Takes place during WWII, during which our beloved characters enlist to serve their nation in one of the greatest conflicts the world has ever known. Begins in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, when America and Nazi Germany officially declared war on one another.7/10/2017 #1 Report
(Please feel free to correct any mistakes I might make. I'm trying to do research where I need to so it's all historically accurate, but I might miss something in my excitement! :))
Robyn: *Before the war, Robyn hadn't imagined that she would have ever pursued a career in medicine. She wasn't sure if she would have pursued a career at all. It was expected that she might go to college, but no one expected her to actually graduate. She was supposed to find a husband, get married, and spend the rest of her life looking after her children and being a homemaker. Which was a true shame, because although the ideas of love and children made her heart swell, she was disorganized, an awful cook, and she had an independent streak that sometimes even stirred the ire of her loving and patient father. And then, the course of the entire world had turned on a dime when a man named Hitler decided he wanted to wreak havoc on it. It seemed like almost everyone in the United States had been holding their breath since Germany had invaded Poland, for two years, and then Pearl Harbor had gone up in smoke. The whole country had exhaled at once, and they when they drew breath again, it was with the rest of the allies. They had officially joined the war. The propaganda had been everywhere, and not just for the men. There had been posters for women, too Rosie the Riveter encouraging women to go to work while the men went to war, and even more for the nurse corps, who were even more desperately needed with the massive casualties on the front. And Robyn had seen her fair share of them. Going to war, even as a nurse, had changed her. She might not have been killing anyone, but she certainly had seen death all the same. In fact, at the moment she was standing on the edge of a medical tent, scrubbing her hands clean of the blood of one man just as they were bringing another in. He was protesting, claiming that he wasn't hurt, but Robyn had seen that before. She knew better than to believe it. She quickly went about drying her hands and made her way over to the cot the man on the stretcher had been transferred to* Please, just let me examine you. *She said in a calm, cool voice, a bedside manner that had been gained over what seemed like hundreds of patients. Her voice had trembled when she was still green, but now it was perfectly even* The adrenaline can make you feel like you aren't in pain, when it is in fact the opposite. It's a survival mechanism, it allows you to keep moving when your life is in danger, but you aren't in the line of fire anymore. Just because your body hasn't gotten the message yet, doesn't mean that you won't die from your wounds now that you aren't in immediate danger. *She had seen the same reaction far too many times before, and any other time, she would have been right, but despite the blood that covered the man she was examining, despite the tears and obvious bullet holes in his uniform, he was completely unscathed. It was enough to make her doubt herself. She might have even thought that it was a miracle, if she were the religious type* There's . . . That's not possible. *Her brow furrowing over an obvious bullet hole in his sleeve, then over his stomach, and another on his thigh* You . . . You weren't even grazed? *Looking into his face for the first time since she had tested the reactivity of his pupils and looked him over for an obvious head trauma, but now it was as if she was really seeing him for the first time. She was really looking at him, not just a body she was expected to mend. He was handsome, beyond handsome really, even covered in dirt and gore. Curly blonde locks, smooth ivory skin, a strong jaw, and deep, dark eyes. He took her breath away, but she flickered her gaze down to his name badge and the other identifying regalia that sat above his heart* Are you really Major Whitlock? Or is this uniform borrowed? *It was a strange question to ask, but it was the only reasonable explanation she could think of. And then, something even she couldn't explain happened. She reached for his wrist to check his pulse—a standard part of the exam to try to center herself—but he didn't have one*7/10/2017 #2 Report
(Looks great to me!! And same goes here, any historical errors are because I didn't do enough research first, and I will happily correct them if needed. :) )
Jasper [flashback]: *tossing a couple more t-shirts into his rucksack before zipping it closed* I honestly don't give a flyin' flip what you have to say Captain. Those **** Tojos went way too far this time! They're a-messin' with Americans on American soil. That's just askin' for trouble. We're involved in this war now, like it or not, and I for one am not goin' stand by an' watch a bunch of good ole boys get slaughtered because I'm afraid of bein' called out as bein' different from everyone else. The army's takin' anybody who can carry a gun now-a-days. They won't look too closely at anything as long as the documents appear to be more or less in order and you have to admit, we ain't ever seen better forgeries. I can sweet talk my way through enlistment and into a unit. I'll automatically be givin' an officer rank based on the fake documents. Once in the field, I just have to keep my head down, do what the CO says and lead whatever men he puts in my charge. Those Huns and Tojos won't know what hit 'em. *hefting his rucksack over his shoulder* I'm goin'. You can come if you want or stay here. I don't care, but my place is fightin' for America.
Jasper [present day]: *shaking his head to dislodge the dirt and dried blood that had taken up residence in it during the aftermath of his unit's latest skirmish. The memory of leaving Peter and Charlotte behind to go fight for America in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack was still too fresh in his mind despite the fact that it had been several months since one of the biggest disagreements he had ever had with his best friends. Now, he almost wished that he had listened to the Captain. Going off to fight in a war as a solider was an honorable thing. But sometimes even the best of intentions can spell disaster when things stray off path. In this case, his unit had been ambushed. There had been nothing to do except seek shelter where they could, but they were several hundred yards from the nearest foxhole and there was nothing except open field between them and safety. He ordered his men to make a run a for it while he laid down cover fire. Finally when everyone else was safely evacuated, he made his own mad dash for cover, forcing himself to run at a barely human pace. When he got to the foxhole, he was grieved to learn that barely 40% of his unit made it there alive, and then, most of them were severely injured. Several were missing limbs, several were bleeding so profusely, he knew they wouldn't last the night. He did what he could for all of them. Patching them up when he could, and when he couldn't, injecting them with enough morphine to knock them out. Soon, he had used up all the field med kit supplies, and had to start improvising bandages out of any scraps of cloth he could find, and giving the men whisky instead of morphine. They were trapped in the foxhole for almost 48 hours before they could evacuate back to camp. In the end, only a handful of his men made it back to base. The Colonel had taken one look at him and ordered him to the med tent so the Red Cross girls could check him out. He had argued that he was fine, but an order was an order and even the great Major Whitlock had to follow orders from a Colonel. The nurse looking him over for injuries was cute. Unlike most of his men, he didn't have a sweetheart back home to send a behavior report to. But also unlike his men, he didn't go crazy every time he was around a member of the fairer sex. But this girl, she was something else, a real looker. Besides being cute, she wasn't afraid to put him in his place and force him to cooperate with the examine* See, I told you I was fine. The fight was days ago. I would have known if I had any real injuries. We just now made it back to camp and the Colonel insisted, but I'm really ok. I just need to get back out there. Get some more men in my unit, and get back to the fight. They need me out there. They won't survive otherwise. Just sign off on the sheet and I'll leave you alone, let you get back to someone else who can really use your help. Please, Nurse...Summers. *before he could prevent her, she had reached for his wrist to check his pulse, a split-second of panic crossing over his face when he realized what she was doing, but it was too late. He jerked his hand away from her a little too quickly and forcefully before blasting her with a wave of trust and compliance. He had to get out of here now, and if dazzling her with his ability was what it took, then that's what he was going to do* They always have trouble finding it. Poor circulation. You have to hold it just right. But you can clearly see that I'm alive, breathing, and walking around, no injuries. Sign the papers, and go help someone who needs you. Please. Those Huns aren't going to kill themselves.
(Huns=Germans; Tojos=Japanese; Behavior Report=letter to a lover)7/10/2017 #3 Report
(Wow! I love the use of era-relevant slang!! :) Very impressive!)
Robyn: But, wouldn't it be so much easier if they did? *She didn't laugh, but her words were edged with a dark kind of humor, the kind that came to her after a day like today, when she'd helped preform no less than three amputations and the only patient who looked like he was going to walk out of her tent of his own volition was insisting on being difficult. Not for the first time, she almost wished that she had taken up factory work instead, maybe even being a woman pilot would have been easier than this. She knew that what she was doing was invaluable for so many, but at the same time, it had left a mark on her she wasn't sure she'd ever be able to erase. All without ever being on the front lines. As nurses—as women—they were kept far away, too far away. Too far away to do any real good. Too far away to actually save lives, it felt like. So often they eased suffering, but just as often they caused more of it. Men came to them with infected wounds days after they received them, and so many of them lost limbs that they wouldn't have had to if they had received prompt, proper treatment* We could do so much more, if only they would let us. *She was frustrated, she was tired, she was so many other things she didn't want to put words to. She knew the signs of psychological trauma, knew to look for them in the men she treated, and she didn't want to think about how they might have applied to her in that moment. She had started to reach for the stethoscope tucked into the pocket of her dress, but then her hand went limp. She was so worn, and he did look healthy, and god knew how many other men could use her help and attention while she was here following protocols—the same protocols that kept them so far away from the action, where their help was needed the most. So, to her shame, she nodded obligingly, scrawling her signature at the bottom of his chart, writing in her flowing cursive script that he was in perfect health and fit for combat. She felt a knot trying itself at the bottom of her stomach before the ink was even dry, but she shook her head against it. The feeling that she had somehow failed the man before her was one she was going to have to live with, and it wasn't the first time she had felt such a thing since she'd left home* Here you are, Major Whitlock. Your walking papers. *Handing him the small slip that was to be given to his commanding officer declaring, like his file would, that he was indeed fit for service, so called because they were what allowed him to walk out of the tent. Otherwise, he'd be escorted out the same way he came in* I'm sure the . . . what do you boys call them? Body snatchers? In any case, they'll be glad for it. *Her head snapping automatically to the tent doors when the flap opened. She was instant alert, ready, but it was simply another nurse to come relieve her from her shift* Has it been twelve hours already? Surely not. *But, contrary to the softly spoken words, a glimpse of the outside world showed her that the sun had already set, and she had been up and working for hours before it had risen. She was actually overdue for relief, not that she would have ever said so. There was something about being surrounded by constant suffering that made complaining next to impossible, even if she had been the kind of person to do so to begin with. With a put upon sigh, she retrieved her jacket, which carried the same large, red cross as her uniform, letting anyone who got a passing glance at her know that she was medical aid. It was supposed to be a signal to those around her in case of emergency, but she hadn't encountered one of those outside the medical tent, not yet. She should have been asleep on her feet as she shuffled out of the tent, but instead she was wired, filled with the same adrenaline that she had earlier warned Jasper against, and she knew she wasn't going to be getting sleep anytime soon*
(Body snatchers=stretcher bearers)7/10/2017 . Edited 7/10/2017 #4 Report
Jasper: *accepting the paper from Robyn and nodding his gratitude to her* Thank you kindly, ma'am. Sorry I was so rough around the edges, that was very un-soldier like. I must be hungry. Good thing it's chow time. As much as I would like to say I'll see you again, I hope that I don't. Next time, I may not be so lucky as to walk away. Maybe when this whole mess is over our paths will cross again, during happier times. Take care of yourself. *he gathered himself together and took off through the tent's exit at an almost too fast pace, reporting directly to the Colonel and offering him a sharp salute* All cleared for duty, Sir. *pausing a moment while his CO review the slip he presented to him* Sir, with your permission, I would like to begin rebuilding my unit and set off for the battle again. The observations made by my team and myself before the ambush could prove invaluable to future endeavors. May I, Sir? *indicating the map on the central table in the Colonel's command tent, the Colonel nodded his permission, and he proceeded to the map, pointing out a few key areas of interest.* If I station a unit of men here and here, we can block key trade routes, and perhaps even food and water lines leading to the enemy encampment. Eventually, they'll grow tired of finding alternate routes and will come forward to confront us. If we line up a squadron of sharp shooters along here, we can pick them off easily enough and with minimal casualties. It'll cripple the camp, that's for sure. Just say the word, Colonel, and I'll have enough men ready by sunrise. *eventually, the Colonel did give a green light to Operation Trade Block, but he insisted that Jasper get some sleep and wait until morning to begin getting the men ready. He saluted the Colonel once more as he accepted his orders and returned to the chilly night air. He didn't really feel the cold, but just the same he pulled his jacket a bit tighter around his shoulders as he slipped away from the camp. He hadn't lied to the nurse. He really was more hungry than he should have been. The 48 hours in a foxhole with severely bleeding humans all around him had not done his thirst level any favors, his throat was engulfed with flames, and only the focus and determination he brought to plotting revenge against the Huns who had killed his men had kept him from feasting on the dying man two beds away from where he had sat in the medical tent with Nurse Summers. In fact, if he were honest, it was only the fact that she had quickly relented and signed his papers that kept him from ripping out her neck to satisfy his need. He wandered for some time before picking up a familiar scent that immediately flooded his mouth with venom. Following it, he soon came across a pair of French soldiers who had deserted their posts hoping to find a place to keep warm. The French were allies with the Americans, and as a rule, he only killed and fed upon Axis soldiers, but there were none to be found this night. Besides a deserter was just as good as an enemy, and they deserved no less than the death he would bring them for their crime. Flashing in front of them at top speed, he growled* You should have stayed in camp. *he quickly snapped the necks of both men before they could call out an alarm and drained them both dry before disguising his kills as war injuries and dumping them closer to a known battle ground. When he returned to camp, most everyone was asleep. Just a few men were left wandering around in addition to the ones on guard duty. He was about to slip into the tent he shared with five other officers, when he thought he saw someone lurking in the shadows and chose to slowly approach to investigate instead of going inside his tent*7/10/2017 #5 Report
Robyn: *Her parents would have been so disappointed in her if they saw her now. She was sure her mother would have balked at her. And her father, well her father wouldn't have been angry, or shocked, he would have just avoided her gaze, the same way he had when she had turned down Mitch's well-meaning proposal only days before he had shipped out. The whole incident had put a chasm, not only between her and her best friend, but her and her parents as well. She was sure her covert drinking in the dark of night would have done no different if they had all been there to see it, but just the same, it didn't stop her from doing it. It did stop her from doing it openly. She wasn't about to advertise the vice to the other nurses she shared quarters with, she wasn't very open about anyone in camp about the only way she had been able to get a sound sleep since the first time she'd been force to saw off a limb after an infection had taken root in the bone. It was shameful* If I was a man, not a soul would care. They take enough spirits with them into the trenches. But, because I'm a woman, I'm somehow less for it. *But despite the threat of being called a loose woman, and having her character undoubtedly assailed, she still drank in the dark, a brown paper bag covering the bottle of whisky she drank, as if that was going to fool anyone into thinking that it was something else. She had drank just enough to feel a pleasant tingle in her limbs as she walked along the edges of camp, just enough that she might be able to fall into a somewhat peaceful sleep when she heart the tell-tale rustle of leaves in the dark. Her heart leapt into overdrive at the noise* It's probably just another squirrel. *She tried to convince herself. To her credit, the animals were everywhere, scavenging whatever they could get, whatever crumbs of food were left unattended around camp. But then, she could just see the outline of a man with what dim light was still left over from camp. It should have been a relief, but her drink-addled mind couldn't tell her exactly why it was a good thing that the shape in the dark was a man. She was afraid, blindly so, until he finally got close enough that could see his face. She felt the tension fall from her body as she recognized his features, her shoulders dropping as she released the breath she'd been holding* Major. Do you make a habit of sneaking up on unsuspecting women in the night, or is this a new hobby of yours? *The quip came out slightly slower than she'd intended, her tongue not quite as sharp as her mind still seemed mostly to be, despite the amount she'd had to drink. Or so she thought, until an innocent attempt to cap the bottle and hide it behind her back ended in the unwieldy thing clunking to the ground loudly, obviously. She blinked once, twice, between him and the object before she cleared her throat in embarrassment, her cheeks flushing. Even as her mind flooded with a thousand possible reasons that she could have been carrying that bottle—and even one explanation where she pretended it had been there all along, and she had merely bumped it with her foot just then—she knew that her expression would bely any lie she might tell. So, she went for broke and decided that she should just be honest with him. The worst he could do was judge her. They weren't so far that her screams wouldn't be heard if he proved himself truly ungentlemanly. Or, were they? That thought sent a bolt of fear through her, then suddenly, without any explanation, her fear melted away, like the snow around a fire pit* I was just . . . having a nightcap. It helps me sleeps. It helps me not keep seeing death an pain over and over every time I close my eyes. I'm sure enough men on the front do the same. *leaning down to pick up the bottle, and extending it towards him* Since you have a clean bill of health, I feel no qualms about offering you a little relief. *Well, that part wasn't entirely true, she still felt guilty, even the drinking hadn't helped with that, but she had been honest besides* Must be a reason you're still awake.7/10/2017 #6 Report
Jasper: *an unbidden half-smile coming to his face when he caught Robyn in the bushes, very obviously after she had been drinking. Even if the slightly slower speech and lack of coordination hadn't been there, he could have smelled it all over her in one breath. Thankfully, it was too dark out for her to see his bright red eyes. By morning, they would be back to a dull black color. They were rarely anything other than black even with the number of times he had fed since getting to camp. That's what the smell of fresh blood shed would do to any vampire. He also didn't have to worry as much about how much skin he revealed in the dark of night. During the day, he always had to be so careful to keep his helmet pulled low and his sleeves drawn down around his hands. At least he could always use the excuse that he was cold during these long winter months. Reaching out to take the bottle from her and easily faking a few sips of the dark, smelly liquid. It was a talent he prided himself in, being able to fake his way through eating and drinking with his fellow soldiers* Thank you. I did need that. *he carefully handed the bottle back to her, making sure that no more of it was spilled on the ground* I just watched more than half of my men die out there. Good men. Some of them just boys really. I know you see the same thing in that tent of yours every day, so I have no real room to complain. I guess the biggest difference is that maybe, just maybe, some of the men you watch die in arms are men whose names you never know. I knew each and every one of the men I saw die. I know about their families. Parents, wives, children. So, yeah, I can understand this. *indicating the bottle she held loosely in her hands* But you know why America's so great, why we do all this in the first place. We do it because we aren't quitters. We see things through to the end. We keep going, no matter how many times we get knocked down. We persevere. We march on. We fight another day. I bet for every man you lose, there's another one you save. And for every one my men that dies, I kill two Huns. So, drink up. Do what you gotta to stay in the game. Just remember at the end of the day, America's not giving up. We'll be the ones kicking butt soon enough, and then things will be over as quick as they started.7/10/2017 #7 Report
Robyn: *Sighing almost wistfully as she carefully twisted the cap back on the lid of the bottle, saving what little she had left for the next night she was sleep deprived* You might think that I'm more detached, being here, instead of out there, but it isn't true. I've spent hours looking over the charts of the ones I've lost, trying to figure out what went wrong. I can still see their faces, even now, twisting up in pain. I can hear their voices, screaming for relief even through the morphine when a limb has to be removed . . . When you're the thing that stands between a person and their maker, you get to know them. I've even gotten a few marriage proposals if you'll believe it. *Chuckling as she remembered the man who called her "doll" in particular, who had promised her a dozen children after she'd managed to save his life after a case of blood poisoning* I don't give up, I won't ever give up . . . It hurts, but . . . I'm far too stubborn for that. Too stubborn for my own good, my father always liked to say. Even when I was a girl, I knew how to dig my heels in. *Slowly leaning back against the tree behind her as she held the closed bottle between her hands, really wanting another drink, but knowing that she had had more than enough for one night, and that there would be more nights like this one to come* Honestly, I wish I could go back with you. To the front. You don't know how many men I see carried into my tent that are already half dead because it takes the medics three days to get them there. That's three days for a man's blood to turn to poison against him. That's three days for infection to set in. That's three days for blood loss, dehydration, fever, and any other manner of things to set in before I can even begin to assess the patient. If I could give proper medical treatment in the field, we could do so much more; it wouldn't even be a contest anymore. We wouldn't be sitting here slowly waiting for the tide to turn as we chip away at their numbers. We'd be able to save legs and arms after bullets so that men could go back into the field to fight when they're healed—like they want to—instead of being forced to invalidate back home. We'd be able to save so many more men . . . But, I can't. Because I'm a woman. *Huffing indignantly before she remembered herself, shaking her head at herself. It was one thing to think the way she did, knowing she was right, it was another thing to complain about it when she knew nothing would be done* We should both get some rest. We aren't going to be much use to the nation if we're both dead on our feet come sunrise.7/10/2017 #8 Report
(Just got home from the annual regional meeting at work. Easily one of the most uncomfortable and boring highlights of working for a company so spread out. But home now and ready for a couple hours of some good posting! :) )
Jasper: *he could tell from the cocktail of emotions running through the young nurse's system that every word she spoke was completely true. She took her job very seriously, and was genuinely concerned for each and every man that came through her tent.* You're a rarity Nurse Summers. You haven't lost your heart in all this like so many others have. I admire that. I almost wish that we could have women like you in the field with us men. You're just as tough as any of them. And you are right, there's only so much the field medics can do, and it probably has cost more lives than what would be considered an acceptable loss. But I've also heard the other side of the argument. If we have too many medical personnel in the field, then we risk them being hurt or killed themselves. If you were to die on the front lines, you wouldn't be any help to anyone. At least here, you can save a few, many more than you'd be able to save were you dead. Now if you could shoot a gun, it would be an entirely different story. I would gladly welcome women soldiers in my ranks. The fact that you're also a trained nurse would just be a bonus. That is the kind of change I could get behind. *thinking back to his days in the vampire wars when female newborns were sometimes even more dangerous than male newborns, not to mention the fact that some of the most powerful armies, his own included were commanded by a woman, letting out a tiny sigh at the thought of having to go back to the tent and pretend to sleep alongside the other officers* Yeah, you're right. Sleep is necessary if either of us is going to do anyone any good. I insist that you allow me to walk you back to your tent, ma'am. It's dark and I would hate to have you stumble over something and hurt yourself.7/11/2017 #9 Report
(I remember the one time we had a meeting with another branch back when I was working in day care, and even that was terribly awkward, so I definitely know where you're coming from. But, thankfully it's over. Very glad to see you on tonight! :))
Robyn: . . . and I've got a few drinks in me. Better that I don't fall and break my neck. Point made, sir. *Now that the whisky had settled pleasantly in her stomach, the words were less formal than the way she usually spoke, they were even playful as she stepped away from the tree she had been using for support. She was even bold enough to grab the arm he offered. Especially considering the way she was usually treated by the soldiers she saw around camp, from the furtive glances to the often-heard calls of 'sweetheart' and 'sugar', she had always been careful to remain professional, removed, but in that movement she couldn't find a reason to remain so. The Major clearly thought more of women like her than most of the soldiers she'd met since she'd left America, and he hadn't shown himself to be anything less than a perfect gentleman so far, being a poor patient aside* I don't expect that it will change anything, but I'll have you know that I'm quite a good shot, in fact. My best friend taught me. Mitchell. He's in the Navy, now. A sharpshooter. *Laughing a little to herself, though there was obvious tension there. They'd written, but their letters to one another had been terse at best since she'd rejected his proposal, and even less friendly since she'd informed him of her own service in the war* I always used to outshoot him when we practiced out in the woods behind our house. It drove him crazy. Though, I think it had less to do with my being a woman and more to do with my inexperience. Beginner's luck, he'd always call it. *Shrugging her shoulders a little as they made there way into the camp proper* Not that I expect that little fact to actually change anything. Even if you would take me into the field, I doubt you'd get permission from your superiors. No doubt none of them wants to have that kind of risk put on their heads. As if saving lives is less important than maintaining the old order of things. *Sighing and patting his arm in an almost maternal fashion that came natural to her after months and months of working on nothing but her bedside manner when they approached her tent* I hope I'll see you again before you're to leave. If not . . . *Leaning forward to press her lips to his cheek in a kiss that was rather chase, though not at all motherly* Good luck.7/11/2017 #10 Report
Jasper: *not fighting the genuine smile that creeped over his lips at her kiss, returning it in kind by placing his lips against her cheek* Thank you, kindly, ma'am. For the drink and the honest conversation. Maybe when this mess is all over I can look you up and you can show me those sharpshooting skills of yours. I would love to see it. Keep up the good work here. It's a comfort to know that should any of my men be injured you'll be here to help put them back together again. *giving her hand a tight squeeze before releasing her to go inside her tent. He must have stood outside her tent for a full hour, listening the sounds of soft rustling inside as she tucked herself into her cot, the sound of her heart slowing, her breathing evening out as sleep claimed her. He very slowly made his way to his own tent, slipped off his boots and laid down on his back on the cot, crossing his arms over his chest and closing his eyes to make himself appear dead asleep. Even without his eyesight, his other senses were still on high alert, listening to every sound and scenting every aroma for at least a mile around the encampment. His thoughts however were not on his surroundings as strictly as they normally were. Instead he was thinking about Nurse Summers, her words, her emotions, everything about the way she presented and carried herself. She really was a rare gem, a special girl, a special person. He better than to get too attached to any human. It would just lead to trouble for him in the end. But it would be an eternity before he would forget Nurse Summers. If he had met her under different circumstances, he would be asking her father permission to ask her out on a proper date, or at least talking to her mother about the possibility of joining the family for dinner some night in an effort to get to know all of them better. He should have asked her where she was from in the US at the bare minimum, but such a question would seem highly irregular and definitely inappropriate. If he was going to attempt any kind of contact with Miss Summers after the war, then it would have to seem as if it was chance bringing them together again. Shaking his head to himself and setting his mind on the upcoming mission the Colonel had authorized him to set up. If this worked, they would be safe here for a long time, and could make strides further into the country, perhaps even win over a few strategically key arenas.*7/11/2017 #11 Report
(Not sure if this was exactly in the direction you were headed, it's a little different than how we usually do things, but I thought I'd try it out . . .)
Robyn: *She was so tired she knew that by rights she should have fallen asleep mere moments after stowing her alcohol, slipping into something more comfortable and quietly sneaking into a cot that was jammed between two others. The cramped tents they were given weren't the most comfortable, but now that the damp chill of winter was upon them, it was a bit of a comfort to be so close. Having her cot be so close to the others guaranteed that her bedding wouldn't be so bitter cold when she got there, if only thanks to the body heat involved in the equation. Between that, the alcohol, and the late hour, she should have been out like a light. Instead, she laid staring at the fabric ceiling for several long moments, remembering the feeling of his cheek under her lips, the feeling of his lips pressed against her skin, the way his fingers tightened around her own. In all the violence and the agony that she'd seen here, it was a startling moment of peace, one that she vowed to hold on to. She sorely wished that they would have gotten the chance to know each other better. She could have teased him about his accent, and pried out of him which of the southwest states his accent came from. She imagined he had grown up on a ranch somewhere, peaceful fields out in every direction, as far as the eye could see. That was what she thought of as she fell asleep. As she suspected, by the time she was roused for her shift a little after dawn the next morning, Major Whitlock and his new unit were already on route to where they were supposed to be stationed, where exactly she hadn't thought to ask. It made her heart drop in her chest a little when she'd heard the news that the Major was so eager to get back to battle that he hadn't even been in camp 24 hours, but it was that same fighting spirit that endeared her to him, and from the sounds of it, it seemed to have inspired quite a few of his fellow soldiers as well. The men were literally lining up around the Colonel's table, asking for their own assignments to go back into the field. She didn't have much time to dwell, of course, soon enough she was wrapped up in her own job. That is, until the Army Nurse Corps came recruiting, asking for nurses to volunteer to join them at the front. They were still to be kept out of battle, but they would be so much closer, so much more accessible, even allowed to ride in with the medevac. She surprised herself; she didn't even hesitate. She knew that her parents would be out of their minds with worry when she wrote to inform them, and she couldn't even imagine what Mitchell's response was going to be, but she could think of one person she was excited to tell, and one week after she had shipped out to her new locale, she did exactly that, although she went through a few trials before she actually gathered the courage to send her letter* Major, I hope your spirits are still as high as the last time I saw you when this reaches you. I'm not entirely sure if you'll remember me, considering the short time you were here in camp. Remember the the poor nurse you harassed and shared a drink with a few months ago? That'd be me. Apparently Eisenhower has finally wised up and realized how necessary medical attention is to our men in uniform, because yours truly is officially an officer of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. Though I doubt I'll be using my sharpshooting skills any time soon, I'll be much closer to the action than before, much closer to the men who so desperately need my help. I doubt any of my other correspondents will be happy to hear the news, but I knew there was one person I could right who would understand why I volunteered. Here's hoping that you don't end up in my tent again anytime soon. Yours, Nurse Summers. P.S. Or should I be signing Officer? Oh well. Take care out there. *But even after she sent that final draft, she wasn't entirely sure how long it would take to reach it's intended recipient, or how long it would take to get a reply, if she ever got one. That was one thing about war, it make everything uncertain, especially the post. But, in the meantime, she kept herself busy, acing the basic training the Army required before she was unleashed onto the field, where she was kept even busier by wounds that were far more treatable than she had seen in her time with the Red Cross*7/11/2017 #12 Report
(I like it, it's pretty much exactly where I was thinking of taking things! :) )
Jasper: *Operation Trade Block had been a huge success, the nearest Hun encampments were completely shut down in just a few short weeks, not to mention the high rate of enemy kills that had been achieved when a column of Huns had been dispatched from the camp to investigate. The good news kept getting better as news of an Allied victory at Midway reached his unit. His renown as a strategist was growing and he had been assigned to lead a unit in Northern Africa. The weather was starting to turn warmer, which was a big plus in his book. Warmer weather meant they could conduct exercises outdoors more frequently. But it also meant that his insistence on wearing extra long sleeves would be questioned. He always managed to come up with a just barely believably excuse, and soon the men learned to never question anything the great Major Whitlock did or said, or they would be up for a severe public dressing down. He had grown very attached to the Devil's Piano during the short time he had been in North Africa, and would actually laugh at anyone who said they should just stick to using Fish and Eggs to attack the enemy. The weapon he prefered was just as deadly, but more accurate, although he had to admit its range was limited. He was just writing up a few notes on the battle plan codenamed Operation Torch to present to General Patton himself when a private entered his tent, smartly saluted and offered him a piece of mail complete with the gentle insinuation that the Major was actually receiving a Sugar Report.* You'll roll up your flaps if you know what's good for you, Private. Dismissed! *he watched in satisfaction as the private again saluted before practically running out of the tent. He sat the mail aside for the moment assuming that it was from Peter and Charlotte, and went back to his work. After all, they were the only ones to ever write him, and he certainly hadn't made any other friends from back home that would be sending him mail. Some of the men got letters from women's organizations from ladies they had never even met before, but they would swear up and down were in love with them. But he wasn't that kind of man. He never did much care for mail from someone who didn't even know him or care about him. Those women just cared about the uniform, not the man wearing it. He stayed at his desk until the early AM hours working out the kinks in Operation Torch before finally allowing himself a break. He stuffed the mail he had received in his pocket and slipped away for a quick hunt before finding a cool enough spot to sit and read the letter. He was both shocked and elated when he found out that it was actually from a certain nurse who had haunted his mind for a long while now. He slowly read the words through seven or eight times before finally composing a response.* Dear Nurse Summers, Thank you so much for your correspondence. I'm delighted to hear from you and would like to offer my congratulations on your new position. I'm proud of you for going after what you wanted. There's a tiny group from the army nursing corp near where my unit is currently stationed as well. I'm very grateful to them and to you for the efforts you always make on the behalf of my men. For obvious reasons, I cannot say exactly where I am. But know that I'm really making a difference here. I'm more confident than ever that the allies will be successful at the end of all things. Some of the men have started to labelling me what they call a bigot. It's not what you think. It's actually a reference to Gibraltar. And now that I write that out loud, I realize that it will probably be redacted. Sorry for all the black marks that will undoubtedly accompany this when it arrives. Again thank you for your letter and congratulations. I look forward to hearing from you again soon. Yours eternally, Major J. Whitlock.7/11/2017 #13 Report
(Yay!! :) I have half a reply finished now, but my hubby is insisting I put away the computer and come to bed, so I'll have to finish it up tomorrow. Have a good night!)7/11/2017 #14 Report
Robyn: *While Jasper had been working for the war effort in his own way in Africa, she had been transferred to China, where the U.S. Army Nurse Corps had been headquartered since America's official involvement with the Allies had begun. She was somewhere between Kuming, where she had been flown in, and Hong Kong, where the casualties in China were the most massive. For the first time in her life, she was able to see the damage that the enemy was inflicting up close and personal. Every time they requested nurses for medical evacuation, she volunteered, and every time she saw more and more of the destruction that was being inflicted. And they weren't just soldiers that she ended up treating, the missiles that the Japanese were dropping caught all in their wake in the crossfire, including civilians. Just when she thought her heart might have begun to harden against the chaos around her, she was treating children who had been devastated by the conflict. The fields they played in filled with shrapnel, their homes filled with bullet-shaped holes, their bodies blown to bits by pineapples. She knew that no matter how hard she tried, she would never be able to forget the day that she was forced to amputate a child's leg. No more running around in the grass. No more playing in the yard. She didn't even know how the poor boy would make a living, considering the lack of education the children here received. Sure, a few of the schools were still standing, but just like the towns they stood in, they had mostly been abandoned in the wake of war. It was the worst thing she could have done, she knew, but it had been the only way to save the poor boy's life. That day was the first she had broken down into tears, at least in public. Thankfully, her fellow nurses were understanding enough. It was a child. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. As if thanks to divine providence, that was the day that she received her next letter. She knew it was too soon for a reply from the states, so when the mail caller yelled out "That's all she wrote!" and only one letter had been deposited, she knew there were only two soldiers that the letter could be from, and when she flipped it over to see the name of who had written her, and unbidden smile stretched across her face, wiping away weeks of weariness. The other women she roomed with giggled with her over her obvious elation, but the teasing ended soon enough. They had behavior reports of their own to reply to—not that she was under any delusions that the handsome Major was her sweetheart—but she couldn't dissuade her roommates of that, especially with the special care she took in crafting her reply* Major, your reply couldn't have come at a better time. I'm in desperate need of a distraction, and fresh out of spirits. *The truth was that she hadn't had a drink since she arrived, the wounded were so numerous that what extra liquor they had was often used as disinfectant. Instead, she would work herself like a dog, only dealing with the nightmares when she was too useless to do anything but sleep. Not that she could admit that in a letter* It would seem that your location is indeed classified. Thankfully, mine isn't. Or at least I hope not. It would be a shame to have half my letter redacted because I missed the memo. I've been deployed to China, our camp is alongside the Li River, though I leave camp often now to support the outlying areas. Thanks to my work, my CO says that my Mandarin has gotten quite good, although I suspect that she was just being kind. I would try some on you, but I'm afraid I would butcher the characters worse than I already do my pronunciation. My communication with the natives here mostly consists of pointing and complicated hand-puppetry. My French is much better, but I'm glad that I'm here, because it's clear to me that this is where my help is needed the most. I can't convey how much I despise those Jackboots. The things I've seen here . . . *Despite her best efforts, a teardrop fell onto the paper here, but she was only rationed a certain amount of paper and ink. And it hadn't smudged any letters. She blew gently on the paper until the droplet mark was almost invisible, then carefully wiped her eyes and continued* I'm sure you of all people will understand why I still feel the need to stay, despite the grief it causes me. I feel I can help turn the tides here. I haven't lost a single patient yet, and amputations are much rarer when I can treat my patients before infection sets in. So, we're both doing our bit, even if you can't share the details of your efforts. I imagine you might also like to hear about the colorful pilots we're hosting here in camp at the moment. Are you an airman? I never thought to ask, and now I find myself wondering. The group here call themselves the Flying Tigers. They paint the noses of their planes like the tiger sharks before they fly out to the front. It's the first time I've seen something like that. Some of the other ladies liken it to graffiti, but I'm not sure I can agree. They've also been quite successful, although the stories they tell at the mess hall make me worry for the day one of them is hit. . . but I seem to worry about almost everything these days. Even you. It might seem silly, but I think about you all the time out here. *She was sorely tempted to cross out that last line as soon as she had written it, but instead, she hastily scrawled her signature at the bottom* Robyn Summers.
(Pineapples: grenades; Jackboots: Nazis)7/12/2017 . Edited 7/12/2017 #15 Report
Jasper: *letting out a low whistle as he walked around the brand new Sikorsky R-4 helicopter that had just arrived in North Africa.* Sergeant Waters, stop messin' around an' get your *** over here double time. *He called out to the nearest man in his unit he knew was certified to fly the impressive aircraft.*
Gabriel: *running over to the officer who had called him out by name and giving him a sharp salute. Major Whitlock's reputation was irrefutable, in fact, he was probably the single most important man on the base aside from General Patton himself* Sir, yes, Sir!
Jasper: At ease Sergeant. How soon can you be prepped and ready to take this thing out for a spin? Some aerial recon is exactly what we need to fine tune our ops. I'll have the Colonel's ok by 1400 hours. Think you can make that work, Sergeant? *Dismissing the other man to get prepped for the flight as soon as he replied in the affirmative. True to the enlisted man's word, he was more than ready by the time the Colonel cleared them for takeoff.* Just take it nice and easy out there Waters. Don't get too close to the ground and just far enough away from the trees that the blades don't get caught up. That's good. *He encouraged the younger man, still just a boy, barely 19 years old, as they flew over the German encampment*
Gabriel: *it wasn't often, in fact it was nearly unheard of, that an enlisted man and an officer would have this kind of uninterrupted time together. It screamed volumes of the respect and trust the Major was placing in him to invite him along on this short excursion.* I hear that the Russians are making great strides against the Huns in Stalingrad. *When the Major just nodded, he continued.* It could be as early as November when they secure a surrender. *At this, the Major let out a huff* you disagree, Sir? *The Major remained silent, but tilted his head slightly to the side as if to ask what he thought about the matter.* I'm no fool, Sir. I know things like this take time. Take our unit for example. We've been here how long now and for every victory we have the enemy has two? I don't imagine the Russians will gain a full surrender until next year. And that's assuming they don't start succumbing to the same lack of food stores and increase in disease that the Huns are. Our victory here will be even longer than that. It's not a hopeless battle, just a long one. But they say the long game is the only game we can win. *Looking down at the ground now, a flash of panic crossed over his face* Sir, I think we were spotted! Incoming! Brace for impact!
Jasper: *it wasn't like him to lose this kind of focus when he was in theater, but he had been paying too much attention to what the Sergeant was saying and not nearly enough attention to the activity on the ground. The missile was already headed their way, it was too late to take evasive action. They were going to crash. On instinct, he used his above human strength to force the helicopter's spiraling descent so that the impact of the crash would be on his side of the contraption. After all he couldn't be injured unless the machine burst into flames in impact and even then if he got out quick enough, there wouldn't be too much damage to himself. Unfortunately, he knew the later from personal experience. He could tell the other man was doing his best keep the aircraft skyborn for as long possible, but his fight would be in vain. There was no avoiding a crash, but if they came down as far away from the German base as possible, they stood a better chance of getting home alive and escaping the very real possibility of becoming a POW. Before they even hit the ground, he was already going over how many clicks from the American camp they had travelled and how long it would take to get back on foot at a human pace and how many rations they had in the small field pack they had taken. It was his duty to make sure that Waters survived this one way or another. The helicopter bounced and dragged along the ground for what seemed like an eternity before coming to a stop bathed in a cloud of dirt and twisted metal. Thankfully, there were no flames to contend with. He groaned a little for show as he reached around to undo his seatbelt.* Waters! Sergeant, you awake? *his only response was a groan that echoed the one he had feigned. After freeing himself, he was able to drag the other man away from the wreckage enough to assess his injuries. His leg was banged up pretty bad and he likely wouldn't be able to walk on it.* That's just perfect! How fast can I get away with moving while carrying him without him getting suspicious. He's bleeding too. Not bad enough to kill him, but bad enough that my throat's already on fire. This is not a good circumstance, not at all! I'd almost welcome being taken POW at this point if it means Waters will get the medical attention he needs. But no, if that happens, I'll be discovered when all forms of torture fail to work on me. I wish the Captain were here. Two men carrying back an injured buddy is a lot more believable than one doing it by himself. But it looks like I don't have much of choice. They'll blame it on adrenaline and I'll be safe from suspicion. Just relax, Sergeant, I got you. I'll get us out of here and back to camp in no time. *he easily hefted the other man in his arms and headed back west, in the direction of base camp. They must have travelled that way for seven or eight days. He'd almost eaten the enlisted man twice, but each time just barely managed to stop himself before any damage was done. A few times when the other man had passed out, he had taken a chance on running a couple clicks. It was easy enough to stretch the rations, and pretend that he was getting an equal share while really saving his portion for the other man's next meal. Finally camp was within sight. He feigned being worn out and dehydrated, and made a point of holding a 'bruised' side as he deposited the Sergeant in the med tent, insisting that he needed to report to the Colonel for a debriefing, but would return for a full medical exam. It was that same day as he was sitting next to Waters' unconscious form that a new letter arrived for him. And just like the first time, he couldn't wait to write his response.* My Dear Robyn, I hope that you don't mind my informality in this case. I'm pleased to hear that you're doing so much good for the men in China. It's been a rough week here, and I'll be the first to admit that we could sure use a unit of nurse corps here. I'm sitting next to a Sergeant right now who may not make it through the night despite my best efforts in the field. It's interesting that you should mention the way you've had to adapt to those who speak another language you have to work with. I've managed to pick up a little German here and there in my efforts to learn as much as possible about the enemy. But for the most part we leave that kind of communication up to the Codebreakers. I'm not a pilot or even an airman. I'm in the infantry. The First Infantry Division, serving partly in V Corps, to be exact. While I really appreciate the sentiment and knowing how much you care, I can assure you there's no need for you to worry about me. Be worried about the guy on the other end of my rifle, if you must worry. You're constantly on my mind as well. You inspire me. You make me want to be the best that I can be. You make me want to try harder. I want this to end so desperately if just to have more time to get to know you properly. Where are you from? Do you have family back home? Do you like to read? What's your favorite radio program? Eternally yours, Major Jasper Whitlock.7/12/2017 . Edited 7/13/2017 #16 Report
Robyn: *As chief nurse in her squadron, she sat beside the pilot in the medevac plane as it took off. Today, they were flying in one of the painted planes that were used on the offensive on the front just as often as it was used for medical evacuation. Her fear of heights had been something that she had been forced to confront over and over again since she first volunteered to help the Red Cross. Now that she was officially part of the army, she faced her fear even more often. Although she still felt like a stone had dropped out of the stomach the moment that they were "wheels up," her fingers no longer clutched the nearest form of support until her knuckles were white, and she didn't end up hyperventilating every time they were met with turbulence. Still, the pilots always seemed to know how uncomfortable she was, no matter how she tried to hide it*
Kenneth: *Without appearing to so much as look at the lovely woman beside him* Gonna throw up? 'Cause if you are, you'd better grab a bag. I don't like having my cockpit smell like sick. *He tried not to pay the nurse too much mind—he had a sweetheart waiting back home, after all. One he loved dearly. He swore to himself that he was going to put a ring on her finger the second he was back in the states. It wouldn't do for him to be looking after other women. But, as a pilot, one developed a kind of sixth sense, for uncomfortable passengers, for shifts in the wind, for speed and distance and everything else that needed to have at hand for combat flight* No offense, ma'am, but I still gotta fly it after you patch our boys up.
Robyn: Oh, no offense taken, Captain. *She clicked her tongue at him playfully* Although, I can't say someone else hasn't already gotten sick in your cockpit. *Crinkling up her nose as she pretended to smell something offensive* I mean, what else is that odor supposed to me? *But, she wasn't able to keep up the pretense for long, and she dissolved into laughter as soon as the pilot realized she was pulling his leg*
Kenneth: You're a cruel, cruel woman. *He shook his head at her as he began to turn the plane in preparation for landing, as they were almost upon the coordinates he'd received the distress signal from. This was all standard practice to him at this point, so he was almost operating on autopilot when they hit the ground. The enemy way close, too close, but they had already landed when he realized that* This had to be some kind of mistake. *He mumbled, but he was the only one who heard the words, as Robyn had already exited the plane, and taken her team with her* Damn. *He pulled out the binoculars that were tucked into his belt and swore again, more colorfully this time, when he saw that the enemy soldiers that had more than likely hit the wounded men sprawled out on the ground were still within shooting range*
Robyn: *She was already hustling the instant the plane had touched the ground, she knew better than most the value of time in situations like these. Even five minutes could make the difference between a survivor and a corpse, in that time a man could easily bleed to death or go into shock, not to mention any other number of complications that could befall a fallen soldier. She was there every step of the way, pressing compression bandages against wounds, stabilizing broken bones, and pronouncing one man dead upon arrival. She was so enthralled she might not have noticed that someone had opened fire on them if it weren't for the face that one of the bullets grazed her right arm. It hurt—It burned so badly that she stopped dead to watch a circle of blood bloom across her uniform. She flinched as she inspected it, but once she saw that the bullet had embedded itself safely in the ground, and that the wound wasn't deep, she forced herself to ignore the intense pain and helped her team load up every wounded soldier scattered around her. She was the last person to jump aboard the place, closing the door just as a grenade scorched the earth she'd been standing on not a minute before* That was close. *It was only after flying back to base, treating her patients, and being subject to treatment herself that she found the letter than had been waiting for her since mail call early that morning. She had been busy with work up until then, but she wouldn't be getting any more for the moment, at least until she could convince the nurse she'd been assigned to to declare her fit for duty again. She had to admit, begrudgingly, that maybe the other woman had a point. Her right hand was barely steady enough to hold the paper still at the moment. She was blessedly lucky that she wrote with her left* Dear Jasper, I don't mind the informality at all . . . it's nice to be just Robyn with someone every once in a while, even if only on paper. If it makes any difference, I wish we could have been stationed together. Not only because I miss you more than I should for the short time we've known each other, but also because the squadron of nurses I head here are very competent, and I'm sure they'd be a great help to your Sergeant, even if I wouldn't be of much use at the moment. Following an incident in the field . . . I've been remanded of duty. I don't want you to worry about me either, but I can't help but imagine what effect those words will have now that I've written them. I'm okay—I'll be okay. I may come out the other side of this with a scar, but I'm not so vain as to think that's what really matters. What really matters is that I didn't leave any men behind. I know that you would do the same if you were in my shoes. I wish . . . I wish this would all be over soon, but now that I've been in the thick of it, it's hard to imagine it could just . . . not be. But, I want it to be. I want to give you a proper kiss when this is all over. *This part she scratched out as soon as she'd written it, dismissing the schoolgirlish notion that her pen pal thought of himself as more than that* I'm from Hartford, Connecticut. I really think you'd love it there. This time of year, every leaf on every tree in the city turns gold, rust, and crimson, raining warmth down every time the wind blows. And you should see it in the spring, blossoms for miles. My parents are still there now, although I don't have any siblings to speak of. I do like to read, poetry, mostly, as you might expect. That is, when I'm not studying my medical texts. I love anything with swing or jazz, anything I can dance to. Usually that means getting my toes stepped on and enduring poor attempts at flirting. I'd love to see what you're like as a partner. What about you? Where does that accent of yours come from? Where is home? Who else do you write to? What's the first thing you're going to do when this damn war is over? Yours, just Robyn.7/12/2017 #17 Report
Jasper: *Sergeant Waters was recovering nicely, but he was still cooped up inside the med tent. He checked on the other man whenever he had a free moment to do so. But for the past little while he had been part of a unit stationed around a local school. Their goal was simple, keep the enemy away from the school so that children could attend class in peace. Most of the time this wasn't a problem. Even the enemy respected the rights of children to receive an education, but sometimes, those **** Huns just couldn't help themselves and brought the fighting a bit too close to the city for comfort. On one particular day, when the sound of gunfire and explosions seemed to be right on top of his unit, an evacuation of the school was ordered. It was during this evacuation that he was forced to reveal his true nature. All the children seemed to be out of the school and well away from any kind of harm, but instinct told him to search the building one last time* Stay with the last group of kids, I'm going to search the building one last time and will be right behind you! *he barked an order to the last two of his men in the area. He ran through the building a little too quickly for a normal human and was about to leave when the unmistakable sound of a crying child reached his ears. He followed the sound to a janitor's closet, and breaking open the door, he saw a tiny girl, no older than six or seven clenching tightly to a dirt stained doll, tears of panic flowing freely down her cheeks* It's ok, darlin', I've got you, I'm going to get you out of here. The girl either was too panicked to listen or didn't understand English. But instead of trying to make her understand that she was safe with words, he simply scooped her up into his arms and showed her that she was safe by wrapping his body around hers in a protective cocoon as he jogged away from the school. Unfortunately, the human pace he forced himself to keep up was much too slow and a trio of enemy soldiers soon caught up to him and blocked his path* Please, I have a child! Hör auf, ich habe ein kind! *he called out first in English and then in German, knowing that it would do no good. He couldn't reach his gun without putting down the girl in his arms, and he couldn't put her down without risking her getting shot. He had to make a split second decision, and he chose to settle the child down behind a tree before charging the other men. They opened fire on him, and several of the bullets made contact with his chest, bouncing right off again. But before they could get off more than two or three rounds each, they were all sprawled out on the ground, dead, their necks snapped. It was the first time in this war he had been forced into a hand to hand situation instead of using his weapon like a human soldier would have done. But his gun would have been too slow. He needed to dispatch of these men far too quickly to rely on a machine instead of his own hands. When he returned to the girl, she had stopped crying, and instead was looking back at him in total disbelief. It was only then that he noticed the crinkled copy of Action Comic balled up next to her doll. The girl slowly pointed to the picture of Superman on the front cover of the animated comic. It was all he could do to slowly shrug his shoulders and give her a tight smile.* Kind of. Not exactly. A little like Superman, but it's a secret. We have to keep this between us. *he brought his finger up to his lips in 'hush' gesture, and gave her a conspiratorial wink. The girl smiled back and nodded in what he hoped was an agreement not to say anything about the abnormal powers her rescuer possessed. He was able to quickly reunite the girl with the rest of her classmates, and found out from his men that everyone, kids and soldiers, had managed to escape unscathed. This was a good day. At least on the surface. He could only hope that the girl remembered her promise to keep his secret. That night after he finished sewing up the newest holes in his uniform, he settled in to read his latest letter from Robyn.* My Dearest Robyn, today was a good day. My men and I saved a group of kids from certain death. I am troubled to hear of your injury, although I did note that you were careful not to divulge any real details regarding its nature. Perhaps it does make me worry a little more, but I will endeavor to remind myself of your talents with a gun and hope that if the time comes, you'll be able to defend yourself. I wish a very speedy recovery, and know that you'll be back to work soon, with or without clearance. *he scrunched up his eyes at the part that she had scratched out, his enhanced vision allowing him to make out the word 'kiss' between all the marks. Kiss? Kiss who? Kiss me? Or someone else? Oh, how he hoped that it was he who she wished to kiss. But as she had crossed out the words, he couldn't respond to them. I've never to New England. Though, I would like to see it some day. I'm originally from Houston, Texas. Though I've spent the past little while a little further north, Texas will always be my home. I suppose I'll never lose the accent. It really comes out most when I'm angry, which isn't often. Or sometimes when I'm nervous. Like when I'm around a pretty woman. My family owned a horse ranch in Houston for years. Horses are very intuitive. They always know what kind of mood you're in, and know just what kind of ride you need. They're also stubborn beasts sometimes, worse than humans in that regard. But they always come around. My parents and sister died some time ago. It was a tragic accident. I enjoy a good dance and would love to be your partner someday. I get the rare letter from my best friend or his wife back home. Peter's laying low and hoping that the draft doesn't catch up to him, for his wife's sake more so than his own, I suspect. The first thing I'm going to do is ask you to marry me. *unconsciously writing the words and then darkly crossing them out again when he came to himself.* Is buy a couple horses and fix up the family ranch. Until next time, eternally yours, Jasper. *that night he returned to where he had killed the three soldiers, shocked to find their bodies still in place. He drained all three of them in one sitting. The blood had gone cold, but it would do him for now, and he wouldn't have to kill anyone else to be sated for the time being.*7/12/2017 #18 Report
Robyn: *It had taken several weeks for both her nurse and her commanding officer to agree that she was ready to return to work. Both women were equally as headstrong as she was, so it was no surprise to any of them that she didn't let her stay from work stop her from doing exactly what she had come to china for. Not two days after the incident, she was already back in the medical tent, sneaking in after she saw that both her CO and the nurse that was treating her were both off shift. She couldn't be able to sign off on anyone's chart without official notice, but she assisted where she could, helping to relocate one shoulder and then subsequently put it in a sling, helping to remove shrapnel from the arm of a man who had been caught in a tank fire; the gasoline cowboy had been lucky that he had been wearing his armored vest, otherwise he might have ended up with the same metal pieces in his chest. Having been airlifted from miles outside of camp, he would have been a goner before he'd reached them if he hadn't had the unwieldy thing tightly strapped on. Even after they had removed the largest pieces, she stayed with him, allowing him to hold her hand while the surgeon went in with tweezer to pull out every tiny piece that could be seen with the magnifier they used to ensure that small pieces weren't left behind to fester or even cut from the inside, as small metal shards were known to do. Robyn knew that he must have been in agony, in addition to the shrapnel he had been hit with, he was also badly burned. But, he didn't voice a word of complaint. He set his jaw stubbornly, in the way that soldiers did, only crying out when the surgeon had finally finished the extraction and moved on to disinfecting the wound. The isopropyl alcohol was the most effective weapon they had against infection out here, but it was also painful. Even after they had given the poor men morphine, it still stung, especially when applied to deep wounds and the burns that were becoming more and more common as the Japanese sought to shoot missiles instead of bullets* So, what do they call you? I know you boys all have nicknames for each other. *The invitation for conversation was a mercy, a distraction from the pain as her fellow nurse moved to remove layers of burned, dead skin before she would finally apply ointment and carefully wrap the arm. He hissed before he replied, but when he finally found his words again, he told her that his nickname was get-alongs. Not because he was such a team player—although he assured her that he was. The real story behind the nickname was much more embarrassing, as these stories tend to be. Apparently, he hadn't slept well in basic training. What few hours they had to sleep, he just couldn't. Too quiet, he told her. So, one morning, he had been so tired that he had actually forgotten to put on his pants, walking out into the hall and saluting his superior officer in his briefs. The boys had called him "legs" for a while, but after they had shipped out and picked up the lingo the other men out here used, he had become "get-alongs" instead. It was a little mercy, he told her, that pretty girls like her didn't usually know what an idiot he'd made of himself* Trust me, most of us know exactly what you boys are talking about, even when you talk shorthand. *She told him with a smile, happy to burst his little bubble if it kept him calm and distracted for a moment longer. Sure enough, as soon as he was huffing with dismay, the nurse beside her was gently spreading ointment across any piece of skin that had turned pink or red from the heat. She was pretty sure that she was being allowed to sneak around, but she did it nonetheless until she was officially allowed back at work. She couldn't help but think she had done something right either way, she had only been allowed to sign her own charts again for a mere day before she was back on the medical evacuation rotation. It was only on the heels of that she received her next letter from Jasper. She didn't even wait until she got back to her tent to rip it open. Her eagerness earned her a coo from the woman beside her, but she didn't even hear it, her eyes scanning over words, her feet already carrying her to her tent to craft a reply* Dear Jasper, you don't know how happy I am to hear about the children you've rescued. I'll go ahead and say it: You're my hero. I've treated my fair share of children since I was deployed to China, and it make me feel . . . I don't know, lighter, knowing that not every child that gets caught in the middle of this mess is doomed to end up in a medical tent, or worse. *She bit her lip lightly and traced the silvery-white scar on her forearm for a long moment before she continued. Her hand was completely normal now, none of the trembling she had experienced in her first few days after the incident* I'm doing much better than when last I wrote. I'm fully recovered now, so it seems moot to discuss my injury, but since my superiors still insist on it. Can you believe they're threatening me with a Purple Heart for a graze? It was hardly anything then, and it's even less now. To your mind at ease, my unit has been assigned an extra infantryman for protection. Although I would love to assure you I can protect myself, nurses aren't issued firearms, even in the army. I know—I was disappointed too, although know I think I might be a little grateful that it is the case. I'm not sure if I would have had it in me to return fire, at least not a kill shot. I've dedicated my life to saving lives, I'm not sure if I'd be capable of taking one, no matter my skill. Though, I suppose I wouldn't have anything against an incapacitating shot, the point is rather moot when I'm not authorized to use a gun. Thankfully, we very rarely come so close to the enemy, and our new gunman is quickly learning not to get underfoot on mission. *Not that she had covered the proverbial elephant on the field, she was free to move on to happier topics, but at the same time, danced around something she wasn't sure how to acknowledge without getting a dear John letter herself* You might be surprised to learn that I too have a history with horses. I took lessons as a girl. The blue ribbon I won for the high jump when I was thirteen is still one of my most prized possessions. Maybe I could visit . . . Do you think we might . . . I really am doing well. And this should prove it. *She rifled through her things until she found the pair of negatives she had traded her monthly ration of candy for. It was a fair trade, all things considered. Photographs were a hard thing to come by out here, and she was lucky that she had come across someone with one of those new "fast shooting" Kodak cameras. Otherwise, she might have had to wait until the photographs were developed before she could send him anything, and she didn't even know how long that would take. Held up against the light, the first image showed her with a paintbrush in hand, decorating the nose of a plane with an actual flying tiger. It had been a candid shot, her face screwed up in concentration as she detailed the winds. The second one she had posed for, smiling as she stood beside her work. The bandages on her right arm were only just visible beyond the sleeve of her new uniform in the second photo if you looked for it, showing just how recently they had been taken* Think you could manage to get one for me, too? Yours, Robyn. *It was as bold as she dared to be, but the message was clear enough without saying it; only sweethearts exchanged photos*7/12/2017 . Edited 7/13/2017 #19 Report
Jasper: *tossing a borrowed camera to the Sergeant he had come to admire so much during the past months* Hey, Waters, you mind helping me out with something? I need a picture. And you better make it a good one too, it's going to someone special. *he had read over Robyn's latest letter in the dark of night just a few hours ago, but had yet to get a free moment to compose a response. One thing was certain however, he was determined to collect the one item she had requested from him. Her picture was already permanently encased in one of the most accessible pockets on his uniform, just under his jacket, and close to his unbeating heart. Some men kept a bible there, but he didn't have much faith in religion just now, so that spot was meant for the picture of the girl he had fallen head over heals for the moment they met.*
Gabriel: *accepting the camera with ease* Yes, Major, I'm happy to do it. Perhaps you'd like to stand under the trees, Sir. The changing colors of the leaves will be a nice backdrop and a good contrast with the green of your uniform. *waiting for the Major to find a position that he was satisfied with before lining up the shot, being careful to not let the sun create a glare through the viewfinder* I hope that you don't think it improper of me, Major, but can I ask if this would happen to be for a Sweetheart back home? It's just that not many men find it necessary to have a portrait taken to send to their parents.
Jasper: *smiling brilliantly as the Sergeant snapped his picture* It is improper of you to ask such a personal question, but as I'm in a good mood, I'll let it slide. I met this nurse at the last base I was stationed at. We've been corresponding. She asked for a picture, and I intend to deliver one. As for my parents, not that it's your business, but they're both dead. And next time you think that it's acceptable to start asking me questions that have nothing to do with a mission, you'll be bubble dancing for the entire camp for a month. Understood? *the Sergeant replied with a crisp 'Yes, Sir' and he dismissed the other man just moments before the Colonel arrived in the clearing just outside of camp where he had been running his men through battle exercises. He quickly snapped to attention and saluted his superior* How can I help you, Sir? *he listened closely as the Colonel informed him of an enemy combatant that had been taken prisoner several days ago. So far, all interrogation methods had failed on the prisoner, and they were considering having him transported to Gitmo for further interrogation.* I would be happy to look after him until the transport arrives, Sir. Colonel, if I may? With your permission, I would like to try a new method of questioning that I learned about from some Infantrymen in China to get some minute piece information from him before we ship him out. *the Colonel either didn't remember that he had never been stationed in China, or didn't care if his source of this method was from a less than honorable source not to be named, because he let the white lie go, and even granted him permission to do whatever he thought best while the prisoner was in his charge. Transport would be there in twenty-four hours, he had only that long to get some answers before the men at Gitmo got their hands on him. And everyone knew that the interrogation methods at Gitmo were more likened to torture than questioning. He had been guilty of some pretty nasty things under Maria, but he was sure that none of it compared to the awful things that POWs on both sides of the fight had to endure. He patted his breast pocket to remind himself that he was doing this because he wanted to get home with Robyn safe and sound and start a real relationship with her as he walked toward the prison tent. He returned the salutes that the guards at the tent flap offered him before slipping inside. He hadn't really formulated a plan yet, but that was ok. A little improvised questioning might be a good thing. He already the required bits, name, rank, and serial number. Now he just needed to know what ops the Huns and the Vichy French were planning against the Allied troops there in North Africa. He took a seat across an old wooden table and stared at the prisoner on the other side, no words, just a stare, for what seemed like an eternity. During the silence, he was getting to know the other man's emotional center, learning how to manipulate it to suit his needs. At first the manipulation was gentle, a heightened sense of fear and trepidation, but he slowly built on that foundation, turning fear into terror and trepidation into a desire to do whatever it took to get the scary man away from him* I need to know where the strongholds are for the German and Vichy France forces. *his voice was low, dangerous, dark, but he kept his words simple, knowing it wouldn't take much prompting for the prisoner to spill his guts. He repeated the request in German and again in French* Ich muss wissen, wo die Festungen für die deutschen und Vichy Frankreich Streitkräfte sind. Je dois savoir où sont les bastions pour les forces allemandes et de Vichy France. I need to know where the Axis vulnerabilities lie in North Africa. I need to know what current operations you have been a part of in country. *again he repeated the requests, throwing in an extra dose of compliance* Ich muss wissen, wo die Achsen-Schwachstellen in Nordafrika liegen. Ich muss wissen, welche gegenwärtigen Operationen Sie ein Teil des Landes gewesen sind. Je dois savoir où les vulnérabilités de l'Axe se situent en Afrique du Nord. Je dois savoir quelles sont les opérations actuelles dont vous avez fait partie dans le pays. *It only took about thirty seconds for the man to start singing like a caged bird. He committed everything the prisoner said to memory, already adjusting plans for Operation Torch in his head. Deployment was scheduled for sometime in the next month or two, and this information would be critical in determining the landing sites for the Navy's amphibious task forces. Right now, the list of potential points of attack contained six different names. They needed to narrow it down to three, and after listening to the prisoner, he already knew that he would be recommending Casablanca, Oran and Algiers to General Patton. The prison transport couldn't have arrived soon enough. He was more than ready to release the ******* to Gitmo and get on with his plans to write his response to Robyn and then finish the prep work on Operation Torch. After watching the transport drive away he practically ran back to his tent citing a need to get some sleep. But no sooner had he pulled back the flap and slipped inside, he was already sitting on the edge of his bed with a pad of stationery and ink.* My Dearest Robyn, there is no need to call me a hero. In fact, I'd wager you've saved a lot more lives out here than I have. I guess that makes you my hero. Any injury sustained while in service to your county, no matter how big it is, should receive a Purple Heart. I'm glad that your superiors recognize this. You deserve it. Don't sell yourself short. You did good, Nurse Summers, and everyone should know it. You can be proud of what you did, and still accept the recognition with grace and humility. I suppose that a nurse who's not willing to kill even to save her own life wouldn't make for a good hero. But just the same, I hope that you're never in such a position again. I hope that you're never tested in that way. It's not a fun choice make. Your life or someone else's. May I request the honor of your company on a ride when we get home again? After all, it's only fair, as I have agreed to go dancing with you. Thank you for the picture. I will treasure it and keep it close to my heart. I hope that my photo brings you the same kind of joy that yours brought to me. Knowing how slow the mail is to arrive here, I will warn you that I may not be in a position to respond as quickly the next time you write. Don't worry about me, though, I'll be safe, and I will write again as soon as possible once I'm in a position to do so. You'll be on my mind the entire time, and I pledge to return back here if only to read another of your correspondences. Yours Eternally, Jasper.7/13/2017 #20 Report
(Wow!! I have to give you props, again, for being so spot on with the historical accuracy! :))7/13/2017 #21 Report
(lots and lots of Wikipedia pages are open in my browser right now! LOL! :) )7/13/2017 #22 Report
(Same here as I formulate a reply, haha! Glad I'm not the only one!!)7/13/2017 #23 Report
Robyn: *In light of the successes the Chinese-American forces had made in pushing back against the Japanese, it should have been a time for celebration, but instead she was even busier than she had ever been when the fighting had been at it's peak. Yes, they had managed to beat back the enemies' lines, but it had come at a price. Unsanitary conditions in the Imperial Japanese camps had left a trail of disease in their wake. Soldiers from the front and civilians alike had flocked to them for medical attention for the diseases that ailed them. It seemed like every person she saw had a fever, rash, and a litany of other symptoms. And no two of the patients she saw seemed to have the same thing, which made it all the more frustrating. She had diagnosed cholera, typhoid, dysentery, one man had even had blackened flesh like the plagues she had read about in his history courses and shuddered. Cholera and typhoid at least had vaccines that they could use to help treat them and limit further spread of the disease, but the plague terrified her, and there was little she could do for those with dysentery but given them antibiotics and fluids and hope that they pulled through. If she had been the kind to drop to her knees and pray, that's exactly what she would have been doing, but her relationship with God had always been tenuous at best. And besides, the Padres that walked among them were busy enough tending to the last rights of the dead and the drying, the people whose fevers just wouldn't go down, who weren't responding to treatment, or who had been frail to begin with, before illness set it. And that wasn't the only thing weighing on the people around them. News about the so-called Angels of Bataan has spread. The Japanese were taking women as prisoners of war now, too. Robyn shuddered to think what the conditions were like in the internment camp they were likely being kept in. If the Japanese soldiers were so ill that this was the kind of destruction they left in their wake, she could only imagine how they treated their prisoners, women or not. And in this tense atmosphere, her fellow nurses were less and less eager to volunteer for medical evacuation missions. Most didn't want to leave the patients they had here, and those that could stand that were afraid what might happen if they were caught behind enemy lines, especially now that they were pushing back hard towards the ocean, where Japan's real power lied. So, she was unsurprised when her next medevac mission was a few nurses short* Sorry, boys. It's just me today. *Smiling tightly at the infantryman and pilot as they loaded up. They were headed out to a local village to to provide relief, but when they arrived, it became apparent that even the help she'd brought had been affected. The guard that had been assigned to their unit, George, was coming down with a fever himself. He looked far too long at the father of the family they were visiting. That should have been her first clue, but he often gave long, lingering looks to handsomer men, the same way she was used to soldiers often looking at her and the other nurses. But, his persuasion didn't matter much to her, she knew him as the brave man who had become rather adept at making sure that she was safe from file, without getting in her way while she worked. He had already almost taken a bullet for her on two occasions, so it pained her that she hadn't noticed his glazed eyes, or the way sweat had beaded at his forehead until he had collapsed on her* Damn it, George! *She swore in a very unladylike fashion as she rushed to his side, catching him as best she could to keep his head from banging into anything on his way to the floor of the house they were guests in. The family spoke to her in rapid mandarin, tittering about as she settled the large man as best she could on the floor. It was only after she had doused his fever as best she could with cold water and gave the family instructions on how to treat their ill daughter in the next few days that she helped the pilot heft George back to camp. She spent a worried night at his bedside before she was forced from the medical tent to get some rest herself. It was probably for the best, she couldn't help anyone if she fell ill herself. But, instead of lying down right away, like she should have after eighteen hours on her feet, she picked up the letter than had been left for her on her cot and opened it with careful fingers. Despite all the doom and gloom that surrounded her, an unbidden smile spread across her face when she saw the photo that fell out of the perfectly folded letter. Honestly, the photograph made Jasper look even more handsome than she remembered him, although to be fair, she had only seen him dirty and battle worn, then later under the cover of night. Her fingers touched the image gingerly as she picked it up off her blanket, vowing to find something put it in so that it wasn't bent or dirtied, something like the mint tin she kept the letters she received in, folding them up small so they would fit* It would be a shame if anything happened to this. *It was only after carefully setting the photo aside that she took to the letter, reading it several times over before she pulled out a pen and paper to reply with* Dear Jasper, thank you so much for the photograph. It looks every inch the dashing soldier I remember. I'll be certain to take good care of it until I can see you in the flesh again. And when I do, I'd be happy to go for a ride with you, though, I warn you, it may turn into a race. I happen to be a very competitive equestrian. We'll, I'm rather competitive at everything, to be honest. You should see me at chess sometime. I'm horrible. At losing, that is. Probably not something that I should be admitting to, but well . . . I'm trying not to leave this letter riddled with half-scratched out sentences, so I suppose you'll just have to live with the knowledge. *Jumping half out of her seat when another nurse entered her tent, sighing at the black mark that left across the page, but thankfully it didn't obscure what she had already written, it just forced her to continue writing a little further down the page* That doesn't count; it wasn't my fault. I would write you a new copy, but supplies are tight here at present. It's probably the worst time for a supply shortage, considering the illness that's spreading around camp and beyond here. Even the infantryman who looks after my company on evacuations is sick. But, I'm well enough, and hopefully I remain so. I hate to think what would happen to my patients if I took to bed. I'll make you a deal, I'll try not to get Typhoid, and you try to get shot while you're out there, won't you? I know you must be awfully jealous of my Purple Heart, but I think a Medal of Honor would suit you much better. No doubt you'll have one by war's end. Please write again when you're able. I do try not to worry, but if your letters lapse too long, I might not be able to help myself. Be safe. Love, Robyn. *Her hand paused over her closing words as soon as she had written them, but she had made a pledge not to cross out anything in this letter, and she was sticking to it, no matter how much it made her stomach flutter. Instead of scribbling out the words as the coward in her longed to, she blew on the ink until it was dry and sealed the letter instead*7/13/2017 . Edited 7/13/2017 #24 Report
(I have to admit that every time I read your posts here I'm almost crying by the end. It almost makes me feel like I'm going through things with Robyn, it's so beautiful and respectful of the time period, showing both the tragedy of war and the few bright spots that one caring nurse can bring to it. It's really poetic in a way. With Jasper it's a little harder to really capture things since he's seeing it all from a non-human perspective, and his "talents" allow him to accomplish impossible things, staving off tragedy. I'm sure there are times when he wishes he could do more, but can't without exposing himself. Maybe his story is more of one who loves battle so much, and is already so hardened by death, that war doesn't affect him the same way. It's a real life game of chess for him, and the human lives lost in process are nothing more than sacrificial pawns, acceptable losses. Anyway, starting my next one now, but may not finish it tonight. If not, I'll try to get it up at lunch time tomorrow.)7/13/2017 #25 Report
(It's really interesting that you say that, because I've been trying really hard to write Robyn as almost a foil to Jasper in a way. I like to think of them as two sides of the same coin. They see the injustice of the war, the need there, and they want to help, but they go about it two completely different ways, both practically and emotionally. Jasper has seen war before, he's seen death on a massive scale and he's learned to deal with that in his own way. The Major and the God of War are both hyper-rational, they all but abandon their own emotions to allow themselves to focus on the grander scale, to save as many lives as they can, but they believe that they need emotional distance to accomplish that. Robyn is the opposite. She came into the war with her own ideas and ideals, but they've changed. She learned how to shoot a gun before she came, but actually being at war, seeing the devastation that violence causes has made her softer, less willing to kill. She wants to save people, not in a general sense, but on a personal level, and she pushes herself towards that end, perhaps harder than she should because she cares a little too much. I definitely think yours is the harder one to write, because so much of what goes on with Jasper happens below the surface. Thank you for the compliment, I really appreciate it. :) I can't wait for your next post, but I understand if it isn't up tonight. With all the research that goes into these, I know they take a lot more time and effort than RPs we've done in the past.)7/13/2017 #26 Report
(Yay! I finally found an army photo for Robyn! It's not a nurse uniform, but I figured it's close enough for my purposes. :) Also, give me a heads up if you're stuck. I was thinking that an internment at a POW camp would allow us to move our characters a little further forward in time, if that was something you were interested in doing.)7/15/2017 #27 Report
(I love the picture! Being caught as a POW was something that I had considered, we can absolutely assume that's what's happening to Jasper right now, but in the meantime, here's this...)
Rosalie: *10 years. That's how long it had been since she had woken up to this life. And that's how long she carried this vengence with her, this burning desire to hurt everyone who had hurt her, the men who had been responsible for her death. She thought she had gotten all of them. She thought there had only been seven men, including Royce. But she had been wrong. There had been one more. He hadn't actually taken part in her rape, but he was standing there, watching the whole thing, and doing nothing to prevent it. In her mind, that was just as despicable as the act itself. She had traced him to a military base in China. Maybe he thought he could make up for all the wrong he had done to her by serving in the army now and fighting against American enemies. But she could care less what good he was trying to do now, she was still determined to make him pay for his wrong doing ten years ago. She was sitting at a local bar with a glass of whisky in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Sooner or later all the men from the nearby base would come to visit this bar. She just had to wait him out. And when he made an appearance, she would destroy him. She faked a drag on the cigarette and surveyed the handful of men in uniform who were just entering the bar. Unfortunately, none of them were her target. After a while longer, the bar's owner asked if anyone would like to provide a few minutes of entertainment. When no one else accepted the call, she stood up from her place at the bar and made her way to the front, instructing the man at the piano to play a song that would be appropriate for the upcoming holiday that she could sing along to. To her surprise the pianist played a song that Bing Crosby had just started singing at the Holiday Inn the week before* I'm dreaming of a White Christmas. Just like the ones I used to know. Where the treetops glisten, And children listen, To hear sleigh bells in the snow. I'm dreaming of a White Christmas, With every Christmas card I write. May your days be merry and bright, And may all your Christmases be white. I'm dreaming of a White Christmas, Just like the ones I used to know. Where the treetops glisten, And children listen, To hear sleigh bells in the snow. I'm dreaming of a White Christmas, With every Christmas card I write. May your days be merry and bright, And may all your Christmases be white.7/16/2017 #28 Report
(Oh, a Rosalie post! I know exactly what to do with this... :))7/16/2017 #29 Report
Robyn: *In the wake of a recent motion from Congress, herself and the women she served alongside had finally been given equal pay and allowances to male officers at their relative ranks. This was a radical change to the meager stipend she had received when volunteering with the Red Cross, and still a marked improvement from the wages she had received when she had first entered the Army Nurse Corps, despite her quick elevation to Chief Nurse, a rank relative to that of a First Lieutenant. Now, thanks to the number of nurses that had fallen ill in camp, she was an Assistant Director, a rank equal to that of a Captain, and the same as that of her commanding officer. This constituted an enormous change in her day to day duties, with most of the people that answered to her still ill, she had been forced to shuffle around the units so that the people who were still on their feet could continue to run the camp—and forget about medical evacuations. The biological destruction their enemy had reigned down on them had utterly incapacitated them. To boot, it had been months since she'd received a letter from her beloved Major. And she knew it wasn't that it hadn't gotten through—despite the fact that the Burma Road was closed and everything had to be flown over the hump, she had received two letters from Mitchell and one from her parents. Combined with the continuing problem of dwindling supplies that never seemed to be replaced quickly enough, Robyn was wearing paper thin. And with her new salary, she could afford a little relief* Just one drink. What could it hurt? *She told herself, as she hitched a ride to the bar all the soldiers frequented. It was a good thing, too, because the town that surrounded it had been neatly evacuated. It would have long gone out of business without the patronage. The men gave her odd looks on the way to the caravan. She wasn't one of the girls that usually joined on these trips, but with her recent promotion, she outranked all of them, so no one said a word. Which was just fine with her, she wasn't in the mood to deal with the probing questions they probably wanted to ask, or the flirtatious comments they wanted to throw her way. Of course, those men were quickly forgotten when she walked inside, the warm, melodic sounds of a piano and an angelic voice ringing in her ears. She wasn't the only one who was caught off guard by the song, or the woman singing it. It seemed like every eye in the bar was glued to her as she sang. It wasn't a song Robyn had ever heard herself before, but there was something familiar about the lyrics, something that made her long for a cold Connecticut Christmas, complete with hot chocolate in front of a roaring fireplace, and the tall evergreen tree she'd pick out with her father, huffing in annoyance when they cut it down, always getting sap and pine needles on whatever she was wearing, no matter how careful she was. Her mother loved to make garlands out of popcorn, but Robyn was terrible with needlework herself. She wore a thimble, but there was always some point where she'd get up to do something else, come back without putting it on, and prick her finger because of a stubborn kernel. It made her so homesick it hurt. So, when she looked away, it was to signal to the bartender that she wanted two fingers of whisky. What she said in Mandarin was probably closer to "two hands," but he smiled at the effort and told her in near-perfect english that it was on the house when she tried to pay him. To which she thanked him, also in Mandarin. Her pronunciation was getting better, if nothing else, if his reaction was anything to go by. Then, she clapped along with the rest of the room when Rosalie finished, taking a sip of her drink as soon as the din quieted down. A few of the men where clambering for Rosalie's attention, but she seemed utterly disinterested in them, so Robyn waved the bartender down for another drink, putting the money on the bar this time to show that she meant business about paying, before carrying both over to the other woman* Oh, there you are! *She said, as if she knew the other woman. The men took one look at her uniform and made way for Robyn, who pressed her second glass into Rosalie's hands* Sorry about these dogs, their bark is worse than their bite, I promise. I'm surprised you aren't in uniform. *Slowly, the men around them seemed to realize neither woman was going to give them the time of day and backed off, most of them going back to a game of darts* Why aren't you in uniform, though? *She asked, when she was finally alone with the other woman, because there was no other explanation for an American woman to be in a war zone, except that she was serving as a nurse, or in some other noncombat capacity* I mean, not that there's anything wrong with getting all dolled up, but it's usually a bit of a deterrent. *chuckling a little, the liquor already beginning to loosen her up after she'd finished the first half of her glass* No one wants to be messing with the person their lives might be in the hands of later, after all.7/16/2017 . Edited 7/16/2017 #30 Report