, yeah it was. We have a few bumps and scrapes, and a few men from 1st are complaining about hearing issues, but other than that we ended alright. CPT. EVANS nods his head. Beat. CPT. EVANS How's your mother? Beat. ENRIGHT shrugs. ENRIGHT She's good. As good as one could expect at least. CPT. EVANS Really? A beat. ENRIGHT nods. Beat. CPT. EVANS And yourself? ENRIGHT Surviving. Beat. ENRIGHT (CONT'D) For now at least. CPT. EVANS I would think that's the best one could ask for. ENRIGHT tilts his head slightly as if to convey without words that he disagrees. CPT. EVANS (CONT'D) Oh, shit. You have a new member of your platoon. CPT. EVANS searches through the papers on his desk. ENRIGHT I'm fairly certain I've already met him. CPT. EVANS Well, that's good because for the life of me I cannot remember his name. It's around here somewhere. (beat) Anyway, be sure to keep an eye on him, show him the ropes, and so on. ENRIGHT I'm sure he knows how to dig. CPT. EVANS I didn't hear that. ENRIGHT I better go check on the progress. ENRIGHT starts towards the exit. CPT. EVANS Tom. He stops in mid-step and turns his head with raised eyebrows. CPT. EVANS (CONT'D) It's nearly over. Beat. ENRIGHT If you say so. CPT. EVANS You disagree? ENRIGHT I don't know. In a way, I guess. CPT. EVANS How do you mean? Beat. ENRIGHT I'm trying to think how to word this. (beat) You were here on 19 October when Fritz began his push. CPT. EVANS Yes, you were here with me. So? Beat. ENRIGHT It, it really doesn't matter. ENRIGHT heads further towards the exit. CPT. EVANS It matters to me, Tom. I don't see your point. ENRIGHT stops and turns around. ENRIGHT I haven't made it. (beat) What happened next? CPT. EVANS After what? ENRIGHT After 19 October. Well, after the end of what began on 19 October. CPT. EVANS Well, obviously we fortified our positions in response to the German siege of the town. ENRIGHT Um hmm. Beat. CPT. EVANS And...? ENRIGHT And nothing. CPT. EVANS leans back in his chair. CPT. EVANS So, you would rather be involved in a continuous firefight? Stand To all twenty-four hours of the day, is that it? ENRIGHT You misunderstand me, Robert. CPT. EVANS Feel free to explain yourself then. ENRIGHT hesitates. CPT. EVANS There is no call to worry about repercussions in here, Tom. Beat. ENRIGHT There's no point, Robert. CPT. EVANS In us talking? ENRIGHT I enjoy our chats. There is no point in what we are doing here. Beat. CPT. EVANS I can't respond to that without turning into a cliché, Robert. But you know as well as I do that we are here to serve... ENRIGHT interrupts. ENRIGHT No, Robert. The way I see it this has nothing to do with a friend helping a friend, allies, and whatnot. (motioning his head towards the trench) I honestly wonder whether or not you realize that nobody out there who has spent their time on the line, nobody cares a shit about whether or not the Germans hold Alsace, Belgium, or France too for that matter. Not anymore. (beat) Nations that many of these men have never and probably will never step foot on cannot possibly be worth what has transpired here. CPT. EVANS I don't know if you have realized, but I'm down here too. You speak as if I am some sort of foreigner in all this. ENRIGHT looks around the dugout amazed he would say such a thing. ENRIGHT Robert, you are my superior but you are also my friend so I beg you don't take offense to this, but look at the fuck where you are. (beat) Now, you are an excellent leader. The men like you and respect you, as they should. However, whether you realize it or not, you have been an officer ever since the first shot was fired. Yes, technically you have spent time on the Front Line, but realistically you have never spent time on the Front Line. CPT. EVANS (agitated) Now, now wait...hold yourself a second. ENRIGHT Robert, you don't deal with the latrines, or the burials, or the rats. CPT. EVANS Tom... ENRIGHT That is spending time on the Front Line. There is more than morning Stand To, evening Stand To, and all the bullshit in-between. CPT. EVANS Yes, I realize that. ENRIGHT Do you realize that since the beginning, more men have fallen in this company by disease than by enemy fire? CPT. EVANS realizes there is no argument he can present. CPT. EVANS Yes, I know. Beat. ENRIGHT This isn't a war. (beat) In a war there are heroes. There are no heroes here, only victims. (beat) It is impossible for us to see ourselves as anything other than parts of a machine that sometimes rolls forward when nobody knows where, or sometimes rolls back when nobody knows why. (beat) This isn't a war. Beat. CPT. EVANS What would you label it as then? Beat. ENRIGHT We have dug our own graves and with the overbearing intelligence of those who give the orders, we have decided to die by disease rather than by gunshot. What would I label this as? Simply, it is a crock of shit where good men, who are thrown into the middle, die horribly for no fucking reason. (beat) Breakfast truce... It is CPT. EVANS turn to interrupt. CPT. EVANS You are equating civility with a crock of shit? We are gentlemen, Tom, as we should perform as such. ENRIGHT Come on, Robert. (pointing out of the dugout as to suggest the Germans) They know it is a crock of shit as well as we do. They know as well as we do that with the position we are in this will never end, because no human being of sound mind would see the point of getting out of this hole to run the equivalent of three football fields against what each of us fire back at the other. Them suggesting that no rounds are fired during breakfast time is their way of telling us that this is rubbish, plain and simple. That civility as you call it might as well be a written report on how this whole situation is unfathomable. They know it, we know it, and all it takes is one brave soul to walk across that fuckin field and say, "Yes, we feel the same way, so let's drop our rifles and head back to what is actually worth our time." (beat) But that would be too easy, so simple logic would dictate that it will never happen. CPT. EVANS You have most certainly seen what the Germans have done once breakfast is over. I know you have, because you were there with me. ENRIGHT Come now, Robert. You are smarter than that. CPT. EVANS picks up a British newspaper. CPT. EVANS Have you not read... ENRIGHT interrupts. ENRIGHT You're joking, right? CPT. EVANS About what? ENRIGHT You can honestly tell me that you believe in your heart that the Germans are nothing but ruthless, cunning, evil savages who are all bent on taking Europe as their own. CPT. EVANS That seems to be their agenda so far. ENRIGHT Not Germany, Robert. The Germans. Beat. CPT. EVANS What do you believe? Beat. ENRIGHT Perhaps that they are no different than you or I? Why shouldn't we believe that one hundred yards from here there are two friends having this exact same conversation in German? Beat. CPT. EVANS If you believe in this theory as much as you convey, then why not be that brave soul who walks across the field? Beat. ENRIGHT Because I know that over there (pointing in the direction of the German trench) Much like over here, there are those who can't differentiate between what may seem noble, and what makes sense. CPT. EVANS does not respond. ENRIGHT makes it to the exit, looks up to the sky, and then turns his head back. ENRIGHT Almost sunset. ENRIGHT walks O.S. leaving CPT. EVANS alone with his conflicting thoughts. CUT TO: INT. THE TRENCH - AFTERNOON SHEPARD, TILLEY, and BAGGETT are busy digging a latrine, which is about three feet deep at the moment. Due to the miniscule amount of space to maneuver, SHEPARD and BAGGETT are digging from the ground while TILLEY is crouching on the above fire step, extending his shovel directly into the hole, basically doing a half-assed job while his mates do the work. TILLEY About half way done aren't we? BAGGETT bends over and peers into the hole. BAGGETT Looks about that way. TILLEY So what was I talking about again? SHEPARD (not excited to have the impending conversation again) I don't know, something about... TILLEY interrupts with a vengeance. TILLEY Oh, yes, yea, so anyway like I said there is call for confusion here, am I right? SHEPARD (in an effort to be polite to the more experienced) Yeah, sure seems like it. BAGGETT Jesus Till, give it a rest already. TILLEY This is an important topic Bagg, it has to do with company morale, even you should be smart enough to see that, right? Five days would be one-two-three-four-five whole days which would equal two whole days PLUS the extra... (forgets where he was headed) Wait, PLUS the extra half-a-day since technically we move out at night, so...AHH! During his speech, TILLEY naturally extends his legs raising himself as his excitement grows. TILLEY (CONT'D) Bastards trying to sneak an extra 12 hours on us right, mate? Fuckin bastards, them aye? BAGGETT (to SHEPARD while TILLEY is still yapping) You had to get him riled up, didn't you? TILLEY Hey, don't blame the kid, the kid agrees with me, dontcha son? SHEPARD, the new kid on the block, doesn't want to offend either of them. He doesn't answer. BAGGETT (to SHEPARD) You wonder why his parents kicked him out, right? SHEPARD cracks a smile. TILLEY Hey, fuck off alright? SHEPARD (referring to the hole) Almost done, mates. TILLEY Yeah, almost done. Not like us. If you take the total amount of time we have been here and use basic mathematics you... CRACK! A sniper's bullet pierces the back of TILLEY's head and exits though his mouth. Blood sprays across the faces of both BAGGETT and SHEPARD. TILLEY's lifeless body immediately falls straight forward, his head falling into the rear trench wall, which slows the descent of his body to the trench floor. SHEPARD HOLY CHRIST! SHEPARD crouches down over the body. Unsure of what to do, he just feels his neck for a pulse. BAGGETT, stunned at first, regains his composure. BAGGETT MEDIC!!!! CUT TO: INT. THE TRENCH - AFTERNOON A MEDIC is shown running along the apparently endless trench floor. The CAMERA follows behind him in a continuous shot as he turns corner after corner, trying to negotiate his way to his destination. He would get there quicker if there weren't so many God damned people in his way. MEDIC MAKE WAY! MAKE WAY! BAGGETT (O.S.) MEDIC!!! MEDIC MAKE WAY GOD DAMNIT! The MEDIC has to push his way through the crowd that has formed around the body. The continuous shot ends as the MEDIC finally approaches the body and kneels down in front of it. TILLEY's body is cold and lifeless. Blood oozes out of his mouth. The MEDIC pushes SHEPARD out of his way. MEDIC Move, boy! The MEDIC places his hand on TILLEY's neck and attempts to roll his head slightly to get a look at the wound. As he rolls the back of his head off of the ground he exposes a large puddle of blood that is getting larger by the second and blood pumps out of the back of TILLEY's head. MEDIC (to himself) Shit. The MEDIC gently lays TILLEY's head back on the dirt floor. He slowly gets up and walks back in the direction he came from. Meanwhile, SHEPARD begins to sob as he sits on the dirt floor near the hole they had just constructed. BAGGETT now has his back turned to the body and faces the trench wall. His head hangs low. ENRIGHT (O.S.) Make way! Just before the MEDIC walks O.S., ENRIGHT squeezes his way past him and kneels down quickly in front of the body. ENRIGHT (with a lump in his throat) Oh, no no no no no... ENRIGHT's eyes slowly fill with tears. He lightly places one hand on TILLEY's still chest and covers his eyes with the other hand and begins to weep silently. O.S. We can hear running. Suddenly, CPT. EVANS shows up only to see ENRIGHT crouching over the bloody corpse of his friend. He notices both SHEPARD and BAGGETT consoling themselves, then looks back down at the body. CPT. EVANS (silently) Oh, Jesus. From CPT. EVANS POV, we see ENRIGHT's back as he appears to pull himself together. He slowly turns his head and looks up at his commanding officer. His eyes are red and filled with tears. He looks at CPT. EVANS who stares back into his eyes. As far as he is concerned, this is nothing other than a casualty of war. ENRIGHT slowly gets up and begins to walk past CPT. EVANS. He stops in mid-step. ENRIGHT (with a lump in his throat) He was a friend, but he didn't die a hero. He walks by. CPT. EVANS looks at him as he walks away, then turns back towards the body. FADE OUT. FADE IN: EXT. NO MAN'S LAND - NIGHT The clouds have cleared somewhat. The CAMERA stares at the full moon for a beat, then slowly begins to drift down. The CAMERA angles towards the earth and gives sight to the FRONT LINE. The CAMERA continues to drift down showing us the Stand To formation of nightfall: man after man is peering over the paraphet, aiming his weapon at darkness. CUT TO: INT. THE TRENCH - NIGHT The CAMERA again drifts slowly behind the backs of the soldiers, allowing us a view of the apparently eternal darkness they are aiming at. Almost nothing is visible except the breath of the men. CUT TO: INT. THE TRENCH - NIGHT ENRIGHT and SHEPARD stand next to each other looking through the sights of their Lee-Enfield rifles. ENRIGHT's eyes seem weary, the eyes of those who has come to expect nothing at all out of the night. SHEPARD, on the other hand, continuously darts his eyes from one edge of darkness to the other. ENRIGHT Relax. SHEPARD looks towards ENRIGHT through the corner of his eye. SHEPARD I'm alright. ENRIGHT Hey... (beat) Relax. SHEPARD inhales slowly, then exhales in the same manner. ENRIGHT I haven't asked you but I can assume...this is your first time on the line, is it not? SHEPARD Am I doing something wrong? ENRIGHT No, no not at all. You're holding up perfectly. SHEPARD How did you guess? ENRIGHT It's obvious. SHEPARD (paranoid he isn't performing well) How? ENRIGHT It just is. Beat. SHEPARD glances at him and hesitates to ask... SHEPARD You knew him well? Beat. ENRIGHT Fairly well. Beat. SHEPARD How long had you know him? ENRIGHT I still do know him. SHEPARD is embarrassed. SHEPARD I apologize, I didn't mean to imply... (he trails off) Beat. ENRIGHT About four years now. We were friends outside of this...the war. SHEPARD I'm sorry. ENRIGHT You didn't kill him. Beat. SHEPARD Fucking barbarians. ENRIGHT What? SHEPARD What? ENRIGHT What was that? SHEPARD Oh, I said "fucking barbarians." ENRIGHT stares at him. SHEPARD The Germans. ENRIGHT No, I know. I was just wondering if that was what you actually said. SHEPARD ceases eye contact and returns to studying the horizon. Beat. SHEPARD He was humorous. ENRIGHT nods. SHEPARD looks back out across NO MAN'S LAND for a beat, then turns his head back to ENRIGHT. SHEPARD Are the resupplies showing up soon? ENRIGHT Mules. SHEPARD What? ENRIGHT They are called mules. SHEPARD Like the animal? ENRIGHT Yeah. Think about it. Beat. SHEPARD Ok, when do the mules show up? ENRIGHT Usually a few hours after sundown. SHEPARD Why so long? ENRIGHT Supplies wouldn't do any good if they came to us during a German advancement. SHEPARD What do you mean? ENRIGHT You do know the whole point between performing Stand To twice a day dontcha? SHEPARD Well... ENRIGHT Once before sunrise and one before sundown? SHEPARD (embarrassed) Well this is my first time on the line, see. I just figure follow everyone else. ENRIGHT Well, there's nothing wrong with that, I imagine. SHEPARD looks at ENRIGHT for a beat until he realizes he is not going to continue. He then faces the darkness. CUT TO: INT. THE TRENCH - NIGHT CPT. EVANS stands firmly on the fire step scanning the horizon. Two beat later, he steps onto the trench floor. CPT. EVANS A-Company, stand down. The men slowly step down onto the trench floor. Many of them lean their weapons up against the trench wall. CPT. EVANS 1st platoon, sentry duty for the next four hours. Be sure to perform this in intervals. It seems like it may be a slow night but standing orders still remain, sleep on sentry duty and you will be shot on sentry duty. (beat) 2nd platoon you have the next four hours leisure time. I can only assume fires will be lit, so might as well make haste and let the resupply mules know we are ready and waiting. VARIOUS SOLDIERS Yes, sir. CPT. EVANS Thank you, gentlemen. FADE OUT. FADE IN: INT. THE TRENCH - NIGHT Silent night. A few fires burn here and there lit in tin buckets on the trench floor. Small groups of men sit or sleep in the vicinity in an attempt to keep warm. Other men stand on the fire step peering over the paraphet. CUT TO: INT. THE TRENCH - NIGHT BEAUMONT, a young soldier, stares across NO MAN'S LAND from the fire step sets down his weapon and squints his eyes as if he is attempting to focus on something. He quickly steps down off of the fire step, goes into his issued sack, scrambles around inside it, and forcefully pulls out a small looking glass. BEAUMONT quickly jumps back up onto the fire step, extends the looking glass, and puts it up to his eye. His expression changes from curiosity to nervousness as he picks his weapon and yells... BEAUMONT STAND TO! STAND TO! CUT TO: INT. THE TRENCH - NIGHT Montage of men jumping up from their rest, picking up their weapons, and quickly jumping up onto the fire step and directing their weapons across NO MAN'S LAND. CUT TO: CPT. EVANS running in the direction of the origin of the alert. CPT. EVANS Beaumont, what the bloody hell is going on? BEAUMONT offers his looking glass to CPT. EVANS. BEAUMONT Sir, for your convenience sir. CPT. EVANS grabs the looking glass quickly and immediately jumps up onto the fire step next to BEAUMONT. He extends the looking glass places his eye up against it. Beat. CPT. EVANS (to himself) What the... CPT. EVANS lowers the looking glass briefly, then raises it to his eye again. CUT TO: EXT. NO MAN'S LAND - NIGHT Through the looking glass, we see a single light burning across NO MAN'S LAND. To the best of CPT. EVANS' knowledge, the light is coming from the GERMAN TRENCH. BACK TO: INT. THE TRENCH - NIGHT CPT. EVANS throws the looking glass he has been using onto the trench floor and takes out another from his pocket. He extends it, revealing the fact that it extends much further than the one he had been using. He raises it up to his eye. CUT TO: EXT. NO MAN'S LAND - NIGHT A much better view. Instead of one light, there appears to be three or four smaller lights within a close proximity to each other. Beat. Suddenly, a few yards away from the existing group of lights, another one is raised out of the GERMAN TRENCH and remains stationary. Beat. And another a few yards further. Beat. And another. BACK TO: INT. THE TRENCH - NIGHT CPT. EVANS quickly lowers the looking glass. CPT. EVANS COMPANY! FIX BAYONETS! CUT TO: INT. THE TRENCH - NIGHT ENRIGHT and SHEPARD, standing on the fire step, pick up their bayonets and attach them to the muzzle of their weapons. The surrounding soldiers do the same. CPT. EVANS (O.S.) PREPARE FOR ATTACK! SHEPARD (scared shitless) Oh Jesus... ENRIGHT (to himself) Here we go... (to SHEPARD) Calm yourself The CAMERA drifts slowly behind the men showing them at their utmost attention. Across NO MAN'S LAND, we can see new lights appearing on the horizon. CPT. EVANS (O.S.) STAND TO, MEN! PREPARE! The men are all in position. They are completely terrified of the supposedly imminent battle to take place. CPT. EVANS averts his eyes from the darkness and directs his eyes towards the trench floor as if he is concentrating on hearing what is supposed to be coming. A man coughs O.S. CPT. EVANS Quiet men! CPT. EVANS listens for a beat, then extends the looking glass and peers into the darkness again. After a beat, he slowly lowers the looking glass. CPT. EVANS A-Company! Hold your positions, men! We will remain on guard indefinitely starting now! The first pair of closed eyes I see tonight will face the firing squad tomorrow! Understood?! VARIOUS SOLDIERS (O.S.) YES, SIR! CPT. EVANS Make no mistake, if any of you let one of them bastards sneak up on us I will shoot you myself. CPT. EVANS extends his looking glass again and peers across NO MAN'S LAND. CUT TO: INT. THE TRENCH - NIGHT ENRIGHT and SHEPARD are again next to each other, and while ENRIGHT is keeping his composure, SHEPARD is obviously nervous as hell as his eyes dart around continuously. ENRIGHT Hey, calm yourself. SHEPARD Aren't they advancing? ENRIGHT Shepard. Shepard. SHEPARD finally looks him in the eye. ENRIGHT Calm. SHEPARD No, but... ENRIGHT cuts in. ENRIGHT Hey, listen, if they are coming, we will hear it a mile away. Ok? A hundred men all running in unison in the dead of night isn't something one won't notice, alright? SHEPARD I don't want... ENRIGHT Hey, listen to me. This is a marathon, not a sprint, understand? Slow down. They aren't as stupid as those who give the orders would like us to believe. Okay? They aren't going to run over here blind. SHEPARD But Captain Evans said... ENRIGHT Captain Evans is doing his duty. His duty is to play it safe no matter what transpires, understand? SHEPARD is still nervous. ENRIGHT (CONT'D) Hey, you remember earlier we were talking about Stand To, and the different times of day, remember that? SHEPARD Yeah, yes sir. ENRIGHT Okay, you know the reasoning behind morning Stand To? Stand To before dawn? SHEPARD No, no sir. ENRIGHT Because night is the best time for soldiers to form for an attack. They attack at dawn then have all day to push. Now I want you to answer this: why would they let us know if they were preparing for an attack by placing little itty, bitty lights in full view? SHEPARD finally calms a little. Beat. SHEPARD I don't know. ENRIGHT Exactly, nobody knows. That's because they wouldn't. Think about it. Doesn't make sense, right? Beat as SHEPARD calms himself and considers the logic. SHEPARD Well, then what's the point with Stand To at dusk? ENRIGHT Because sometimes, not often, but sometimes we like to hit each other right before the sun goes down so that there is little risk of a counter-offensive. Beat. SHEPARD That makes sense I suppose. Beat. ENRIGHT Well, as much sense as anything can make in this situation. SHEPARD nods. ENRIGHT Feel better? SHEPARD Yes, much, actually. Well, in reality, no. It just reminds me that sun-up is only a few hours away. SHEPARD takes a deep breath in, then exhales slowly. ENRIGHT I never asked you, where do you call home? SHEPARD Just outside Brighton. Beat. ENRIGHT Never been there. Is it pleasant? SHEPARD I was never that excited with it. ENRIGHT Why not? SHEPARD It's just...it's hard to explain. I've spent...I suppose I simply needed to get away. ENRIGHT nods. Beat. SHEPARD How long have you been doing this? ENRIGHT Long enough. SHEPARD Lost the love? ENRIGHT You'll see. Beat. SHEPARD What if I don't? ENRIGHT Well (beat) Let me just say it puts things into a certain perspective. Once you have this newfound perspective, then yes you lose the love. SHEPARD I'm not sure I understand. ENRIGHT glances at him. ENRIGHT I used to complain to my mother that I couldn't sleep because of the creaking of the pantry door. Between the mortars, the urine, the rats, and the lice...let's just say that I won't complain anymore. SHEPARD I see. ENRIGHT You will. (beat) Plus, as far as I know the pantry door has not yet tried to shoot me. SHEPARD chuckles. CPT. EVANS walks on screen and stands behind the two men. CPT. EVANS Men, keep your voices down. SHEPARD My apologies, sir. CPT. EVANS (to ENRIGHT) Sergeant, what news? Beat. ENRIGHT No news. If there was I'm sure you would have heard it. CPT. EVANS shoots him a disapproving glance as SHEPARD is alerted again. He holds his rifle forcefully against his shoulder, his eyes widened. ENRIGHT (to SHEPARD) What is it, man? SHEPARD I hear something! CPT. EVANS (to ENRIGHT) Who's this? ENRIGHT Shepard, the new member. SHEPARD Can't you hear it? ENRIGHT It's paranoia. SHEPARD The hell it is! Listen! CPT. EVANS Quiet, the both of you! CPT. EVANS climbs up onto the fire step and begins listening out. A barely audible noise is heard O.S. Beat. CPT. EVANS I hear it. Stay silent. Beat. VARIOUS GERMAN SOLDIERS (O.S.) (to the rhythm of "O Come All Ye Faithful") Herbei, o ihr Gläubigen, frölich triumphiernd, O kommet, O kommet nach Bethlehem... The men in the trench cannot believe their ears. They expected gunfire, what they got were carols. The men still remain at attention, yet it is obvious that they are straining to hear what is happening. VARIOUS GERMAN SOLDIERS (O.S.) (continued as before) Sehet das Kindlein, uns zum Heil geboren. CPT. EVANS is still listening in disbelief. VARIOUS GERMAN SOLDIERS (O.S.) (continued as before) O lasset uns anbeten, O lasset uns anbeten, O lasset uns anbeten, Den König. As CPT. EVANS, ENRIGHT, and SHEPARD continue to listen, the faint sound of clapping is heard coming O.S. from the German trench. SHEPARD (confused) Captain? CPT. EVANS does not acknowledge, rather he continues to listen. Beat. Silence. CPT. EVANS It stopped. ENRIGHT "It" stopped? SHEPARD Captain, what action? Suddenly... VARIOUS GERMAN SOLDIERS (O.S.) O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum, wie treu sind deine Blätter! Du grünst nicht nur zur sommerzeit, Nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit. O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum, wie treu sind deine Blätter! A small smile and an appearance of tranquility exposes itself on ENRIGHT's face. It has been a long time coming. Many men in the trench show the same expression. After months of the unimaginable, a human element manages to squeeze its way into war. VARIOUS GERMAN SOLDIERS (O.S.) O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum! Du kannst mir sehr gefallen! Wie oft hat nicht zur Weihnachtszeit Ein Baum von dir mich hoch erfreut! O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum! Du kannst mir sehr gefallen. FADE OUT. FADE IN: INT. THE TRENCH - NIGHT It is not long until sunrise. The men cannot sleep. Still in awe of the events of the night, half of them still remain on the fire step while the other half remain relaxed against the trench wall, eyes and ears open. Meanwhile, the German voices are still being heard... VARIOUS GERMAN SOLDIERS (O.S.) Sub singt der Engel Chor Weihnacht. Und draussen reiselt leis' der Schnee. Festlich strahlen Kerzen in allen Herzen. Vergeh'n Kummer huet' und Weh. The chorus repeats again and again. ENRIGHT and SHEPARD are two of the men who are still on sentry duty. They stand relaxed on the fire step, so relaxed that a German platoon would probably be able to sneak up on them. SHEPARD I don't know what to make of this. ENRIGHT shakes his head. SHEPARD Can you believe this? Beat. ENRIGHT I don't know. (beat) In a way, no. Never in a lifetime would I have expected something like this. On the other hand... SHEPARD interrupts. SHEPARD They're human. ENRIGHT smiles at him. ENRIGHT It took me months to come to that conclusion. You've accomplished it in less than a week. Beat. SHEPARD I just cannot believe they are singing. (beat) I mean, what are...do they know what they are doing? ENRIGHT I can only assume so. Like I mentioned before, they are no more ignorant than you or I. (beat) Well, at least you. SHEPARD smiles. SHEPARD I am just wondering what they are attempting to accomplish. ENRIGHT What do you believe? Beat. SHEPARD I don't know, maybe they are just bored. ENRIGHT Or, maybe they just know it's Christmas. CUT TO: INT. THE TRENCH - NIGHT CPT. EVANS paces slowly along the trench floor. He stops to look briefly up to the sky. Suddenly, the German singing runs silent. Laughter and clapping can be heard from the German trench. CPT. EVANS steps quickly onto the fire step and peers across NO MAN'S LAND. CUT TO: INT. THE TRENCH - NIGHT The men stop their conversations and concentrate on focusing on the upcoming carol. Nothing. Faces drop slightly as the men realize that the essence of humanity that captured the last 8 hours has stopped suddenly. Silence. BACK TO: INT. THE TRENCH - NIGHT CPT. EVANS, looking across the field, portrays a deep feeling of disappointment. On the one hand, he has enjoyed what has transpired, on the other hand, this is been one of the most difficult nights of his command. CUT TO: INT. THE TRENCH - NIGHT BAGGETT sits quietly on the trench floor with has back up against the dirt wall. He too misses the humanity. Without a change in expression, he begins. BAGGETT (to himself) Silent night, holy night. All is calm, all is bright. A few men near him join in. VARIOUS SOLDIERS (CONT'D) 'Round yon virgin Mother and Child. Holy infant so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in heavenly peace. Many more men join in, while CPT. EVANS peers across NO MAN'S LAND silently. VARIOUS SOLDIERS (CONT'D) Silent night, holy night. Shepards quake, at the sight. Glories stream from Heaven afar, Heav'nly hosts sing Alleluia. By now, most of the trench has begun to sing. VARIOUS SOLDIERS (CONT'D) Christ the Savior is born. Christ the Savior is born. CUT TO: INT. THE TRENCH - NIGHT CPT. EVANS has had enough. CPT. EVANS ENOUGH, GENTLEMEN! Shut up and keep on alert! (beat) The sun will be up soon. The men unwillingly remain silent, and those on the fire step automatically increase their readiness. CPT. EVANS shakes his head. CPT. EVANS (to himself) Bastards. Beat. The men still remain silent, slightly disappointed that the moment has been ruined. Beat. Suddenly... VARIOUS GERMAN SOLDIERS (O.S.) Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht, alles shlaft, einsam wacht. Nur das traute hochheilige paar. Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar, schlaf in himmlischer Ruh! Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh! As the German singing continues, the men stand again in disbelief. Those who were sitting on the trench floor have now stood up on the fire step in an effort to hear as much as humanly possible. VARIOUS GERMAN SOLDIERS (O.S.) Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht, Hirten erst kundgemacht. Durch der Engel Halleluja, tont es laut von fern und nah: Christ, der retter ist da! Christ, der retter ist da! CPT. EVANS cannot help but listen in awe. Meanwhile, BAGGETT waits for the Germans to cease, then begins again. BAGGETT Silent night, holy night, Son of God... More men, even more than before, join in. VARIOUS SOLDIERS (CONT'D) ...love's pure light. Radiant beams from Thy holy face, With the dawn of redeeming grace. Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth, Jesus, Lord at Thy birth. The men stop abruptly and stand listening across the field. Beat. VARIOUS GERMAN SOLDIERS (O.S.) Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht, Gottes Sohn, o wie lacht. Lieb' aus deinem gottlichen mund, da uns schlagt die rettende stund'. Christ, in deiner Geburt! Christ, in deiner Geburt! The men are ecstatic. Many of them begin to laugh and clap. CUT TO: EXT. NO MAN'S LAND - DAWN As the sun begins to peek over the horizon, we look down on NO MAN'S LAND as the men in both the British and German trenches are heard clapping. FADE OUT. FADE IN: EXT. NO MAN'S LAND - DAWN A view from CPT. EVANS' looking glass reveals what the tiny lights from the night actually were: tiny Christmas trees. As the looking glass scans NO MAN'S LAND, we see Christmas tree after Christmas tree fitted with small candles, many of which are still burning. CUT TO: I/E. THE TRENCH - DAWN As CPT. EVANS lowers his looking glass, the CAMERA pulls back and reveals the men performing morning Stand-To. The rifles rest on the sandbags as the men peer slightly over. CPT. EVANS continues to scan the horizon with eyes eyes for a beat, then turns and steps down. CUT TO: INT. THE TRENCH - DAWN The low temperature during the night has frosted many areas of the trench. After CPT. EVANS' boots hit the mud, he slowly turns and looks at the men standing at attention. Beat. CPT. EVANS A-Company, stand down. The men slowly step off of the fire step and stand at ease. CPT. EVANS (CONT'D) 2nd platoon, you have the first trench maintenance shift this morning. The sun is not as bright as yesterday, but visibility is still quite good so be cautious. CUT TO: INT. THE TRENCH - DAWN Having been reminded of the events of yesterday by that statement, ENRIGHT's face drops as SHEPARD, who is standing next to him, becomes uncomfortable. BACK TO: INT. THE TRENCH - DAWN CPT. EVANS continues... CPT. EVANS (CONT'D) 1st platoon, that obviously places you on sentry duty. And, as always, this will extend until noon when duties will be switched until nightfall when everyone will remain on sentry duty. Beat. CPT. EVANS hesitates... CPT. EVANS (CONT'D) (uncomfortable) Gentlemen...regarding the events of last night and early this morning. The men all seem interested in what he is about to say. Beat. CPT. EVANS (CONT'D) Well. We should not let what may very well have been a form of psychological attack change our attitudes or our motives in any way. The faces of the men convey disappointment and confusion in what has just been said. CPT. EVANS (CONT'D) We have one day until showers, gentlemen. Let us keep our heads grounded so that we all make it out of here in one piece and celebrate Christmas away from danger, yes? VARIOUS SOLDIERS (restrained) Yes, sir. CPT. EVANS Thank you, gentlemen. CUT TO: INT. THE TRENCH - DAY The always crowded trench is busy, yet there seems to be a more relaxed tone than the previous day. In the middle of the crowd, we see ENRIGHT squeezing his way past man after man. CUT TO: INT. CPT. EVANS' DUGOUT - DAY While CPT. EVANS is busy cleaning his makeshift home, ENRIGHT walks in and stands at ease after he places his rifle against the wall. ENRIGHT Captain, you wished to see me? CPT. EVANS looks up at him briefly then continues cleaning. CPT. EVANS Yeah, Tom. Feel free to take a seat. ENRIGHT I'm alright standing, Robert. CPT. EVANS Well, suit yourself. CPT. EVANS gives up on the upkeep and slowly takes a seat at his desk while ENRIGHT leans against the wall. CPT. EVANS Okay, about yesterday. ENRIGHT thinks he knows where this is going. ENRIGHT Hey, Robert, it was just a difference of opinion. Our thoughts and feelings are just that...our own. CPT. EVANS does not reply, rather he hands him a neatly folded piece of paper off of his desk. ENRIGHT takes the paper and reads it. CPT. EVANS Apparently, this was not an isolated incident. So what may have began as a friendly difference of opinion has now transpired into an official policy. ENRIGHT finishes reading it and shakes his head as he hands it back to CPT. EVANS. CPT. EVANS (CONT'D) What? I thought it was very self explanatory. CPT. EVANS raises the paper and begins to read it aloud. CPT. EVANS The Corps Commander, therefore, directs Divisional Commanders to impress on all subordinate commanders the absolute necessity of encouraging the offensive spirit of the troops, while on the defensive, by every means in their power. (beat) Friendly intercourse with the enemy is absolutely prohibited. (beat) General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien, commander of the British Corps. ENRIGHT So? CPT. EVANS So, in compliance with a direct order along with the policy reinforcement you have just read, the commanding officer, who replaces me after midnight while we head back to civilization, will lead an advancement tomorrow morning the cover of our mortars and aircraft. ENRIGHT is flabbergasted. ENRIGHT What time tomorrow morning? CPT. EVANS Well, that is really none of your concern considering you wont be here. ENRIGHT (quickly) Breakfast Truce? CPT. EVANS That's right. ENRIGHT Whose direct order? Beat. CPT. EVANS (dryly) Mine. Due to my vast amounts of experience in the trenches, I have been ordered by Major Crossland to devise and impliment an assault that, if successful, would perhaps allow us to finally blast through this bloody hold we are in. ENRIGHT looks at him in disdain. CPT. EVANS (CONT'D) Lieutenant Kennedy will lead this advancement in the precise manner that I have detail for him, weather permitting of course. ENRIGHT cannot believe what he is hearing. ENRIGHT So, so what, I mean...you are going to attack when they assume...when they KNOW that during this time we would not? CPT. EVANS Breakfast Truce was never an official standard, Tom. ENRIGHT We have been holding our fire during breakfast for almost as long as we have been here, Robert! CPT. EVANS You said not twenty-four hours ago that they know as well as we do that it is a crock of shit anyhow. Why not be the first to prove it? ENRIGHT tomorrow is fucking Christmas, Robert. CPT. EVANS tomorrow is Friday, Tom. ENRIGHT It's Christmas! CPT. EVANS (calmly) It's war. (beat) We don't want to portray ourselves as an obstacle the Germans should take lightly. ENRIGHT What about a human being? Do you want to portray yourself as one of those? CPT. EVANS How do you know that at this very moment Fritz is not planning the exact same strategy? Beat. CPT. EVANS You will be off the line by tomorrow morning, Tom. It is none of your concern. ENRIGHT I'll still be a human being tomorrow. ENRIGHT turns and walks towards the exit, picking up his rifle as he heads out the door. VOICE (O.S.) (barely audible) Merry Christmas! CPT. EVANS Merry Christmas to you too, Tom. ENRIGHT stops and turns back quickly. He is done talking. ENRIGHT What? CPT. EVANS You said Merry Christmas, so I replied by saying Merry Christmas, Tom. ENRIGHT is frustrated. He wants nothing more than to get CPT. EVANS out of his sight. ENRIGHT What? I didn't say anything to you. VOICE (O.S.) (a little clearer) Merry Christmas! ENRIGHT turns towards the trench wall and CPT. EVANS jumps out of his seat just as SHEPARD comes running into view. SHEPARD (anxious) Sir, Captain, I spotted...sir, we need you this minute. They all dash out of the dugout. CUT TO: I/E. THE TRENCH - DAY The three men quickly jump up on the fire step and peer over the paraphet. SHEPARD and ENRIGHT make ready with their weapons as CPT. EVANS scans the horizon. VOICE (O.S.) Hello? Merry Christmas! Schießen sie nicht! Schießen sie nicht! ENRIGHT and SHEPARD slowly raise their heads above their weapons. CUT TO: EXT. NO MAN'S LAND - DAY Three German soldiers are walking normally towards the British trench as if they had no idea there was a war going on. Two of the Germans, in standard grey uniforms, walk empty handed waving their arms in the air, while the third is holding a small Christmas tree high in the air as he shouts... GERMAN SOLDIER Merry Christmas! Schießen sie nicht. BACK TO: I/E. THE TRENCH - DAY The men stand yet again in disbelief. They look at each other in amazement while attempting to comprehend what is happening. This is going against every facet that has ever been told to them since the day the war began. A small smile naturally appears on CPT. EVANS' face, however he quickly subdues it. CPT. EVANS STAND TO MEN! MAKE READY! PREPARE TO FIRE! Confused, the men all resume their attacking positions. BACK TO: EXT. NO MAN'S LAND - DAY The German soldiers noticed the hostile action, and naturally take a quick step back. They then remove their helmets. GERMAN SOLDIER Nein! Nein! No! Schießen sie nicht. Nein! No shoot! Schießen sie nicht. BACK TO: I/E. THE TRENCH - DAY CPT. EVANS God damnit, what the hell are they saying? SHEPARD Don't shoot. Don't shoot. Both ENRIGHT and CPT. EVANS look at SHEPARD seeing as how they had no idea he understood German. CPT. EVANS You speak it? SHEPARD Yes sir, fairly well, sir. CPT. EVANS Alright, I want you to tell them to stop moving right now. SHEPARD (shouting) Hören auf zu bewegen! CPT. EVANS Tell them to stop moving or we'll shoot. SHEPARD (shouting) Hören auf zu bewegen oder wir werden schießen! BACK TO: EXT. NO MAN'S LAND - DAY The German soldiers stop abruptly. They are located no further than fifteen yards from the edge of the British trench. GERMAN SOLDIER Schicken Sie Offizier aus bitte. Wir wollen Frieden für Weihnachten! BACK TO: I/E. THE TRENCH - DAY CPT. EVANS What the hell was that? SHEPARD Sir, he said he, they want an officer to talk to them. CPT. EVANS Do they think I'm stupid? What the bloody hell for? Beat. GERMAN SOLDIER (O.S.) Schicken Sie Offizier aus bitte. Wir wollen Frieden für Weihnachten! Beat. SHEPARD For Christmas, sir. Upon hearing this, ENRIGHT turns his head and stares strongly at CPT. EVANS, who notices this and in return stares back at him. The look in his eyes conveys that CPT. EVANS is debating this quite extensively. GERMAN SOLDIER (O.S.) Wir haben keine Waffen! Without breaking his gaze at ENRIGHT... CPT. EVANS Shepard? SHEPARD He said they have no weapons, sir. GERMAN SOLDIER (O.S.) Mein Leben ist in Ihren Händen. Beat. SHEPARD My life is in your hands. GERMAN SOLDIER (O.S.) Bitte! Beat. SHEPARD Please. ENRIGHT gives CPT. EVANS a very slight nod. CPT. EVANS removes his Webley Mk IV revolver from his belt and holds it tightly in his right close to his face for a beat. CPT. EVANS (flustered) Ok, um...Shepard, I want...take your weapon, and I want you to come with me. SHEPARD (nervous) Sir? CPT. EVANS I need your assistance, there is no point in me going out there if I have no idea what they are saying. SHEPARD Yes, sir. CPT. EVANS (to the men in his vicinity) You men, excercise common sense. Remember, this is just like intercepting a patrol. Don't fire unless you have to, or else the German trench will return fire, yes? Beat. CPT. EVANS (places his hand on SHEPARD's shoulder) If you see this man or I fall, consider that as the order to open fire. Beat. CPT. EVANS (CONT'D) Understood? VARIOUS SOLDIERS Yes, sir! CPT. EVANS (tapping SHEPARD on the shoulder) Go, son. SHEPARD quickly climbed over the paraphet. CPT. EVANS looks at ENRIGHT again for a quick beat before he himself pushes himself up out of the trench. CUT TO: EXT. NO MAN'S LAND - DAY From the edge of the British trench, we see CPT. EVANS walking slowly with his revolver pointed at the ground just below the feet of the German soldiers. Next to him walks SHEPARD, who presses the butt of his rifle up against his shoulder as if he is ready to fire at a seconds notice. The German soldiers all stand close to one another with their hands raised slightly in the air. They hide their heads slightly behind their raised arms, obviously scared to death that they are about to be executed. As CPT. EVANS and SHEPARD finally approach the group, we can see CPT. EVANS talking, yet the words are inaudible. He occasionally motions back towards the trench, sometimes pointing down towards the German trench. Once CPT. EVANS finishes talking, the GERMAN SOLDIER holding the Christmas tree replies. SHEPARD translates as the words exit the GERMAN SOLDIER's mouth. BACK TO: I/E. THE TRENCH - DAY The men, confused and nervous, watch what is happening with their fingers on their respective triggers. BACK TO: EXT. NO MAN'S LAND - DAY The GERMAN SOLDIER finishes speaking, with SHEPARD trailing him by a few words. As SHEPARD finishes his translation, the GERMAN SOLDIER slowly extends his hand which holds the miniature Christmas tree. CPT. EVANS hesistates briefly, then slowly switches his revolver to his left hand and accept the offering with his right. Although we still cannot hear them, we can see a smile appear on SHEPARD's face. He slowly lowers his rifle. As the same time, the GERMAN SOLDIER reaches into his breast pocket, removes a pack of cigarettes, and extends it towards the two men in offering. Both SHEPARD and CPT. EVANS take a cigarette from the pack as the GERMAN SOLDIER removes a book of matches from the same breast pocket. He then lights CPT. EVANS' cigarette before moving on to SHEPARD's. Both SHEPARD and CPT. EVANS nod in recognition to the GERMAN SOLDIER before turning and walking back towards the trench. At this time, the GERMAN SOLDIER whistles loudly and waves his helmet in the air while looking down towards the German trench. Just as CPT. EVANS and SHEPARD walk back into the trench, we see dozens upon dozens of German soldiers slowly climbing out of their trench and walking towards the British trench. CUT TO: INT. THE TRENCH - DAY SHEPARD jumps down into the trench first before extending his hand to help CPT. EVANS in. Both of them are smoking German cigarettes and CPT. EVANS still carries a small Christmas tree. Seemingly at a loss for words, CPT. EVANS makes a few random movements before handing the tree to ENRIGHT. CPT. EVANS Here. CPT. EVANS then climbs onto the fire step. CPT. EVANS Men...stand down. The men all jump onto the trench floor and huddle as close to CPT. EVANS as possible. CPT. EVANS (still flabbergasted) Okay, umm. (beat) Gentlemen...well, there seems to be no way to dance around the issue. (beat) I, um...there has been an agreement, between myself and the ranking officer of the German company. Seeing as how it is Christmas Eve, we... (beat) ...well, we have agreed to hold an unofficial armistice in the spirit of the holiday. The men are rightfully shocked. CPT. EVANS They...well, he tells me that they will have no soldiers standing guard in their trench for the remainder of today. Now, obviously I don't know if this is true, so we shall have half of first platoon remain stationary here, in the trench, and they will be rotated out within an hour or two with half of second platoon. FERGUSON Sir? CPT. EVANS Yes, Corporal. FERGUSON Sir, you say half of first will stay here, so where will everyone else be? Beat. CPT. EVANS Well, the Germans have offered to help us bury our fallen, and I imagine that we will offer the same. (beat) And after that, I, well, honestly I really don't know. What I DO know is that we will have men standing guard on our end no matter what happens. (beat) Perhaps we... CPT. EVANS looks as if he has something more substantial to say, yet he eventually ends with... CPT. EVANS Keep alert. Thank you gentlemen. CPT. EVANS quickly climbs out of the trench. The men remain stationary, looking as if they are unsure whether or not this is all a hoax. SHEPARD slings his rifle over his shoulder and climbs out of the trench. ENRIGHT looks around at the men. ENRIGHT Alright. He then follows SHEPARD. Gradually, the men climb onto the fire step. The CAMERA slowly drifts up as the men are climbing out of the trench, only to reveal what must be one hundred German soldiers standing no further than fifteen yards away from the British trench. Many seem rightfully nervous. Some have their hands in their pockets, while others are conversing with their peers. The British men, led by ENRIGHT, SHEPARD, and CPT. EVANS slowly talk towards the croud of Germans. They pause a few feet away and stand still for a beat. SHEPARD then breaks the mold by extending his arm towards JONAS, an older and seemingly wiser German soldier. JONAS removes the cigarette from his mouth and takes SHEPARD's hand. SHEPARD Aaron. JONAS (with a heavy accent) Aaron? SHEPARD Aaron. JONAS Aaron. (he puts his hand on his chest) Jonas. Nett, Sie zu treffen. SHEPARD smiles. SHEPARD Nice to meet you as well. Taking their example, the soldiers from both sides (many of them very apprehensive) begin shaking their hands and introducing themselves to one another as we... FADE OUT. FADE IN: EXT. NO MAN'S LAND - AFTERNOON As the weak sun barely slips through the clouds, dozens of pairs of men are picking up and relocating corpses to pre-dug holes all across the field. Each pair is comprised of one German and one Brit. They do not discriminate against who they bury next. Although the mood is depressing given the task at hand, many of the pairs are engrossed in conversation. SHEPARD and CPT. EVANS have been teamed with NIKLAS, a man about the same age and stature as CPT. EVANS. They walk together seemingly towards the nearest corpse. They walk slowly, obviously not in a hurry to get there. We have cut in during the middle of their conversation. Although NIKLAS speaks english, it is often broken and disguised by a relatively thick accent, so he often speaks with his hands in order to get his point across. CPT. EVANS does his best to hide how uncomfortable he is with the entire situation. SHEPARD, on the other hand, seems totally comfortable. NIKLAS She is almost near six months now. She actually was born the same date as my mother. SHEPARD That so? NIKLAS Oh yes, I can only hope that she does not turn out like her, yes? CPT. EVANS flashes a courteous smile. NIKLAS (CONT'D) That would be most unfortunate. (beat) Well, I say that I hope for that and also that I can see her again. NIKLAS smiles, apparently trying to break the tension. SHEPARD I can tell that you miss her. NIKLAS Yes, although I haven't not seen her since August of course. SHEPARD Ah, yes. NIKLAS I did spend on taking much time for her and my wife of course, but apparently God did not agree. NIKLAS chuckles. CPT. EVANS It seems that way. NIKLAS She is beautiful, just like her mother. SHEPARD I'm certain that she is. NIKLAS Oh, yes. (beat - to SHEPARD) You look too young to be here, much less have children. SHEPARD Me? Oh Christ, I am entirely too young to have children. NIKLAS laughs. NIKLAS (to CPT. EVANS) Do you have children, sir? CPT. EVANS looks at him with a certain hint of disdain. CPT. EVANS Yes. Beat. Sensing the tension, SHEPARD breaks in. SHEPARD Is she your only? NIKLAS As of now, yes. Wait, you mean my daughter or her mother? SHEPARD smiles. SHEPARD Your daughter. NIKLAS Ah yes, my only. I will go into the topic of the other women in my life later. NIKLAS laughs while CPT. EVANS shakes his head slightly. Beat. SHEPARD begins scratching his head. NIKLAS What is wrong there? SHEPARD Bloody lice. NIKLAS Lice? SHEPARD Yeah, um, läuse...you know, the little critters in the hair? NIKLAS Oh, yes of course. It is refreshing to know that you suffer from them too. CPT. EVANS (to himself) I'm sure it is. NIKLAS (CONT'D) Yes, you need to pour drink, um...alchohol. SHEPARD Alchohol? NIKLAS Yes, pour the alchohol in your hair then rinse it out with hot water. SHEPARD Alchohol with hot water? NIKLAS Yes friend, definately. SHEPARD That works? NIKLAS Definately, all the time we use. SHEPARD I will try it then. Thank you. NIKLAS No my friend, it is no problem. After walking a few more yards, they come upon a German soldier lying dead with his face down. He has obviously been there a while. The blood stains on the back of his coat are dry and flakey. NIKLAS Another one of our men it seems. CPT. EVANS doesn't reply, rather he glances at NIKLAS. Not much to say in such a situation. The men slowly bend their knees and take hold of the corpse, SHEPARD by his legs and NIKLAS by his arms. They raise him only an inch or two until NIKLAS quickly sets his side down. NIKLAS Oh, wait. SHEPARD Something the matter? NIKLAS carefully rolls the corpse over onto his back. He immediately recognizes his face and begins to break down while doing his best to restrain himself. SHEPARD, realizing what has happened, kneels next to NIKLAS and places his hand on his head. CPT. EVANS, on the other hand, simply stands and watches. NIKLAS (sobbing) I'm sorry, this is silly I know. SHEPARD No, no, no, not at all. He looks up quickly at CPT. EVANS. He lets out a quick laugh as he sobs, amused at how silly his crying may seem to the enemy. NIKLAS I was never naive enough to think he may just show back up, but... He breaks down again. CPT. EVANS, still standing quietly, looks to his sides as if to see if anybody is watching. He looks frustrated, as if he does not have time for such things. As NIKLAS continues to weep, however, CPT. EVANS' mood slowly changes. His eyes become saddened. After a long beat, he kneels down on the other side of NIKLAS. He does not physically console him, rather he simply stares down at the broken and mangled corpse. CUT TO: EXT. NO MAN'S LAND - AFTERNOON The field, now completely free of corpses, is restless with activity. In some areas, Germans and Brits sit and chat. In others, there are small fires. The two sides are sharing cigarettes, cigars, chocolate, food, and even showing off the different styles of weapons they use. One of these groups consists of ENRIGHT and LEON, an older, seemingly wiser German soldier. Each deep wrinkle in his face reflects the immense amount of experiences he has endured. He speaks surprisingly good English with a fairly thick accent. The two sit on the wet grass as LEON holds and examines ENRIGHT's Lee-Enfield rifle. LEON's weapon is nowhere to be found. ENRIGHT Other than that, it serves fairly well. LEON Yes, it seems so, on our end at least. They both chuckle. ENRIGHT Yeah, two different points of view it seems. I would tell you to go ahead and shoot it if I wasn't afraid it would draw the wrong kind of attention over here. LEON Most definately. This reminds me much of the rifle my Lukas and I use to hunt rabbits. ENRIGHT I'm not surprised, from what I have seen this action seems popular. Your boy Lukas, is he any good? LEON Oh yes, very good indeed. He has his father's eye. ENRIGHT His modesty, too? LEON is amused. LEON Watch it now my friend. There is nothing wrong in recognizing and taking pride in your strengths. ENRIGHT No, not at all. LEON sets the rifle down next to ENRIGHT, leans back with his hands behind him, and relaxes. He takes a deep breath. LEON This is surprisingly pleasant. ENRIGHT Yeah, it certainly is. LEON takes a pack of smokes out of his pocket and extends it towards ENRIGHT. ENRIGHT No, no thank you. LEON (jokingly) It is rude to not accept. What happened to the gentleman warriors of Britain. ENRIGHT Hey, you're the enemy, remember? I have no problem being rude to you. They both are amused. LEON Speaking of which, where is your, um...your voice. ENRIGHT My, what? My voice? LEON Yes, yes you know. (he motions towards his mouth) Your, um, speaking. ENRIGHT shrugs. LEON (in a dreadfully cliche British accent) Hello, my name is Johnny England. ENRIGHT Oh, you mean my accent? LEON Yes! ENRIGHT My British accent. LEON Yes, exactly, I apologize. ENRIGHT Oh, no, no, it doesn't offend me. I, um, well I was born in Shrewsbury, and... LEON interrupts. LEON Shrewsbury? ENRIGHT Shrewsbury, yes. LEON My sister and her new husband live just outside Shrewsbury! ENRIGHT (shocked) Are you serious? LEON No, yes I am total serious! Her name is Vanessa and she works in cafe outside of Shrewsbury. ENRIGHT Really? LEON Yes, Longsight Cafe. She works there. ENRIGHT Christ, that...that... (his mood becomes more serious) ...that's great. LEON Now I am the one being rude, I interrupted you. ENRIGHT (takes him a minute to remember) What? Oh, yeah, wait... LEON You said you were born... ENRIGHT Oh yes, I was born in Shrewsbury, and my parents and I went to live in America. LEON America? Wait, I'm sorry I'm being rude again. ENRIGHT No, think nothing of it. LEON Please, go on. ENRIGHT Well, we went to live in America when I was a child, and my father died, so my mother and I moved back. But, yeah, that was...I spent almost thirteen years of my life in America, so to answer your original question, this is my accent. LEON Ah, I see. How is America? ENRIGHT thinks for a beat. He is unable to come up with any answer other than... ENRIGHT Different. LEON I'm sorry to hear about your father. ENRIGHT Oh, thank you. LEON How did he die? Beat. ENRIGHT shrugs his shoulders. ENRIGHT He just did. LEON I'm sorry. ENRIGHT And, yeah, that is when we moved back to England. A long beat as the two men get more comfortable. Eventually, LEON leans forward. LEON I feel like I should tell you something. ENRIGHT leans slightly forward as well. LEON (CONT'D) This was not a spur of the moment idea. Not for us, at least. ENRIGHT Really? LEON Oh, Lord no. Many of us had talked of this for almost two weeks. ENRIGHT (shocked) What was said? LEON Well we were obviously very apprehensive given the nature of the British soldiers, what we had heard, and also... ENRIGHT cuts in. ENRIGHT Wait, wait, wait...what you heard? LEON (uncomfortable) Yes, well what we had heard about how the British troops were all heartless, backstabbing menaces. Gentlemen Barbarians is what our papers would call you. ENRIGHT leans back in disbelief. LEON I must say that I am glad that the will of good men has prevailed here today. ENRIGHT (with his mind still on what was said) Yeah, yeah me too. LEON Who knows, perhaps this will last indefinately, yes? I can go see my boy and sleep next to my wife instead of next to Maxamillian. (he chuckles) And you can go take care of your mother and we can all be happy, yes? ENRIGHT's mind is still preoccupied. A beat passes before ENRIGHT looks up at the sun. ENRIGHT Forgive me, Leon, but I need to go. He slowly gets on his feet. LEON Go, where? ENRIGHT (hesitant) It's, well, I have sentry duty. LEON's face sinks into sadness. LEON I see. LEON now rises to him. ENRIGHT Believe me, I see no point, but you can understand that I have my orders. LEON extends his hand and ENRIGHT grabs it. LEON Remember, today should be a lesson that not all orders are worth being followed. ENRIGHT pauses. LEON I see you later, yes? ENRIGHT Yes, of course, I'll be sure to find you in a few hours. LEON Please do. LEON turns and walks off screen. ENRIGHT stands there thinking for a beat before turning and walking off screen. FADE OUT. FADE IN: INT. CPT. EVANS' DUGOUT - AFTERNOON CPT. EVANS sits silently at his desk staring straight ahead. Obviously a lot on his mind, he stares into the wall as if it was showing him something meaningful. ENRIGHT walks in and stands just inside the entrance. ENRIGHT (cautiously) Robert? CPT. EVANS' stare does not break from the wall until a beat passes. Even then, he only glances at ENRIGHT and says... CPT. EVANS You're on sentry duty, Tom. ...before turning back to the wall. ENRIGHT looks to the ground disappointed before he starts out of the dugout. CPT. EVANS Have you met Niklas? ENRIGHT stops and turns back. ENRIGHT Niklas? CPT. EVANS finally breaks his stare from the wall and turns towards his old friend. CPT. EVANS Niklas, younger chap. Tall, larger build. ENRIGHT (trying to remember) You know, Robert, I don't recall, I'm bad with names and there's obviously been a lot of them today. I'm sure that Shepard has mentioned his name, though. CPT. EVANS nods. ENRIGHT (CONT'D) Why? CPT. EVANS shakes his head and shrugs his shoulders. Beat. ENRIGHT Robert, this may seem too sentimental coming from me, but many of us appreciated what you have done today. CPT. EVANS What do you mean? ENRIGHT simply looks at him. Beat. ENRIGHT Many of us, especially myself, were glad to see you on the field. CPT. EVANS No Man's Land? ENRIGHT Well, yes. The term didn't seem appropriate. Beat. CPT. EVANS Don't think me special, Tom. It seems this has happened all throughout Europe. ENRIGHT What has? CPT. EVANS This. The armistace. ENRIGHT is pleasantly surprised. CPT. EVANS And, from what I have been told, most instances started like they have today, with the German's taking the first step. ENRIGHT walks further into the dugout and leans up against a wall near CPT. EVANS. ENRIGHT You know, I was told of a German newspaper today that sounds much like the ones we receive. CPT. EVANS How so? ENRIGHT We were called barbarians. CPT. EVANS (surprised) Us? ENRIGHT nods. ENRIGHT Gentleman barbarians, but barbarians nonetheless. CPT. EVANS Well, why? That makes no sense! ENRIGHT It doesn't, does it? (beat) At least they threw the "gentlemen" part in there, so it's not all bad. CPT. EVANS sees his point. Beat. CPT. EVANS Anyway, like I was saying, I have heard of both British and French armistaces with the Germans. North in Nieuwpoort there is a forty kilometer stretch of peace and prosperity happening now, as we speak. ENRIGHT What has been happening? CPT. EVANS Not unlike here. Burials, cooking, and I have even heard of a football match that was played this morning near Zeldegem. ENRIGHT A football match? CPT. EVANS Yes, believe it or not. Apparently the Germans won 3 to 2. ENRIGHT shakes his head in amusement. ENRIGHT I don't believe it. CPT. EVANS Me neither. In fact, I hear that the last goal should not have counted. ENRIGHT What? CPT. EVANS The German was offside. ENRIGHT Oh, no, that's not what I meant. CPT. EVANS No, I know what you meant. Coming from you of all people, that surprises me. ENRIGHT That's what I'm here for. A long beat. ENRIGHT begins walking towards the exit. CPT. EVANS Tom? ENRIGHT turns. CPT. EVANS I have been told of a small dinner planned after sunset in the German trench. I would like it if you would join me. ENRIGHT Well, I would love to but I'm... CPT. EVANS cuts in. CPT. EVANS Don't worry about your shift. I don't see how a few less soldiers on the line will make a difference. ENRIGHT cracks a small smile. ENRIGHT Yes, sir. CPT. EVANS I'll notify you. ENRIGHT turns and heads out of the dugout. CPT. EVANS, meanwhile, turns back to his desk. He breifly looks over some of the paper cluttered on his desk before he leans his head against his right hand as his face slowly drops. He begins to cry. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. NO MAN'S LAND - AFTERNOON The sun has broken through the clouds casting light and warmth onto NO MAN'S LAND as we see hundreds of German and British soldiers co-mingling. There is laughing, running, and games being played. Men are wagering cigarettes, chocolate, and food on card games. On each and every face there is a general sense of merriment and satisfaction. This could never be mistaken for a battlefield. CUT TO: EXT. NO MAN'S LAND - DUSK The dull, orange sun begins to set behind the clouds. As we look down on NO MAN'S LAND, there are numerous fires already burning, both on the field and within the trenches. Walking across the field are ENRIGHT, CPT. EVANS, and SHEPARD. CPT. EVANS has his revolver strapped to his belt, but other than that they do not carry weapons. Off screen we can hear German and British fraternization. The three men walk past rows of barbed wire (that have been pushed aside), around piles of sandbags (which have been stacked out of the way), and up to the German trench. Along the edge of the trench are numerous machine gun positions. The three men take priority in studying them in awe. At first they think, "Why don't we have machine guns?" That thought is followed by the inevitable, "Hey, they shot at us with these." SHEPARD Jesus. LEON (O.S.) Aye, Jimmys! The men are alerted and look in the trench below. LEON sits near a fire with various German and British soldiers. SHEPARD (to ENRIGHT) Jimmys? ENRIGHT We call the Germans Fritz. They call us Jimmy. SHEPARD gets it. The three men have a seat on the edge of... I/E. THE GERMAN TRENCH - SUNSET CPT. EVANS, ENRIGHT, and SHEPARD sit on the edge of the trench with their legs dangling over the side. Naturally, they take a moment to scan the previously unseen trench that has been the staging point for every attempt on their lives. Although it is very crowded, the trench seems bigger and neater than the British trench they are used to. LEON Tom, Tom, Tom. LEON gets to his feet and shakes hands with ENRIGHT LEON (CONT'D) I'm glad you are here. Very glad. ENRIGHT Oh, thank you. (pointing to SHEPARD) Leon, meet Aaron. SHEPARD and LEON shake hands. SHEPARD It's an honor, sir. LEON I'm glad to meet you, young man. ENRIGHT (touching CPT. EVANS on the shoulder) This is Evans, Robert Evans. LEON extends his hand. CPT. EVANS Captain Evans. LEON is taken aback and shows the respect that he thinks CPT. EVANS desires. CPT. EVANS Sir, it is my pleasure. CPT. EVANS merely smiles as they shake hands. A lightbulb in LEON's head turns on. LEON AH! He turns and digs into his knapsack. After a beat, he takes out four large, robust cigars. LEON Perfekt! LEON quickly hands each of the three men a cigar. They all accept. CPT. EVANS takes a big whiff of it, looks at LEON, then smiles. CPT. EVANS Thank you. LEON No, no sir, my pleasure. SHEPARD leans close to ENRIGHT. SHEPARD I thought you didn't smoke. ENRIGHT looks at him as if he is crazy. ENRIGHT Maybe it's me, but I believe this to be a worthy exception. The two men tap their cigars together prior to shoving them in their mouths. CUT TO: EXT. NO MAN'S LAND - NIGHT There is a full moon tonight. They glow has pierced the clouds and shines down onto the field. Hundreds of small fires burn as far as the eye can see, all of them surrounded by men in mixed uniforms. CUT TO: INT. THE GERMAN TRENCH - NIGHT CPT. EVANS and SHEPARD have made new friends. They sit as a part of a large circle of mainly German soldiers on the trench floor. Surprisingly, CPT. EVANS appears to be having a blast. The stub of the cigar still in his mouth, we see him laughing heartily at a joke that was just told. ENRIGHT, on the other hand, sits in a quite little corner with LEON. On the floor next to LEON lies a large German overcoat. ENRIGHT's POV A picture of a middle-aged woman, attractive in a bland sort of way. ENRIGHT She's beautiful. LEON She is. Very beautiful. ENRIGHT Amazing. He hands the photo back to LEON, who looks at is briefly before pressing it inbetween both his hands. ENRIGHT (CONT'D) She misses you, I bet. LEON I hope so, I would not know for sure. ENRIGHT Why is that? Beat. LEON Ah, I tell her not to write. ENRIGHT (surprised) You don't communicate? LEON Oh, my friend I write her numerous letters a day. ENRIGHT Yeah? LEON Especially these days, when...well, it has been, how shall I say, unexciting, right? ENRIGHT chuckles. ENRIGHT Yeah, I guess you could phrase it like that. (beat) Why don't you want her to write. An emotional beat. LEON Many of my friends here feel determination and inspiration when they receive letters from loved ones. (beat) Me, it makes me sad. ENRIGHT I think that's natural. LEON Oh, I think that every man is saddened in a way when he receives a letter from home, but I think there are differences on how you handle this sadness. (beat) I get distracted. Distraction is something I do not need while I'm here. I think it will increase my chances of not having the chance to see her again. LEON is getting choked up. LEON (CONT'D) And I cannot have that. ENRIGHT knows nothing he says can make LEON feel better, so he quietly listens. LEON wipes his eyes. LEON (in a lighter tone) I am thinking it is harder for her, mainly because when I am around she talks forever. And with me gone she has nobody to bother. ENRIGHT flashes a polite smile. LEON I can only wonder what she would have to say about what is happening here, now. ENRIGHT What do you think she would say? Beat. LEON I think she would sayyyy.... (pause) She told me once that the reason we go to war is to obtain peace. I believe she would think that what has happened here today is proof of that. ENRIGHT I can't disagree with that. LEON Realistically though, I know that in my mind I should be very wary of what is happening now, because who knows what tomorrow will bring, right? Shit. ENRIGHT is reminded of the impending attack. His heart drops, bringing his face along with it. LEON (CONT'D) Or the day after, no? A beat. ENRIGHT finally looks up and simply nods. LEON What do you think? ENRIGHT I'm sorry? LEON I said, what do you think? About this? A long beat. ENRIGHT I think every man, every nation wants peace. (beat) I think that the days ahead will prove whether or not we want it enough. ENRIGHT turns and looks at CPT. EVANS, who does not notice at first. Feeling the glare, he eventually turns and looks back, a smile still on his face from the conversation he was having. They two men stare at each other for a short beat. The smile on his face slowly disappears before he turns back to his circle. LEON noticed the looks between the two. LEON (referring to CPT. EVANS) He is a good man? Beat. ENRIGHT He's a good soldier. (beat) I've known him for a long time. LEON Have you always been stationed together? ENRIGHT Oh, no....no well, yes for the most part, but we also knew each other long before...everything. LEON Really? ENRIGHT Yeah, he was....is...a family friend. LEON Oh? ENRIGHT Yeah, he's a...he's a good man. ENRIGHT looks back at him again. CPT. EVANS is immersed in an obviously amusing conversation. LEON He seems to be very special to you. LEON opens the palms of his hands to again reveal the photo of his wife. He looks at it quietly before kissing it. LEON I don't know what I would do if I lost this. He leans over towards his overcoat. LEON (CONT'D) Which is why I always make sure to keep it close to my heart. ENRIGHT No better place, right? LEON No. LEON reaches his coat and begins to pull it closer. At first it seems stuck on whatever lies below it, so he gives it another slight tug. The coat slides towards him, revealing a brown Mauser rifle with a fitted optical sight attached to it. The rifle has been laid on top of an earth-colored coat with various types of foliage attached to it. As LEON is placing the photo in the breast pocket of the coat, ENRIGHT looks up to him. Son of a bitch! He's the bastard who shot TILLEY! ENRIGHT glances back at the gun and again at LEON, still working on setting the photo safely inside the coat. In a heartbeat, ENRIGHT is up and out of the trench. LEON, startled, looks up in confusion. He does not bother to stand. He looks over to CPT. EVANS, who is already looking at the point where ENRIGHT climbed out of the trench. CPT. EVANS glances at LEON, and without a word he slowly stands and exits the trench as well. LEON is disappointed in a confused type of way. He can't figure out what has happened. CUT TO: EXT. NO MAN'S LAND - NIGHT Many of the fires have burned out, and the men surrounding them have retired into the trenches. A few sporadic fires provide ample illumination of the field. Chatting and laughter from the German trench fill the air. CPT. EVANS is walking towards the direction of the British trench in an attempt to locate ENRIGHT, still confused about what has transpired. He realizes, however, that there is a sense of urgency behind what is happening. CPT. EVANS' POV A small fire with half a dozen men still burns closely to him, however as he looks around there is nobody else in sight for twenty yards or so. As he looks again towards the British trench, he sees a figure walking behind the smoke from the nearby fire. Quickly, the figure steps through the smoke. It is ENRIGHT, with his rifle at his side. BACK TO: EXT. NO MAN'S LAND - NIGHT ENRIGHT pulls the bolt action on the rifle, loading a fresh round into the chamber with a loud "click" that carries over the other sounds within earshot. His face is blank, yet there is fire behind his eyes. CPT. EVANS begins to walk towards him. CPT. EVANS Tom? ENRIGHT does not reply and continues to walk straight ahead. They are about thirty feet apart now. CPT. EVANS Tom, what is this? Twenty feet. CPT. EVANS Hey, Tom... Ten feet. The men surrounding the fire nearby notice the weapon and keep an eye on ENRIGHT as he walks. CPT. EVANS Tom, what the hell is this? ENRIGHT, who's concentration is still untainted, is about to pass by. He does not look at CPT. EVANS, rather over his should towards the German trench. As ENRIGHT brushes by his shoulder, CPT. EVANS places his hand on his chest in an effort to slow him down. CPT. EVANS Tom! ENRIGHT finally acknowledges CPT. EVANS's presence, but it is only to push him aside using the stock of his rifle. CPT. EVANS Jesus! ENRIGHT doesn't get a foot further before CPT. EVANS grabs the back of his collar. In response, ENRIGHT turns slightly and throws his shoulder into CPT. EVANS' torso. That's it. CPT. EVANS wraps both arms around ENRIGHT, lifts him barely off his feet, and throws him to the ground. CPT. EVANS Tom, what the fuck! ENRIGHT's face strains as he starts to get up again. CPT. EVANS replies by pushing him back down. He is now down on his knees holding ENRIGHT to the ground. ENRIGHT Get the fuck off of me! CPT. EVANS Tom, what the hell is wrong with you!? ENRIGHT Get off me! CPT. EVANS Settle down! ENRIGHT Fuck you. CPT. EVANS Hey! ENRIGHT is still trying to squirm out of CPT. EVANS' way but to no avail. CPT. EVANS Tom! Enough! ENRIGHT eases up a bit and looks as if he is calming down. In response, CPT. EVANS slowly loosens his grip on ENRIGHT's coat. CPT. EVANS Ok... Suddenly, ENRIGHT moves and reaches for his rifle that has fallen near him. Seeing this, CPT. EVANS pins his arm down with his knee. ENRIGHT Ah! CPT. EVANS is able to remove the rifle from ENRIGHT's grip. He quickly removes the magazine, throws it off into the darkness, and pulls the bolt action back which releases the round that has been chambered. ENRIGHT is still doing his best to get up, so CPT. EVANS presses the rifle across his chest and pushes him down. CPT. EVANS Tom, what the fuck has gotten in to you!? After another few seconds of squirming, ENRIGHT realizes his effort is futile. His eyes fill with tears and he begins to break down. ENRIGHT He killed him. CPT. EVANS What? ENRIGHT (a little louder) He killed him! CPT. EVANS What in God's name are you talking about? Who killed who? ENRIGHT has trouble searching for the words. When he does speak them, they are muffled by the lump in his throat. ENRIGHT Nathan... CPT. EVANS What!? ENRIGHT Nathan. CPT. EVANS What the hell are you talking about? Who's Nathan? CPT. EVANS has to think for a second. CPT. EVANS Corporal Tilley? CPT. EVANS slowly lifts the rifle off of ENRIGHT's chest. CPT. EVANS Tilley? Suddenly, ENRIGHT jumps up to his knees and attempts again to run towards the German trench. CPT. EVANS grabs him from behind and forcefully holds him back. CPT. EVANS Hey! ENRIGHT He killed him! He fucking killed him! CPT. EVANS is able to toss ENRIGHT a few feet back. He lands on his back but quickly gets up on his knees yet again. This time, however, he stays put. CPT. EVANS is still overly cautious and on alert for his next attempted break. CPT. EVANS What are you talking about!? Who? ENRIGHT (pointing towards the trench) Him! CPT. EVANS Him? Who is "him?" ENRIGHT (it takes him a beat to get the name out) Him...Leon! CPT. EVANS Leon? (he as to put a face to the name) Leon, the man you have been spending all evening with? ENRIGHT, with tears running down his face, nods. CPT. EVANS What, did he tell you? ENRIGHT No, he didn't fucking tell me! CPT. EVANS Then how do you know!? ENRIGHT I saw...I saw him... CPT. EVANS You saw him? ENRIGHT I saw...he has a fucking...gun! CPT. EVANS He what? ENRIGHT takes a breath. ENRIGHT I saw his fucking rifle with a fucking scope, and the fucking camouflage CPT. EVANS You saw his weapon and camouflage!? ENRIGHT nods. CPT. EVANS How do you know!? ENRIGHT I just fucking saw... CPT. EVANS (interrupting) How do YOU KNOW it was him!? ENRIGHT I just saw his rifle, his fucking sniper rifle, and his camouflage, he's a fucking sniper! CPT. EVANS But how do you know it was him!? ENRIGHT I fucking told you already, I just... CPT. EVANS (interrupting again) Tom, listen to me! Tom! CPT. EVANS grabs a handful of ENRIGHT's hair and pulls his head back. CPT. EVANS Tom! ENRIGHT finally quiets down. CPT. EVANS Tom...how do you know it was him? ENRIGHT does not say a word, yet continues to sob. Beat. CPT. EVANS And even if it was him, even IF it was, what bloody difference would it make!? ENRIGHT looks at him bewildered at how he could say such a thing. CPT. EVANS You are going to tell me with absolute certainty that you have not caused the death of somebody that was possibly Leon's friend? (pointing towards a nearby German) Or his? (yet another) Or his? ENRIGHT doesn't reply. CPT. EVANS Perhaps I should allow them to let loose at you because you yourself came over here holding a weapon. (beat) I helped bury seven German soldiers this morning, and using your completely fucked logic, the Germans should be able to blame you for all of them (beat) Are you really that fucking blind? ENRIGHT looks at him with contempt. ENRIGHT Who are you to judge me on this? Less than twelve hours ago you sentenced each one of these men to death. Men who you have spent the last hours laughing, drinking, and smoking with. You're a fucking hypocrite. You have NO right to judge what I've done today! CPT. EVANS has no response he can offer. ENRIGHT forcefully wipes the tears off of his face. CPT. EVANS You're right. CPT. EVANS looks over the ground briefly before eventually finding the round he expelled from the rifle chamber. He then picks up ENRIGHT's rifle, pulls back the bolt, and loads the round into the slide. Without a word, he tosses the rifle into ENRIGHT's lap before leaning back and sitting comfortably on the grass. CPT. EVANS Feel free. But before you do...if you do...I hope to the Lord that you realize that everything you have fought for, any personal or emotional battles you have waged against me, Major Crossland, His Majesty, anybody, anyone who is responsible for us, these men, our friends and family living here, and more importantly, dying here...will become obsolete. ENRIGHT Don't even try to fucking convince me that you are on my side, or even that you see my side. CPT. EVANS The ones who call the shots aren't here, Tom. They are not among the dead we have buried or the lame we have recovered. With my own hands I have buried men who I know I have killed. Perhaps not with the pull of the trigger but with the order to do so. ENRIGHT's edginess begins to fade away slowly. CPT. EVANS (CONT'D) (pointing towards the German trench) And with their own hands they have buried men who they know they have killed...like Tilley. Sterling. Adams. Jamison. ENRIGHT lets out a sob mixed with laughter as it is obvious he remembers a fond memory of Jamison. CPT. EVANS (CONT'D) And from talking, or like you said, drinking and laughing with these men, I could tell that they also realize that on each end of our rifles, we are exactly the same. Beat. ENRIGHT (calmer now) And yet you still plan on having them slaughtered tomorrow. CPT. EVANS (quickly) I spoke with Crossland and asked him to call off the assault. ENRIGHT What? CPT. EVANS He denied it. He said it was too perfect a plan, and that they still plan to use the bombardment strategy that I devised for them, and that if the outcome is favorable, I would receive a commendation. An emotional beat. CPT. EVANS But any paper or ceritification they hand to me will be used merely as shit paper. And I know what you're thinking, Tom. You're thinking that after tomorrow, I will have to live the rest of my life in agony of what is bound to transpire. (beat) I would just like you to know that following what I, everybody, what we have experienced today as human beings...I realize that I have passed that threshold of agony many gunshots ago. Beat. CPT. EVANS You told me that there were no heros here, only victims. I have met many heros today. FADE OUT. FADE IN: INT. THE GERMAN TRENCH - NIGHT ENRIGHT, CPT. EVANS, and SHEPARD sit with LEON, NIKLAS, and various other GERMAN SOLDIERS. The men are talking, laughing, drinking, smoking. We cannot hear them, but their actions speak louder than words FADE TO: INT. THE GERMAN TRENCH - NIGHT ENRIGHT stands next to LEON with his arms wrapped around his shoulder. A GERMAN SOLDIER takes a photograph of the two, who are both smiling. FADE TO: INT. THE GERMAN TRENCH - NIGHT ENRIGHT, SHEPARD, and CPT. EVANS, now standing, are shaking hands with various GERMAN SOLDIERS while hugging others. It is obvious that they are on their way out. FADE TO: INT. THE GERMAN TRENCH - NIGHT "Steinerne Furt 62 D-861 Augsburg Germany" LEON finishes writing his address on a small piece of paper before handing it to ENRIGHT, who gives him his address at the same time. The two men shake hands briefly before it evolves into a hug. They are both understandably emotional, however ENRIGHT is the more shaken of the two. Behind his eyes lies the knowledge that chances are LEON will never get the chance to receive one of his letters. For LEON this is a casual goodbye. For ENRIGHT, it is a permanent one. FADE TO: EXT. FIELD - NIGHT The full moon continues to shine on the field separating the Front Line from the Reserve Trench. From the air, we see dozens of dirty, cold, and weary men walking south towards the Reserve Trench, while the fresh meat walk proudly towards the Front Line. The two sets of men do not stop to fraternize, rather they silently pass in between each other. CUT TO: EXT. FIELD - NIGHT ENRIGHT, walking slowly next to SHEPARD with tears fresh on his cheeks, eventually looks down at his rifle, pulls the bolt back, and removes the single round from the chamber. He looks at it for a beat before slinging the rifle over his shoulder. He then removes a small piece of paper from his breast pocket and opens it. "Steinerne Furt 62 D-861 Augsburg Germany" After reading the address, he places the unused round on the small piece of paper and rolls it up in it. He then places the paper/round back in his breast pocket. FADE OUT. FADE IN: EXT. YPRES, BELGIUM - MORNING The broken town we have seen earlier now basks in the sunlight that has no clouds to obstruct it. CUT TO: INT. A DAMAGED ROOM - MORNING A dozen or so military cots are set up in this small, dank room. Bullet holes are visible on every segment of the room, and large pieces of the wall are missing in some places. The men sleep soundly, with the dark green blankets pulled up tightly near their heads. Boots and helmets are placed near each and every cot. As THE CAMERA moves closer to a single man in the corner of the room, we see that it is ENRIGHT. Fast asleep, he looks as if he has finally had that shower. Suddenly, a low booming noise is heard in the distance. ENRIGHT slowly opens his eyes. Another one is heard. Then another. The speed and frequency of these deep, booming noises continue as ENRIGHT quickly jumps out of bead and heads to a large hole in the room looking out to the north. The CAMERA follows behind him as he speed walks towards the hole. As he stops and gazes outside, the CAMERA continues over his shoulder and stops just outside the room, which now seems as if it is on the third or fourth story of a building. We see MORTAR after MORTAR after MORTAR being fired from the British Reserve Trench, and the resulting explosions down at the GERMAN TRENCH. The MORTARS continue to fire and explode over and over and over again. Continuously, it seems is if they will never cease. Suddenly, a loud WHISTLE is heard in the distance, and no less than a hundred men quickly exit the BRITISH TRENCH and run, hauling ass, down across NO MAN'S LAND towards the GERMAN TRENCH. A collective "AAAAAHHHHHH" can be heard from the men now running across the field towards the enemy. The men continue to run and the MORTARS continue to fire as we slowly... FADE TO BLACK. The following text fades in: In the winter of 1914, unofficial armistices occurred in hundreds of locations throughout Europe. The text fades out, followed by: Although labeled as truces for only the Christmas holiday, many of these peace accords lasted until the beginning of February of 1915. The text fades out, followed by: The ones who call the shots won't be among the dead and lame. On each end of the rifle, we're the same. - Anonymous British Soldier, 1914
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