Early Wounds

"Early Wounds"

Who: Sam, Johns, Kathleen, Tanner, Alistair, Young
when: April 1915

What: After the day's training the men assemble back in camp, chat up a nurse and wonder what the future in the real war holds for them.

Mena Camp - Training Area

The Grid-----> > > > > THE LOST GENERATION < < <


Coordinates : 0 0

This is an area set off from the main grouping of tents, deep in the sandy desert. Here, soldiers are put through harsh marches and combat training five or six days a week, regardless of searing daytime heat or the night's freezing cold. Among the things set up here to make soldiers out of these men are a firing range, a mock dressing station for field exercises, a grueling desert-based obstacle course, and — perhaps more for kicks than anything else — a boxing ring.

It is currently dusk.

Sub-Rooms :

Contents
Tanner
Sam
Johns
Kathleen

West to Rifle Range <W> East to Barracks Entrance <E>
North to Sleeping Tents <N>

Tanner arrives from the North to Sleeping Tents.

A grumpy expression on his face, Sam meanders down from the sleeping tents, his rifle slung over his shoulder.

Johns shurgs as he walks along beside, "I haven't seen much of it, but so far all I've noticed is the sun and sand. Damn..er darn stuff gets into everything!"

"Quite so," Kathleen agrees, mouth crooking in a brief frown. "And the heat… takes some getting used to, for certain." She notices some of the other soldiers meandering about.

Speaking of heat. Here comes Tanner. The ginger-haired man's face has been turned as red as his hair by the desert sun, so he's quite the walking example of it. At least he's had the sense to put on a hand. He's meandering out of the tents, sleeves rolled up to the Red Cross armband on his forearm.

Oh, a woman. While Sam doesn't magically look ungrumpy, he does soften his expression just a little bit to give the nurse and her compaion a quick little nod of the head. "Ma'am."

Johns keeps on talking about the sand to Kathleen, "It seems like this sand is in everything, what we eat, in my nose, my ears, keeps gumming up the guns. I for one will be happy to head out of here."

Kathleen flashes a polite, slightly shy smile to Sam in response. "G'day," she offers in return. Tanner catches her eye as well, though probably more for the red cross on his sleeve than his sunburn. Her light tan from back home hasn't suffered yet in the harsh sun here, indicating her relative newness. She nods to Johns, "Think it'll be long?"

Johns seems to not really notice the other sandeaters milling about, "Rumor is we'll be headed out in under a week. But I've learned it's hard to trust an Army rumor." he smiles.

"We should be leaving for France any day now, I should think," Sam says, his accent just a touch more British then Aussie, as he glances between Johns and Kathleen again, "And not a momment too soon. Bloody hate this place."

Tanner spots the other soldiers, and Kathleen, as he meanders along. His path is taking him in that direction anyhow. "Good day, then," he offers, tone cheerful enough. A nod is offered to Kathleen, and he touches the brim of his hat to her. "Ma'am."

Johns offers a nod, a smile and a "G'day to the other men.

Kathleen gives Tanner that same brief smile, then seems surprised by the comments from Sam and Johns. "Hadn't expected it to be so soon."

Alistair has arrived.
Alistair arrives from the North to Sleeping Tents.

"Why not, if I might ask miss?" Sam asks Kathleen, arching an eyebrow as he regards the nurse for a momment, "We were born ready to kick the Hun back to Bavaria!"

"You really still think they'll send us to France?" Tanner asks Sam. A bit wistfully, but he doesn't sound particularly hopeful. "That would be a fairer shake. I heard there ain't so much sand there. But nah. All I hear from anybody who seems to know anything is Ottomans, Ottomans, Ottomans. And I don't think they have them in France." He's just approached a spot where Johns, Sam and Kathleen are standing and talking.

Kathleen smiles a bit at Sam's question, "Right you are. I've only just arrived myself, so I was expecting to be here a bit longer is all." Tanner gets a curious look. "Ottomans?"

Young has arrived.
Young arrives from the North to Sleeping Tents.

Johns nods as Tanner talks, "That's what I hear too, Ottomans. I overheard an Officer talking about Consta..

Alistair Somewhere from the tents to the north comes a particularly tired looking Private. After something of a disasterous training exercise earlier, Alistair isn't too keen on seeing combat anymore. Sure he was a nervous young man when he arrived, but now he's a terrified little boy. His new looking rifle is shouldered and a simple tattered bag with a big red cross stitched across the front. The glasses on his face slip slightly and he pushes them back up, glancing around. Alistair spots the only familiar face and he strides over to Tanner, "Ottomans? You think?"

Johns nods as Tanner talks, "That's what I hear too, Ottomans. I overheard an Officer talking about Consta..Constanti..well I can't pronounce it."

"Constantinople, aye," Tanner says to Johns with a nod. "Romans used to live there, until it got taken over. I've read about it a bit. Lydgate. Good day." He offers Alistair a good-natured nod in greeting. "Ottomans, aye. That's who I hear we'll be fighting. Not even Huns. But they're friends with the Huns, so I suppose it's the same difference."

"Fucking hell!" Young's voice cuts through the arid air ahead of him, his shin having gone straight into a box of ammunition that someone carelessly left strewn about. He shakes out his leg and continues on towards one of the dressing stations, hauling medical satchel with him.

"Well, I bloody well hope not," is Sam's response to this Ottomen business, "And until I hear it from an officer, I don't believe it. Who cares about the Turks?"

Kathleen grows quiet for a bit, listening to all the reports fly by about Ottomans and places she's never heard of. The yell from Young causes her an awkward flush, though she pretends not to have heard. "You'd rather go to France?" she asks Sam.

A grin spreads over Alistair's face. "Looks like the doc has managed to fatally injure 'imself before the fightings even begun. Seems like everyone's either gettin' shot or dinging themselves up and we haven't even shipped out yet." He smiles, but there is something grim about that smile. Call him superstitous, but the young soldier isn't feeling very confident. Alistair taps his chin thinking back to his lessons. "Actually .. a lot of people. Geography, you know. The turks control a pretty vital strip of water, if you catch my meaning."

"Of course," Sam says, crossing his arms over his chest, as he glances at Alistair, "France sounds a lot nicer then were ever it is the Ottomen's live." He laughs a little bit, the sound clearly forced, "I bet its a lot like Egypt."

Young spots Kathleen a moment too late. He passes the whole swearing thing off like a pro, tipping his hat to Kathleen. "Ma'am. Pardon me." Alistair and Tanner receive a tip up of his chin, familiar-like.

Tanner shakes his head to Alistair. "Oh, it was just bad luck what happened to Sergeant Harly. Accident, but he didn't come off so bad. He'll be fit to sail with us, I bet. Won't he, Nurse?" He turns to Kathleen. "Bet he wouldn't miss it. No one'd want to miss doing their bit for all this." He stifles a chuckle at Young's profane shouting, though he wipes the smirk off his face in front of Kathleen.

Johns asks, "Just what did Hardly do anyways?"

Kathleen inclines her head back at Young, not seeming offended. Embarrassed, maybe, but not offended. Tanner's question gets a blank look. "Sergeant Hardly? Afraid I didn't tend him myself. What did…" John asks the question before she can, so she trails off.

"Hey doc, how're you doing." Alistair offers Young casually. The young man turns to Sam and shrugs his shoulder with the rifle so he can reach forward to offer his hand in a formal shake. "Don't think I've met you yet, The name's Alistair Lydgate. All my pals call me Ali." His gaze drifts to Johns and then the nurse, "He got injured in a training exercise. Either some twat - er, sorry ma'am. Someone either nicked him in the leg or a bit of ricochet got him. Was being careless, really."

Johns nods

The shake that Sam gives Alistair's hand is brisk and quick, almost as if he doesn't really want to touch the other soldier for any longer then he has to. "Sam Castleberry," he says, introducing himself, "I dig holes. Which is why I hate Egypt so much. Digging in the sand.. bloody waste of time."

"Alright, thanks." Young nods to Alistair and flicks a grin back at Tanner, which he quickly wipes off. "Ricochet is what it was, got Hardly. He'll be limping a short while but he's fine. Ego took more a puncture than the leg did."

Patrick has arrived.
Patrick arrives from the North to Sleeping Tents.

Kathleen aahs at the explanation. "Ah, right, the bloke with the leg." This registers with her more than his name. "Quite a bit of heat exhaustion, with all the training."

Everyone's standing around chatting not far from the dressing station.

"Ricochet, I think," Tanner adds to Johns. "Didn't look it hit him square on, unless it just grazed him. I guess somebody might've gotten careless. They had us firing all about. You look him over, Doctor?" He turns to Young. "Sergeant Harly, I mean. He's going to be all right, isn't he?"

Johns says in a quieter tone, "I thought he was faking as a part of the training." He lifts the boxes a bit hire as he asks of Kathleen, "Where did you want these boxes?"

"Yeh," Young replies to Tanner, drawing the single syllable out in a 'no worries' kind of way. "You did a perfect job on him out there, everything's good. He'll be up and at 'em for the landing."

Alistair scratches the back of his head idley. "Well .. to be honest our approach wasn't exactly the wisest. We were two seconds away from being in one another's cross fire. I imagine that's what you get for splittin' a bunch of raw recruits into two squads at a second notice and telling them to shoot a bunch of training dummies. Was good practice though." Alistair hesitates, and finds a box to sit on. He slips his rifle off of his shoulder and lays it across his legs and leans forward. His elbows go to his knees and he holds up his face, his eyes looking out nowhere in particular.

Kathleen gives a soft 'oh' as Johns reminds her of the boxes and her task. "Just over here in the dressing station, aye. Thanks. Excuse me, gentlemen." A brief smile all 'round as she starts back to the tent.

"Aye. Doesn't seem real strategic, when you put it like that…" Tanner ponders this. "Maybe the sergeant was testing us. Seeing how we'd fare under pressure." He nods firmly, mind eased by that explanation. A parting nod is offered to Kathleen, along with a, "Good eve, Ma'am." At Young's words, he just shrugs. And probably flushes, though his face is so sunburnt it's impossible to see any difference. "I dunno about that. I didn't do so well at the shooting bit."

Sam wanders off, possibly to go dig a hole.

Johns places the boxes where indicated and offers Kathleen a kind smile, "Would that be all?"

Kathleen nods as the boxes are deposited and thanks Johns again, then wanders off to some nursely task or the other.

Kathleen has disconnected.

Alistair says "Well that's alright, I imagine. You're suppose to run around patchin' everybody up. Everyone else will be there to back you up though. Was kind of stressful bein' put on the spot like that, though. I figured I would go and get us lost in the bloody fields, opposite of the city. Point-man? I'm suppose to wrap wounds, not guide a squad.."

Johns quietly heads on his way too, most likely headed to the mess tent for any thing he can scrounge out of the cooks.

Johns has left.
Johns heads off North to Sleeping Tents.

Sam has disconnected.

"There's gonna be a hell of a lot more squad out there to do the pointing, Lydgate," Young falls neatly back into less polite language now that the female's gone. "Don't you worry. You'll have plenty of your own job to see to." Fatalistic, perhaps. He pulls the strap of his bag off his shoulder, setting it on a crate.

"I try not to think about it too much." Alistair says with his gaze drifting down to the ground. He seems to be in a much more somber mood than he was earlier. Almost like he's on some kind of emotional roller-coaster. Scared to confident to terrified to depressed. If he survives the first day it'll be because someone is watching out for him.

"You did fair well at it, though," Tanner says to Alistair. "You seem a smart bloke. Figure so long as the maps lead us right, we'll fare okay so long as we got somebody with brains leading us along." The fatalism from Young makes him blink. "You really think it'll be as bad as that, Doctor? That black bloke, the one who talks French…the stories he tells of France are a damn sight grim…" His smile fades as he considers that.

"It's war. Someone wins, someone loses, either way people get fucked." Young digs around in the crate for fresh rolls of bandages to restock his kit. "You keep your focus on what you're meant to be doing. That's what all of us need to do." His finger revolves in the air, indicating the three of them.

Alistair says "Wrap em, drag em, put them back together and send them back out. Assuming we'll even have the supplies once we're in the thick of it."

"Wrap 'em and drag 'em, aye…" Tanner says. Trying to sound jolly and enthusiastic about those words. They're hard to be enthused about, though. "Have you been in war before, Doctor?" he asks Young.

"Nah," Young answers Tanner, still checking his kit for things to be replenished. "Seen plenty of twats shooting at each other, but it was far too pathetic to be called 'war'." He can't be older than thirty, probably not too long out of medical school. "We'll be fine. Tapped in the head as the Poms can be, they ought to know what they're doing."

Alistair looks up from his rifle. "Hey? You think so? That we'll be alright, that is." He fidgets slightly, gripping his weapon tightly. "We just got to stick together, I imagine. Like a right proper team." He smiles slightly, even as the daylight fades.

"The officer who helped me sign up figured this'd all be over before Christmas," Tanner says to Young with a firm nod. "Besides, what was that Sergeant Hardly said today? How we just needed to march up to the enemy with our guns blazing and they'd turn tale and run? I figure that's the truth of it. No bloody Turk could stand up to the men of Australia, aye?" He nods. Reassured. And another nod is given to Alistair. "A team. Aye."

Young fishes a cigarette out of his pocket, sitting down on the crate. "Fucking right." He flicks a match to life, smoke curling up from the end of the cigarette. "So Tanner's from up Queensland, if my memory's not shit. What about you, Lydgate?"

Alistair says "Originally a London boy. Skipped across the ocean for Uni. Sort've forked off and didn't much make the marks to go much further. Not that I'm dull or anything, just … unmotivated. Sort of regretting that now, I think. I've actually got an uncle up in Queensland, now that I think about it."

"Queensland, aye. My folks' farm is outside a town called Dalby. Don't expect either of you blokes'd have hard of the place. Ain't much there to see," Tanner says. He blinks at Alistair, chuckling. "You're a Pommy, then? I wouldn't have guessed." That sounded like it was meant as a compliment. "London?" He can't keep a trace of awe out of his voice at the name of the place. "I was talking about London with some of the blokes the other day. I figure that'd be a fine sight for a man to see if he could travel to a piece of the world. London. Paris, too. Rather hoped we'd get shipped near Paris, but it don't seem they're sending us that direction."

"You went /to/ Australia for uni? Jesus, mate." Young smirks at that, exhaling smoke away from the two younger men. "What's London like, then? Most I've heard from folks went up there is bitching about how much it rains."

Alistair laughs. "Yep .. a regular pommy. London's not so bad, I think. It's got her good and bad parts, if you know what I mean. Though I figure I'm a bit biased, sometimes when you're in the thick of it all you kind of lose site of the stuff other people talk the most about. Rains not so bad. Though it's a regular holiday when the skies blue up. Otherwise it's all grey n' wet."

"I heard most of the buildings there are older than Australia herself, and it's got grand theaters and cathedrals, and people from all over the world wandering about the streets," Tanner says, wide-eyed as he imagines London. "Don't think I'd so much mind the rain if I got to see all that. Where'd you say you were from, Doctor? You talk like you been every place."

Young hehs at Alistair. "Guess you're appreciatin' it now, eh?" He looks over at Tanner. "Little port town of absolutely no consequence out near Perth. Home's home but haven't been there in forever." He makes a vague gesture towards the sand around them. "Been here with the Red Cross for years, 'round the Arab lands. Up into the Ottoman ones too, before everything went to shit."

"Yeah. You can say that. I thought Australia was bad, didn't even dream of this place. I mean, you read it in books right? About all these awesome and interesting places. And you get there, and realize that they forgot to mention that it was shit. Like they just up and forgot to mention that it's hot, sandy, and just pure shit." Alistair laughs. "When I get back though I uh .. when I get back.." his voice trails off.

"When you get back, you'll welcome the rain, won't you?" Tanner adds, finishing Alistair's thought for him. He's a more optimistic sort. "Wouldn't mind some rain right now, truth be told. It is pretty amazing, though, ain't it? Being in Egypt. Why, you can stand in the shadows of the pyramids not too far from here. I even saw the Sphinx when I was coming in. Big and real as anything. She looks a damn sight different than in the books, that's for certain. Never thought I'd see it for real…"

"You lot ought to head over there," Young tilts his head towards the pyramids. "Not far. Something to write home about. Might as well pack it in before we sail." He smirks at Alistair. "It's not so bad, mate. Cairo's pretty hospitable when you get down to it. Tried the shisha yet?"

Alistair shakes his head, "Heh, not yet. Though I'll give it a try in the morning. Right now I think I'm going to go get some shut-eye. Was an interesting day. I feel like we're gonna ship out soon, unless something goes backwards. I'll catch the two of you before then. If not, see you on the other side." The young soldier stands up, shoulders his weapon and offers a quiet goodbye as he makes his way towards the tents to get some rest.

Tanner's grin broadens on his ruddy face. "I wonder if we could climb them? Bloody hell, that'd be a thing. No bloke from Dalby ever climbed a pyramid before, I'll wager that." He nods to Alistair. "The morning, aye. I ain't tried this…shisha, either, but it sounds like something worth doing."

Alistair has left.
Alistair heads off North to Sleeping Tents.

"Try Al-Horreya," Young says, after a drag off the cigarette. "Just north of the Khan. Just watch yourself; the Poms like to slouch about over there, and they're right fuckers when they're drunk."

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