You decide to just shuffle off to the back corner of the room, hoping that the sheer number of knights around will keep Burgundy’s attention off of you.
Of course, there’s also the problem of how to keep the chicken from squawking. Fortunately for you, it turns out that Riley’s already in your corner.
“They quiet down if they think it’s dark, so they don’t alert predators,” Riley says, pulling a spare shirt out of their pack. “And it doesn’t take a lot to fool them. Just cover their eyes and that’s it.”
Riley puts the shirt over the hen’s head, then carefully stands in front of you to make the chicken even less visible. At that moment, Sergeant Burgundy rushes in, and you can’t help but notice a sling on her left arm.
“Now listen up,” she snaps, and you feel a little sick as her eyes turn in your direction. “I know there’s a rain warning, but that doesn’t mean you can all be goofing off. If we confirm that the rain’s started, you’re all marching to the auditorium straight away, is that clear?”
A chorus of “yes Sarge” echoes through the room.
“And if we find out this was a false alarm, everyone’s going right back to work. Well, everyone except Stewart, because I will be having a very firm talk with him about not sending the entire base in a panic over nothing. But either way, this is not time off, and even if you’re going to spend it in the lounge, don’t think you can just relax. Do I make myself clear?”
“Good. Now that we’ve gotten that sorted out, Marshall, would you care to explain to me why you are holding a wild swamphen with a shirt over its head?”
The sheer power of the accusation cuts right through the crowd, and everyone instinctively steps aside to avoid getting between you and the sergeant. As she draws closer, you feel more and more nervous.
For a moment you consider trying to bluff, suggesting it’s some sort of toy. Maybe claiming it’s what Tom Eighth has been working on this whole time. But a simple glance into Burgundy’s eyes tells you that approach would never work.
So how are you going to handle this?