Medical Station

Who: Chaloux, Elise, Antonia, Stanley, Samantha
When: December 12, 2005
Where: Artillery Battery and Medical station
Summary: Chaloux runs into Elise and the two have an interesting conversation. He follows her to the medical station to visit Stanley and witnesses an angry scene between Samantha and Antonia.

Artillery Battery
[The Grid]-----> > > > > THE LOST GENERATION < < <
Once a verdant field, fertile and rich, this chunk of beautiful French countryside has been commandeered by the forces of war. The grass has been trampled underfoot into the mud, for here is a battery of impressive 8 inch British field guns, and a host of lesser ordinance. The guns are dug into sandbagged emplacements for German fire is frequent here, as the many fresh shell holes attest. A continual desultory fire is maintained on enemy positions, rising to a deafening, devastating barrage in times of higher operational tempo.
The reek of cordite from the guns, sweat from those who serve them, and bleach from the crews decontaminating the earth of the mustard so frequently used here assails the nostrils. Trenches continue east, and the wise stay in them, not straying to the exposed ground on either side.

Chaloux is gathered with a few other French soldiers, huddled together in the trench under some covers, smoking and playing cards. They keep blowing at their hands to keep them warm, and they've managed to make something hot to drink; mulled wine, to be exact. It's hard to find coffee, but wine you can get everywhere. Chaloux tosses the cards down and bows out of the game to the protests of his friends, but he grins and shakes his head, stepping out from under the covering tarp to light up a smoke and look up at the sky for a moment.

Nearly time for her to be at the makeshift hospital. Here, at the front, it's really nothing to sneeze at, quite an accomplishment, but anywhere else, well. It wouldn't be anyone's first choice to be admitted to. Dressed in her distinctive blue and white uniform, the combination that apparently marks them as nurses and therefore -not- to be shot if it can be helped (or so they're told), Elise is making her way carefully through the mud, a blanket wrapped around her shoulders and hugged tightly to her chest for warmth.

Spotted first by the soldiers under the tarp, Elise is greeted with friendly greetings from the cardplayers, a nurse always a welcome sight. Chaloux drops his gaze down to the target of those greetings and nods politely at the woman, though his face is a neutral mask. The flare above the field burns out and casts the area into darkness once more, and he is quick to hide the glow of his cigarette in the palm of his hand. And, in a gesture of sudden chivalry, he grabs a lantern which hangs inside the tent and moves to escort the nurse towards the med station, the glow of the lamp directed only so that

Hearing the greeting, Elise's gaze slides up, and she offers a smile to those that call to her. Both from their accents, as well as what little of their uniforms she can see, she calls back a cheery, "Bon soir!" It's not often she finds a group of frenchmen out here! Adjusting her path, even as Chaloux suddenly moves towards her, the nurse directs her steps towards the group under the tarp. Part of her job is simply to make the soldiers smile, and she's doing that, isn't she?

Chaloux meets Elise, a bit surprised she stops to talk to the other soldiers, giving her a small grin and letting her pass him by. The soldiers under the tarp all stand up politely, in true French manner. A few make a few miserable attempts of smoothing their moustaches, or brushing some mud off their uniforms. A cup of warm wine is immediately produced, offered to the nurse, by a soldier who can not be more than eighteen, if barely that. He gives Elise a nervous smile, making Chaloux smirk in amusement. "You wish to make her drunk and unable to perform her work?" he says dryly, but it is more a teasing than meant seriously; the wine is not strong enough to cause that effect.

Not after one cup, at any rate. Elise herself doesn't look like she could be much older than nineteen or so, which compared to some of the boys out here makes her ancient. "Merci," she murmurs, reaching her hands out to accept the heated tin mug gratefully before she tosses a smirk of her own over her shoulder at Chaloux, and she reaches out then to take hold of the younger boy's hand, giving it a gentle squeeze of thanks. "It is nice to hear my own language here, and to see that there are gentlemen left in this war."

The young blonde soldier blushes deeply, but he also straightens up proudly at her words. "Thank you, Mademoiselle," he murmurs, a bit at a loss for words. The other soldiers are not much older, and they fill up mugs of wine to have a little toasting for France while they're at it, a bit of patriotism suddenly flourishing simply by Elise's presence.

Chaloux remains quiet. If Elise is near ancient, he's almost old enough to be her father in turn. He lowers his gaze at the sudden outburst of patriotism, hiding the sarcastic, arrogant smirk on his lips, as if he doesn't quite share the sentiments. Still, he drinks to the toast.

Elise lifts her own cup at the toast, and she doesn't manage to hide her amused smile entirely behind her cup as she sips. "I do not want to interrupt," she assures them all, looking over her shoulder again to the Chaloux with his lantern, being certain to include him in her words, "I have just grown so used to hearing English that it was a pleasant surprise to find French."

The young soldiers look to Chaloux now, as if expecting him to do the talking for them. He blinks, a bit uncomfortable to be in the spotlight like that. "Amazing how you sometimes feel like the foreigner around here," he says dryly, agreeing with Elise. "Can I escort you to the medical station? I wish to see how Private Stanley is doing, anyway."

With a soft chuckle, Elise takes another small sip from the mug she'd been given before offering it back to the group at large, waiting for one of the soldiers to take the cup from her hands. Once that's done, she turns to offer Chaloux a nod. "That would be nice, thank you." She reaches, without much thought, to slip her arm through his as if this were a walk back in 'old Paris!'. Right.

Chaloux is once more surprised, a bit taken aback from her slipping his arm onto his. But he recovers quickly, squeezing the arm to his side and nodding back to the young soldiers with a stern look which just dares them to comment. They offer their farewells to Elise, wishing her a good evening, before they sit back down and resume their play. Chaloux leads the way through the dark trench, finding secure footing for the two. "Achille Chaloux, at your service," he introduces himself; it comes a bit late, as if he barely remembers how to behave like a gentleman.

"Elise Dupres," the young woman responds quietly. "It's alright, I did not mean to make you uncomfortable by taking your arm. I suppose I was just swept back to all the lessons my mother gave me as a child on the proper way to be have." Even as she speaks, she shifts as if to pull her hand from his arm, not wishing to make him uncomfortable.

Chaloux shakes his head quickly, and squeezes her arm more tightly against himself. "No, it is fine. I am the one to apologize, Mademoiselle. It has been a long time since I…" He hesitates. "Since I walked with an honorable woman at my arm," he finishes, dryly. He glances down at her, then pats her arm a little, a comforting, friendly gesture. The gruff one is softening a little, perhaps lulled a bit by the presence of a woman who speaks French, and the fact that the night is quiet from mortar shells or gunfire.

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.

As she receives the reassurance, Elise smiles, and her hand relaxes once again in the crook of his arm. "We all forget ourselves here. Here…it is not the real world, no matter what we write home. Here we do not live like normal people. The niceties are all but forgotten, our focus is simply on being here to wake up tomorrow morning. I do not hold it against you." She keeps her voice low, so as not to disturb those few soldiers lucky enough to manage to catch a little bit of sleep where they sit or crouch. She knows just how precious that is.

Chaloux carefully steps over the legs of a slumbering soldier, who is probably very cold and uncomfortable there in the trench, managing to find some sleep. The little lantern casts a near magical glow on the ground in front of the two when the flares burn out. He comments nothing on what she says, giving her a quick, thoughtful look, as if he had not considered it before and got something to think about. "Where do you come from? And why did you chose to become a nurse in these horrible conditions?"

Nurses have just as much time to think about these things as the men in the trenches, and just the same minds to do it with! Elise lifts her shoulder in a delicate shrug, her gaze falling to watch the tiny patch of light on the ground just out of reach of their feet with each step. "I come from a small town near Bordeaux, a quiet little place far from here. I think that is the only reason my parents have been able to keep my brother Henri from running off to join." A soft chuckle, but it's clearly not an idea she likes to fancy at all. "And you?"

"Paris," Chaloux replies simply, and that's all he says. No explanations of why he enlisted, because enlisted he is. The medical station comes into view and his steps slow down a little, perhaps in an unconscious wish to keep the conversation going a bit longer. "What I believe," he begins, "is that the world is going to change to something we never could have guessed. When this war is over, people will want to renew, to move into a new age."

"And can you blame them?" Elise answers quietly. "Do we not all wish for this to end, to return home and to forget? I imagine there will be many new babies once the war is over, many sweethearts as possible getting married." She lifts her head, then, blue eyes turning to study Chaloux's face from the side, her own pace slowing to match his.

"I did not say I blame them," Chaloux points out, smirking once more. "I just imagine I won't fit in very well." He looks back at her, quirking his eyebrows at her study of his face. "Assuming any of the young men survives the war, of course," he agrees cynically with her. The two are walking arm in arm, Chaloux escorting the nurse to the med station.

"That is not funny," Elise chastises quietly, tightening her fingers against his forearm as they continue walking. They are not yet within earshot of, though they can see, the medical tent. "And have you truely given up the joie de vivre we French are said to be known for, Achille? Do you no longer have the will to smile other than at another's embarrassment?" The words, while they could be considered harsh, are spoken softly, and with apparent concern.

The two are speaking French quietly, their voices heard when they approach the tent, as for once, there is no gunfire or mortar barrage. Chaloux smiles then, a sarcastic, wry smile which doesn't even reach his eyes. "Not really. I am just a shell of a man. I fight in this war because there was nothing else for me to do, and I believe that I actually just hope I'll be shot swiftly. Those damn huns just keep missing me."

That last comment is a sentiment Elise has undoubtedly heard before, but she has never grown used to it. She draws to a stop suddenly, a motion which would force Chaloux to either pull her along by force, release her, or stop as well and turn to face her. "Do not say that," she returns quietly in french, her eyes running over his face, seeking out any response in the dark. "I have sat by enough bedsides of those who breath their last, I do not wish to have to sit beside yours as you do the same. There must be something to live for, or you would not worry so to tilt the lantern so the light isn't seen. You must allow yourself to live for that, and for the brave boys who no longer have that chance."

Chaloux stops abruptly, turning to face her, grimly listening to her words. He, in turn, has heard those words many times and they only reach so far to his steel-encased heart. A grin is cracked at her and he looms over her a bit. "You misunderstand. I'm not going to make it easy for them to kill me. I'll take as many down with me as I possibly can. I must have killed hundreds already, since the start of the war, and I've yet to only suffer a few minor injuries in turn. Perhaps I simply have the luck of the devil, or God has a sense of humor and is considering my name to be somewhat of a sign I should not be killed so easily. I am simply one of those who firmly believe there is no escaping of death in this war, so I might as well fight on and take as many I can along with me to hell."

"Well…if there is no escaping death, then what am I doing here? Pointless, what I do, really. I suppose I must thank you for explaining the truth of things to me." Elise gives her hand a sharp tug, even as she turns away from Chaloux. Oddly, it is not in the direction of the medical facilities the nurse faces, but rather…the front lines?

Chaloux is near the medical station, carrying a small shielded lantern, the light focused to not give his position away easily to snipers. He's talking with Elise, the nurse right now turning away from him in an abrupt manner and moving not towards the medical station, but towards the front lines.

Chaloux is left standing there, his jaw dropping slightly. His eyes shift around in the hopes that really, she's not going to move over there for real, is she? "Merde! Women!" he exclaims to nobody in particular. "Why do you not… Gah!" Whatever insult he meant to say he swallows in the sudden realization he could get latrine duty. And that's not a prospect to look forward to. He takes hurried, long steps after the nurse, snatching a hand out in an attempt to catch her arm.

Mike looks as Nurse Cole enters, "Mind giving me some pain killers? My leg started bleeding again and I have a few highly bruised and some minor broken things."

Elise smothers the beginnings of a smirk as her arm is grabbed, and she's spun around. "What?" She offers the single word up to her fellow Frenchman as a challenge. She seems to have grown an inch or two in the last thirty seconds, what with the stiffening of her back and the lifting of her chin. She doesn't pull out of Chaloux's grasp quite yet.

Antonia is filling out some papers near the front of the medical station, specifying some notes for the nurses. She can't hear Chaloux and Elise, which is probably a lucky thing for Chaloux, all told.

"You go out there, every boy there is going to get nervous and they'll be more worried about protecting you than to keep an eye out for snipers, so you are just putting their lives in danger," Chaloux tells Elise bluntly. He is speaking in rapid French, his voice recognized from the coarseness; it's the kind of voice suggesting he drinks too much whiskey, smokes too much and probably isn't a whole lot talkative usually. He lets go of her arm though, taking a deep breath, raising his hand in a peace-offering. "Can we go back to what we did first, please?" A pause. "Before I turned all pathetic on you."

"What does it matter if they do, Achille? By your way of thinking, it is better to die sooner than to live in this hell, since we can't avoid it anyway." Her own words are returned in a much softer French, though they do not hold her usual note of gentleness as she glares up at Chaloux for a long minute once he offers his final request and the motion for peace between them. And then with a sigh, she slowly shakes her head. "You do not truely believe what you said, or you would not care."

"Do not use your female logic on me," Chaloux accuses Elise, glaring a bit at her. He straightens up, fumbles in a pocket to find a cigarette and lights it up, puffing intently on it. "It'd be no good making it more easy for them to die. Can we please go into the Medical station now?"

"Just because you do not like the fact that my female logic is right," Elise returns with the hint of a smile softening her blue eyes as a hand settles on her hip, "Doesn't mean that you are able to pretend with any skill that I'm wrong."

Well.. It seems Sam had taken most of the night off. She was no where to find most of the evening, but now that it is getting rather late, the nurse walks back into the room. She's not in her uniform at the moment.. but in a rather wrinkled looking green dress with cream buttons. It was probably very nice, but months in a suit case have permanently wrinkled it. Her hair is down as well. She is trying to slip intot he back room without being notice.

"I hate it when women are right," Chaloux agrees readily, a hint of humor glittering in his eyes. Though he doesn't outright admit that she /is/ right; he's kind of stubborn in his ways, set on a course of living he's not readily changing out of.

Antonia leaves a list of notes for whatever nurse around here /does/ seem to be on-duty, and picks up her kit to start rounds. She's rather terse with her patients today, not speaking much as she goes about her business.

Samantha passes by Antonia on her way in. "I'll change and I'm yours the rest of the night, Doctor." She gives a faint smile and then disappears into the back room.

That's as close as she's going to get to Chaloux admitting she's right, and Elise knows it. Smiling a little more widely, she offers him a slight nod, "I expect to see you lurking about and not in one of the hospital beds, Achille," she informs him mildly as she pulls the blanket tightly against her shoulders again before turning to disappear into the medical tent. She'll probably get that list of notes right soon.

Chaloux sure isn't used to being called 'Achille', for one thing. And her comment makes him blink and look suddenly uncertain, offering her a little smile which isn't one of his usual wry or smirky ones. Then he too ducks into the med station, to hunt around for some wounded friends.

Antonia doesn't raise her head as Samantha passes by, her hand down on a soldier's wrist. But she does hear the comment and says in return, without smiling, "Don't bother, Nurse Cole. You're relieved from duty for the rest of the evening." It doesn't sound like a favor.

Samantha blinks as she hears that, a frown deepening on her lips. What in the world did she do? She stares at Toni for a few moments before shaking her head. "I will be in my uniform in two minutes. You need someone else on with you. I'm sorry I left, is that what you want to hear?" And with that, Sam does disappear into the back room unless Antonia is going to reach out and physiclaly stop her.

Stanley is resting on the cot, his leg remaining stretched out and bandaged. Only the boots shows from under the cover current pulled up to his chest.

Chaloux remembers to flick the cigarette away before ducking into the tent. He looks searchingly around, homing in on the bed where Stanley is, squinting to adjust his eyes to new light conditions. Spotting Antonia and Samantha, he nods politely their way, looking a bit pained; he's just had an argument with one nurse, and now there's two more in here he might manage to irritate.

"No, it isn't," Antonia says, letting go of the man's wrist. She'll address Sam's back if she has to. "You walked out on duty, to which end I had hoped would be to give care to Private Garner. Which not only seems to have not been the point at all, but after that it seems you were content to leave two men of the ranks to beat each other senseless over you. During which beating you saw it fit to be off with a third, while those two were here needing attention. Now, being as I'm sure all three need some time to calm down from their ardor, it is probably in everyone's best interest that you return to your downtime rather than have a potential fistfight break out in here as well."

Stanley responds with a nod to Chaloux, though his reactions seem sluggish from the fatigue of one needing sleep. "Hello." quietly, pausing and going silent once more as Antonia's words reach him from where she's in the Communication Trench.

Samantha just… stops in her step the moment she hears about a fight. Her eyes shoot wide, spinning around again, staring at Antonia in utter and absolute shock…Finally she manages to speak, "…F-fight?…What the..bloody hell? What fight? I left Garner alone in the mess the last I saw?!… And you weren't exactly here either for me to ask for an evening off! It's the first night I've taken in 3 months!"

Chaloux is almost on the verge of turning and going outside again when getting a hint of Antonia's temper right now, though he can't make out the words exactly. He grunts, stepping over to Stanley and taking a seat on the edge of the bed, warily watching the two nurses for a moment before he focuses on the other soldier. "Nice in here, hmm?" he says, broken English prominent.

Stanley looks up for a moment with no words to Chaloux's taking a seat. His head then turns to give the young Canadian a view of the nurse and doctor. "We're all healing with time.", spoken quietly. "I expect that.." a nod towards the argument, "Is what to expect with hundreds of men fighting in war, and only a handful of nurses about."

"They could focus that energy on shooting the huns instead," Chaloux grunts, not especially concerned or caring too much either case. "Bad for the moral if fighting with ourselves." Like he is the beacon of good morals. "It'd be better where they not women. They only complicate things."

"Oh, I was here, Nurse Cole," Antonia says, arching an eyebrow sharply. "I was here until someone alerted me that two men saw it fit to pound each other's heads in over you. At which point I ran out to attempt to control it and you had already gone. I am /so/ sorry that I couldn't have been two places and once and cleaning up /every/ goddamn mess this place throws out!" Some papers drop from her hands and land at her feet. Her voice volume has shot up, and by the end at that she's still quite plainly talking to Sam but there's an element of a simple blown valve, stress and exhaustion and now men acting like little children. Her voice is actually shaky for a second or two. "Now /please/," she says. "You wanted the night off, just take it. Get some rest, let everyone get some rest."

Samantha stares mutely, still in just utter shock about this… She doesn't even know who Garner could have been fighting with. At the end of that second round of shouting, Sam just… faintly nods. She turns to go back to the back room again, this time rather slower.. Going to change, but she'll take her time with it and hopefully be finished crying by the time she gets out. So much for actually having an enjoyable evening.

Stanley grimaces a bit, and turns his gaze from the two women back to the French man. "I agree." and nods faintly, still keeping his voice down so it doesn't stand out. "Though when they're at work, healing the men, it truly is an inspiration. Reminds us of the family and sisters and even wives we're here fighting to protect, no?"

Antonia sits down as Samantha turns to go, dropping the file she had at her feet and putting her face down in her hands for a few moments.

"I don't know. I have no sister and I was never married. I might have a few bastard daughters, perhaps," Chaloux notes casually, giving Stanley a grin. It fades as he watches the two nurses, frowning as Antonia drops her face into her hands. "What about when they fight with each other and start crying?" he ponders, digging around in a pocket for something. He seems to have an endless supply of things to hand out. This time, it's a newspaper for Stanley along with a new set of playing cards. And he flips something through the air, so it'll land near Antonia. It's a small pin, a bit rusty, with the red cross on a white background depicted on the pin itself.

Antonia isn't crying, dammit. At least not that anyone can tell. When she wipes her hand under her right eye she does so in a way that looks like she's just getting hair out of her face. Darn hair. She puts her hands down on the chair at the sides of her legs, not looking up for the time being as she doesn't want to see people staring at her. Doctor Young wasn't supposed to behave like that, and now she was as embarassed as she was still angry. Probably moreso the former than the latter at this point. Her eyes find the pin lying on the floor, as she'd heard it land, and she just sits still for a long moment before she reaches down for it, picking it up quite gently to look at it.

Stanley murmurs softly, "It certainly doesn't help morale." to the Frenchman's question, accepting the newspaper as he draws out his other hand to help unroll it and hold the paper for a look. "Le Monde." as he speaks the name. A faintly tiny snort with a smile, "Thanks. I can't manage French very well, but they do teach us some in school." A smile forms on the young man for a moment to Chaloux, "We're supposed to be bilingual, but it's really just people living in the city, very educated, of those from Quebec province that really master both English and French." A nod back down. "Thanks. Maybe it'll tell us news about other countries." He shakes his head a bit. "The last news I had from home was when I was on the steamer comng to Europe. A big bad fire and explosion killed lots of people in Halifax. Burned the whole harbour when a munitions ship and a fuel tanker collided or something."

Far be it for Chaloux to just tell Antonia that he, despite putting up this show of male chauvinism, is admiring of her work. Flicking her that pin was just a whim, a little sign of appreciation. He looks steadily at her for a moment, nodding contently as she picks it up, followed by that cocky grin before he then focuses on Stanley with a rising of eyebrows. "Sounds horrible. You be glad you got away from that and came over here to the peace and quiet, yes?" he suggests with that dry humor, giving Stanley's arm a little comforting pat. "I forgot… how long have you been here?"

Samantha finally steps back into the room, her dress hung up and tucked away, wearing her nurse's uniform again. She's pulled and pinned her hair back up as well, getting as much of it under her cap as possible and washed her face. Her eyes are still red, but the rest of her is professional and ready to work. She passes by Antonia silently, just walking over to one of the near by men and beginning a quick check of his vitals. She didn't see anyone else doing rounds, so she would do them,.

Antonia stays seated for a few more minutes, fingers holding onto the pin. As Chaloux has turned to talk to Stanley she's at least saved the burden of having to look at him or thank him, at least immediately. But the reminder of her profession and her purpose seems to pull her up a bit. She closes her hand around the pin, closing her eyes and letting out a long breath before she stands up, gathering the papers she'd flung down.

Stanley speaks a little answer to Chaloux, "Just under a month for me and Brooks. We shipped over together." and looks up to him. "I've been gassed twice, shot by a machine gun once, and by a German Imperial rifle once now too. More than once, probably, but I forget now."

"A german imperial rifle?" Chaloux sounds impressed. He seems to live up to his name, personally, avoiding injuries like someone with the luck of the devil. He stands up, his visit finished for today - he can't be a slacker for much longer. Some officer might get grumpy and give him more latrine duty. "Heal up quick, so you take the bullets for me out there," he suggests to Stanley, dead pan. He clicks his heels together, salutes to Stanley, then bows over at Samantha and Antonia and marches out.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 License.