Letters and Words

Aid Station

It's night time, so the aid station is pretty quiet. A lot of the patients are sleeping. Anna is sitting in the corner, her notebook open on her lap. She's tapping on it with a pen, but doesn't seem to be doing any actual writing. Just looks lost in thought.

Carey is sitting with one of the patients in the aid station. His Bible is out and it appears he was reading to the young man from it at some point. The patient has fallen asleep, however, so Carey closes his book. For a moment he just continues to sit. Then he straightens and stands, stepping away from the bed, though he does not appear to have any other particular destination in mind just now.

Kappedal spent most of the day hauling in supplies that came in on the Allied ships. Supplies they're not doubt grateful to have. He goes in and out, in and out, and finally comes back with something wrapped up in a clean cloth handkerchief. He stops by his bunk to switch helmet for kippah, his usual indoor routine, and then continues towards the back on quiet feet. "Ms. Annabelle? Like a biscuit?"

Annabelle is startled out of her thoughts by Ben's question. Smiling faintly, she says, "Aye, Ben, thanks. And you can call me Anna if you like." She only stands on ceremony for the creepily-forward guys. Then a long-awaited question bursts free, "Why do you not wear your little hat under your helmet? Seems like it would fit, aye?" Only then does she notice the preacher wandering about. "All finished, Father?"

Carey is striding in the general direction of Kappedal and Anna, so he pauses to incline his head to them. "Private. Mrs. Clark. Hope the evening is passing well?" Kappedal's kippa is noted but not commented upon. To that last he answers, "Finished? Likely not. Taking a bit of a breather, though."

"It would get dirty," Kappedal explains, easily. The thing is white, after all. "Well. Dirtier." He smiles a little at the offer to call the woman Anna, making a polite sort of bow of his head, then he sits back on his heels and opens up the handkerchief, offering her the small pile of biscuits. American biscuits, of course. His dark blue eyes turn up at Carey's approach. "Hallo. Biscuit?"

Annabelle aahs to Ben's explanation. She takes a biscuit with a murmured 'thank you'. She nods to the preacher, then. "Aye, suppose your work is never really finished," she says with a wry half-smile. To his question, she sighs. "Well enough. I've been struggling with these letters." She takes a bite of the biscuit to cover her frown.

"Don't mind if I do," Carey says, taking up the offer of a biscuit. Anna's half-smile is returned with a faintly wry one of his own. "Your letters, yes. You'd asked for help with the one you were writing to your Bishop?"

Kappedal puts the handkerchief down in the middle, a few biscuits left for the hungry. Which includes him as he takes one and starts in on it, letting his back rest against the wall. A glance at Carey and then back at Anna.

Annabelle swats away at a bug that was drawn in by the light of the lantern hanging nearby. Or maybe the biscuit. Who knows. She nods slightly to Carey. "I've sat down to write them a thousand times by now, but I can't get farther than 'Dear Your Excellency' or 'Dear Elizabeth'." She shakes her head, the sad frown becoming more pronounced. "How do you write something so awful?" She looks to them both, as if expecting some kind of wise answer.

Carey takes a biscuit, though he doesn't dig into it straight away. He pulls up a chair and sits in the light of Anna's latern. "Letters such as that are the most difficult part of all this for me, I think," he says. "Only way I've found to do it is just to write things as they are. There's no easy way to get around it."

Kappedal is already done with one biscuit. He inhaled that like he hadn't eaten all day, brushing his fingers on his fatigues knee. "Yeah, just…write exactly what you need to say, first. Just to get something on paper, you know? Then you can go back and make it sound like you want, but at least you got something to work with. It helps." He shrugs one shoulder.

"Do you often write them?" Anna wonders, looking over at the preacher with a sympathetic expression. "I suppose I always wondered who did." She nods to Kappedal. "That makes sense, aye. I suppose with the Bishop it's easier. But for Edward's mum…" Her brow creases, and she says, "I only met her the once, but she was such a nice lady."

Carey shrugs. "When there's no one else appropriate available. Our loved ones back home deserve that much." His expression grows more somber when Anna speaks of Edward's mother. He nods. "She will take a letter from your hand as more of a comfort than it if came from another, I'm sure."

Kappedal nods his silent agreement to Carey's sentiment, keeping his voice down. For the sleeping ill and for solemnity's sake, both. "It's not your fault you have to give her bad news, Anna."

"Thanks, Ben. I know, it's just… I just keep thinking about her reading it. She was so worried about Edward going." The biscuit sits forgotten in Anna's hand as she talks. She nods to Carey, "But you're right, Father. 'Tis why I haven't asked anyone else to. I suppose I can't delay any longer, though. The Navy is bound to send something to her now that they know what happened. May already have done." She frowns at that thought.

"Perhaps." Carey doesn't deny the possibility. "If I can be of any assistance to you, Mrs. Clark, I'd be happy to oblige. I suspect you know what needs be said better than anyone else, though."
Kappedal picks up another biscuit. The mood may keep him quiet, but it doesn't keep him away from the edibles. There's a long hesitation before he asks, cautiously, "What's the Bishop?"

"Thank you, Father. I don't rightly know what might help, though. But I'll keep it in mind." Anna seems grateful for the distraction of Ben's question. "He's in charge of all the churches and missions in this area. I've never met him, myself, but the Reverend often spoke of him."

Carey nods to Anna, eating at his own biscuit. He has a healthy enough appetite, despite the subject.

Kappedal thankfully seems to remember the term 'Reverend'. Or at least, the man it referred to. And once this teenager's curiosity's been cracked open, it doesn't quite shut up. "Did you go a lot of places? Teaching and things like that?" This seems kind of aimed at Carey too, under some kind of assumption that priests do the same thing as missionaries.

Annabelle shakes her head slightly. "We came from Australia to here. It's very hard to get through the jungle, but we'd take canoes to other places on the island sometimes. Over to the district office at Aola, or the plantations. Once we went and saw Father de Klerk. He runs a mission over on the west coast at Tangarare. He's Catholic," she says, with a glance at Carey. She seems relieved to be talking about something else. "I only taught the villagers 'round here, myself."

Carey chews quietly. It takes him a moment to realize Kappedal was, sort of, speaking to him as well. At the implication, he chuckles. "I'm no missionary, Private. Though there are Catholics in that line of work. Don't think I'd have the patience for it, myself. I'm just a Navy man. Have been since not long after I got out of seminary."

A Jeep rolls up outside the Aid Station, a Private driving. Out of the passengers side comes Fredricks, leather Doctors bag in hand as he puts boots to ground, moving around the Jeep as the vehicle drives back to NPCland. He walks to the Aid station, coming in as he glances about, nodding to those here, "Hello." He says.

Kappedal is sitting in the corner in a quiet huddle with Annabelle and Carey. There's a handkerchief spread out in the middle of them, with some cold biscuits lying on it. "Oh, I see," he replies to Anna. "That's still pretty brave. Your parents weren't worried about you, coming out here?" That's baffling to him. Carey's statement about patience makes him grin, just for a second. "What's a seminary?" Full. Of. Questions. He looks up and raises a hand to Fredricks.

«Game» It is now dawn.

Annabelle still hasn't really eaten much of her biscuit. The sad look from earlier still hasn't quite faded, but she still smiles slightly to Ben's question. "Oh, aye, they were. But they could tell I had my mind made up." The smile fades. Carey gets a mildly curious look, then she says softly. "I never really set out to be a missionary. Edward, he…" Her voice catches a bit so she just shakes her head and changes gears. "He was the brave one. I only followed along."

Carey's grin widens, seeming to enjoy Kappedal's questions. "Seminary? Could think on it as school for the religiously minded, I suppose. Teaches one theology, philosophy, spirituality…bit of history as well. It was where I did my studies before I was ordained a priest." Anna's mention of Edward makes his expression somber again, however, "You must've been brave enough in your own right, a woman agreeing to come to a place like this."

Fredricks moves into the Station, nodding to the group. Hmm. Religious debate. Oookay. "Anything interesting happen while I was out with the other units?" He asks.

Debate? Nah, not unless debating allows one to give the other parties the third degree. Kappedal's interest looks piqued at this mention of Higher Education, heretical as it may be. "Oh, that must have been very interesting. The philosophy and all that. It sounds like yeshiva when you're older…do all Catholics go to that?" After that long round he too looks back at Anna, at the more somber statement. "I'm sorry we couldn't have met him, Anna. He sounds like he was a good man." Up to Fredricks, he shakes his head. "Not very much. We unloading all the medical supplies from the ships though. There's a new inventory on your cot, they want you to sign it or something."

"Kind of you to say, Father," Anna says, a tiny smile breaking through the somberness. Only now does she finally notice the doctor's return. "G'Day, Doctor." She looks to Ben, letting him answer the doctor's question. She gives a grateful nod to Ben's words. "Thanks. I wish you could have as well." Looking somewhat distressed, she rises, "I'll go get some water. And cups."

"I don't know much about the yeshiva but, from what the rabbis in the corps have told me, it's similar," Carey replies to Kappedal with a nod. "Most of those who want to be priests do. Nuns as well. For the rank-and-file church-goer, usually not." To Anna he nods, bowing his head slightly. "Of course, Mrs. Clark. I thank you for the conversation, as always." Fredricks just gets a nod and cordial, "Doctor."

Fredricks nods to the Priest, and Annabelle, smiling, "Hi." He says, then to Kappedal, he sighs, "right, I'll go look over the paperwork." He moves off to do exactly that.

Kappedal snags a third biscuit, chewing on it hungrily. His mouth's full when Anna stands up, and he chews faster to be able to swallow it down before he talks. "Thank you." He did note the distressed look but, at a loss for words, he looks back at Carey. "You knew some rabbis?" This, /this/ seems to strike him as a good thing. Somewhere, /somehow/, he's going to get an explanation of what these wacky people believe. "I didn't see any on our base. But there weren't any priests either, they were called something else. Pasture…not pasture. Something like that. I don't remember." He gives Fred a sympathetic glance. Ha ha paperwork. Sucka.

Annabelle isn't gone long, just long enough to fetch a pitcher of water and a stack of cups. And to regain her composure. She sets the cups down on the table near the biscuits and asks, "Who'd like some water?" Ben gets a curious look as she walks into the middle of a sentence. "Pastures?"

"Pastor, yes." Carey's pronunciation smooths out the difference, but he seems to consider it close enough. He allows himself a faint smirk. "Figures. Like the rest of the world, the Protestants outnumber the rest of us in the service. I've known a rabbi or two over the years, yes. The chaplain's corps has to serve every soldier, after all. We try to, at least." He scarfs the rest of his biscuit, offering a grateful nod to the medic, and stands. "Speaking of, I'm sure there's some work I should be attending to."

Fredricks drops out of the conversation, working on the medical concerns of the Station, moving to the medical stores, checking between the things currently here, and the new stuff that's coming in. what's going from here to elsewhere, to support others. He works along, keeping his focus on the flow of the station. working. sigh.

"Pastor," Kappedal repeats. The word he was saying wasn't quite 'pasture'. It was a slip of pronounciation like someone to whom English isn't /quite/ natural. "Whatever Protestants are protesting, it must be awfully loud to have their own priests," he observes, then nods to Carey. "Have a very good morning." At Anna's offer of water he holds up a hand gratefully. "Yes, thanks."

"Have a good nigh…morning, Father. And thanks." Anna pours Ben a cup, and another for the doctor presuming he'll eventually need it. Then one for herself. She smirks weakly at Ben's comment. "You have your own priests, too, don't you? Rabbis, I think you said. Or he said." Someone said. She can't keep track.

Carey chuckles at Kappedal's observation about protesting Protestants. He likes that. "That's a good one, Corpsman. I may have to use it one of these days. A good morning to you as well. Mrs. Clark." A nod to Annabelle as he passes, on his way off to other business.

Fredricks finishes the paperwork and moves back from the dungeon of that crap, moving up to the group, lifting a hand to Carey, "See you later, Father." He says in parting.

Kappedal doesn't seem to realise his own funny. He waves to Carey, taking a sip of his water. "I don't think they're the same, though," he tells Anna after a moment to think about it. "Our rabbi said they weren't. But I don't know much about priests, so I couldn't say. Maybe I can get Padre to tell me later, then I could tell you." He picks up the last biscuit, offering it to Fredricks.

Fredricks shakes his head to Kappedal, "No thanks Ben." He says, sighing as he scratches his neck, "Well, we're set up and in fairly good shape."

"Oh," Anna says. "Well I don't know anything about rabbis so I've no idea. There's some water as well, if you like," Anna says to Fredricks, pointing out the cup she poured. She nods. "Ship brought in a lot of useful things, it seems."

The biscuit isn't wasted. Once declined, it goes straight into Kappedal's mouth. "They sent extra quinine," he announces, shielding his mouth with his hand while he chews. "Not very much, though."

Fredricks nods, smiling to Annabelle, taking the cup of water, "Thank you, Ms. Clark." He says as he takes a drink of the water, now with twice as much Hydrogen as Oxygen! He moves to sit and nods to Kappedal, "I saw that. Next thing you know we'll have to make the lads drink Tonic water." He makes a face.

Annabelle frowns slightly. "Can they not spare it?" She shakes her head. "We always made sure to have a good bit of that on hand." Her brow furls. "I suppose there's still some there, if we get in a pickle. Unless the Nips made off with it." A deeper frown, then.

"I bet they can't get much through," Kappedal muses, looking down into his water cup. "Maybe they can't get it at all. I remember I heard once at the hospital that it was the Dutch who made lots of the quinine we had. And the Nazis are in Holland now." A slight frown, and he sips the water. "Well. If we run out we could go look. It's going awful fast. Couple more came in with shivering fever just this morning."

Fredricks nods, "Well, use it if you need it, but mind the stores we have. If going to try to find more is looking like a needed option? Go to an officer to get some men to help you. Let me know and I'll back the reccommendation."

"Och, aye, I hadn't thought of that," Anna admits. That's a much more charitable explanation than the marine HQ being stingy, so she goes with that. "Blasted horrible sickness. I had it once, not long after we arrived. Reverend couldn't ever quite shake it. He'd get the fevers off and on, but he still stayed. The natives don't seem to get it too often." She doesn't reply to Fredricks, assuming he's talking to Ben.

Speaking of it all. With the dawn light people start to wake up, and when they wake up they start to moan. And vomit. And all manner of things that need tending to. Kappedal glances past Fredricks at a stirring patient or two on his rounds list, and he downs the rest of his water. "Okay, doc. I gotta go find the mop." He cracks a crooked, wry grin at them and then he's eeking past. Cleanup, aisle Marines.

Fredricks nods to Kappedal, with a kind smile to him, "Good work, Ben." He says, then settles in with his water. Mmm water. He looks to Annabelle, "How are you doing?"

"Take care, mate," Anna offers to the departing marine, making an eeew face at the vomit. Blood and guts don't seem to bother her too much, but keep that stuff away from her. She drinks her own water, nodding slightly to the question. "I'm all right. Bit tired - been a long day." Or night as the case may be. "And yourself?"

Fredricks nods, "Much the same, really. Working in another station, but, well.." He shrugs, "They needed more help, so I was pulled there, and now, I'm back for the timebeing."

Annabelle nods. "Well, glad to have you back. You didn't miss too much, like Ben said." She waves a hand at her notebook. "Father Carey was trying to help me with my letter to Edward's mum." Not much progress so far, judging from the blank page.

Fredricks nods, sobering, "How's that going? I know it can't be easy. You've really held together well, by the way."

"Thanks," Anna says, a bit awkwardly at his comment. "I've done a lot of praying for strength to carry on." She gives a rueful look at the paper. "I keep starting to write it, but I can't get past the first few words. Either I get stuck completely or nearly fall to pieces crying." She shakes her head. "Can't really put it off any longer, or she's going to find out from the Navy."

Fredricks nods, "I understand." He sighs, "Is there anything I can do to help you with this?" He asks, a little helplessly.

Annabelle looks a bit helpless herself. "Thank you. Father Carey asked the same, but I don't know what could help. Unless you have any advice." She's reaching.

Fredricks takes a deep breath, then lets it out, nodding, "Outline? good way to start, or make a list of what you want to say, then write out the letter, going from topic to topic. The point is, to hide your personal feelings behind a structure for the letter."

Annabelle nods, "Ben said something like that as well. That's a good idea. I suppose… I suppose I can say something about the mission, all the good he did here," she says, thinking aloud.

Fredricks nods, "Sounds like a good thing." He says, encouraging the flow of her thoughts.
It's not so much a flow as a trickle. "I don't know if I ought to say anything about the coast-watching. 'Tis not really a secret, but…" Her brow furls. "I don't know how she'd take to it."

Fredricks nods, "Then don't. Tell her after the war when you return."

Annabelle nods, seeming content with that recommendation. But that takes her down another bunny trail. "I was talking to Captain Clemens earlier. He though that the Nips must have found out about it somehow. Traced the radio, or found out from one of the scouts. And that's why they…" She frowns.

Fredricks nods, "That's why they moved on your camp." He finishes with a doctors detatchment. Defense mechanism.

"Aye," Anna agrees somberly. She wraps her fingers around her cup, staring down at it rather than at Fredricks. "I don't know which is worse… to think that they'd be so horrible as to just gun down missionaries, or to think that if we'd just stayed out of it, like the Reverend wanted, that maybe none of this would have happened."

Fredricks shakes his head, "I don't think so, you were possible allies, as soon as the war broke out and we were came here. When this area heated up, you were suddenly something to be eliminated. from their point of view." He shrugs, "Not that I know for certain, but it seems to make sense."

Annabelle nods, looking unconvinced. But she does at least acknowledge the possibility. "Maybe you're right." She sighs. "We'll never really know. Though I suppose it doesn't matter either way. Done is done."

Fredricks nods, "An unfortunate truth in that, aye." He sighs, and straightens, "But, I need to go get some sleep."

Annabelle nods. "Rest well, doctor." she says, and goes off to help Ben with the patients.

Fredricks rises, and moves off to fall over into bed. Zzzzzz.

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