A Visit To Medical Station

Who: Lots of people
Where: Mess trench, medical station
When: December 15, 2005
Summary: Chaloux runs into Elise for a short meeting. Later on he visits people at the medical station.

Allied Second Line North
[The Grid]-----> > > > > THE LOST GENERATION < < <
The remnants of a forest lie around those here, but nothing is left of it but the odd blasted, leafless tree. The muddy ground here has been churned day after day by huge numbers of shells. Trenches score the dead earth like the the lacerations left by a scourge, the parapets reinforced with sandbags for additional protection from the violent death that awaits any foolish enough to leave the relative safety of the fortifications.
One of the trenches here serves as a forward mess, with cauldrons of bland army soup with bread and jam stored here for hungry front line soldiers. Well excavated, these trenches have since had engineers go through and adjust them slightly for defensive purposes, eliminating easy sniper spots. Aside from the rats, life would be almost bearable here.
It's worse on up ahead.

It's just after dinner, and Elise has finished eating. Making her way out of the mess tent, looking none the worse for wear, she moves carefully along the planks offering firm footing through the mud.

Chaloux's presence here is unusual, a special attachment of French soldiers mingling with the Brits and Canadians; their blue uniforms stick out amongst the rest, him being one amongst the small group. Chaloux is talking to a British private in the trench outside of the mess, the two exchanging something; the French one is giving over a case of cigars, and receives a half bottle of Johnny Walker in return. Grinning, Chaloux shakes hands with him, then tucks his price away in one of his bags, turning to walk off. It is then he sees Elise and his eyes shift a bit as if he was just caught doing something bad. Annoyed at himself for thinking such, he looks squarely at her face.

Feeling the gaze on her, Elise's eyes lift from the planks she walks, and comes to squarely regard Chaloux. She hesitates, looking over her shoulder as confusion registers on her face. Swallowing, she turns to look back at Chaloux as she sees no one behind her. W hat did she do to warrent such attention?

Chaloux hesitates too, then walks over to Elise with, clicking his heels together and bowing, all old-fashioned and strict. "Mademoiselle, how are you today?" he asks, smiling faintly as he straightens up again. "You were not harmed yesterday in the assault?"

Shaking her head slowly, Elise offers a faint smile as Chaloux straightens and makes his inquiry. "It was close," she responds quietly in soft French, "But I received nothing worse than some mud, a ringing in my ears and a good fright. And I see you were not harmed, either."

"I suppose my pride should be wounded, but I've long since stopped worrying about pride," Chaloux responds with the characteristic wry quirk of his lips. "I believe Captain Foster was upset about the loss of the Saucy Can, however. And frankly, we were stupid; we should have looked after it better." He lifts his shoulders in a little shrug, a laissez-faire attitude to the whole thing. "I am glad you are unharmed."

"And why should your prid…oh," Elise catches on about the Saucy Can, and she shrugs gently. "I suppose it is a good thing I was not up there. The men who fire those large guns tend to use spare nurses to run ammunition to them, and I am afraid I would have been…well, a hinderance to be removed."

Chaloux gives her a long look, jaw squaring as if he's holding back some comments. It's no secret Chaloux does not like the women being on the front line, be they nurses or not. He's a mix of old-fashioned chivalier towards women, and outright male chauvinism. "Stanley got that promotion," he instead says, changing subject. "He's a decent young man."

"Which promotion?" Elise is apparently quite behind the times. She tilts her head to the side, looking quizzically up at the frenchman. She is well aware of his opinion of nurses and their duties, but some day she'll be on the front line when he's hurt and then she'll get the last word.

"It was rumoured he was to be given rank. It was true, Foster confirmed it yesterday. Stanley is now Corporal," Chaloux explains, taking out his cigarettes to light one up. "As is Singh, since a few days. If leave wasn't cancelled, I would be taking them to Arras to celebrate," he mutters, not especially happy about leave being cancelled for all.

"Is that why your pride is hurt? You were not promoted?" Elise really doesn't understand this male competition. Now, women competing, well, that's obvious!

Chaloux squints at Elise. "My pride isn't hurt," he tells her, his time being confused. "I don't care about getting a few stripes on my uniform, and am glad for them both. Of course, as soon as an officer looks at me with that calculating look, as if they're considering me for promotion, I make sure to disappear out of sight for awhile and push someone else forth," he says, semi-jokingly. "I meant earlier, that my pride should be hurt for letting the Germans come so close and destroy the Saucy Can."

Elise ahs softly as understanding dawns. "You can not blame yourself, you are not the only man responsible for holding the lines, Achille. Your shoulders can only bear so much." Smiling then, she reaches a hand forward to gently press against his forearm.

Chaloux blows smoke away from her, a sudden wide smile given to her. "Do I give that impression, truly?" he asks of her, as if surprised.

Elise grins back, surprisingly happy to see the full smile. "You try," she agrees, teasing as her hand drops back to her side.

Chaloux snorts, regarding her closely, the smile still lingering. His French comrades in arms who stand nearby are regarding him with something akin to surprise at his sudden lighthearted mien, a few grins exchanged between them. "I must get going back," he explains, taking a step back from her, bowing quickly again. "Have a nice evening, Mademoiselle Dupres."

Dipping her head, Elise looks rather pleased with herself. Her day seems much brighter, suddenly, despite the rather gloomy location she finds herself in. "And you as well, Monsieur Chaloux," she returns, going so far as to give him a slight curtsey before she hurries off.

Medical Station
[The Grid]-----> > > > > THE LOST GENERATION < < <
Here still in the shelltorn earth is a large bunker where the wounded can be tended. Barges ply a fairly makeshift looking jetty, evacuating the wounded back to Arras when space permits.
Perhaps the most depressing part of a depressing part of the world, the bunker is always filled with wounded - men lie on the bunks with gunshot wounds from snipers, or suffering from concussion caused by a nearby explosion, or, worst of all, left hacking up their lungs in bloody chunks and gasping for breath after a phosgene attack.

Stanley shakes his head as the man speaks. "No. I've been reading a manual for operating a trench mortar." The young man grimaces, though. "I can operate one, firing it, but darned if I've figured out all the mathematics for targetting and spotting yet." He's on the cot, his leg wrapped in bandages still.

"Maths?" Wallace actually shivered in fear. "No use for it, sir. Know naught beyond the basics."

Chaloux ducks into the medical station, looking like he's managed to clean up rather well in the last day or so, even his uniform mostly in good condition. He wipes mud off his boots, then heads over towards Stanley's bed, as has become a habit for him for whatever reason. "Good evening," he says, sounding almost cheerful tonight.

Stanley draws his attention up from where Wallace is seated beside him. He offers a light and easy casual smile. "Good evening." and snorts a chuckle, "Middle of the night, perhaps." and directs a nod towards Wallace, "We were discussing what training was available, behind the lines for when men are off trench duty." He turns more back to the one seated. "Yes. It's alot of math. I never studied past geometry, and that was a true achievement for me." and gives a firm nod to emphasize.

"All leaves cancelled," Chaloux says, pulling up another chair, nodding amicably at Wallace. He glances around subtly, seeing if there's any nurses close, before he pulls out a flask of Johnny Walker from one of his bags and hands it over to Stanley. "Have a taste," he suggests helpfully. "What do you want to train?"

Chaloux sits by Stanley's bed, as does Wallace. The French one is handing over a bottle of Johnny Walker.
Wallace returns the frenchman's nod, and after a moment of raking his memory gives up. "Name's Wallace." His eyes cut to Stanley and just shakes his head, making a noise of disgust. "Don't know how they can do it, pulling out paper 'n pencil to figure out a shot. Guess they only need to get it right once though, eh?"

Stanley nods, leaning over to peer at the Johnny Walker whiskey bottle for a moment, lips closing as the tip of his tongue flickers to moisten. "Mrmrmm." and starts to sneak a look towards the nurses and doctors. "That's serious liquor, eh Chaloux?" barely above a whisper. Drawing back up quickly the Canadian clears his throat. "Artillery. How to use and target a Stokes Mortar." and nods a little bit. "Best to know mathematics for that targetting. They have to plot ahead where the rockets and mortar shells will land."

"Achille Chaloux," he introduces himself to Wallace, reaching a hand out to shake. He nods at Stanley, grinning toothily. "Have to celebrate your rank, Corporal!" he explains about the whiskey. Eyebrows are quirked in interest at the talk of the Stokes Mortar. "Have not used one," he admits, "but I could learn."

Antonia comes in from the front line, pausing near the entranceway to hand off a report to the head of the med station. She waits for him to glance over it, then turns to wash dirt off her small hands in the basin near the front door.

Wallace shakes Achille's hand with a solid grip and glances down at the bottle being passed over. A grin is flashed the Corporal's way. "What'll they do, Corporal, keep you here?"

Stanley speaks quickly in response to Chaloux when his eyes spot the movement of Antonia entering, "Hide it!", spoken all in one breath, a strong whisper. The Canadian clears his throat, then adds in a murmur to the two men with him, both seated by his cot, "Save it for when the men are off duty, and give them a round of shots on me. Hopefully I'll be well enough to join for it." He draws back, straightening a bit up to offer a nod of greeting in the direction of Antonia. "Doctor." as if feigning ignorance of the gift for the moment.

Samantha turns her head as she hears Stanley's words.. she didn't realize they were doing something they would HAVE to hide.. but now she looks a bit skeptical. Sam walks over in their direction, studying them with a slight smirk, and then looking up to Antonia. She just shakes her head..

Chaloux reacts quick as a snake; the bottle is suddenly disappearing back into one of his small leather bags, a conspiratory wink shared between Wallace and Stanley. "I give you a shot later, outside," he promises Wallace in a low murmur. He gives the Corporal an approving look; the idea of sharing the shots around as ways of celebrating his rank sits well with the French one. "Doctor, Nurse," he says politely to the two women. Way too polite, feigning innocence badly.

In every group of misfits, there's always one that can't quite be duplicit. All Wallace could really do was look back from Chaloux to Stanley, then over at the pair of medical professionals. Somehow he pulled off a stumped look, as if not really sure what everyone was talking about. Must be the math.

If Chaloux hadn't made that sudden movement, Antonia might never have noticed at all. She blinks though at the flurry, before she shakes her head slightly. "Why can't I have normal children, without these problems?" She laments to herself, though she at least seems to be in the mood to let Chaloux get away with it. That mood's probably just "tired".

Stanley groans a little hearing that, shared with both Chaloux and Wallace. "Yes, men." as he straightens and tries to keep a serious face, "The Stokes Mortar will be of great use to us if the Kaiser launches an offensive. I'll need a spotter, a forward observer, to assist as part of the mortar team if any of the new recruits is seeking additional training." He gives a tiny cough, trying to clear his throat. The young man is a poor thespian.

Walsh makes his way inside the medical station, balancing two rather large crates of something with him. Seems that he has been in the area when some sort of supplies were dropped off, and was volunteered by someone else to help bring what should be brought out here. He stops, just after getting through the entrance, looking over the crates to see that he doesn't collide with anyone, or drop it over some poor soul in one of those cots.

Chaloux isn't volunteering for that position; he knows his strengths and weaknesses, and being a sneaky devil is certainly not one of his strong suites. A surprisingly broad smile is given to Antonia and Samantha, as if the usually so grumpy and dour French one is in a good mood today. (It might have to do with the fact that that bottle of whiskey isn't exactly full. In fact, onle about a third of it was left.) "Ahh, too old for too much new," he says, as happy as ever to hide behind his 'ancient age'. "I shoot the machine gun," he contemplates, patting the everpresent Chauchat he's hauling around. He lifts a hand to give Walsh a wave when spotting him.

Stanley gives a nod to the French man, seeming to smile too warmly for a topic as dull as recruiting a forward observer. "Pass the word around, then. We need good machine gunners. Very necessary against a Hun offensive." A quick smile's added over to Wallace for just a moment. "Enjoy the next time off with the squad." As he grabs for a crutch, pulling his trousers on before sliding the wounded leg off the cot. "I must say my need for a wash has hit my own nose, now. Too much like a blue cat washed ashore on the lake for too many hours under the sun in summer I am." He rises, then, making his way to limp and fetch a wash basin and some water before heading out to the backside of the tent used for such purposes.

Antonia leaves Samantha and the men alone, sifting through papers with the air of someone who's not really paying attention to what her hands are doing. She finally sets things down, kneeling down to search for a medical kit that isn't missing half its contents.

Chaloux watches Stanley leave, but lingers on with no intention of leaving soon. He's unobtrusive though, remaining where he is, not wandering in the way of anyone's work.

Walsh finds a place to put down those crates he's been carrying, and pauses for a few moment to look around, offering nods and smiles to those that he know.

Wallace sits back on his stool, looking up as Samantha gives the trio-turned-duo a skeptical look and flashing her a brave smile. After a few moments of silence he looks to the Frenchman sitting beside him. "I think I've seen you here before. New to Arras?"

"A month or so," Chaloux admits to Wallace, leaning back on the chair and stretching his legs out, managing to have a nice time despite moans and groans from wounded. He gestures for Walsh to come join them should he want to, before asking Wallace; "How long have you been here?" His English is heavily accented, but easily understood for the most part.

Samantha gives Wallace a quick smile, but she motions for one moment to the gentlemen and since none of them are dying right now, she steps away to Antonia's side. Carefully, she kneels down.."Toni?..Let me do this.. you go back and sleep a while. I'll call you if there is an emergency. Please."

Antonia closes the last kit she'd found, satisfied with its contents. She looks up at Sam, standing to stand back up. "I've just been asleep," she says, hefting the kit onto a table. "Far too long, I might add."

Samantha looks straight at Antonia.."Maybe. You passed out for 20 minutes in a trench. That is -not- being asleep, Toni.. You wouldn't let me go on that for days at a time." Sam looks serious.. but more than that she looks downright worried.

Walsh makes his way over to Wallace and Chaloux, offering them a nod in the process. "How are you two gentlemen today?" he asks, with a smile.

Wallace follows Chaloux's gaze toward the barely familiar face of Walsh, whom he gives a nod of greeting before looking back to the Frenchman. "Same, perhaps a week more." He catches Samantha's gesture and nods once before continuing. "Doing well, actually. Seems they've set up a space in the town to go over techniques." He shrugged at the thought, "Could use some brushing up after all this tunnel crawling."

"I am feeling great tonight," Chaloux explains to Walsh, giving him a grin. "How're you?" he asks back, then glances over at Samantha and Antonia, curious about their interaction.

"It was quite more than /that/," Antonia says, surreptitiously glancing off past Sam and hoping to God her superiors weren't hearing this. "Now come on, we've both got things to do. Heaven help all of us if we don't get a chance to look at the actual pained ones in here before Private O'Riley returns with that rash on his arse."

Samantha nods to the beds, "I just finished rounds other than our little pow-wow over there.. you can intrude on the boy's party if you like. Really, otherwise.. things are -done-, Toni. You can rest your eyes.. and I'm not buying it. Slee in a trench is not real rest.. not for you. Not when you do fine work like survery."

Walsh grins a little, "Rather well," he replies, before shrugging a little, "At least, all things considered. I wish we could make some ticket reservations for a nice little trip into Germany, though."

"Here, have some whiskey instead," Chaloux says, ignoring the wrath of doctors and nurses, bringing the bottle of Johnny Walker out and handing it over. He's had his share already, being rather happy right now, whiskeyinduced good humor making him almost cheerful. Not that he's drunk - he's just… warm. "Celebrate Stanley's new rank," he explains.

Singh strides along the floor of the trench in the general direction of the Medical Station. He looks well enough, not bleeding or hacking up any vital parts. He makes his way down into the bunker proper, hands laced almost casually behind his back as he walks.

"Are you lecturing me?" Antonia asks Sam, with a tone that's less annoyed as it is simply up for the challenge. "You see what happens when I'm not watching this place…" She jerks a thumb over her shoulder towards Chaloux. "If he weren't on duty at the moment he'd probably have have put on a tutu by now and gone bounding about in a graceful but terrifying whiskey-induced obscenity. And I'd like to go on deluding myself that the reason everyone's spared such a sight is because I'm on my feet keeping a eye on things. Whether true or not, it's nice to have a dream. So. I'm going to carry on."

Walsh takes the offered whiskey, grinning a little. "Thanks, this will help making the day even better. It's like those vampires from the stories getting some blood to drink." Because everyone knows that the Irish doesn't have blood flowing around their bodies, but alcohol. He takes a long sip, before he looks over at the medical people, for a few moments.

Samantha looks about to say something more.. but she just stares at Toni, her worry turning into a bit of anger otherwise she'd just be entirely too concerned. "..You know.. one of these days you're going to mess up because you were too damn tired to stay on your feet, and you're going to get yourself killed or someone else.. and that just makes my stomach turn." There. Sam said it. She was given the challenge and she stood up to it.

Chaloux eyes the medical personel with lazy eyes, lacing his hands together over his stomach, quite comfortable. "Did she say tutu? I could do that," he says, dead pan. "In fact, perhaps it is time to get a little show together soon. I will talk to my fellow French," he says and grins at Walsh, reaching a hand out to retrieve the bottle, now getting to his feet.

Singh is just close enough to catch the word 'tutu' from Chaloux. That makes him stop in his tracks and just kind of stare around, brow furrowed with confusion. He gets going again with a shake of his head, approaching the French and Irishman. "Private Chaloux. Private Walsh. Good evening." He still looks puzzled.

Walsh blinks a bit as he hears those words from Chaloux, and hands back the bottle. "Oh dear…" he mutters, offering a half grin.

"Your confidence in me is heartwarming," Antonia says with a sigh. "And though I wish you hadn't chosen public in front of all my patients as the place to question my ability, it's been done." She lets go of the kit handle, folding her arms and leaning back against the table. "Look, Sam, I am on-duty. I can't just walk off whenever I feel like it. Besides. I'm the devil, remember?" She says, recalling O'Riley's words with an attempt to force herself to smile. Though it looks fake. That had really hurt. "Surely the devil's got a bit more stamina than one gives credit for."

Samantha rolls her eyes.."Yes.. well.. if I had done it in private, you wouldn't have given me any respect or any better an answer otherwise…. Just.. whatever, Toni. Kill yourself, since that's what you seem to want to do." And with that Sam just stalks outside, needing to hit something and it's no one in here…

Might just be the whiskey talking, but Chaloux is getting excited over the idea Antonia put in his head. "A show!" he exclaims to Singh, after a very snappy and professional salute to the Corporal. "Tell me, Corporal - can you dance?" Samantha's leaving isn't lost on him, but he just grins and winks over at Antonia, hardly helping.

Singh blinks over at Sam as she exits, offering her a polite, if still puzzled, "Nurse Cole" in greeting. A second later, he's blinking back at Chaloux. He crosses his arms along his chest, giving the Frenchman a long look. "Dance?" His eyes shift over to the whiskey bottle, in an attempt to gauge how much has been drunk.

Antonia gets the gold star for social interaction this week. She stays where she is as Samantha storms off, not really knowing what to say. Though as she hears Chaloux taking her innocent comment about ten steps too far she glances back over at them, raising an eyebrow. "Oh dear God…" she murmurs, unable to decide if she's amused or horrified. She takes a seat near the table where her kit is, bracing an elbow on the tabltop and resting her cheek against her closed hand, listening to whatever sounds of the discussion come her way. At least, until she manages to nod off sitting up like that. Undoubtedly her dreams are filled with tutus and leaping soldiers and other frightening things…

Walsh chuckles a little as he hears this, but not until he's finished offering a salute to the corporal. "Just as long as nobody asks me if I can dance…" he mutters to himself.

Oh, right. The bottle. And here's another officer. The bottle has perhaps one third of the whiskey left, but Chaloux hasn't drunk all of that on his own. It is now swiftly put back into one of his bags and he straightens up, grin wiped off his face. "Yes, Sir. Dance," he says more soberly. "Get some men together and make a show for the other men," he explains, staring somewhere over Singh's shoulder, suddenly fearing latrine duty again.

Singh eyes the bottle a good long eye, but he doesn't comment upon it. He still looks more bewildered than anything else, though he does relax a little when Chaloux explains. A very little. "Ah. I see. What sort of show?" He quickly adds, "And I am not much a dancer."

Walsh stays quiet, for the moment, just listening to the other two, expression halfway amused.

Sam is only gone about 5 minutes as she claws at a tree, or punches it from the current scrapes now on the back of her right hand's knuckles. But she feels a bit better. She returns only to see Toni napping in the chair… Sam frowns. She watches a few moments before stepping up tp Singh's side. She doesn't disturb right now.. but she's there for when he gets a moment.

Chaloux clears his voice. "What is the word… light heart?" he suggests to Singh, trying to quickly work up an idea for the show. He just thought of it two minutes ago, after all. "To make them laugh," he adds, smiling brightly. He glances at Samantha, calculatingly, as if considering what part she can take in this grand project of his.

"That sounds…entertaining," Singh says, wary but not exactly disapproving. "Good luck with that, Private. I will tell the other men." The -other- men. After a beat he reaffirms, "I do not dance." It's a second before he notices Sam, an expression of 'Thank God' coming to his face. "Nurse Cole. Good evening." He smiles at her. The smile of a man sure she won't ask him to do Vaudeville. The scratches on her hands aren't noticed yet.

"It must be noted that I don't dance either," Walsh hurries to add. Not without seven or eight bottles of whiskey, at least. He then offers a polite nod and a smile to Samantha.

Samantha gives them all a quiet smile and small nod.."..Sir.." She states towards Singh.."When you have a moment, if I could speak with you I would be.. most grateful. Truly." She keeps that small, hopeful smile on her lips before stepping away, back ot her station, giving the men their privacy again.

"Then, if you can not dance, it would be all the more amusing, yes?" Chaloux tells Walsh, grinning toothily at him. "Spread the word," he suggests, salutes again to Singh and then marches out of the bunker, humming terribly off tune.

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