Fleeing Spain

Where: Mediana
Who: Elizabeth, Rothschild, and the Board of Shadowy Figures
When: September, 1937

Theatre is : Belchite

Coordinates : 5 5

The more prominent buildings are constructed of a pale brown, ruddy stone, while the poorer structures are wrought of plain wood, plaster and shingle. Civilians have long since fled the town, leaving soliders, and rats as the only occupants.

It is currently dawn.

Sub-Rooms :
1. House

One who read Shakespeare might paraphrase that 'Nothing in Spain went so well as the leaving of it'. Order came in transferring the XI International Brigade toward the fighting at Tereul, and the town of Mediana is a tempest of confusion. No letter had been trusted; it was by word of mouth that the Rothschilds were informed that one of the trucks among the dozen which had arrived to transport soliders, wounded, and munitions to the next fight- one of those trucks would go instead toward Barcelona, where a ship had been arranged.

The driver of the truck was sympathetic, and a well placed bribe had done the rest; he would say nothing of the passengers.. provided they could even get to him unnoticed.

Whatever money Ben had will be drained by the time he leaves Spain. And he doesn't have much left. Not that he cares much about that right now. The reporter has stowed his Parisian suit (not that it was in the best shape, anyway) for less conspicuous Spanish clothing. And he's gotten Elizabeth a set of the same. One thing he hasn't been able to obtain, in his preparations, in a replacement for her pistol. Maybe he couldn't manage it. Or maybe he still can't bring himself to lay his hands on one. In any case, he says nothing of it as he tries to aid his wife out of the hospital between shifts. And to the truck.

Thankfully, the worst of Elizabeth's bruises have healed, leaving her with only the fading marks of the deepest, and those are only painful when someone resses at them specifically. This allows her to move out of the hospital upright and under her own power, making her much less conspicuous than if Ben had had to carry her out. If she's bothered by her lack of pistol, she hasn't said anything.

A half dozen soliders run past, carrying a trio of long rifle boxes between them. Though no guns are left inside, the wooden plank boxes have been pressed into use to hold the meagre food and water ration for a detachment. Further ahead, a curt voice barks instructions, and another munitions truck pulls into the plaza, it's headliughts illuminating the men who hurry up to begin packing it. Another pair of silders hurry past, carrying a tretcher and one of the worst wounded, and suddenly, Ben and Liz are left in a moment of silence, on the dark street.

Rothschild watches the trucks with eyes narrowed, squinting into the darkness. He's removed his glasses, another telling sign, but he's described their truck in detail to Elizabeth. Hopefully, she's keeping a less far-sighted eye out for it. He keeps close to his wife, in the shadows, as the silence takes over the street. Outwardly, he's calm and collected. Inwardly, his nerves are on a razor's edge. Which Elizabeth can no doubt tell. In the quiet as he waits he whispers, out of the blue, "Ever wanted to see the Big Apple, Lizzie?"

Grinning faintly as Rothschild asks that question, she nods slightly. "I think your daughter would like to see her other grandparents, and a vacation is in order I think," she agrees back in a whisper, trying to ease a little of Rothschild's worry by planningn for the future. Indicating that they will, indeed, have one. Looking around, Elizabeth hesitates a moment before reaching for Ben's hand. "Come on," she murmurs and hurries in the direction they need to be going.

Rothschild nods, taking Elizabeth's hand in his and clasping it tightly. "I didn't mean a vacation," he says, keeping his voice low. Though there's an urgency to his tone that indicates this is something he /needs/ to say. "I've been thinking a lot, Lizzie. About my past. My life. Our life. I haven't been a very good husband to you." The appearance of the ambulance makes him squint even harder. "Is that our taxi?"

"It's an ambulance," Elizabeth answers quielty as they start the first, and perhaps most dangerous, part of their flight. "And stop it, Ben. We've done more, shared more, helped each other through more than most couples do in a lifetime. I've loved every moment I've spent as your wife." And she sounds like she means it.

One of the munitions trucks pulls out of Mediana, rumbling along the south westerly road toward the frontof the latest overwhelming Nationalist push. Another truck pulls in to take it's place, the driver noting aloud, in spanish that he needs petrol before moving on. The spotted 'taxi' pulls to a stop alongside another of the same type along one of the side streets which flank the aid station. The driver, an unshaven spaniard, with a lit cigar waves off one of the orderlies who approaches and asks, "No no no… Not to Tereul. This for the spent bottles, scrap metal. Go back east." He has'nt spotted the pair yet.

Rothschild squints toward the Spaniard, as if he vaguely recognizes the voice. But he sticks to the shadows while the driver deals with the orderlies. To Elizabeth, he shakes his head. "I've spent the last fifteen years running, Lizzie. From the things I saw, the things I did, in France during the war. I'm tired of running. I want to go home, Lizzie. I want to take you home."

Tightening her hand in Rothschild's, Elizabeth sighs. "We'll talk about it once we're out of here, Ben. We'll have to talk…" Because Elziabeth doesn't think she could be happy sitting home like an old maid darning socks. That said, she starts to skirt towards the trucks, recognising them as the right sort of thing, and knowing that east is the way they want to go.

The bozes of empty bottles, vials, and cloth wrapped syringes are among the first items loaded into the ambulance. The spent remains of the desperate, but doomed fight to keep healthy the desperate and doomed men who defended Mediana. the driver draws several puffs of his short cigar, itching at his stubble covered jaw, and lazily turning a pass of his eyes about the plaza.

Rothschild just nods, edging toward the truck along with Elizabeth. Though he keeps his manner calm, his dark eye are alight. Sharp and intense, his mind going a mile a minute as thoughts of the dangerous present and the future swirl in his head. "Buenas noches," he mutters to the driver, when he's near enough to the Spaniard. In Spanish, of course. "Any room in there for some more cargo, friend?"

As Rothschild does his thing, talking to the driver, Elizabeth remains half-hiden in shadows beside him, attention focused on their surroundings, and any comings and goings that may, at some point, affect them. Just being aware.

"Buenos Tardes, senor," the driver returns with a wan, tobacco stained grin. "It's too late for 'noches'," he adds in accented english. Lower he mutters, as brown eyes slip to Elizabeth and back to Ben, "Be quick about it. I'm not wanting to hang around too long."

There are many things to occupy Elizabeth's attention; besides the Brigadiers hurrying about, there are others.. here and there men whose clean and well kept uniforms mark them as more (or less) than common grunts. The eyes of one linger on the photographer a moment, before looking away again.

Rothschild is too occupied with the driver to note the man with the lingering eyes. "You've been paid enough money to hang around awhile yet," he says. But he's not eager to linger, either. He goes to board the truck, urging Elizabeth along. "Come on. It's time to go."

Nodding slightly, Elizabeth turns to move to enter the truck. "Lingering isn't good. The'll notice I"m not at the aide station soon," she murmurs, settling in as quickly as she can. And thens he pauses, turning to Ben. "Where's your friend?"

The driver mutters back, "Not enough money in the world to make me wantin' to be getting shot, senor." To Liz's quiet question, the spaniard quirks a dry grin and voices, "Under the spare tire, senora. Quickly.."

Rothschild has no wish to get shot, either. He just nods tersely to the driver, then to Elizabeth. He can do quickly. And he is as quick as possible about getting himself loaded, and hidden, in the truck.


Theatre is : Belchite

Coordinates : 6 5

Though the road have been shelled numerous times, large craters dotting it in uneven intervals, it's still a road that can be used if you don't mind some crisscrossing. The shelled vehicles or heaps of rubble is more of a trouble since they make visibility harder.

It is currently night time.

Rothschild gets low, keeping a hand clasped to Elizabeth's at all times. Just to remind himself that she's near. "I should have never come to Spain," he mutters to himself. "I don't think I did a bit of good. Not for Delaware. Not for you, Lizzie. Certainly not for our family. Our child…" His voice chokes. "I just…when I heard what was going on in Germany. The rumors, the stories, streams of Jews leaving the country…Maybe I wanted to be part of the stand against that. In my own way. Much as I talked about being impartial, I never thought the bastards fighting fascism would be almost as bad. I was wrong."

Elizabeth tightens her hands in Rothschild's, keeping her voice low and surprisingly soothing. "You're wrong, Ben. I meant it when I said I've loved every moment." Shifting to get a little bit closer to her husband, her voice drops even lower, barely loudly enough to carry to him. "You can't save the world..but you can tell them the truth. That -is- saving someone. Maybe not Delaware, but some other boy who thinks that the call to fight is a great lark.:

The back doors close on Ben and Liz once the couple are inside. footsteps from outside carry the driver around, and the truck's door opens and shuts, the chassy shifting with the weight. through the small view window, the spaniard voices mutters as the engine stirs to life, "There's a gun behind the big box. Your friend thought you might need it." The ambulance lurches slowly forward, turning around to start out of the blasted town, toward the south-east.

"Delaware wasn't here for a lark, Lizzie," Rothschild says. "He believed in something. Died for it. He was a good man. One of the best friends I've ever had. He deserved better than to die here." When he hears that voice he nods, reaching behind the box to take up the gun. He does it without hesitation, though his face grimaces as he holds the thing. But he may very well need it.

Inching closer to Rothschild, Elizabeth sighs softly, nodding. "Yes, Ben, but he wouldn't want you to give up because of him. He looked up to what you do, did you know that?" comes her quiet murmuring as she tightens her hand around his. And then she reaches out for the gun. "Why don't you give that to me, darling?"

Rothschild looks to Elizabeth, not able to hide his surprise. "Looked up to me?" He lets out a soft, bitter laugh, shaking his head. "Dumb kid." He sighs. "If I ever get back to the States, I should look up his family. Whatever's left of them. I…I owe him that much. Him and his brother Mark." He eases his hands over the pistol before Elizabeth even asks the question. But he shakes his head when she does. "No. You're still healing, Lizzie. I've got it." Indeed, even though it's been years, he still knows how to hold the thing. "Just hope to God we won't need it."

The loud passage of the ambulance over the old cobblestones of Mediana's street growns more pronounced for a moment, as the slow speed of maneuvering around many men on foot grows ever so slightly. Within moments the street beneath smooths out to the more modern pavement of the Pan-Aragon highway. Yet no sooner has the passage begin to smooth and the speed begun to build (the last outlying buildings to the east of Mediana can be spied to either side) than the brakes are stepped upon.

Elizabeth hesitates a moment before she leans over and lightly kisses Rothschild's cheek before she settles her head on his shoulder. Seems she's waiting for the ride. "Ben, you've done alot of good here. We both did," she murmurs quietly as she settles in. "I'll be honest, Ben, I don't want to become a housewife, and I don't much care to report on the fire at the local bar." A sigh, and she falls silent. "You really don't believe in what you do anymore?" As the brakes are hit, Lizzie falls silent, tensing as she eases instantly away from Ben. She knows not to encomber him, jus tin case something happens.

Rothschild pauses a moment, regarding Elizabeth, and then smirking at the idea of her playing housewife. It's enough to amuse him, even given the situation. He starts to answer, but breaks off any talk when the vehicle slows. He gets low in the back, hiding himself as best he can. He doesn't bother to warn Elizabeth to do the same, assuming she knows enough to follow.

The driver mutters through the small viewing window, into the back of the ambulance, "Checkpoint. Keep quiet, and keep out of sight.." Apparently the spaniard does'nt know that both are capable enough to hide themselves quietly.. The screech of a vehicle whose brakes are rather low on the list of priorities in the grand scheme of Spain are shrill to the ear for a moment as the automobile slows to a stop. From without comes a command in spanish, to stop. The driver complies, and the sound of the driver's side door being opened (not to mention the shifting of weight on the vehicle's suspension) alert that the driver is stepping out. A few choice words drift back to those in the ambulance's back, spoken in a polished voice, colored with false warmth: 'Standard procedure', and 'Republic of spain' among them. Footsteps of more than one man move around to the back of the ambulance..

Elizabeth hunkers down in the opposite corner from Rothschild, giving them both a little more cover and giving anyone coming in two targets…and her a chacne to possibly hit them in the back if they happen to find Ben.

Rothschild eases the pistol inside his tattered Spanish jacket as he ducks down. Best to keep it a surprise. Besides, he's still hoping they'll make it through without a shot fired. His ears perk at the chatter in Spanish, and he frowns. That doesn't bode well.

The heavy clunking sound of the back door's latch being opened, and the wash of cool evening air serve as clues that the door now stands open. The light of a handheld lantern shines into the vehicle a moment later, before the automobile shifts once again, with the weight of another stepping up onto the back bumper. "Surely there must be more fitting modes of transportation, senor?" is offered in english.

Why are they speaking in english? Oh, this can not be good. Elizabeth shifts further down in her corner, as much as she can, as silently as she can. Her gaze flicks from the back entrance to Rothschild's hiding spot for a moment and then back, almost as if waiting for a face to look down and find her…

Rothschild tenses. Maybe they haven't been spotted. Maybe they can still squeak by. But it's a slim chance, and he's not prepared to rely on it. Instinctively, his hand tightens around the pistol, easing it out of his jacket. All his muscles are coiled like springs, as if remembering the training from the Great War he's tried so hard to bury. Because just like back in the trenches, he knows he and the person next to him are very close to death right now.

The hand held light draws nearer and nearer. Half glimpsed past the lantern's brightness is a familiar, and none too welcome face: Slicked back dark hair, and an empty smile affected upon a swarthy spanish face. "Ahh, Senora Rothschild.." as the face looks down upon the first of the passengers discovered. "In the name of the Spanish Republic.. I must ask you to come with me."

Shrinking back slightly as the light comes over her, Elizabeth hesitates a moment before she slowly rises to her feet, using the crate beside her to steady herself. "You've taken my husband from me, and now you've come to get me, too?" Stepping forward, she eyes the slimey little man as bravely as she can. "At least have the decency to take me to him, so I can try to sooth whatever wounds it is you've inflicted on him." And she prays he buys it, that Ben is somewhere else.

Esteban's head tilts to a curious angle, the veneer of a smile still curling the spaniard's lips, "As you wish Senora," he returns, a hand held out to the aussie, palm up. "Come along."

Elizabeth lifts her chin at Esteban's offer of his hand, dismissing it even as she moves to slip past him towards the back of the trust. She can't hope but help Rothschild will have taken her hint, her point that he isn't there.

Rothschild inches up, as quietly as he can, the pistol entirely out his jacket now. Perhaps he hasn't been spotted yet. Perhaps he could just lay low and get out of Spain free and clear. But his wife is about to be carted off by the SIM again. And that, he can't so much live with. So he eases up, raising his pistol, trying to aim a clear shot at Esteban's back.

«Ground Combat» You hear the sound of Pistols from Road (6 5)!
«Ground Combat» Rothschild fires his Astra Model 400 at Esteban but misses!

Esteban ducks instinctively as the loud shot hisses past him, backpedaling hurriedly. Dropping the lantern to crash on the ambulance's floor, the spaniard grabs at his sidearm, while shouting loudly in spanish. He tumbles out the back of the ambulance. Once out of the cramped confines, his courage returns and Esteban howls, "Shoot them! Shoot them!" Drawing his own gun up to add more more bullet toward the besieged couple.

«Game» Esteban wields his Astra Model 400!

«Game» Javier changes his style to Banzai!

«Game» Elizabeth changes her style to TakeCover!

«Ground Combat» Javier fires his Mosin-Nagant at Rolls Royce Ambulance and hits!
«Ground Vehicles» Javier hits Rolls Royce Ambulance (#3766) in the FRONT!
Superficial Hit!

«Ground Combat» You hear the sound of Pistols from Road (6 5)!
«Ground Combat» Esteban fires his Astra Model 400 at Rothschild but misses!

Elizabeth dives back behind the crates with a cry. "BEN!" Oh, she's not happy, and if they get out of this alive, it's fairly safe to say that she is going to have words for her husband. But with that hardly said, she scrambles to try and get into the front seat, to try and drive.

The crack of small arms fire rings out, with the occasional bullet striking sparks off the hood as Elizabeth struggles into the front seat..

«Ground Combat» You hear the sound of Pistols from Road (6 5)!
«Ground Combat» Esteban fires his Astra Model 400 at Rothschild but misses!

«Ground Combat» Javier fires his Mosin-Nagant at Rolls Royce Ambulance but misses!

«Game» Esteban changes his style to Banzai!

«Ground Vehicles» Elizabeth gets into Rolls Royce Ambulance.#-1

«Game» Rothschild changes his style to Banzai!

Rothschild puts off any fighting with his wife for later. "Get to the wheel, Lizzie!" he shouts. "If that driver won't move, move him! We're getting out of here!"

«Ground Combat» You hear the sound of Pistols from Road (6 5)!
«Ground Combat» Rothschild fires his Astra Model 400 at Esteban and hits!
Esteban suffers 6 wound damage to his left leg.

Esteban is shot through the leg, collapsing into the dirt with a shriek of pain. A steady spread of crimson staining the khakis of his uniform trousers. Screaming through clenched teeth, the SIM man brings his pistol back up, shaking slightly, to fire back at the American.

«Ground Combat» Javier fires his Mosin-Nagant at Rolls Royce Ambulance but misses!

«Ground Combat» You hear the sound of Pistols from Road (6 5)!
«Ground Combat» Esteban fires his Astra Model 400 at Rothschild and hits!
Rothschild suffers 6 wound damage to his right leg.

Rothschild is momentarily surprised that his shot actually hit something, before he remembers himself and starts scrambling toward the front. As he's doing that, he gets his own shot in the leg. "Goddammit!" he barks, stumbling. Just like old times.

«Ground Vehicles» Rothschild gets into Rolls Royce Ambulance.#-1

«Ground Combat» Javier fires his Mosin-Nagant at Rolls Royce Ambulance but misses!

«Ground Combat» Esteban fires his Astra Model 400 at Rolls Royce Ambulance but misses!

«Ground Combat» Javier fires his Mosin-Nagant at Rolls Royce Ambulance but misses!

«Ground Combat» Esteban fires his Astra Model 400 at Rolls Royce Ambulance and hits!
«Ground Vehicles» Esteban hits Rolls Royce Ambulance (#3766) in the FRONT!
Superficial Hit!

«Ground Vehicles» Rolls Royce Ambulance moves East <E>.

As she drives, Elizabeth glares out the window. "Ben, the next time I make it -very- clear that you aren't somewhere, you damned well better not show up there or I'll kill you myself. YOu have a daughter to take care of!" she cries over the sound of the engine roaring and gunfire echoing behind them.

Rothschild collapses behind the driver's seat, panting, and fumbling for a handkerchief to deal with wound in his leg. "Goddammit, I forgot how much that hurts," he mutters between clenched teeth. "And just drive, Lizzie! Did you honestly think I'd let that SIM monster get his hands on you again? I love you, goddamit."

"And I love you…and I love our daughter. Who else would I willingly go with that bastard for but you two!" Elizabeth presses her foot more fully to the gas pedal as she continues to drive down the road faster than is likely safe.

Rothschild concentrates on getting the bullet hole in his leg somewhat taken care of. It's less grizzly work than having this conversation with Elizabeth right now. "Just drive, sweetheart. We're not out of this country yet. And I'd rather like to see our daughter again. Both of us."

Elizabeth glances over her shoulder for the briefest moment, muttering under her breath before a faint smile crosses her face, and then a brief moment of laughter. "We're going to make it. I know." she assures the reporter.

Rothschild shakes his head, grimacing, but he finally has to laugh, too. He straightens his leg out, so it's not quite so painful. Oy, that stings. He takes a moment to get his breath back. When he does speak again he says, "I'd never try and make you into a housewife, Lizzie. I just…I want to go home. I'm tired of running, you know?"

That has Lizzie sobering, her smile fading to a wistful exprsesion. "Ben, until you come to peace with your past, you'll always be running, no matter where we are, what we're doing."

Rothschild nods to that, sighing heavily. "I know. I know, Lizzie. After all this, you, Delaware…our baby…" He swallows hard. This is the wrong time to discuss that. "…I don't want to run anymore. That's why I want to go back. To the States. You have to see New York, Lizzie. It's the greatest city in the world. No other place like it. There's work for me there. I can see Delaware's family, see my father…introduce my daughter to my father." That thought makes him smile.

Elizabeth inhales sharply, nodding slowly as she listens, continuing to keep a large portion of her attention focused out the window in front of her. "I love you, Ben…and I know you'll raise our daughter well in New York. Or wherever you decide you need to stay." A long moment, and she adds, "I'll try it, for you…staying in one place. New York, if you want, or Australia with my family, or somewhere all our own. But I can't promise how long it will last. I'm not built to stay in one place."

Rothschild nods, sinking his head against the back of the seat. "I need to face up to it, Lizzie. I've spent my whole life trying not to be Benjamin Rothschild, a Jew shoemaker's son from Jersey. Now…I want to see if I can live in my own skin again. I want my daughter to know my family. Her family. And I want them to know you. You're my family, too, Lizzie. I don't intend to just let you go. Besides, there are plenty of alleys in New York where the locals'll be more than happy to shoot at you. If you need the entertainment."

Let it be known that Rothschild always had that going for him. He always knew how to make Elizabeth laugh, and even today there is no exception to that rule. Her laughter rings through the ambulance as she reaches one arm behind the seat, groping for Rothschild. "Lord above, I'm glad I married you, Benjamin Rothschild." ANd she means it.

Rothschild chuckles some himself, though it's mixed with pained grunts at the moment. This is what he gets for picking up a gun again. Nevertheless, he has to smile. She does mean it, doesn't she? For some reason, that's a revelation for him. "I love you, Lizzie," he says simply. That's all he's got to say. Maybe, just maybe, he's going to live through Spain. In spite of himself..

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