Valhalla We Are Drinking

Arras Hospital is a relatively modern facility. The building was built about ten years ago, when the old hospital no longer served as well as it should, so the house still retains some of that freshness of new paint and new gear. Upon entering, there's a large waiting hall and a receptionist meeting the clientele. Hallways leading off of this area goes to various sections of the hospital.
It is currently dawn.
Sub-Rooms :
1. Balcony

Doktor Schmidt
Out <O>

Doktor Schmidt is in his office, arranging papers into piles. He seems to be uncommonly busy, moving the official-looking files around; a bottle of schnapps sits quite openly on the desk before him, two glasses next to it.

When Herr Doktor calls, one answers. Even if one is doing their damndest to attend to all the tasks set before them. Sofia wanders in cautiously, peering around the door. "Herr Doktor?" Sofia asks, glancing over before slipping into the doorway entirely.

Doktor Schmidt doesn't look up, calling curtly, "Good evening, Fraulein Weir. You are fifteen seconds late." He shoots you a dark look above his spectacles, carefully closing the cover of the pocketwatch ticking on the table. "Pour me a glass, and take on for yourself, as well." He nods to the Schnapps. And still he doesn't look up from the files, sorting them into piles; they appear to be birth records.

"Good evening," Sofia replies before pausing. … Seconds? Sofia looks ready to just fall over backwards and give up. She looks apologetic. "I am? Ah… I am sorry, Herr Doktor." She just nods. Sofia looks to the bottle, picking it up and opening
it. She will pour it for them, then. She peers over at him after pouring both glasses.

Doktor Schmidt finally finishes off the pile he was dividing into various smaller piles. He leans back in his char, looking up at you for the first time. His blank, expressionless face has something of the look of a poker player about it. He murmurs, "Look at these piles, Miss Weir. Tell me what you think about them." He takes the glass of schnapps, but doesn't drink yet, staring at you calculatingly.

Sofia watches Doktor Schmidt and the piles of paper. She seems puzzled, trying to hide it with slightly squinted eyes. "They have been sorted," She points out. The woman seems hesitant. All sorts of conclusions seem possible. She searches for words, that don't seem entirely foolish. She stands on the brink of sentences, saying nothing. She tilts her head. "What do you mean

"Yes, they have been sorted. How astute of you." Irony drips from Doktor Schmidt's tone. He says a little more softly, "Can you tell on what basis they have been sorted?" The sneer fades away, once again replaced by that odd, calculating expression.

Hm. That wasn't the right response then. Sofia tilts her head, glancing at the papers. "They are sorted by … heritage and the presence of birth defects, visible or otherwise?" She offers. She doesn't say anything after that, lingering in the moment afterwards. She watches him instead now, considering the Doktor.

"Yes. That is quite obvious." Dr Schmidt's tone is once again scathing. "But I'm asking you what it /means/. Why is it relevant?" He brings the glass towards his lips, not drinking yet.

A little eyebrow twitch. Okay then. She's trying not to sound TOO smart, but then this is going nowhere. "It does determine their fate doesn't it. It means a lot of things, it means we may have to …" Sofia trails off, trying not to choke. It means some people may be carried off ? She just kind of stares at the Doktor, giving him a sideways glance.

Doktor Schmidt offers you a thin smile. "Drink the schnapps. It will make this easier." He does that himself, downing the clear liquid in one pull. As he puts it down, he mutters hoarsely, "More." Now he points at the piles, "You are closer now. Finish the thought. These are just piles of paper, after all." He picks on up from the fourth pile. "Nothing is natural. This woman has a german father, and a jewish grandmother. There is no necessity, when the choice is unclear. Which pile will this paper land in. What do you think?" He flutters it around almost playfully, the paper moving between the three other piles. And despite the smile on his face, his eyes are cold and hard, glittering with a grey gimlet stare that is fixed on you.

"Okay," Sofia murmrus. She sips it, trying not to blink furiously. Her eyes widen, but eventually the glass is emptied. She obediently pours more as he sets his glass down. "They're going to be taken away," And while it is unsaid, to be taken rarely means return. She's still stuck in euphemisms, trying not to gaze into the ugly ugly truth of it all. "Piles of paper…" It's a dull, hollow recitation. Trying not connect names to the people she has seen about town. Just genes, heritage. No, it makes no sense. She closes her eyes then opens them, hesitating. She knows the answer, refusing to admit it perhaps. "… the pile for - no but …"

Doktor Schmidt shakes his head. "No, don't answer. You don't have all the information." He lowers the paper down, still holding it in his hand. "Is he a rich man? Is he a good man? Is he faithful for his wife? Does any of it matter? What is he, other than this little scrap of processed wood. Is he anything else than that?"%r%rDr Schmidt slowly pushes the paper towards
you. His voice is cold and emotionless, but also firm as he speaks, "I swore an oath, Fraulein Weir, to do nothing to harm my patients. That oath means nothing to the Party, or the medical authorities, but it means a great deal to me. There are some people, who cannot be helped. To try would be folly. But others? Their status is unclear. It is all just a matter of interpretation, really. If we make one interpretation instead of another, it is no crime, it is no failure, is it, Fraulein Wier? And especially if those men, these patients put into our care, reward us for our risks and troubles. Here. You will place this paper into the correct pile."

Sofia watches, in silence. She tilts her head. Then a little smile. She seems /relieved/ by the man's words, having had to dance to the tune of those far more zealous about their works and the Party. Relief, yes. So pleasant. She watches as the paper is pushed towards it. She takes it, looking at it as if it may well explode in front of her. She glances up at the doktor. "Yes, that makes sense," Sofia tries to hide her smile though. She will slip the paper into the German pile then? "No, it is no failure at all," She agrees quietly. "Herr Doktor." Sofia is in a bit of awe and surprise though, by this all. Stunned into quiet, for now.

Doktor Schmidt leans forwards, grabbing the glass and draining it again. He grimaces, but his face soon becomes expressionless as he stares at his assistant. "Now understand this, Fraulein Weir. In a way, the Party is right. It is meaningless, whether the man is a good man, a bad man, an indifferent one, whether he would die tomorrow anyway from incurable cancer, whatever. It makes no difference. It cannot make any difference." He leans back, his back straight as an iron rod and his face hard and aloof, "The only thing of substance is that we have a duty, a duty to our patients. But. I tell you now quite frankly, that this world we are living in, we get nothing but what we take ourselves. We will help, but we will help for a price: They would take their lives, we will only take a little provision, something they can afford, something to make it sweeter for us. There is no good or bad in this; there is merely opportunity, and we are its masters right now. However, you must understand, that we must be very discrete. Nevermind my connections, the consequnces will be serious if certain persons become aware." He leans forwards, his eyes cold and empty as the slopes of hell. "/Very/ serious consequences."

Sofia hasn't refilled her glass just yet, instead watching the Doktor. She nods, listening. She takes a deep breath, letting it all sink in. "Of course," She murmurs. "Very discrete." Sofia seems aware of the consequences, for some reason. "It … makes sense," She stammers. So many questions, thoughts, worries. But there is no room in the Reich for philosophers is there? She gazes back at him, as he leans forward. "Yes. I know. Very serious. I -" She pauses, "It will never leave my lips or thoughts," Sofia promises. "I'm sorry if I don't talk much in response, I don't think I've got any words that don't just fall flat before them."

"It is better to say as little as possible." Doktor Schmidt stares at you grimly. He does in fact remain silent for a long time, before refilling his own glass, and your's. Slowly, his shoulders slump down, and most of the hardness flees from his face; suddenly he looks much older, and very, very tired. "I think I've known for years, that it would come to this. But I can't take any joy in having been right." He smiles with bitter irony, saluting you with the glass before bringing it to his lips.

"Then, silence it shall be," Sofia replies. She nods a thanks as her glass is refilled. She watches him, inclining her head a little to the side, seeing the hardness ebb away from him. There's suddenly a flash of sympathy in her gaze. She frowns, just a bit. "It must be the most painful of all, to have seen it coming then to have it come true, I'm sorry. I doubt that means anything though," She considers. Sofia smiles weakly, and salutes him back with her glass. She will sip it as he drinks then.

"No. I didn't see, for long. It was easy not to see. But after a while, I couldn't ignore it anymore." Doktor Schmidt suddenly laughs, a bitter and horrible sound, but there is a little real levity to it. He continues speaking, "It is an odd feeling, to finally let go. When you love something, believe in it… And slowly it dissolves before your eyes, shows itself to be rotten, a shell of a good thing around a heart of corruption. My belief has long run cold, but it is still a painful thing to see it shattered." He shakes his head, swigging back the glass once again. He's starting to sway a little.

Sofia is at least, a sympathetic listener. She watches Doktor Schmidt quietly, green eyes intense. She nods slowly, a bit alarmed by the bitter sound of his laughter. She finally finishes her glass of schnapps again. Sofia winces, putting a hand over her mouth. While she might hold her liqour, she's still female and probably a bit smaller than Doktor Schmidt. "It's surreal," Sofia admits quietly. "Isn't it? But - I did want to thank you, for teaching and talking to me." She pauses, watching him finish the drink and sway a little. She's concerned, but says nothing. After all, she herself likely isn't standing perfectly straight anymore.

"Yes. Surreal. Nothing describes all this better. It feels like we're in an Escher painting - no, a Hieronymus Bosch. But it's all too real." Doktor Schmidt shudders, staring into the distance. He absently grabs the bottle around the neck in a rather practiced-looking gesture, bringing it towards his lips. "You shouldn't thank me, Fraulein Weir. You could hang for this. Be made to swallow poison. There is no role for truth, or decency, anymore. It's because truth and decency can't be reduced to numbers, to sheets of paper. And that's what we've all become - numbers in a state run by bureacrats." The tall, gaunt man grimaces with extreme distaste. "It is ironic, really. We wanted to build a nation of heroes, a nation that would reject all the old lies, and make a good new world. And what have we made? A monster of a machine, that eats people and shits pieces of paper."

Sofia nods again, "It's true…" A soft murmur. She regards him quietly, as he mentions being made to swallow poison or hang. "I know. But- Herr Doktor," Sofia pauses. "My brother could not walk after being sick with Polio. He held a job, had saved up with family help funds to go to university. Even earned a scholarship. He was very capable. He was getting good grades. He loved Germany, wanted to work hard. Then he was gone… My family has been confused, or so their letters say, ever since he has disappeared." She closes her eyes. "He found a girlfriend, ran off in love, as young men are wont to do. So I am told. But we know what really happened, don't we?" She smiles, sadly. "I know it is probably foolish to be so sentimental. I would rather swallow poison with truth and purpose than to continue in my lie, destined for a future set by someone else. All I'd be good for is having children perhaps, so." A shrug. "I'd rather have purpose. Ah." She frowns at his last words. "You are all too right. Anyway, I blather on. I apologize."

"Yes. This is no time to be sentimental. This is one of the things I still believe in." Doktor Schmidt stares at Sofia with disturbing intensity, leaning closer; he almost falls over. He takes a deep pull from the bottle, before pushing it in your general direction, "This is no time to feel, but to think, to do what must be done. Your brother is dead, or dying. You must accept this." He pats your shoulder clumsily, missing twice before getting it right. "Not only this. We are all dying. If there is anything that medicine has taught me, it is that we are constantly rolling the dice, and one day we will bust. It is bare fact. When you face this, you will become strong, like me." It is a testament to his vanity that there is no irony in that phrase. "But the days remaining to you… Will you face them with courage, make the best of them, or will you weep and cry about the inevitable?" He falls quiet, then suddenly starts again on another track. "There is a word, an old Germanic word. Have you ever heard of something called Wyrd?" His words are becoming oddly garbled, his native peasant Bavarian dialect shining through his polished High German; this, Low German, is a little hard to understand from someone who's not from Southern Germany.

"I know…" Sofia murmurs, almost whispering. Sofia looks back at him, keeping a sad smile. She blinks, as the bottle is pushed at her, before accepting it. She will pour herself a tiny bit, then pushes it back. She drinks it quickly down, closing her eyes and shivering. Sofia is drunk. She smiles as he pats her shoulder, eyes watering. "I know… I know he is," She repeats. "We didn't want to say so. Maybe they can't say so in a letter. The paper was always stained with water. Poor mama," Sofia shakes her head. "It wasn't his fault. Boys love to swim, it broke out. He - No, no sense. You are right." Sofia tries not to choke up. "I know. Thank you, I can only hope to be that strong," She smiles. "I suppose I will do what I can and must before sinking into the mire." A sigh. "Wyrd?" She peers up at him. Alas, Bremen is not in Southern Germany, so Sofia gives him a slightly quizzical glance.

Doktor Schmidt listens, glassy-eyed to your story; it is hard to see if he hears a word of it, as it seems like he's working on a completely different mental level at the moment. "Wyrd. It means Fate, more or less, but it is more than that. The world of the Nibelungen - you have heard Wagner, perhaps - of Beowulf, of the old Germanic tribes that Tacitus once described, it was a world of Order and Chaos, of the Gods and their enemies. But it is not a world where Order will triumph; the heroes and the monsters fight, but in the end the monsters will win." Doktor Schmidt pauses; for a moment, his face shines with a kind of inner light, the belief of an old Thule Society mystic piercing the cold light of scientific rationalism that he wreathes
himself in. "The important thing is - the heroes /know/ this. They know their Wyrd, their fate, is not to escape death, but to face it with honour. They will step towards it, they will wrestle it with distinction, they will die on a heap of enemy corpses, to step into Valhalla with a smile on their faces. This is what I am saying, Fraulein Weir. There is no hope - Chaos will triumph. You must not be sentimental about it, but accept it. And like for the men of the vanguard of the army, the heroes, this will not be a source of desperation, but determination for you. We will drink a toast to Valhalla." Spilling copious amounts of booze on the table, he fills the glasses with great effort, taking one for himself.

Wobbling a little, Sofia listens as best as she can. She nods, trying to let it sink in. It's hard, when your brain is addled by alcohol. The balm of Lethe, to forget. She doesn't smile at his words, simply closing her eyes. "I see. Then, accept it we shall…" She replies. It is a long moment, to take in the stories, the idea of accepting a fate beyond her control that will only end in nothing. But it isn't an entirely foreign idea to the culture. So she just takes a breath. "A toast, yes," She manages. Sofia's words are becoming slurred as well, as her eyes are glazing over. She hiccups and then winces at the noise. She takes her glass after him.

Doktor Schmidt listens seriously to what you say, head weaving around as he tries to maintain focus. He seems satisfied with your answer, raising his glass and calling out, "To valhalla! May the valkyries take me." Doktor Schmidt downs the glass in one go, saying farewell to some more brain cells. Soon after, he lapses into a Bavarian drinking song: Crass, lewd and common.

Bleary-eyed, Sofia lifts her glass, "To Valhalla." She smiles, and finally manages to down her glass like Doktor Schmidt. That is, all at once. She almost coughs, but by now, even she's a little past inebriated. She smiles as he sings, listening. Even grinning a bit. She seems amused, warmed by the alcohol and its slow mayhem on her liver and brain cells. Ah.

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