The Future Is Used Coffee Grounds

"The Future is Used Coffee Grounds"

Who: Young, Tanner, Alistair
When: April 1915
What: A day at the aid station. Young sterilizes and Tanner smokes (such as they are able), and the two talk about the world. Alistair learns of the results of his wiring mission.

Logger: Tanner

Ocean Beach

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


Coordinates : 1 6

The sand on the narrow beach is rough and hard, small stones are also scattered across the area.

A makeshift aid station has been erected here, though it's little more than a collection of tents with cots and tables. The doctors and nurses work in deplorable conditions to treat horrific wounds, fighting the enemies of disease, lack of sanitation and foul water as well as bullets and shells.

It is currently night time.

Sub-Rooms :
1. Aid Station
2. Slit Trench

===============================< In Your Location >===========================
TripleE (#16135) Wounded Patrick — (1) Aid Station I.
TripleE (#16150) Wounded David — (1) Aid Station I. Lee Enfield SMLE
TripleE (#16131) Tanner — (1) Aid Station I. Webley Mk VI
TripleE (#16137) Young — (1) Aid Station I.

Room Modifiers :
Elevation : 0 Cover : 100%
Stealth : 100% Inf.Move : 100%

West <W> East <E>
South <S> North <N>

Young is sitting on a crate at the aid station, a joke of a little candle providing just enough light for him to wash some bloody instruments in a metal tray.

Tanner is mucking around the aid station, mostly on gopher duty for the real doctors and nurses. He's drawn toward the dim light, squinting in the dim light as he nears Young. "Need a hand with anything, Doctor?"

"What the fuck are these, ice tongs?" Young pulls a set of some horrible instrument out of the fetid water, squinting at them. "Fucking supply gits." He starts feeling around where he's sitting for a drying cloth, and handily spots Tanner in the darkness. "Yeah, they've gone and stolen all my cloth. See any over there?"

«Illumination» A Very light burns out.

Tanner grimaces at the tongs, even in the dim light. Eww. He squints in the direction Young points, but can't make out anything. "I'll go and look," he says, exploring tentatively in that direction. He looks for a candle first. He can't see a thing in the darkness. "We ain't real well supplied. Maybe they're sending us more, now that we're here." He actually sounds hopeful of that. He's young.

Young snorts quietly. "Yeah, sure. Can't decide if I'm overjoyed or right mad that this place is completely Pomforsaken." He shakes off the medical implement, drops of bloody water splattering on the damp sand. "Check round that crate right there at your feet. Nurse found some in there earlier, I think."

"Pomforsaken? Heh…" Tanner lets out a chuckle at that. There's a forced note to it, though. He fumbles around for a candle. The sound of him bumping into boxes is audible, but he doesn't sound like he's breaking anything. And he does eventually find a candle, and manage to light it. "I don't figure they've really forsaken us, though. I mean, we're out here doing our bit for the English. Least they can do is keep our stores up, aye?"

"Would require them knowin how to read." Young fishes a crushed cigarette from his pocket while Tanner fiddles around. He picks up the stubby candle and holds it to his face, the light flickering over the stubble starting to form on his jaw. Once smoke's curling up, he uses his hand to shield the thing and exhales a gray plume. "Watch yourself, there. Shins alright?"

"Aye! I'm good," Tanner says, undaunted by his bumbling. He digs into a crate, sifting through things with less bumping now that he's got some light. "I think I found a bit of cloth for you, Doctor…how much you need?" He looks over his shoulder at the spark of the cigarette, almost curiously.

"Grab three of 'em, if you can." Young crouches back down at the metal tray, fishing out a set of forceps from the reddened water. "Probably just as dirty as the water, but we can pretend."

Tanner grabs up three clothes at Young's instruction, delivering them over to the doctor. He tries not to look too hard at the foul water. The idea of men being treated with instruments that've been dipped in it isn't appealing. "Can I…umm…have one of them?" he asks, gesturing half-shyly to the cigarette.

Alistair has arrived.
Alistair arrives from the South.

Young gives Tanner a slight smirk. "Didn't know you smoked." He hooks his fingers into his pocket and fishes another battered cigarette from it, holding it out to Tanner between his fingers. "Or you just tryin' to pick up the habit?" He and Tanner are sitting huddled with two small candles, washing and drying metal equipment. Or what passes for medical equipment.

"I don't…really," Tanner admits to Young with a shrug. He takes the cigarette eagerly enough, though. "Blokes around here seem to like it, though. I hear it helps with the smell some. Now's as good a time as any to start, aye?" The aid station is not exactly beautifully perfumed. He's just delivered some cloths to Young, who's cleaning some bloody instruments in a metal tray.

"Numbs the nose a little," Young agrees. He puts his own cigarette back into his mouth, being an experienced enough smoker to talk comfortably around it. The cloth's wrapped around the forceps, and he wipes off something gooey from the tips. "Just watch it if you smoke up at the front. Ottomans see that little light, blam."

"Blam…aye…" Tanner mutters, holding the cigarette between his finger tips to light it on the candle wick. Even positioned where they are, he cups his hand over it to shield the light as he lifts it to his lips. He puffs deeply. And promptly starts coughing, for his trouble.

Young starts laughing. He reaches over to clap Tanner roughly on the back. "Aye there we go lad, there's the cherry popped. Tastes like shit, don't it."

Tanner flushes, frowning, though after a beat he has to chuckle. "Aye. It does, come to it." He laughs, taking a more tentative drag. Still doesn't taste too sweet, but he manages not to cough this time. "Guess it gets easier with time, eh?"

"Yeah." Young is still smirking, but he gives Tanner a fraction of dignity back by picking his cloths back up. "Smokin's one of those few things that men start up with, go 'shit, this is awful', but just keep right on doin it. Glad thing women aren't half as bad or we'd die out."

"It ain't so bad," Tanner protests. Screwing up his face to keep from coughing again. He's certainly not going to /admit/ that it is now, at least. "Not sure I've ever see you without a cigarette at hand, or close to it."

"Yeah, well." Young puts the forceps aside once 'clean' and fishes in the disgusting water for another piece. "Here's to hoping the lads take this hellhole before we run out."

"It's not looking as easy as they said it'd be," Tanner has to admit. "Everything seemed to go mad that first night we landed." He holds the cigarette between his finger tips. Not inhaling, but the smoke drifts up around him, which does mask the stench of the aid station some.

"Sure enough." Young's hazel eyes picks up some of the candlelight as he looks around. The stench isn't the only thing that lingers here. Constant moans and groans of the injured in pain. "Shame if you're gonna go off and see the world it's world that looks like this."

"Aye…" Tanner agrees softly to that. This probably wasn't the glorious soldier-of-fortune experience he had in mind. He tries to puff again, still tentative about it. He still chokes a little. "You said you been here before? To Turk-land, I mean."

"Yeah." Young's eyes squint slightly as smoke threatens them from the cigarette in his mouth. He pulls a small scalpel from the water, running the cloth over the blade. "Not around here, mind you. Other parts."

Tanner sits on the turf outside the aid station tent, looking out from the beach, over toward the ridge line. "Must be a hard sort of people, to live in a place like this. I can see why the Huns got them as friends. They're monstrous fierce."

Young shrugs. "They can be twats, but most everyone is now and then." He plucks the cigarette from his mouth, exhaling. "They can be…hard to understand, I guess. Like they've got two separate sets of law. One's religious and one's for everything religion doesn't cover. Shari'ah law and kanun-i 'Osmani. Would take you two lifetimes to learn it all."

Tanner tilts his head as he listens to Young, frowning a little at the strange words, though it's with interest. "So they let priests and stuff make up their laws? I guess it ain't such a bad way to do things, if you think about it." He tries to exhale in mimic of the doctor. He can't get a proper stream of smoke out. "I read the Arabian Nights when I was a boy. About the genies and the bandits with scimitars and the like. All sounded right glorious back then. Never figured the same sort who wrote those stories'd be trying to kill my mates."

Young's pronunciation of the Turkish is quite good. The foreign words rolled off his tongue without difficulty. "Yeah, the Ottomans have some pretty tall tales." He nearly grins, briefly, and takes another drag off the cigarette. "Love their coffee, too. Make it in this pot called a cezve." He moves his hands to indicate the size of said pot. "After you drink it, you turn the cup upside down and they look at the grounds. They think it tells your future, you know?"

"Does it work?" Tanner grins at the idea. The expression makes his face look even more boyish. "The Aborigine folk got stories like that. About signs and symbols and the like. My dad told me not to put any stock in it. Said it was witchery." He sounds curious, witchery or not. His voice drops almost to a whisper, "Did it work? I mean, you ever see your future in the Turk coffee?"

"They been doin it forever. Figure if God didn't want 'em doin it, He'd make the point clear by now, eh?" Young sounds unworried about witchery and the like. He shrugs, lifting his arms to roll his tired shoulders. "Had mine read once. Said I'd spend my life journeying, and in the midst of darkness a light would always shine." He snorts quietly, glancing up at the fading traces of the Very light. "Maybe the buggers were right, I don't know."

Tanner regards the doctor, thinking on that while he tries to smoke. He's not hacking anymore, at least. And he manages to blow out a small puff. "Maybe…bet you didn't figure it was this sort of journeying they had in mind…You do talk like you been all over."

"Too much of a pain to get home, I guess," Young explains, drily. He takes another drag off the smoke, the orange light flaring. "Big world out there, Tanner. Heard the Poms talk so much about India, figure I might grab a look when this is all over." He exhales through his nose. "What about you?"

"India. I read about there, too. In the Kipling stories. Tigers and all. You really been? They really wear turbans and ride about on elephants and all of it?" Tanner's grin widens, though he shakes his head for his own part. "Me? I ain't never been no place notable. Never even been to the coast of Australia until I joined up and shipped out. Spent my whole life in Queensland, in them dusty little towns. Big world, aye. I figured I might get to see a bit of it, being a soldier. I did see the pyramids, at least. That was a pretty fine thing." He still sounds enthusiastic about that part of it, despite where he's currently shipped to.

"Haven't been. Yet." Young tacks that on with the ease of a travelling man. "Pyramids are a bloody sight, aren't they? You get to see the Sphinx up there and all?"

"I rode out to see them up close once before I left, aye," Tanner replies, right beaming at the memory of it. "Got up close to the pyramids themselves. Even touched them! Not many other blokes in Dalby can say that, I'll wager. You travel about with the army, then? Or the Red Cross?"

"Red Cross." Young drops his cigarette on the damp sand, grinding his heel onto it. He rests his arms down on his knees. "Got snatched by the military when I was in Cairo. Needed doctors and needed blokes what could speak some Turkish, so I got the short end." He smirks. "You? You a medic back with the civvies or you an army man?"

Alistair wakes with a start in one of the beds. For a moment the combat medic lies silently, and then begins the process of swinging his legs over the edge of his cot. Alistair suddenly lets out a pained groan and the medic recalls how he got there. Pausing for a moment he slips off and comes to his feet. After testing his legs he lifts the bottom of his blouse and examines the bandages wrapped around his midsection, a faint red circle on the side of his abdomen. A sigh escapes his lips.

Tanner shakes his head. "Nah. I ain't got no doctor teaching or nothing. Nothing formal. My mum's got some midwife learning. She takes care of some of the folk out in the Downs. The doctor's in town, and it's a long journey if you're hurt or a woman's having a baby or something. I used to help her sometimes. Never took care of anything me own self except the animals on our farm, though. Not 'til I joined up." Alistair's groan of pain makes him turn his head and straighten, stubbing out his cigarette and ducking back into the tent. "Likely shouldn't be moving, mate."

"Veterinary then?" Young looks surprised. "Sort of. Well, shit. You got plans to keep on, or…?" He leaves the 'or' open. His back twists as Alistair moans, and he starts to stand up. "Lydgate? The fuck happened to you?"

Alistair mumbles, "Wire laying duty. I only remember three bloody shots. The first missed, the second killed some replacement whose name I never learned, and then the third hit me in the damn gut. MacPherson managed to get away." The medic tests out his wound by passing on it, his hand travels around and he feels a bit of wetness on the otherside. He produces his fingers to have a wee bit of blood on them. "Red Cross took a pass between the trenches — I'm lucky to be alive. Bullet went right through me, didn't nick a thing."

"Lucky…" Tanner repeats that without much conviction. Being shot in the gut not sounding terribly lucky to him. "Well…you're alive, Ali. That's what counts, aye?"

Young presses his hands to his knees, getting up. "They get a look at you?" Not that the question has much weight. He's already heading over towards the medic. "You see what happened to Slocombe? Was he up there with you?"

Alistair shakes his head. "Who the hell is Slocombe?" The medic pauses before going on. "It was three of us, MacPherson, myself and the replacement. It was pretty much a disaster, maybe they figured we didn't put down enough wire and sent another party out. Maybe they gave them cover fire that time .." Alistair breathes deeply. They hadn't started giving cover fire until one of them dead and the other lay dying. It's a miracle MacPherson only escapes with a bloody hand.

"They brought Slocombe back in today with a bullet in his arm," Tanner says, swallowing after he's said it. "Walsh, too, all shot up. They'd been seeing to the wire. Heard the Turks cut down what'd been laid." He shakes his head.

"They're dirty like that." Young mutters. He ducks closer to Alistair's space and kneels down. "Let me have a look at that, Lydgate."

"A lad died, and I nearly got taken out — and it wasn't for any reason? Bloody hell, that's .. that's .. depressing." Alistair takes a look at the doc and nods, begining to undo his own bandages for him to see.

Tanner shakes his head quickly. "Don't think on it like that, mate. You were doing your bit. Making more work for the Turks out there than they would've had otherwise." He manages to sound like he believes it, at least.

Young pulls a candle close, the bad lighting forcing him to squint. He gets his glasses from his pocket, sliding them onto his nose. "Don't think about reason or no reason, Lydgate. It's war, not a chess game."

Alistair rubs his brow and nods. "Yeah. I know. Made me realize how bloody important our jobs are though. Hit the bloody ground and realized that the only person who could've done anything about it was me — and I was a little incapcitated."

"Aye…" Tanner mutters softly at Alistair's words, trailing off, thoughtful. He almost sounds guilty. He clears his throat, shrugging. "Anyhow, Doctor, I should be seeing about my duties, I guess. Thanks for the cigarette. I'll see you about, Ali."

Alistair chuckles and then looks faint. "I think I need to lay down doc. See ya around, Tan."

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